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How to find downloaded files on your iPhone or Android smartphone

Your smartphone is packed with downloads. Not only apps and software, but also the photos, files, videos, and other media you download over the course of your daily smartphone routine. However, while we often download media onto our mobiles without even being aware of it, it takes conscious effort to actually find where on our phones downloads are located.

This guide explains exactly how to find downloaded files on your smartphone. It covers iPhones and Android phones, including Samsung and Google Pixel mobiles, and it details just where to look and what to do in order to access the media you’ve downloaded online.

How to find downloads on iPhone

If you own an iPhone, go to the Files app to find your downloads. Files can be used to store everything from photos to saved GarageBand songs, so if you’ve downloaded something in the past, you’re almost certain to find it there.

On the Home screen, tap Files. If you aren’t taken immediately to the Browse screen, tap the Browse folder icon at the bottom-right of the screen. Within Browse you’ll have a number of options: you could tap iCloud Drive to check files saved to your iCloud. Alternatively, you can tap either On My iPhone, Downloads or Recently Deleted, if you suspect you might have deleted the file.

If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, you can tap the Search bar and enter the name of your downloaded file. And if you can’t remember the exact name, you can type the first few letters, which prompts the app to suggest likely candidates.

How to find downloads on Samsung phones

For Samsung smartphones, much the same principle applies, but with slightly different names.

Go to Samsung (or Apps) > My Files. From My Files, you can tap different folders, such as Recent Files, Images, Documents or Downloads. Most likely, what you’re looking for will be in the Downloads folder, but it’s always worth looking in other folders if you can’t find what you want in Downloads. You can also use the Search bar to locate a specific download.

How to find downloads on Google Pixel phones


To find a download on a Google Pixel, open the Files app. In Files, you can then tap different folders, such as Downloads. You can also sort through and filter your downloads by tapping the Menu icon (resembling three horizontal bars) and then More (which resembles three vertical dots).

In online forums, a small minority of Google Pixel owners have reported not being able to find downloaded photos or files in the Files app. Usually, this is the result of a permissions problem stemming from using the Google app to downloaded images. To solve it, go to Settings > Apps > Google > Permissions. Next, make sure Storage permission is switched on. If it isn’t, downloaded files will continue to be sent to a separate system directory.

How to find downloads on Android phones

Finding downloads on other Android phones follows pretty much the same workflow as finding them on Google Pixel or Samsung phones. However, depending on the models and manufacturers involved, the app name may differ.

Generally, you have to do the following. First, open the Apps drawer. Next, you have to open your phone’s file manager, which will have a name like My Files, Files, Downloads, or File Manager.

That’s the pivotal part of the whole process. But once in My Files, File Manager or whatever else it might be called, you should then tap the Downloads folder. In some cases, you may have to tap Internal Storage before coming to this point. If the file you’re looking for isn’t in Downloads, try another folder, or try using the Search bar.

Don’t forget third-party apps

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that some specific apps save downloads to their own internal folders. For example, you can find Netflix downloads by opening the Netflix app, tapping the Menu icon in the top-right of the screen, and selecting My Downloads.

In certain cases, other apps may do the same. This applies to iPhones and Android phones. So if you’ve downloaded a file through a particular app, try opening that app if you can’t find the download in the usual locations.


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