Top 10 File Managers for Android

One complaint commonly brought up against the iOS platform is the lack of a device-wide file management system. Android, on the other hand, gives users complete control over the files on their phone/tablet or SD Card – even more so if you decide to root your device. No surprise then that file management apps are a dime a dozen in the Android Market. But with so much choice, how do you select which app works best for you?

Here’s my list of the top ten file management apps for Android, in no particular order. They all have their own unique advantages and user interfaces, so pick the one that seems closest to your style of managing files on your device. And with all but one of the apps available for the unbeatable price of free, there’s nothing to stop you trying them all out before making a decision.

For a more up-to-date collection of file managers, check out our 7 Awesome and Modern Android File Managers.

File Managers roundup: File Expert

File Expert

I’ll start with my personal favorite file management app here: File Expert. With a gorgeous interface and more features than you can shake a stick at, File Expert is probably all you will ever need as far as browsing files on your device is concerned. Apart from accessing local files, you can connect to cloud storage services like Dropbox and Box.net, access FTP servers, and even manage apps installed on your device right from within the file manager.

File Expert

File Expert

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.0 or above
Market Link: File Expert
Developer: Geek Software Technology Inc.

File Managers roundup: Root Explorer (File Manager)

Root Explorer (File Manager)

For most Android geeks who root their phone and change ROMs like they change clothes, Root Explorer is probably a household name. Once you have rooted your phone, Root Explorer will give you access to the deepest corners of your device’s file system, including the elusive data folder. With hundreds of thousands of installs and an average rating of an insane 4.8, it’s hard to go wrong with this app that more than justifies being the only paid app on this list.

Root Explorer

Root Explorer

Price: $3.99
Requires: Android 1.1 or above
Market Link: Root Explorer (File Manager)
Developer: Speed Software

File Managers roundup: ES File Explorer

ES File Explorer

As far as popularity goes, its hard to beat the ES File Explorer for Android. With over ten million installs and an average market rating of 4.7, this one is a veteran, and for good reason. As the description on the Market page suggests, ES File Explorer is a file manager, application manager, task killer, Dropbox client and FTP client all rolled into one. And if you’re stuck with an old phone running Android 1.5, there’s even a version of the app for that.

ES File Explorer

ES File Explorer

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Market Link: ES File Explorer
Developer: EStrongs Inc.

File Managers roundup: ASTRO File Manager

ASTRO File Manager

Another popular choice in the same category is ASTRO, with pretty much the same install base. Along with the usual file browsing and management capabilities, ASTRO brings file and app backup to the fray, as well as built-in image and text viewers, a task manager, advanced search capabilities and a download manager, all packed into a single app package.

ASTRO File Manager

ASTRO File Manager

Price: Free
Requires: Varies with device
Market Link: ASTRO File Manager
Developer: Metago

File Managers roundup: FileGo

FileGo

The Android Market page for FileGo is an excellent example of not how to describe your product – a single sentence suggesting what’s obvious. Don’t be fooled by the minimalism, though. At its core, FileGo is a pretty decent file manager for Android with one of the best looking interfaces and most of the common features you would expect: a file manager, task manager (aka task killer), app manager and so on.

FileGo

FileGo

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.5 or above
Market Link: FileGo
Developer: MobGo Inc.

File Managers roundup: Dual File Manager XT

Dual File Manager XT

One of my pet peeves with Windows 95 when it came out was that it got rid of the two-pane view in Windows Explorer that made file comparison and copying so easy. That’s probably why I’m a sucker for Total Commander and its clones on the desktop. Dual File Manager XT tries to bring back that power with two-pane file browsing on your Android device. There’s more, of course, like thumbnail views, archive management, search and so on.

Dual File Manager XT

Dual File Manager XT

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.5 or above
Market Link: Dual File Manager XT
Developer: Medieval Software

File Managers roundup: X-plore file manager

X-plore file manager

As far as mobile app interfaces go, X-plore file manager is a bit different. It tries to re-create the desktop-like interface on your phone adding in a few tricks of its own to good effect. What you get is a dual-pane file view, ability to browse your through ZIP files, access FTP sites and Picasa photos, built-in viewers for image and text files and more. If you can get past the interface quirks, this one’s an interesting app to try if you’re looking for something different.

X-plore file manager

X-plore file manager

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Market Link: X-plore file manager
Developer: Lonely Cat Games

File Managers roundup: Ghost Commander File Manager

Ghost Commander File Manager

Speaking of Total Commander, if you are a fan of that then Ghost Commander on your Android should feel just like home. It tries to emulate the look and feel of Total Commander while adding in useful features like thumbnail views, favorite folders and files, a built-in text editor, and more. Although I’m not a big fan of the UI, I suspect that many wouldn’t mind the simple no-nonsense approach to a mundane task like file management.

