Best File Managers in Google Play

There are a lot of good file managers for Android, but which one should you use?

Some phones come with basic file managers. Some don't. Or maybe you just want a better file manager. Search Google Play and you'll find lots of file managers out there to help you organize files on your Android devices and SD cards. It's easy to get overwhelmed when taking a look at all those options.

Ratings given by users on Google Play can help us know about the quality of apps. We've included those ratings for the apps we're mentioning here, and most of these file managers have fared pretty well with the general Google Play populace. Most of the ones we're mentioning have scores of 4.5 or above. Of course, Google Play ratings are subject to change. The ratings we mention are current as of the writing of this article.

There are file managers with many kinds of interfaces and different layers of functionality out there, so at least one file manager is bound to suit your needs and preferences. Most file managers will share some functionality, like the ability to view and delete files. Most of these play well with cloud storage options as well.

Join us as we give an overview of the similarities and differences between file managers. Maybe you'll find one that you like a bit better than what you're using now.

Solid Explorer

Solid Explorer

Solid Explorer features a double-paneled display to browse files. When in landscape mode, both panels are visible. In portrait mode, one panel is visible at a time (although you can switch between them by swiping to the left or to the right). It's pretty easy to drag and drop files into a directory. Hold the file over a folder and the folder will open. Then you can just drop it in! After tapping icons to select files and holding down for a bit, you can choose what to do with it. It makes for easy file management.

That seems to be the name of the game with Solid Explorer: easy file management. Oh, and as a little bonus, Chromecast support is now built in.

Solid Explorer is available as a free 14-day trial. Afterwards, be prepared to pay a couple bucks for it.

Download: Solid Explorer Google Play rating: 4.6

ES File Explorer File Manager

ES also allows you to choose what to do with your apps after you press down on them for a little bit. You can copy folders to different destinations, delete, rename, share them, etc.

It also serves as a cache cleaner (with a task manager module installed). With that task manager module and ES, you could also monitor RAM usage in an onscreen widget and kill tasks with one click.

You can also copy and paste and share files between Bluetooth devices.

Operations can be performed on your Android device or on your computer.

ES File Explorer File Manager is available for free.

Download: ES File Explorer File Manager Google Play rating: 4.6

Explorer and Root Explorer

Explorer, pictured above, is a free and more basic version of Root Explorer.

Explorer is described by Speed Software as a "fast, lightweight and easy to use file manager. Perfect for organizing your SD card contents." Speaking of SD cards, looks like they've recently added the ability to create folders on them when using KitKat.

Additionally, Explorer won't let your device go to sleep if you're in the middle of something that will take its sweet time.

Although Explorer is the lowest-rated app on Google Play mentioned here with a 4.2, its bigger brother takes things to the next level.

Root Explorer is also made by Speed Software, but it allows users to delve deeper into Android. With Root Explorer, users can access their device's data folder. Farewell, bloatware. This may be one of the easier methods of accessing it. This is one major differentiator between this and its more basic sibling, and you still get features like SD card folder creation and sleep prevention.

Download Explorer (Free) Google Play rating: 4.2

Download Root Explorer ($3.99) Google Play rating: 4.7

AntTek Explorer

AntTek Explorer

AntTek Explorer prides itself on being a simple, customizable file manager. It comes with different themes (like light and dark). It also comes packed with double panels, which is convenient for file management. Having more than one panel is particularly convenient because you can drag and drop files with this app as well. You can also adjust the way some things display in the file manager. For example, you can make thumbnails smaller or larger.

One thing that's slightly annoying: in the upper right-hand corner of most screens, there's a flashing yellow sign urging you to change to a different version of the app (AntTek Explorer Ex).

Download AntTek Explorer (Free) Google Play rating: 4.5

PowerGrasp File Manager


PowerGrasp also uses a double-paned format, at least when in landscape mode. Dragging and dropping also works in this app. Selecting an item and holding it down brings up the options to open, rename, cut, copy, delete, etc. the item.

