On Android 9 Pie, the default Files app isn’t much to behold. It does the job it needs to do — allowing you to access files on your internal storage and microSD card — but it doesn’t look too pretty and it’s missing some key functionality.
Quite possibly the most perplexing thing about the history of the Files app is that for a long time it didn’t even have a launcher icon when you opened the app drawer. You’d have to download an app from the Google Play Store to add the shortcut.
Thankfully, the Files app on the first beta of Android Q is much nicer. There’s a built-in launcher shortcut and it’s been given a Material Theme overhaul. There’s a universal search bar at the top (why wasn’t this always there?) and some quick-access shortcuts that make everything much easier.
Check out the comparison shots below. The first row is the Files app as it appears on a OnePlus 6T running Android 9 Pie and below those are screenshots of the Files app on a Google Pixel 2 XL running the Android Q beta:
Although Android Q is just in beta right now, it is extremely likely that these updates to the Files app will make it to the final, stable version. Possibly, between now and then, there could be even more functionality and design tweaks added in.
Many people will still opt for a third-party file explorer app for Android, but it’s nice to know that the default Files app will be more useful going forward.