Ghost Commander File Manager

Ghost Commander File Manager

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Market Link: Ghost Commander File Manager
Developer: Ghost Squared

File Managers roundup: inKa File Manager

inKa File Manager

In a world where file management apps are scrambling over each other to add more features and bloat by the day, inKa File Manager brings an old world charm to file management. The app is pretty simple at its core, letting you manage regular files, ZIP archives and not much else more in a neat and clean interface. Upgraded recently for Android 4.0 devices, this is the one to go if you hate apps doing too many things.

inKa File Manager

inKa File Manager

Price: Free
Requires: Android 1.6 or above
Market Link: inKa File Manager
Developer: inKa

File Managers roundup: AirDroid

AirDroid

Now this one’s a bit different. Rather than forcing you to struggle with files on your phone’s tiny low-res screen, AirDroid uses a Wi-Fi connection to create a browser-based desktop for your phone that works on any PC on the same Wi-Fi network. You can manage contacts, text messages, media, files, apps and much more, all from the comfort of your desktop or laptop and using your full-size keyboard and mouse.

AirDroid

AirDroid

Price: Free
Requires: Android 2.1 or above
Market Link: AirDroid
Developer: SAND STUDIO

As I said before, these are mere drops in the ocean that is the Android Market. If you use an app for your file management that meets your requirements but is not part of this list, I would love to take a shot at it. Lets hear about them apps in the comments, shall we?


  • Axm

    Where is TotalCommander? Much better then all of them, fast and functional.

    • http://michaeljameswilliams.com/ Michael James Williams

      Left it out because it’s still a release candidate and not on the Market yet. I’m sure we’ll review it in the future, though!

      (If anyone wants to try it out, it’s available here.)

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  • Ralfie

    WTF man?! Where is Total Commander?

  • http://guiasapple.com SrTapir

    Excellent article, congrats, want more like this!!

    By the way I’m using Root Explorer, great program.

  • http://www.daneshzaki.com Danesh

    Good article!
    I use Astro to explore files on the phone and use AirDroid to transfer .apk, images etc from the PC to the phone.

  • Maciej

    I tested many file managers and the best is eFile (https://market.android.com/details?id=com.domobile.efile) – move between folders is unusual! Try it and see!

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  • Minh Chanh

    My favorite is AntTek File Explorer (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.anttek.explorer), its configurable panel layout is best!

  • Chinky aka N.I.T.

    I’m a big fan of “File manager” from Rhythm Softwares. I have tried something like 20 file managers but the usability of this one is simply great. the layout of this app is what I like the most. more files can be seen in whatever screen space u have. It’s free. also it has small app size on the phone. it has built in pic viewer and also unzipper. Try it and, believe me, u will certainly add it to the the above list.

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  • http://www.yourcyberguide.com Divyansh

    This was nice.. no i can manage my phone easily

  • Olger

    I wouldn’t recommend FileGo (anymore). It now has (Chinese) spam built in. No mention of such anywhere. Took me a while to figure out after I found the recommendation here. The GUI looks nice, but the experience is completely destroyed with the spamming. Spamming is done in the notification area and by creating shortcuts on the homescreen.
    The developer doesn’t seem to care about happy customers much.

    • http://michaeljameswilliams.com/ Michael James Williams

      Dang, we didn’t realise that. Sorry.

  • Pankaj Jain

    I’m using astro & I’ve rooted tablet. When i connect my External WD HD, Astro detects only 1 Patrition (my 1 TB HD has two partition of 500 GB, both). it only detects the first partition. Please Help

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  • J

    I’m using “Solid Explorer”, but would like to have another one after removing “ES File”.

    Still shortlisting, but for me, I’ll leave out those which are produced by Chinese companies and having ads.

  • John

    I’m using AntTek Explorer. It’s properly the best out there
    Google Play link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.anttek.explorer

  • Koder

    I also want to suggest a file explorer with an unique feature “Jump Scroll” – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.probcomp.filexplorer

  • kenny

    I’ve been using Bluetooth File Transfer for a while. Just wondering why it didn’t make the cut, though these are all nice apps. Thanks for the piece too, very helpful.

  • http://clean.fm Andrea

    I suggest you to try “Clean File Manager”, a great Android app to browse all your files on phones and tablets, completely Holo styled:

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=fm.clean

  • gshock

    Are there any good file managers that don’t need full internet access? I use my phone for business and I don’t like the security breach.

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  • K.

    I have tried different file manager and my favourite is solid explorer. Great usability with 2 panels view and nice looks.

  • disqus_IF3ED3fPQa

    Solid Explorer should have been added here definitely!

  • ilom

    ES is the only one listed here with consistent SMB file share performance. Its an amazing product that allows cloud AND smb share access. I have used Astro in the past but with Astro SMB breaks on occasion depending on ROM version used or free vs pro. Also have had problems using SMB shares over a VPN with Astro. If you use your phone for business, need all the normal file manager bells and whistles, and need rock-solid SMB access over VPN or LAN, ES wins hands down!!! Its nice when a product for droid is built this solid.

  • Guest

    To get the best android apps this link will surely help you android lovers:
    http://www.appnotech.com/android-apps/

  • http://www.appnotech.com/ Mobile App Developer

    To get cool android applications downloaded on your smart phones click here: http://www.appnotech.com/android-apps/

  • http://www.contus.com/mobile-application-development.php mobile app development company

    Interesting list of apps.If you are searching for Mp3 cutter app use the link https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.contussupport.trimandtone. The Trim and Tone app Trim and Tone is a simple Mp3 cutter and joiner application. This android app not just allows you to cut and join Mp3 music, but also to set the resulting music as ringtone, notification tone, alarm tone or simply save it in your My tone list

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