What are “NOMEDIA” file extension files?

If you use a file manager to navigate through the folders on your Android device, you will find a very peculiar nameless entity randomly all over your phone with the NOMEDIA file extension. This file is a placeholder that tells the operating system that this folder does not have any media files, hence the NOMEDIA file extension.

NOMEDIA files help speed up the device by telling it not to scan particular folders. These folders can range from sensitive operating system folders to random app folders that do not contain images or do not contain images that the user would like to see in their gallery. As soon as the device sees the NOMEDIA file extension, it stops scanning the folder and moves on to the next one. This makes a significant difference in the overall performance of Android devices.

What do NOMEDIA files contain?

They contain nothing. The file extension, NOMEDIA, itself is what does the trick here. They are empty files. Placeholders that do not need to contain any code or other data, and are simple text files with this extension, taking up no real space beyond what is required for the file name and type itself. Gallery apps and media players have this rule programmed into their file browsing subroutines that tells them to stop looking for media in any folder that contains this file.

Why was it done?

These files were originally created in view of Google’s privacy compliance and the sole purpose of their existence was to prevent third-party apps from viewing media files in critical locations. This, however, had a rather nice side effect of making the phone faster, so it stuck around. This is also a great way to prevent certain folders from showing up in the gallery app if you’re trying to hide personal photos. This is also a great way to prevent voicemail folders from popular messaging apps like WhatsApp or Viber from appearing in the music player app.

How can you access or create a NOMEDIA file?

All you need is a simple text editor; just save an empty notepad file named “.NOMEDIA”. Then copy that file to your Android device in each folder you don’t want to scan, and you’re good to go. However, there are dedicated files available for Android devices that allow users to create and manage NOMEDIA files without any problem. These vary by Android version and devices, but some of the most popular utilities for this are “StudioKUMA” and “.nomedia Manager”. These apps are very useful if you want to manage and create NOMEDIA files directly on your phone, rather than from a PC. However, there are several other free apps available as well.

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