Using Archives

Lesson Overview

Just accept it, your phone is small and you will probably fill up the available storage space frequently. We have already looked at expanding your space by using the built-in SD Card. Unfortunately not all phones have this option.

In this lesson we will look at compressing files (zipping) and using a flash drive (or other USB devices such as portable disk drives etc.)

Compressed files
For the longest time I did not know that this option was available. It is useful when you want to:

  • Email several files and they are too big for the email limit. Then you can zip them into a single file that is much smaller.
  • You have a sd-card that is already nearly full and you need to squeeze a few more image files on to keep them with the rest of the rest of the project’s files.
  • A third use case is the opposite – someone sends you a huge Excel file or a collection vacation images as a zip file and you have to unzip it before you can use it.

External Drives
Flash drives are quite popular in the mobile world. People use flash drives for many purposes because they are so quick to use.

Flash drives

But you need an OTG (on the go) adapter cable or dongle.

An OTG cable

One of the benefits of an Android phone is that the device functions as both a peripheral and a host, meaning that the phone can operate as an external drive to transfer files, but it can also accept input from a USB mouse, keyboard, external drive, USB microphone and a ton of other external devices.

This cable has a male micro USB connector on one side and female USB A jack on the other. Plug your flash drive  (or SD reader with card) into the USB A jack, and then plug the other end of the adapter into your phone and you should be good to go.

My flash drive
My otg cable
Ready to plug into phone

On the video will show how once the otg-flash drive combination is plugged into the phone, the flash drive now appears as an option in My Files and we can copy files to and from the drive.

  1. In the first part of the video lesson we get sent a compressed file as an attachment (new via email. We will open the email, and save the attachment to the phone.
  2. When you save an attachment to your device, it ends up in the Downloads folder. When you open the Downloads folder and select the zip file that you have saved from the email, you get an option to extract. My Files will create a folder with the same name as the zip file (“new folder” in our case) and place the extracted file(s) in the new folder. We will use the files in a future project.
  3. The next example we will compress two files that belong together and deal with the EVC project of Parkinson’s Canada. This will make it easier to email for example. In My Files select the files you want to compress, and select the option compress.
  4. Finally you are looking for an image file for a future project. A colleague puts it on a USB drive and brings you the flash drive. After plugging the drive into the OTG cable and then into the phone, the flash drive will now show as a drive option in My Files.
    You can now work with it like with the internal storage and the SD-card. We will copy the image of the whale watching boat and copy it to the folder of your choice.
The lesson video