Take Command of Your Files
A big difference between Android and iOS is that Android allows every user the freedom to access their device's file system. File transfers between a computer and smartphone or tablet are as simple as plugging in a USB cable and firing up your desktop file manager.
But what do you use when you need to manage your files on the go? Enter the Android file manager, a vital piece of software that, oddly enough, isn't even included as standard on some phones or tablets. Check out 20 of the best Android file managers you can download right now.
Files Go (Free)
Google's Files Go is less a files management app and more like an assistant that helps you make the most out of your phone's limited storage space by flagging rarely used apps, files, documents, and large folders. You can then delete or back up those extraneous items to the cloud. Files Go also comes with cache clearing, the ability to view files by category, local encrypted file sharing, and backup features that let you throw files to the cloud. A full file manager app would still be helpful if you want to be detailed about organizing your files, but for quick operations like clearing out junk or sharing files with friends, Files Go is a light, resource-friendly option.
MORE: How to Use Files Go
MiXplorer Silver ($4.79)
MiXplorer has been a strong file manager for ages now, but it's only recently popped up in the Google Play store in a premium version, MiXplorer Silver. This version bundles together MiXplorer with a number of premium add-ons such as the MiX archiver, tagger, and metadata editor. The app is a handy, full-featured file manager, with support for tabbed file browsing, a landscape layout with a dual pane mode, support for multiple archive formats including ZIP and RAR, a built-in media player and image viewer, and support for both cloud-based and networked storage devices. As a premium app, MiXplorer also comes free of ads and any attached bloatware, making it a neat option for Android users willing to spend a bit for an excellent file manager.
Astro Cloud & File Manager (Free)
ASTRO File Manager is another popular and powerful choice for Android file management. ASTRO includes both local and cloud storage management features in a single package, allowing you to organize your internal storage and SD card space, while also moving your files and media to and from cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and One Drive. A side drawer features convenient shortcuts such as network storage and cloud services, shortcuts to media files, and bookmarked locations. In addition to the file management features, ASTRO includes an app manager, a quick viewer of SD card space usage, and a task killer.
Solid Explorer ($1.99 after free trial)
Solid Explorer is an impressive Android file manager that brings the two-pane interface over to phones and tablets while also rigorously adhering to a clean Material design style. The two independent explorer panes, combined with drag-and-drop support makes copying and moving files from different locations a breeze, and you can even set a panel to browse popular cloud storage services, such as Drive, Dropbox and SkyDrive. Solid Explorer also includes support for archived files such as .ZIP, .TAR, and .RAR, an indexed search function, and root explorer mode for rooted users. In addition to its already impressive raft of features, Solid Explorer supports a wide variety of plugins that add new features like USB OTG support, an FTP server plugin, and more. Solid now also supports ChromeOS and Android TV, making it an excellent all-around option for those willing to spend a few bucks.
It's not really a full-on file manager but DiskUsage is still an excellent tool to help you organize your file system. Think of this app as an Android equivalent to the popular WinDirStat utility which provides an easily comprehensible graphical representation of your file and directory system and the space each file and folder takes up in your device's memory. The lets you quickly find out which files and folders are hogging up your disk space. The app works as a standalone tool for viewing and deleting folders, but can also integrate with more robust file explorers like Solid and OI.
File Commander (Free, in-app purchases)
Mobi System's File Commander is solid file manager with extra features and utilities as in-app purchases. Rather than opening in file and directory view, File Commander's home screen presents users with a series of automatically categorized "libraries" such as audio, video and documents, with buttons leading to your internal storage and mounted storage devices. File Commander also supports remote access, file sharing and cloud storage. Additional tools are available in-app purchases.
OI File Manager
OI File Manager is a free, open source file manager that might not have the visual flair of flashier apps. But its low-frills functionality is part of the charm. The app covers the broad basics for file management, from copy, cut and paste operations, to bookmarking folders for easy access and ZIP compression. The file manager also allows you to send files by email and functions as an extension for other apps when it comes to Open and Save file dialogs. It doesn't have a ton of other features that get in the way, so OI File Manager is a nice, minimalist change of pace.
Moto File Manager
The Moto File Manager app, which comes stock with Motorola's phones, can also be downloaded from the Play Store. It offers an easy-to-use experience that provides both the traditional folder navigation view as well as categorized views of pictures, audio, documents and other popular file types. It covers your file management basics such as cut, copy, and paste, as well as compress and extract ZIP files (with support for encrypted ZIP files). There are some neat features here like a one-tap transfer of all a phone's photos and other media files to an SD card, as well as a remote control feature for managing your phone files remotely from your desktop or laptop.
