A hidden Chrome OS setting which allows users to see all Android files installed on a Chromebook in a similar way to how that works on Android has now been spotted in the OS's Dev Channel. The setting, which was previously only available in the bug-riddled Canary Channel of the OS, reveals an "Android Files" volume in the operating system's file manager app. That's according to a new commit, published to the Chromium Gerrit on May 23. There's no way to know whether or not the feature will make the jump to the Stable Channel of the OS or when that might happen. The fact that it has jumped to the Dev Channel may be a good sign for those who want to get a bit more out of the often-limited space of a Chromebook.
The inclusion of an Android file manager would allow for finer management of files stored on a Chrome OS device. As things currently stand, Chrome OS only has a downloads folder and sections for the management of audio, video, and photo files. The new volume allows users to see all of the Android-related files that are normally available to a user of the Android OS. That means that no root files are accessible but users could feasibly use the existence of the volume to move or remove files on the virtual Android storage space. With an increasing number of Chromebooks supporting Android apps, that means the ability to free up space if it runs low or to ensure that all files are removed alongside an app that's been uninstalled.
It goes without saying that getting the new feature enabled involves switching to the Dev Channel. That's the channel used by developers to test their applications and software on upcoming versions of Chrome OS – so it's not necessarily a channel every user should be running the OS on. Switching requires the device to be wiped, as well, so any important files should be backed up before navigating to the About Chrome OS section of the Settings menu to change channels. For those already on the channel, getting access to the new file manager tool is fairly straightforward; the feature can be found in the hidden settings menu of Chrome by navigating to "chrome://flags#show-android-files-in-files-app" and setting the appropriate flag to "enabled."