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Five tips and tricks for finding, sharing, and organizing your Google Drive on Android

Derek Walter | Sept. 18, 2015
Much of what you can go with Drive on your computer, you can also do on Android. Here's a guide to where all the new and important tools are.

google drive android
Credit: Derek Walter

Google Drive sure can clutter up quickly. It’s my go-to for everything when it comes to productivity, but even with Google’s search prowess baked in, there are moments when finding the right file or image just takes too much work.

Fortunately, Google has added in several tools that can improve how much you can organize, share, sort, and get to work faster. This way you zip through your tasks and get back to important things, like trying on new watch faces.

Find what you’re after

Search is going to be a key part of any Google product. In Drive, the search box can be used to find any item by its title, any of the content inside the files, the names of items featured in pictures, and handwritten notes.

google drive search
Search throughout your Drive for the right phrase, even if they’re tucked inside the file.

Once you have the your search results, touching a file will launch it in the requisite Google app (Docs, Sheets, or Slides) or Office Compatibility Mode depending upon the file type. Keep in mind that Google has parceled out its productivity tools into separate apps, so you may have to hit the multitasking button or back button a few times if you need to get back into Drive.

Save your files offline

No matter how good your mobile network, there may be a time when you’re going to be offline. If you want to work with a file that lives in the cloud, that could be a problem. 

So I make it a habit to save files that I use for offline use, which guarantees they’ll be ready for me no matter where I am. An important trick is to bump up how much space the Google Drive app allocates for such files so you don’t hit a wall if you go to save something.

Go to Settings > Cache size and pick from the four configurations (pictured). 

google docs cache
Cache up to 250MB on your Android device.

Then, when you go to save a file offline (Settings > Keep Offline) you can rest assured there’s plenty of room. Should you fill things up, you can always use the “clear cache” command from the settings.

Kill the clutter

Sometimes saving everything to Drive may make it seem a little messy, at least if you have the same neat-freak tendencies as I have.

So instead of just throwing out a search term and rooting through ten different file types, you can instead filter your Drive. Go to the top-right menu and select Filter by to specify which file types you want to see. 


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