How to use Google Drive on Android

Google Drive was officially launched this morning, complete with an Android app to help you manage your Drive. Take a quick look at the official Google Drive app to see how it works.

You may have noticed shortly after the official announcement of Google Drive that Google Docs was no longer on your Android device. Instead, you can find the Google Drive app in its place. If for some reason your Google Docs app hasn't made the switch yet, you can download the Google Drive update to your device from Google Play. Let's take a look at how the Android app integrates and works with Google Drive.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The main screen of Google Drive provides a few options for navigating the new service. You will have quick access to files in your Drive, any documents that have been shared with you, any files or folders you have starred, recently opened, or edited, as well as any files you have downloaded for offline access.

The account name (blurred out in the screenshot) at the top of the screen acts just like it does in all other Google apps; tapping on it will allow you to quickly switch between Google accounts and the respective Drive accounts.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

To create a new item on your Drive, tap on the menu icon then select New. You will then be given the option of creating a document, spreadsheet, document from photo, or to upload a file. If you used Google Docs on your device previously, you should be familiar with the first three options. Upload, however, is new and specific to Google Drive.

When you select upload, you're able to browse and upload files stored on your Android device to your Drive account. One important thing to note, however, is that installing a file manager, such as Astro File Manager, is required to browse files outside of your music and photo galleries.

Keep in mind if you want to place the new item in a specific folder, you will need to navigate to that folder in the app before you upload or create it. If you create a new item from the home screen, it will be placed in the root directory of your Drive.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The settings for the Google Drive app allow you to set the amount of data you will want the app to cache, starting at 50MB topping out at 250MB. You can also enable/disable encryption of offline documents as well as enable a reminder to be displayed when you are updating files over a wireless connection, not Wi-Fi.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

When viewing your folders and files, you can favorite any item by tapping on the star located next to the item name. If you tap on the arrow icon located on the right-hand side of the listing, you are presented with a list of options.

These options allow you to save the file for offline viewing, sharing, sending, renaming, deleting, and opening with another app.

You can share, rename, and delete entire folders, but you cannot make them available for offline viewing or send them.

At anytime in the app you can tap on the familiar search icon and search for a specific document or folder. The items stored in your Drive aren't automatically updated in the Android app. So, if you have recently placed new items on your Drive and they aren't yet appearing in the Android app, tap on the menu icon and select refresh.

If you have any extra tips or tricks we missed for Google Drive on Android, please share them below in the comments.

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