How to Enable the Android Browser to Download Unsupported File Formats

by: JoseDecember 31, 2011
12 46 9

Mobile gadgets are becoming more powerful nowadays. Many people would even claim that they’ve already replaced their full-sized laptop with their tablets or their smartphones. Why shouldn’t they? Tablets and smartphones get the job done, plus they’re very handy and more portable than laptops.

Mobile operating systems such as Android made mobile computing more mobile than laptops and netbooks did. These mobile operating systems changed the face of the gadget world. Because of operating systems like Android, we now have tablets and smartphones that can do multitudes of things that were never possible in the past.

We always look for more ways to extend their usefulness. We install a lot of apps to make our devices more functional. These apps are made to harness our Android hardware so it can work for us. Sometimes though, a device needs further tweaking to unleash its full potential. Take the case of the stock Android browser.

The Android web browser is a nifty tool that is part of almost all Android devices. Users can do gazillions of things with the web browser. But, as powerful as it may seem, the Android web browser also has its own limitations. One of its limitations concerns the restriction in downloading unsupported files. If users attempt to download unsupported files, they will typically get a message that says “Download unsuccessful. Cannot download. The content is not supported on this phone.” Good thing there’s a workaround for this.

If you want your Android browser to be able to download unsupported file formats, you can do so with the help of an app. Read on to find out what and how.

An app called ASTRO File Manager has to be installed on your device. Just go to the Android Market, search for the app, and then download and install it. (Or, get it here.) This app is free and is ad-supported. There’s also a pro version without ad support.

After installing ASTRO File Manager, simply run the app. Once the app is running, tap the Menu button, then tap the More option.

Tap on “Preferences” from the choices that appear. From the Preferences screen, look for the item that says Enable Browser Download. Tap on the item to enable it. The check icon will turn green if the option is enabled.

Afterward, test if the new configuration now works. To do this, open the web browser on your Android device and try to download an unsupported file. Wait for the file to completely download. Once it’s done and you did not see the “Cannot download” message, then you’re good to go.

This is indeed an easy method to further extend what the Android web browser can do. This may not be a tweak that makes your gadget run faster, but if you are aiming to replace your bulky notebook with a handy Android smartphone or tablet, then this tweak will certainly take things to the next level. You can already download any file type you like into your Android device just like a regular laptop or desktop PC.

Have you enabled support for unknown file formats using this app on your phone?

Related: Best file explorer apps for Android

  • Mazlan Abbas


    • Shadrag

      This article is OBSOLETE since the menu settings no longer appear in the app. What a shame!

  • Pottsc72

    Hi but what happens if this app is also unavailable? can i download other file managers to do the same thing?


  • Vitor Zanon

    I tried in my Motorola Xoom with Android 3.1 download unsupported files and works well without ASTRO

  • Holly Trathen

    Works, thank you! Any ideas how to get around programs my phone carrier (Bell) doesn’t want me to have? I have some Gameloft demos on my lg optimus 4g lte (nitro hd) that came with it and I can’t even delete them, but the only option is to pay full price for the full version of the game even though they are on sale right now for .99 cents. Through gameloft it will just tell me these games aren’t compatible with your devices….obviously they are, lol.

  • Xplosio

    Still cant download f***ing rar files…

    • Xplosio

      Oh sorry didnt notice i have not enough memory to download the file lol.. it works anyway :P

  • CypanArc

    i try that but still dont work…my tablet is sanei n70..pls anyone help me..hmp

  • Pedro

    I think that the new version of ASTRO does not support such feature


  • Guest

    I can confirm that this method doesn’t work in the new version of ASTRO. Unfortunately this seems to be the only way that worked in the past.

  • Chris Chen

    there isn’t a preferences option

  • Tony

    I opened the astro file but when I hit menu… theirs no option that say more option so I can cont. to the preference option to enable my browser… help

  • richardeverett

    Astro sucks. Does not work. What planet do you live on?