Archives may be saved to SD cards in KitKat.

A monetary donation to the developer of any amount will get rid of any ads you may see.

The app does collect anonymous data, so the developer knows about errors that occur and which features you use. Data collection is enabled by default, but that can be disabled in the app's settings.

Overall, it's a clean app and it gets the job done.

Download PowerGrasp File Manager (Free) Google Play rating: 4.6

X-plore File Manager

Just in case you wanted another dual-paneled file manager option, here you go. X-plore includes some basic (but useful) features, like the ability to share files, view files with built-in file viewers, and select and manage multiple files at once.

You can also manage files from a web browser.

Download X-plore File Manager (Free) Google play rating: 4.6



In case you were jealous of your friends with iPhones who could send and receive iMessages from their Mac, well, you don't have to be jealous if you have this app. Among many other things, AirDroid enables you to send and receive SMS (text) messages from your computer. In my experience, though, MMS (picture) messages did not show up in the web interface. But that's just a minor little nitpick.

Most of the action on AirDroid happens on an Internet browser. The interface is pictured above. It works via Wi-Fi, no cables necessary. I have my phone and computer working together on a LAN connection.

There's actually quite a bit you can do from your browser, apart from the SMS/text message thing. You can preview and change your phone's ringtone. You can preview and download themes. And, oh yeah, you can manage files on your Android device as well. You can transfer those files between your computer and your Android device. In the case of photos, you can view them on your computer before doing anything else with them.

There is some functionality within the app itself (on the Android device). You can delete, copy, and share files on the app (no connection with your computer required).

You can also choose to enable a phone locating feature.

Download AirDroid (Free) Google Play rating: 4.6

ASTRO File Manager with Cloud


ASTRO makes sure you can back up and access files you have on your Android device with tight integration with services like Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, SkyDrive, and even Facebook (although the Facebook integration is likely more for photos than anything else). You can also move files from one cloud service to another.

In addition to tight cloud integration, ASTRO offers broad indexing capabilities. If you search for a file on your phone, it will also pull in results from cloud services you've linked to the file manager. You can also search for files based on file size and name.

One other neat little thing: ASTRO has a built-in task killer.

Download ASTRO File Manager with Cloud (Free) Google Play rating: 4.3

Your pick

Well, now that we've had our say, what say ye? Do you like using some of the aforementioned file managers? Do you think some others are worthy of mention? What are you using now? Will you try out a different file manager?


Reader comments

The best file managers for Android


I use to use it, best looking in my opinion.. unfortunately it crashes everytime I open it after I updated my One M7 to Sense 6.0 :(

*Update* just uninstalled and reinstalled after writing this and it works!

Yeah, this is the problem with Sliding Explorer. It looks pretty at first, but certain things can be a little janky and occasionally there is a serious bug. I stopped using it when it had trouble unzipping a couple things once. I came back recently, but one day a couple weeks ago I tried to open the app and it just force closed. Apparently an update caused that. After clearing app data it worked again, but it's just not as solid as I would like. I'll probably go back to Root Explorer. Even though it's somewhat ugly compared to Sliding Explorer, I don't remember ever having an issue with Root Explorer since like 2010 when I first bought it.

Uh... Idk if you just didn't see the other comments, or just felt like being a prick, but she clearly isn't...

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I tried it.. It's the best looking file Explorer but looks aren't everything. Doesn't come close to ES in functionality.

+1 I've tried almost all of these options and I just love Solid Explorer the best. Lots of functionality and great looking too.

I have used Root Explorer since my first smart phone (Jan 2011) as it was recommended by pretty much everyone once you rooted your phone. There sure are a lot of options now. It is hard to switch though when you are comfortable with one, know how it works and it does everything you want.

Me to root explore is all I need, been on it since original Droid

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Root Explorer on rooted devices and Explorer on non-rooted.

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Same here, Root Explorer was my first ever Android app purchase, and it's the first app I put on any new Android device. Some of the other file managers look nice, and I've tried some on occasion, but Root Explorer continues to do everything I need, so I see no reason to switch.

