Music can be stored in a few different places on Android phones. The most common places are the internal storage, SD card (if available), and cloud music services.
When you download music directly to your Android phone, it is typically saved in the internal storage. This is the main storage space built into the phone. It is also where apps, photos, videos, and other files are stored by default.
Music downloaded from services like Google Play Music or purchased from the Play Store will be saved in the internal storage under these directories:
The /sdcard/ directory may be labeled differently on some devices, but it represents the internal storage. So music can often be found in the Music, Downloads, and Ringtones folders here.
Music you transfer manually from a computer will also be located in the internal storage, usually under /sdcard/Music. The Music folder here is where the music apps on your device will look for and play audio files.
If your Android phone has an SD card slot, you can also save music to external SD card storage. This provides a way to expand the storage capacity of your device.
To store music on the SD card, you will first need to insert the card into your phone. Then when transferring music files, you can choose to save them directly to the external SD card.
Music stored on the SD card is typically found in these directories:
The /sdcard/external_sd/ path represents the root of the external SD card. So music will be located under the Music, Downloads, and Ringtones folders here.
You may need to grant permissions for apps to access the SD card files. But music players and apps can play audio files saved to external storage.
Cloud Music Libraries
In addition to local storage, Android devices give you access to cloud music libraries. These include:
- Google Play Music
- YouTube Music
- Amazon Music
- Apple Music
When you add songs to these cloud platforms, the music files themselves are stored on the service’s online servers. The apps on your device simply stream the audio from the cloud.
This allows you to listen to millions of songs without taking up storage space on your Android phone. Downloaded playlists for offline listening will use some storage, but much less than saving all the music locally.
Automatically Added Music
Some music gets saved to your Android device automatically:
- Ringtones you create using music files will be stored in internal storage under /sdcard/Ringtones/.
- Notifications sounds will be saved in the Notifications folder on internal storage.
- Alarms created with music will be stored under /sdcard/Alarms/ on internal storage.
So if you use music for ringtones, notifications, or alarms, copies of those audio files will be stored automatically in the relevant folders on internal device storage.
Where Specific Apps Store Music
In addition to the system folders described above, some apps create their own storage locations for music:
|Google Play Music||/sdcard/PlayMusic/|
So if you use a particular music app to listen to songs, there may be a folder specific to that app storing cached or downloaded music files.
Transferring Music to Android
There are a few different ways to transfer music files to your Android device:
- Connect your phone to a computer with a USB cable and manually copy/paste audio files.
- Download songs directly using a music app like Google Play Music.
- Use a cloud locker like Google Drive to upload songs which you can then play via apps.
- Stream music from a cloud music service like Spotify.
- Transfer files to your phone via Bluetooth from another device.
- Use wireless transfer apps to share audio files from a computer.
Manually transferring music via USB is the most straightforward way. This will allow you to organize your audio files into folders on the internal storage or SD card.
Downloading and streaming with apps is very convenient but you have less control over where the music is stored. Cloud music lockers also make it easy to upload songs from any device and listen remotely.
Finding Transferred Music Files
If you load music onto your Android phone through a manual transfer method, locating the files is straightforward. Here are some tips for finding your audio files:
- Go to My Files or File Manager app and browse the Music folder.
- There may be a specific folder like “My Music” or “Audio” where transferred files are located.
- Use the system Search function to search for file types like .mp3, .wma, .flac.
- Try a file browsing app like Solid Explorer which offers advanced file searching.
- Check the Downloads folder for recently added music files.
Music downloaded directly via apps can be harder to locate since they manage the files themselves. But you can still use system search tools to find audio files saved to the device storage.
Copying Music Back to Your Computer
If you need to transfer music files stored on your Android phone back to your computer, you can use the USB connection method again.
To copy music from an Android device to a computer:
- Connect your phone to the computer with a USB cable.
- Open the phone’s storage on the computer as you would an external drive.
- Navigate to the Music folder or wherever songs are saved.
- Select the audio files and copy them to a folder on the computer.
- Alternately use the Import option in your music library software to add songs.
- Safely eject the phone storage when finished.
This process will work for retrieving any media files you have stored on your Android phone, not just music.
Finding Music with File Managers
Android’s built-in Files or My Files app provides basic file browsing and management. But third-party file manager apps can offer enhanced tools for locating and organizing music.
Some popular file manager apps include:
- Solid Explorer: Dual-pane view, cloud storage support, archives support, hidden files view.
- FX File Explorer: Folder bookmarking, cloud service integrations, ZIP file tools.
- Astro File Manager: Cloud file management, media player, app manager, process killer.
- X-plore File Manager: Dual-pane, themes & customization, archives support, advanced search.
Look for file managers that index media content, offer advanced searching tools, and provide two-pane viewing for easy copying/moving. This makes finding and organizing music files much simpler.
Freeing Up Space by Deleting Music
If you find your Android device running out of storage space, one of the easiest ways to free up room is by removing music files you no longer need. Here are some tips for deleting music:
- Use the system file manager to browse and delete large, unneeded audio files.
- Remove songs you haven’t listened to in a long time or don’t care for.
- Delete music you have copied or downloaded elsewhere.
- Check app folders like Play Music and remove files not in your active library.
- Clear the cache and data of music apps to remove temporary files.
- Unsubscribe from streaming services you no longer use.
- Use the usage details in settings to find which apps and media are taking up space.
Removing even a few large music files can sometimes recover gigabytes of storage. Keeping only your active music library on the device helps optimize available space.
Using a Music Player App
The native Android music app provides basic playback features. But installing a third-party music player app can give you enhanced tools for organizing and listening to audio files.
Some popular Android music player apps include:
|Poweramp||Powerful equalizer, theming, gapless playback.|
|Neutron Music Player||Hi-res audio support, 32/64-bit audio rendering.|
|BlackPlayer||Stylish themes, Queue management, ID3 tag editor.|
|Pulsar Music Player||Gestures support, Chromecast playback, Last.fm integration.|
|Phonograph||Material UI, folder browsing, drag-and-drop playlist management.|
Advanced music apps provide more ways to browse, sort, and play your audio library. Special features like widgets, skins, and tag editors offer added functionality.
There are several storage locations used for music on Android phones. But the most common places are:
- Internal device storage Music folder
- Removable SD card (external storage)
- Cloud music service libraries
- App-specific music folders
Manually transferring audio files will let you organize music on internal or SD card storage. Downloading and streaming with apps stores files in their own location. And cloud platforms keep music online.
Using a capable file manager makes finding and managing music easier. And advanced music player apps provide robust music playback features and customization.