How the Google Drive and Google Docs Update Affects Android Users

If you’ve used Google Docs on your Android device, you must have noticed it lacks many of the features you find on the desktop version. Google seems to be slowly but steadily working on adding these features to the Android apps.



What Has Changed in Google Drive and Google Docs?

Google Drive logo on laptop screen

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On June 9, 2023, Google announced two updates via its Workspace Updates blog. These are aimed at improving the Google Docs and Google Drive experience for Android users.

The first update aims at improving the Google Drive app’s visual experience on foldable devices. From now on, when you preview a file in Google Drive, the controls will intelligently change their position depending on whether your device is opened, closed, or partially closed.

Image showing Google Drive controls position on foldable devices.
Image Credits: Google

The controls appear at the bottom of the screen when the device is fully folded, and on the left of the screen when it’s fully open.

The second update makes paginated mode default in Google Docs, just like in the web app. This means that every new document you create in Google Docs will open in paginated mode, except when the document is set to open in pageless mode.

How Do These Changes Affect You?

The Google Drive update helps a relatively small category of users (those who own foldable devices). One of the reasons why foldable devices aren’t mainstream yet is the lack of a universal aspect ratio. Perhaps the update is a step towards addressing this issue, ahead of the Google Pixel Fold’s expected launch in Fall 2023.

Google Docs will now show page breaks just like the desktop web app. This provides a better experience on large screens but also comes in handy when using a smartphone.

A large blue icon representing a document superimposed on a photo of a desk

Haven’t Received the Update? What to Do Next

Google has started rolling out the updates. If you don’t see these changes in Google Drive and Google Docs just yet, you might need to wait a few days. Even with these updates, Google Drive lags behind other cloud storage in terms of storage space and user experience. If you aren’t happy with Google Drive, consider exploring Google Drive alternatives.

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