I use FX File Explorer. I've tried Astro and Explorer but I always go back to FX File Explorer

Yep me too. I tried them all a long time ago. FX was much better throughout the interface, and for easy ssh/sftp network connections? Nothing else is even close. It was the first paid app (the FX add-on) I insisted that my wife buy when she got her first smart phone. And that is how she can easily access all her files (several TBs, without paying any cloud service fees) whenever she is travelling or just out of the house. FX has improved over that time, I don't know about the others, because I no longer have any reason to try them anymore.

Ya'll talkin' about this one: ?

Yeah it's the best. I loved Astro back in the day before it morphed into something out of Barbie's world. Then tried Solid Explorer for a while but the UI just wasn't smooth enough as a daily driver. I also tried ES File Explorer but finally (being a use of the undisputed task manager, System Panel Pro) I decided a month ago to buy FX File Explorer add-on and loved the full capability of the app.

Same here, FX file explorer + blows away the competition, Its simple, clean, completely lacking in bloat and its integrated cloud means you don't need other cloud apps on your phone. Its inbuilt wifi networking makes it well worth the money of the add-on. It also has a root plugin too.

Can't believe you guys didn't review it!

IMHO The others don't come close.

Wow. I read the comments on here about FX and I just downloaded it. So far its blown the others out of the water. To think a file manager could be that beautiful! Go FX!

Yeah, I own Root and Solid and used them both for periods of time until I stumbled upon FX. I think it is hands down the best when it comes to functionality and once it transitioned to Holo style a while back it was no contest. The new betas have it looking and functioning on an even higher level. Not to mention the latest one added icon pack support, and the dev released a pack already with a multitude of different colored folder icons. I can't wait until there is some more support for this feature, but putting it aside I just don't think another file manager comes close as of right now. Surprised more people aren't using it to be honest. I think if someone used it for a day they would be instantly converted, it is just that good.

I could not believe FX (with add-on) was not included, but nobody is perfect. ;-)
It is not just because of the sweet spot of features (just what a regular power user needs, not too much either) but also because of the good taste. This guy knows how to design a nice, clean and usable interface.

Oh, I know. The winky face in your post was a great indicator. :)

I seriously do get to learn a lot from awesome readers like you, though. Thank you for reading and adding your voice to the discussion! That's how we all learn!

+1 I've used a few different ones, but FX knocks it out of the park. Best looking and the functionality/usability is unbeatable!

Sent from my s-off'd, unlocked and rooted BAMF M8 with the viper venom.

+1 for fx (and websharing too): beautiful ui, simple to use, and love the swipe icons to select feature

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I agree to disagree, therefore I am right. If do not agree with me then we are in agreement. Therefore you are wrong. ASTRO ftw!

Nexus 4 - CM10.1.3

+1. With LAN browsing, SFTP, SMB, dropbox, google drive, SD card manager, and all the rest baked in, ES is the only way to go.

Yep... been using this for a while now, great file explorer... however, this article has me interested in checking out AirDroid. And the comments so far have me interested in checking out FX... hmmm, since they're free, I guess I'll have to try both! :-D

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AirDroid is pretty cool. I have it paired up with the media center at home, so I can reply to text messages and manage my files on the 60" TV while sitting on my couch )

Root Explorer, hands down the best, been using it since Froyo, nothing else meets my needs or expectation like RE!

i've tried others and they just don't do what i need the way RE does, just one man's opinion.

I've used Astro since my OG Droid days. I eventually got into rooting and modding, and got Root Explorer for those times I needed a bit more access. However, at some point, Astro went through a major design change, and I found myself using Root Explorer for basic tasks rather than figure out how to to do what I wanted to do in the new Astro. I still have both, but Root Explorer is definitely my go-to file manager nowadays.

