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I was wondering whether I could replace the file manager that comes with my phone with a 3rd-party app in a way that any app that needs file access, goes through the 3rd-party app to find the appropriate file. The only other similar question I could find here is left unanswered and I wasn't able to find anything online.

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    I don't think Android offers to set an app as a default file manager app (at the least not up to Android 8.x). Are you talking about Documents Provider which helps you to pick a file through an app, and shows UI like this one? If yes, you can simply disable (if rooted) or uninstall the package com.android.documentsui (named Files in App list). You than would be able to use a third-party document/file picker.
    – Firelord
    Apr 24, 2019 at 16:48
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    The default file manager app is a system app (if we are talking about the same app), therefore a replacement can only be an app from your manufacturer.
    – Robert
    Apr 24, 2019 at 18:32
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    Related: android.stackexchange.com/a/210168/218526 Apr 25, 2019 at 8:42
  • Thank you all for the comments. @Firelord I wasn't thinking about Doc Provider, but thanks for bringing that up, it might work as an alternative! Apr 25, 2019 at 8:51

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