One of the best parts about using Android is the ability to quickly and easily navigate through your device’s file system. But which file manager app should you use? Google’s Files comes as part of stock Android, many manufacturers add their own file manager apps, and there are a ton of third-party options.
Let’s take a look at some of the best file explorer apps for your Android device.
1. X-plore File Manager
X-plore File Manager might have the look of an early 1990s Windows program, but it’s hands-down one of the best Android file explorers available.
You won’t find any of Google’s Material Design philosophy on show; X-plore puts functionality firmly at the top of its agenda. Its core feature is the dual-pane view. By splitting the screen in two and putting a file tree on each side, you can easily copy files between folders on your device.
2. Files by Google
Files is Google’s native Android file explorer. It has three core features: browsing files, cleaning junk and old files, and letting you share encrypted files and folders with nearby people without an internet connection.Advertisement
The file management part of the app is not as feature-rich as others—you can’t dig down into root files, for example. Instead, the app is designed with ease-of-use in mind. Your content is divided into six categories (Downloads, Images, Videos, Audio, Documents, and Apps) regardless of where it’s stored on your phone. At the bottom, you’ll also see a link that allows you to explore your phone’s file hierarchy.
Files also benefits from its close integration with the Android operating system. It powers some of the app and storage management features in the Settings menu.
3. FX File Explorer
FX File Explorer is one of the best file managers for Android if you’re a privacy fanatic. It’s completely free of ads, tracking, and data collection. The app requests various security permissions after installation, but these are optional and support some extra features—the app will still function without them.
Although the app comes complete with external media and root capabilities, you need to pay extra if you want network (FTP, SFTP, SMB, WebDAV) and cloud (Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Box, SugarSync) capabilities. Even the root explorer requires an (albeit free) add-on.
FX File Explorer also has powerful file-sharing options. You can share over a Wi-Fi network or by using the company’s FX Connect app. The Connect app works over Wi-Fi Direct; you won’t need to use a wireless access point.
4. ASTRO File Manager
ASTRO File Manager has expanded beyond its original purpose. Today, it is more than a file explorer—the app also includes a storage cleaner, storage manager, and backup tool.
You should beware when using storage cleaners; many offer very little practical benefit and could even harm your device. Check our list of storage cleaners that actually work to make sure you’re not wasting your time. 5 Android Apps That Really Clean Up Your Device (No Placebos!)These phone cleaner apps for Android help you clear out junk files taking up space on your device.Read More
Otherwise, the app’s interface is clear and intuitive. Navigating between internal memory, external memory, and other content such as podcasts, ringtones, and downloads is fast and easy. Features of the app include Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive synchronization, easy social media cache management, and the ability to access other locations on the same network.
Aside from file management, the process management and microSD card features are particularly useful. They help to give ASTRO a clear edge over some of its more straightforward rivals.
5. Total Commander
Total Commander will no doubt be familiar to a lot of desktop users—the app has been a popular third-party file explorer for Windows since its initial release way back in 1993 (it was formerly called Windows Commander). The 7 Best Windows File Explorer Alternatives and ReplacementsWindows File Explorer isn’t a great file manager for Windows. This article lists the best Windows File Explorer alternatives.Read More
The app has a nice range of navigation tools beyond the typical cut, copy, and paste. For example, it can support bookmarks and file packaging, and has the ability to add customized buttons to the toolbar so you can fine-tune it to your own needs.
Features include the ability to copy and move whole subdirectories, a built-in text editor, a way to send files via Bluetooth, support for ZIP files, and plugins for FTP/SFTP clients, WebDAV, and LAN access.