I'm glad this editorial was released as i have a question as it relates to file managers. I've heard about last friday I picked up a lg volt on boost mobile, great phone. My previous kit kat experience was with a rooted Samsung Galxy S3 running cm11 and a moto g with no sd card slot. I have a 16 gb sd card and like to keep music on my sd card. I downloaded a album this weekend only to find ES File Manager (which is my personal choice) would let me move it from internal to external storage. Is this the kitkatt sd card issue ive been hearing about. It looks like it is based on my research. so we can only keep pics and vids on sd card on kitkatt. I find myself wondering whats the point of a sd card. Can i still move docs to the sd card using a pc? I thought I had a bad phone because the galaxy s3 was rooted and cm11 has a workaround and the moto g didnt have a sd card slot to move files to. I posted this here as there is no LG Volt forum on this site. just want to confirm im not crazy.

Careful, or the powers that be will refer you to the "kit kat is good for you" article. I for one, like sd cards to behave the old way, call me crazy.

Because i cant move files from internal to external storage. im asking is this thenew kitkatt sd card issue ive been hearing about? and can i still move files (like music) from internal to external storage using a pc?

Yes it is its crazy that you can't move your own stuff to the SD card on your PC you can do it manually by dragging files but I store movies on my phone for on a flight or train

Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 or Samsung galaxy S5

So you're saying I CAN still transfer files from internal to external using a computer. Using the click and drag method

Posted via Android Central App

Yes, you can. And you can still do so using any app with "System" level privileges (meaning, an app that you didn't download).

The changes to Kit Kat prevent apps from writing anywhere on the SD Card with the exception of a single, app-specific folder for each app.

If you're rooted, however, it's very easy to remove the restriction:

Tomi File Manager is my current favorite, although I also like File Manager by "" referenced above. Both are really clean UI and easy to use.

Tomi is nice, I started using it a few weeks ago.

I'm the kind of guy who stops a microwave at one second to feel like a bomb defuser.

I mostly use the stock file manager, but when I need a different one, I use ES.

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by Tacit Dynamics

file and cloud storage browser not to mention the awesome sync options available. the paid app is well worth it.

I'd avoid ES File Explorer these days. While it used to be my favorite, I've noticed that it's become overly bloated, and now starts several services that run regardless of user settings. For example, "ES Remote Service" is installed and left running (with wake locks!!) regardless of if a user enables this new "remote" ability or not.

I want a simple file explorer, not MS Windows.

I had the same problem (prompting me to uninstall ES, and go with Astro) but I saw that they updated it, and sure enough, they did actually fix the constantly running ES remote service in the last update. Also make sure you have 'Settings>Backup Settings>Enable Remote Synchronize' disabled. I don't know if it has anything to do with it, but it seems likely.
So, in the end, went back to ES, issues are fixed. Happy to be back.

I agree, "FX" is the best I cannot believe they did not include it on the list. I always try new ones that come out on these type of lists but end up going back to FX every time.

Shit, the stock file manager on my LG G2 is just as good as all those others.

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Have used most of them, as well as Total Commander and found that Root Explorer meets my needs. Has the dual panel (or multiple panel, for that matter) capability that Solid Explorer (second best IMO) has. Solid Explorer also has a Chromecast plugin which is a bonus. Astro and ES are too "graphic" --- I just want a simple folder listing --- it's a small screen.

Thanks to KitKat I have no use for them as much as they used too I just move torrented movies with them to other folders

Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 or Samsung galaxy S5

For some reason, I still prefer "Total Commander".
It hasn't been updated for a long time, but I still prefer it over others.

Wow, I was looking for a file manager and all of different opinions makes it harder to decide

Posted via Android Central App

Been searching for an explorer to use with my home server. Is there anything out there with simple drag/drop or move functionality for remote connections using ssh key pairs? I've tried FX, but for some reason, it tries to download files and upload them to a new location rather than actually moving them on the server.

That depends on the server. I can do that with FX. But my servers are running ssh servers, not just an ftp server (and FX connects as an ssh client).

