One of Android’s downsides compared to desktop operating systems is its apparent lack of options to dive deep into the operating system and manually manage your files. While a rootless Android operating system doesn’t offer many of these options by default, there are plenty of great file manager apps out there that will give you the granular control you want.
Whether you want to explore your phone’s root directory, encrypt apps, or just manually move, create, and delete folders on your device, these file manager apps will meet your needs.
1. Amaze File Manager
Any free and open source Android app gets instant bonus points in our books. Amaze File Manager follows that up by providing a file manager that may be less feature-rich than some of the other options on this list, but makes up for it in a simplicity that lets you quickly browse through what you need.
That’s not to say that this simple file manager is completely lacking in features. You can use multiple tabs, switch themes, and quickly do all the usual copy, cut, compress, and extract operations you want from a file manager. Rooted users can also get root access of course, and – crucially – it’s both free and ad-free.
As is often the case with open source applications, there are a few bugs and glitches to fix here and there, but that’s part of the lot. We hope that it will receive another update soon, as it’s been a while in October 2020.
2. Strong explorer
One of the best things about Solid explorer is its dual pane design, which makes browsing all your Android files quickly and easily. It places special emphasis on security, allowing you to encrypt all files and folders with a password, which you can then open with a fingerprint sensor.
The two-panel design essentially creates two separate windows in Solid Explorer, allowing you to drag and drop files and folders between them, just like you would in a desktop operating system. There is a lot of customization in terms of colors and themes. Even more features are unlocked on a rooted device, where you can use it as a suitable root explorer.
The catch is, Solid Explorer is a paid app, but you can try it for free for 14 days before deciding if it’s for you.
One of the best kept secret file manager for Android, MiXplorer has long been a favorite in the XDA community, allowing you to not only explore files on your device, but also across your entire home network (including FTP, LAN, and cloud storage). It comes with a lot of customization, allows robust tabbed browsing, and lets you create command strings using the “Tasks” feature.
You can easily view different file formats with a built-in player that reads EPub, MobiPacket and PDF formats, as well as a full media player, image viewer and text editor.
You don’t need a rooted device to use MiXplorer, but if you do, then even more features will open up in the form of data backup and additional management options. It’s ad-free, completely free, and backed by really in-the-know people.
4. ES File Explorer
ES File Explorer is one of the oldest and most trusted file explorers on this list. He would actually be number one if only he were ad-free. It’s understandable, however, that for all the time and effort the developers put into it, they deserve a financial refund for their problems.
The catch is that ES File Explorer was removed from the Play Store in April 2019, possibly due to the fraudulent activities of one of the subdivisions of the company, DO Global. To use it today, you will need to download it from a site such as rootexplorer-apk.net
ES File Manager always comes with its niche gestures feature where you can record certain gestures which will perform functions in the app. It also allows you to save shortcuts to folders and files on your home screen, making it almost entirely desktop. It comes with built-in players and players for different types of files, so you can watch videos and play music right from it. There is also a task manager where you can delete tasks and free up memory on your device.
It supports rar and zip compression / decompression and even comes with its own note editor. Supporting cloud storage, bluetooth file browsing, remote file access, wireless PC file transfer, SD card analyst and a host of other features, this is the Swiss Army Knife of an application. It is also thematic. Some may be put off by the fact that it’s bloated with its features, ads, and material design, but if you’re looking for a jack of all trades, this is your best bet.
5. Astro file manager
The first thing you see when you keep going Astro File Manager The Google Play page is “No Ads”. This banner crosses its icon like a corporate motto. For anyone looking for a great ad-free file browser, look no further. Besides helping you organize your files through its file manager, it comes with a handy memory cleaner.
It allows you to compress and decompress files in rar and zip formats. You can also add settings, files and folders to your favorites. It comes with its own media player that lets you play videos and music, smoothly browse your image collection, and manage both your cloud and internal storage.
6. X-Plore File Manager
It’s time to bring the shutter – two-pronged that is. What is unique X-Plore does it give you the option to manage windows at the same time by providing you with a dual pane explorer so that you can copy files and compare two folders. In addition to all this, it allows you to see inside APK files and compress folders in APK packages.
It has a disk map that lets you see which files are consuming the most disk space and comes with its own PDF viewer. You can wirelessly manage your files from a PC web browser. It comes with access to cloud storage and a video player that allows subtitles. This is all just the tip of the iceberg.
7. Total Commander
The classic, the original and my favorite, Total File Commander comes with a simple yet powerful user interface. A few people might think of it as anachronistic and a bit straightforward, but it’s as good as its Windows counterpart and gets the job done.
It is completely pluggable, which means that you can add more functionality to it using plugins. It has a media player which can stream directly from LAN, WebDAV and cloud plugins, and you can add bookmarks and save folders as shortcuts. For those with rooted devices, it has a capable root explorer.
Now that you have chosen the Android file manager of your dreams (or at least needs), follow our guide on how to remove leftover files and folders after uninstalling Android apps. Or for something a little lighter, check out the best Android screen recording apps.