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30 Dec

Trying To Delete A Media File On Your Android Device? This Is How!

My first attempt at deletion (and several subsequent ones) involved using the file browser within the MP3 player app in Android. I badly needed to delete a music file. But I couldn't! Unfortunately no long-tap or menu option offered the choice to delete. So just how would you delete a file in this situation?

Manufacturer ROMS & Functionality

Initially it seemed as though unfamiliarity with the Sony ROM was the issue, but soon it became apparent that actually, there is no obvious way to delete an MP3 — or any other file saved to the phone.

muo-android-delete-mp3

My first attempt at deletion (and several subsequent ones) involved using the file browser within the MP3 player app. Unfortunately no long-tap or menu option offered the choice to delete.

In contrast, my custom ROM has a couple of MP3 players installed, both of which enable MP3 deletion. It also has a file manager. So why doesn’t the Sony Xperia E make it simpler to delete files?

Clearly there is a need by the manufacturer to stop standard users accidentally breaking their phone’s software. However, blocking deletion of files added by the user seems short-sighted.

So just how would you delete a file in this situation?

Delete A File Using Your Desktop Computer

This is actually the method we used. All it takes is to connect the Android device via USB to a desktop computer (we were using a Windows 8 device) and wait while the drivers do their thing.

muo-android-delete-explorer

Once connected, you can browse Windows Explorer to find the phone listed (usually under its model name) as a device, double click to open and then browse the contents. Note that Android devices are locked down to prevent you deleting anything important (unless you’ve rooted your phone).

After you’ve found the file you’re looking for (photos will usually be in the DCIM directory, downloaded images in Pictures and everything else, including MP3s, in Downloads) just select and tap the Delete key on your keyboard. Make sure that you only have the file that you want to discard — and the correct one at that — as deleting from an external device doesn’t add the file to the Recycle Bin. If you get this wrong, the data is lost forever.

You may be interested to find that there are many other methods available for connecting an Android smartphone or tablet to a Windows computer. And of course a Mac, too.

Deleting Files From Android With An App

Various file management apps are available that can help with finding and deleting an app on any Android system where native file management has been restricted.

muo-android-delete-media

Probably most popular is ES File Explorer (although other Android file managers are available). With this app, you can browse your phone, find the data you’re looking for (see the previous section for an idea of where to find the data) and simply long-tap to select and then tap Delete from the menu bar to discard.

Should you make a mistake deleting data from Android with a file manager, there is no option to restore (unless this is a specified feature of the software). However, you might employ a data restore app designed to scan your phone’s storage and retrieve the file you inadvertently rejected. Apps capable of doing this include Dumpster Image & Video Restore and Restore Deleted Files.

Don’t Overlook Removable Storage!

One last thing to consider is whether the data has been saved to a removable drive or the phone’s internal storage. If you’re short of the necessary USB cable but have the files you’re trying to delete on your Android’s microSD card, then unmounting it (Settings > Storage > Unmount) and inserting it into your computer’s card reader (using a microSD to SD adapter) is the best alternative. You can then use your desktop file browser to find and eliminate the rogue file.

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Kostaq Cipo

Programmer analyst, Web developer, Technology Evangelist and Enthusiast, Tech Author, Blogger, C C++ Java .NET VB, Mobile developer, Security analyst, Project Manager.

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