Ssh (secure shell) is a full shell. It can do much more than an ftp server... like start running applications on the server, install new software on the server, etc etc. An ssh *connection* allows you to do anything that you could do if you were sitting at the sever's keyboard. Although much of that extra capability of an ssh connection isn't going to be used by a file explorer application, because it's just a file explorer.

One extra thing the added capabilities of ssh connection will do with a file manager, is allow you to move files around on the server, just like you would like it to. :)

Sorry, I did no notice that you asked about ssh key pairs (tl;dr). And Android central won't let me edit my useless post. he he he

Yes, FX does use pub/private key pair authentication. You will need to generate a key though (FX won't generate a key, and send it to the server to be stored as an authorized client). I think I used SSHDroid (paid version), or ConnectBot(ssh-agent-patch) to do that. I forget which one I used to create a key pair and get it to the server. I've got so many ssh apps on my phone... it's hard to remember what I used to do what years ago.

But once that is done... disable password authentication on the server.

Then, in the options of FX, for the network connection you can select: No password required (under password/passphrase). Then under the Advanced Options you select: Use Public Key Authentication. Then select the key file under: Private Key File. And then you can select an alternate port (besides 22) if you've set up the server to run on something besides the default.

I have no problem connecting to my server using key pairs. The problem arises when trying to move files around on the server. If I move / cut/paste a large file from one directory to another, FX attempts to download the entire file to the mobile device so it can upload it to the new location. Not ideal.

Solid Explorer! Some things it does not mentioned is connect to FTP, SFTP, SMB and just about any major cloud service. There are also built in viewer apps that can open text files and photos. You can create files such as the .nomedia files to keep the gallery from picking up a directory and displaying it (though it seems Android now tends to ignore this lately it seems). It has a great properties section that can show you a ton of information about a directory or file. If you have a Samsung phone with the muti-window bar it shows up there, though I'm not sure what you could used that for unless you want to keep on watching YouTube videos while you do some mad file organization. I love it and is always the first app I reload to any phone when I'm setting it up.

Root Explorer! I've used it since I first rooted my Captivate way back when. There's many file managers with a prettier UI but RE does everything I need and more. For me it's simply the best. YMMV

From my LG G2 via the DeathStar

because there are so many good third party ones? Why reinvent the wheel?

if this was Apple, they'd Sherlock the opposition - google for "Apple Sherlocking".

I've been using ES, I basically only use it to transfer music over SMB from my NAS when I feel like switching out which albums I'm storing on my phone. Works great for that.

Total commander, i moved from solid explorer to this and haven't looked back. no bells ans whistles, but it does on device very very well.

Not one of these comes close to the default file manager offered by Samsung. It has the best font, color and it automatically arranges the recently used/modified/opened folder/file as the first and so on. It also doesnt overwhelm you with crappy icons on action bar.
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I've been using Tomi File Manager. It does what I need it to and it looks pretty decent.

I'm the kind of guy who stops a microwave at one second to feel like a bomb defuser.

Who cares? They're all useless under KitKat. (at least on my GS5 from Verizon, which can't be rooted yet)

I HATE KitKat. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.

I care. Now, go vote one day and remember that you're not even actually voting for a president but hoping you can sway your electoral college.

I updated my Xperia Z Ultra to KitKat after holding off for some time, until I was sure I could easily root it and fix the memory card issue.

I refuse to use file manager that require purchase license because I need to be able to add them into roms for flashing.

android central app

File Manager is my favorite. It's that one that is right at the top of that picture of the search results. Never had any problems with it and always has anything I want to do with it possible. It has a free Root Explorer inside of it and it's completely free as well. I'm not sure if it's ad supported because I have gotten good at ignoring that portion of my screen on all apps, but I can for sure say that it has not crappy full page ads that require you to sit through something you already have or don't want.

I used to keep ES File Manager and Astro on my devices. ES did a better job connecting to my work network via a VPN, so I stuck with it.

