What Is a NOMEDIA File?

How to create and delete NOMEDIA files on Android

What to Know

  • A NOMEDIA file is an Android No Media file.
  • Folders containing this file will hide media files.
  • You're free to create and delete these files to hide or unhide content.

This article explains what NOMEDIA files are and why you see them on your phone. We'll look at how to create and delete them to hide or show media files.

What Is a NOMEDIA File?

A file with the .NOMEDIA file extension is an Android No Media file. They’re only seen on Android phones and tablets, or on devices that are connected to an Android device.

These special files never have a file name (i.e., they’re always seen as .nomedia) and are used to tell other apps to avoid scanning for media files in the same folder where the NOMEDIA file exists.

For example, if there’s a folder called Screenshots and in it is a .NOMEDIA file, then most apps looking for pictures/videos there will understand that they shouldn't read any data from it. In other words, the folder will seem invisible.

Screenshot of a NOMEDIA file in an Android images folder

Uses For the NOMEDIA File

Since it essentially hides a folder from other apps, the most obvious benefit to putting a NOMEDIA file in a folder on your phone is to hide private pictures or to hide unwanted or redundant ringtones, images, videos, etc.

For example, you could put your sensitive photos and videos into a Secret Content album in your gallery app and then add a NOMEDIA file to it so that a casual observer looking through your pictures will only see what you want them to see.

These files are also useful in situations where the device might otherwise take a massive performance hit should a multimedia player scan through a folder with hundreds or thousands of images or videos files. If you don't want the app to browse through any specific folder, you can save loads of memory and battery life by marking it as a "no media" folder.

Knowing what these files are used for is also helpful if your multimedia app isn't displaying all your pictures or videos. For example, if Google Photos won't back up files in a certain folder, you might find out that it's because there's a NOMEDIA file in it, in which case deleting or renaming the file will let Google Photos read the contents normally.

How to Make or Delete NOMEDIA Files on Android

A NOMEDIA file needs to be placed in the folder that should be marked as the “no media” folder. You can make one yourself should you want to hide the folder’s contents, or delete the NOMEDIA file to unhide music, videos, ringtones, etc.

You can create and delete this kind of file directly from your device with an app like g(x) labs’ Nomedia, or Droida’s app with the same name. If you’re using the one from g(x) labs, toggle the option to ON next to any folder to put a .NOMEDIA file in it. With the second, tap-and-hold a folder to make this special file; the folder will turn red to indicate there’s a NOMEDIA file in it.

Screenshots of two nomedia file managment apps

Some file explorer apps, like File Manager Pro, let you rename files, meaning that you can rename any file in any folder to be called .nomedia. Obviously, though, this is only a good idea if there's an unimportant file in the folder that you're okay with renaming.

Be very careful using apps that aren’t specifically made for dealing with NOMEDIA content. Because the app might not display NOMEDIA folders (most won’t), the data might be hidden from that app, too, like is the case with File Manager Pro. What this means is that you won’t be able to unhide it using the same app.

Another way to create or delete NOMEDIA files is from your computer. Install ES File Explorer File Manager on your Android and then open Network > Remote Manager from the menu. Enable the remote network feature and then, from a computer, access the FTP address given in the app.

How to Make or Delete NOMEDIA Files on Windows

On Windows, you can open File Explorer and type the address in the navigation bar, as shown in the image at the top of this page. From there, you can make a new text file called .nomedia in any folder, or rename any of the files to have the NOMEDIA file extension (just be sure to delete the file name, too).

This method also works to delete or rename a NOMEDIA file to undo the hidden effect.

If you’re having trouble making a NOMEDIA file from your computer, open the text editor first and then from there, save a .nomedia file to a folder on your computer (making sure the Save as type option is set to All files), from where you can copy it to a folder on your Android device via the FTP connection.

Unlike most files, there's no reason to try to open a NOMEDIA file. Most of them are completely blank, so viewing one in a text editor won't show anything anyway.

The only exception is if you've renamed a photo or video to be .nomedia so as to hide the folder. If that's the case, renaming it back to a PNG, JPG, MP4, etc., will let you use the file normally again.

Opening Similar Files

There are lots of file extensions, and therefore lots of file formats. Some of them look so similar that it's easy to mix one up for another. If you're trying to use a NOMEDIA file but it isn't working like you expect it to, re-read the file extension; it might actually be a totally different file.

For example, a MEDIA file might, at first glance, appear to be related to NOMEDIA files, but that extension is actually reserved for videos created by some security cameras. Instead of being a blank file, it's an actual video that can be viewed by some media players.

  • How do you delete NOMEDIA files?

    On a computer, delete the NOMEDIA file in the same way you would delete any file: select the file and press Delete on your keyboard, or right-click the file and select Delete. On Android, you will need to download a file manager application such as Nomedia to create and delete them.

  • Can NOMEDIA files contain viruses or be dangerous?

    No. Even if the file extension seems odd and they take up zero bytes of space, this is by design and is not a concern.

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