Google has a whole suite of first-party apps that make up a complete starter kit for any new Android phone sold. Despite the popularity of third-party alternatives to these Google apps, a few of them continue to be Android enthusiast favorites. We still consider Files by Google one of the best file management apps on Android, and it’s only going to get better. Word is Google is rethinking its approach to secure file storage in the app, choosing to develop a new option placed in the bottom line now.
Longtime Files users should be familiar with an option called Safe Folder that has been around since 2020. It requires a PIN or pattern to unlock, and any files stored in this locked folder are made inaccessible to third-party apps. You can’t even share or screenshot them. Says Sadykov from the Google News Telegram channel has discovered a new feature in development called Important tab with a remarkably similar function.
Squeezed as the other option between Pure and Scroll through in the bottom bar, the new Important tab opens a blank screen where you can add files using the right-aligned floating action button (FAB). Pressing the button displays options to scan with the camera, select an existing file, or select an existing image. Sadykov reports that tapping the first option opens Goggle Camera, but the app says it doesn’t have permissions to write to the secure folder. Since you could theoretically add any type of file here, an option to group them by file type would be useful, and could be in the cards.
There are a couple of notable differences that separate the existing Secure Folder option from the Essentials tab features. First, you should be able to share files from the latter without moving them out first. Next, the upcoming storage may be more secure because it uses the Android Biometric Prompt instead of a PIN or pattern. As a result, files stored in the Important tab can be convenient to access, and more securely hidden from prying eyes – a win-win situation.
The Nearby Sharing tab in this upcoming version of the Files app will also be slightly tweaked to have a detailed feature description. The Send and Receive buttons will also have the same size instead of the option name that defines the button’s width.
That said, the bottom line of many Google apps, like Gmail, has seen a lot of new changes in recent months, so it’s no surprise that Google is going this route, planning to add the Important option to the Files app as well . However, there’s no telling what’s in store for the Safe Folder alternative we use today.