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When opening PDFs in "Files by Google" it always opens in Drive PDF Viewer. I want them to open in Adobe.

I've looked online and got a lot similar issue, but none of the fixes work for me.

Here is what I found in other posts and tried:

  • Clearing cache and storage in Drive and Files.
  • Selecting "Don't allow app to open links" in "Open by Default" for both Drive and Files.
  • There is no PDF option in "Setting"->"Apps"->"Default apps" for me to change.
  • Denying Files the "Modify system settings" permission.
  • Temporarily installing another PDF viewer to force a default app prompt when opening PDFs from Files (which it doesn't).
  • Temporarily installing another file manager and selecting Adobe as my default PDF viewer. It doesn't carry to Files.
  • Disabling Drive, opening the PDF from Files while Adobe is my only viewer. It opens in Adobe automatically but goes back to Drive as soon as I enable it again.
  • Disabling Drive, opening the PDF in Files while I have multiple viewers available, selecting Adobe and clicking "Always". It goes back to opening in Drive as soon as I enable it again.

I am using a Google Pixel 8 Pro with Android 14. I had the same problem with my Pixel 6 for the past two+ years and possibly my older pixel 3, but I don't quite remember.

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  • Perhaps that is how Files has been written. There are other free file manager apps you can try. Jan 4 at 23:49
  • @RohitGupta That would be a shame. Guess I'm stuck having to click on the three dots and selecting "Open with" -> "Adobe Acrobat" every single time then :( Jan 10 at 19:19
  • Same problem with Android 14 Pixel 7 for me. Every time pdf opens OneDrive is top of list and no other app can be choosen as "always open"
    – Konrad
    Feb 28 at 18:25

2 Answers 2

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When using Google file manager on the Pixel 8 Pro, disabling Google Drive allows whatever app has been set as default to open local .pdfs stored on the phone. However, as soon as you enable Drive, it will again open all local .pdfs, regardless of your set preferences in Android. Google's preference for using Drive to access all .pdf data seems to be hard-coded into their file manager. One solution to this is to switch to a non-Google file manager. I loaded Total Commander, and it allows the app I set as a default .pdf reader (EZ pdf reader) to open local .pdfs when tapped (even with Drive enabled). Yet if you use Drive to access local or Gdrive cloud .pdf files, it will still open them in Drive.

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  • I want to keep using both native Google apps (Drive and Files). If its hard coded, there is nothing to do. Apr 11 at 15:27
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It sounds like you already found one solution -- disable Drive, and nothing will open in that app.

On my Samsung Galaxy S23, if I open the app settings, the app info for Drive has a "set as default" option, and when I click on it, there's an option to clear defaults. If you look inside the app's settings instead of going for a general "default app" menu, that might accomplish what you want. I used to have a Pixel 3, but I don't remember if it would have the same thing. It's still worth trying, though. Good luck!

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  • That is not a solution. I want to use Drive for other purpose and I do use it a lot. I don't want PDFs to open in it because I dislike the interface, but that doesn't mean I never want to use Drive whatsoever. There is also no "Set as Default" nor "Clear Default" option in the Drive app settings, at least on Pixel 8 Pro. Thanks for trying to help. Jan 10 at 19:21
  • It still might work for you. With no default app for PDFs, every time you open a PDF, it will ask what app to use and if you want to use it just once or always. It doesn't delete the app, so you will still be able to use Drive; you'll just have to tell your phone which app to use each time. You don't have to delete the app. I looked up where the Default Apps settings are for your phone and found this web site: bestusefultips.com/… (no affiliations with site). This should work for you. Jan 12 at 3:48
  • Sorry for the delay. As mentionned in my original post, under default apps, there is no PDF settings. I juste tried the reset app preferences in System -> Reset Options, but beside having to establish all permissions and other defaults again, PDFs still open in Drive. Jan 22 at 14:48

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