Might also want to put up here that es file explorer has many features already built in that are addons on most other file managers. Like ftp and LAN, coud service support like box/dropbox/drive, and is also a root explorer. Not to mention its built in html viewer/editor, gif/picture viewer, and zip/rar extractor.

It might not be as "purty" as some of the others, but it is very rich in features all for the price of FREE.

They failed to mention that ES File Explorer has all the features that Root Explorer's got. You can grant it root permissions and manage user and system apps, get rid of bloat, use cloud drives... And it's free :)

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Yes it would

I'm the kind of guy who stops a microwave at one second to feel like a bomb defuser.

The best file manager I have come across is simply called "File Manager". It has a great user interface and not a whole lot of crazy function, but it works. It's a simple file manager with some more advanced features, but not a ton, and it is very fast and glitch free.

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Root Explorer since October 2009. I have tried the rest, but always go back to the best.

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I've owned my Android phone a little over a year now and the File Manager of choice for me is ES File Explorer. I first started using it because it was the only one (at the time) that I was able to find that allowed me to access and copy files from my desktop via WiFi.

There is a slight learning curve with it... but once you get the hang of it... it becomes very easy to use. and even though it's a free app there aren't any annoying ads in it.

My only real complaint... isn't really so-much about the app itself.. but with Google. With Android 4.4, Google restricted the ability of apps not preinstalled onto your device from copying or deleting files on your SD Card. As a result I can no longer wirelessly copy files onto my card...

I want one which can show you big preview of videos and photos so it's easy to delete what you don't want so guys help me out

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ES File Explorer is better than anything else out there. Quite honestly, the review doesn't detail that it has Root functions and is much better than the beloved Root Explorer! + It's FREE!

I used to swear by Astro for years, until I found ESE

ES explorer is the best and I have been using it forever. One extremely overlooked feature is that it can edit plain text files which is a simple yet extremely hard to find in an app. Also the networking features and interface are my favorite.

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Sliding Explorer gets my vote though if you need insane amounts of features ES is the go to!

Yes ES for me. Full featured, root access, and free.
When I need a graphical display of the file structure I used Disk Usage. It's really not all file manager as it can only delete files and open files. But sometimes I want a graphical view of the folder tree. It's great for finding big files/folders because it sorts folders by size.
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I'm amazed you did not mention Total Commander.
By far the best file manager for android - simple, clean and does everything needed

After reading informative comments I gave FX a try. Very good file manager. With among others also translucent wallpaper background together with (Root) Explorer perhaps the most beautiful of the file managers.
However concerning user friendlyness not close as good as Solid Explorer. For instance once used to two panel mode (in portrait by swiping), file managers without that are not an option anymore. The implementation of more panels via tabs such as FX not even half as good. And Solid although moret traditional i(n dark mode in my case) equals FX and Root E. concerning good looks
ES I have installed as reserve go to. Not a beauty, but theming it helps Has everything powerusers need and is good to have ready for action.I advise that to people who refuse to pay a few bugs for apps and don't mind missing a greater mobile OS experience.
Basicly every file manager without root, network, cloud, ect. as features are useless. Can't believe some of the commenters in this topic using vey limited file managers. Such as those comimg from OEM's or custom roms and Sliding Expl.Total Comm and Xplore good but ugly and not most user friendly. File Manager HD now also dual panel is also nice. And don't forget to install app Samba Filesharing to connect to your Android device via smb
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why can't google create their own file explorer? That's my question

google always tout android as open and very customize, and yet, no file xplorer

Are you insane? Where else such a great choice of file managers first. (iOS none, WP 8.1 one since few weeks). Second I wish Google would keep their apps out of Android and let people install them themselves via Play as battery and resources friendlier USER-APPS
With 80% of Google's apps disabled and the rest Greenified on all my 3 Android devices I have at very very very least 25-30% (hours!!!)more active screen on time. Also idle way more battery life. Just tested recently without active Greenify and enabling G-apps a few days. And most of Google's apps have better alternatives. And when their apps are good they are sssoooo blinding white causing me headaches.
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