How to Use the OneDrive App to Manage Your Files in Windows Phone 8.1

During the past months, Microsoft's OneDrive has been constantly consolidated as the base of the Microsoft consumer cloud services, empowering users to manage and share their files, documents, pictures and videos. Starting with Windows Phone 8.1, the OneDrive app is bundled into the operating system and cannot be uninstalled, because several other apps depend on it. Let's see how to use this app in Windows Phone 8.1.

What Has Changed Since Windows Phone 8?

We have already mentioned that the app is now integrated into the operating system. As with any integrated app, we can only hope that it will not need any major patches or updates anytime soon, because that would require updating the whole system.

Along with bug fixes and performance enhancements, recent updates to the OneDrive app have brought several important new features and the new functionality is remarkable:

  • The app is integrated with the Microsoft account on your Windows Phone and there's no need to sign in.
  • Better aesthetics on smartphones with larger screens.
  • Uploading multiple photos, videos and files at once is now permitted.
  • It has an immersive view for managing and viewing your pictures.
  • Opening files from OneDrive in other apps on your smartphone is now possible.
  • Sharing files from other apps to OneDrive is now available through the Windows Phone sharing system.
  • The ability to sort files and folders when browsing OneDrive.

What Can You Do with the OneDrive App in Windows Phone 8.1?

There are many things you can do with the OneDrive app:

  • Create new folders and rename, move or delete files inside your account.
  • Pin folders to your phone's Start screen.
  • Browse OneDrive files from your account or files shared with you.
  • Search your OneDrive files.
  • Quickly access recently opened documents.
  • Open and download documents.
  • View photos from the OneDrive app itself or from other installed apps.
  • Upload multiple photos, files and videos at once from your Windows Phone.
  • Share files and folders by inviting others, or through sharing links which can be copied and pasted everywhere or even posted to social networks.
  • Play audio and video files on your OneDrive storage from the app. Details about the supported video formats are available here.

What You Can't Do With the OneDrive App in Windows Phone 8.1

We really like the folder pinning feature we mentioned above, which - for picture folders - shows by default a beautiful medium-sized tile with the cover photo and the folder name, or a simple tile with the folder name if no picture is set as the cover.

What we would love to see in a future update is the app tile displaying an estimate of the remaining OneDrive space.

Returning to the things which are currently still missing from the OneDrive app at this time, we have noticed the following:

  • The user still cannot create and/or upload Office documents from the app.
  • We could not create a playlist for audio or video files, which can only be played one by one.

How to Browse Your OneDrive in Windows Phone

When you open the app it will display the files pivot, which is the root list of your OneDrive folders. It may contain files too, although we recommend that you arrange your content using dedicated subfolders inside the root folders.

The app bar at the bottom of the screen contains a few useful commands and, if you expand the hidden menu by pressing on the three dots to the right of the app bar, (also known as the more button in our previous articles) you will discover more options for working with your files and folders:

The next page (pivot) on this screen is the recent files list, which can be manipulated using the commands shown below:

The third (and last) pivot is the shared items page, which will display a list of files and folders which are shared by you or with you:


In this article we have highlighted the differences between the OneDrive app for Windows Phone 8 and the OneDrive app in Windows Phone 8.1, as well as what you can do with the new OneDrive app.

We would love to hear from you how you are using the app and what are your impressions about it, in the comments below.