Folder Sync (Free)
FolderSync comes with your basic file management features, but really focuses on making sure that your frequently used files are in sync between your device and cloud storage options. Users can easily back up and sync their files from a variety of storage providers, such as Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox. The app also supports a variety of file transfer protocols and Tasker automation. While the file manager and sync features are free, an in-app version removes advertising and provides useful sync filters.
File Expert (Free)
GMobile's File Expert provides a multi-tab file explorer that allows users to easily switch between various storage locations, even on more compact phone screens where a two-pane explorer approach founders. Besides covering Android file management basics for moving and deleting files and folders, File Expert also includes network storage support for FTP, SMB, WebDAV, popular cloud storage services like Google Drive and Dropbox, and even your own synced-up personal cloud with the use of a desktop client. File Expert also includes a variety of premium features that you can unlock a la carte, or bundled, through in-app purchases.
Ghost Commander (Free)
Ghost Commander is a file management tool inspired by Total Commander that brings its own interpretation of the two-pane navigation system to Android devices. Of particular note is Ghost Commander's support for a variety of hotkeys based on phone hardware keys. These allow you to quickly access various functions with physical buttons. Additionally, the app includes FTP support, controls that can be configured for left-handed users, and root features. Plugins add extra features like cloud storage and WebDAV support.
File Manager (Free)
Maple Media's File Manager is another Android file explorer that's embraced the visual style of Google's Material Design, resulting in a solid all-around file manager for tablets and smartphones. The app comes with a clean single-pane view and side folder, with provisions for bookmarking folders and shortcuts for your movies, music, pictures, and screenshot folders as well as your downloads. Users can search, rename, copy, delete and share their files. The app also comes with a built-in media gallery and cloud storage support for services like Google Drive and OneDrive. An in-app purchase removes advertising, adds a music player and offers custom themes.
Amaze File Manager (Free)
Amaze File Manager is an open-source app that's jumped headfirst into the look and feel of Material Design, while covering the bases for a solid, all-around local file manager. Users can explore their file system in a grid or list view, with handy shortcuts in the side drawer for frequently used folders like movies, music, pictures and downloads. Users can bookmark folders, and view all media files loaded in their internal storage through handy shortcuts. The app supports FTP and SMB connections, while extra features include an App Manager, zip file support and a root explorer for rooted devices. Amaze doesn't include cloud storage integration, but for local storage management, it's definitely worth checking out.
Tetra Filer (Free)
Where other file managers throw in everything but the kitchen sink when it comes to features, Tetra Filer takes the opposite tack with a clean, minimalist file manager experience. The File Explorer pane can display files and folders in a compact, detailed or gallery view, and users can bookmark their frequently used folders for easy access. There's also a search feature (with wildcard support) to quickly find given files or folders. The focus is squarely on local storage management, so you won't find cloud storage integration here, but if all you need is a simple file manager for navigating your internal memory, Tetra Filer does the job nicely.
File Manager + (Free)
File Manager + is a nice smartphone file manager that comes with a raft of features and a quick-access style homescreen that puts important categories like media files, documents and downloads just a tap away, along with your internal storage. In addition to the file management features, File Manager+ includes cloud storage support for Dropbox, Drive, and OneDrive, as well as NAS and FTP. While the app does support bookmarks, the file explorer window feels a bit clunky without a quick access side drawer, resulting in a bit more fumbling to get back to your home screen or favorites.
Root Explorer ($3.99)
Speed Software's Root Explorer is a trusted name in the Android file management field. Intended primarily for users with superuser or "root" access to their devices, Root Explorer provides access to lower levels of the Android file management, including the app data folder. In addition, Root Explorer also covers file management basics, with some nice extras such as built in support for many archive file formats such as .ZIP, .TAR, and .RAR files, cloud storage management, app management, a text editor and SQL database viewer features.
Total Commander (Free)
Total Commander should be familiar to many desktop users as it's already a popular third-party file management tool for desktops. Now the developer has made the leap to Android, bringing Total Commander's distinctive two-pane browsing system to mobile users. This app makes copying, pasting and comparing files and folders particularly easy to handle. Root functions, multi-select, filename sorting, directory history, bookmarking and a light media player are among the extra features, while plugins for FTP and LAN support are available.
ASUS File Manager (Free)
ASUS's File Manager is intended primarily for its ZenPhone line of devices complete with the ZenUI look and feel, but it also makes a perfectly fine file manager for other devices as well. The homepage view puts automatic categories like images, documents, and videos within easy reach, with a more traditional file explorer view for more detailed drilling down. In addition to local storage, the ASUS file manager also supports cloud storage, Wi-Fi SMB, ZIP file support and more. Helpful extras include a Recycle Bin, a hidden cabinet for hidden files and a Storage Analyzer that can dissect your internal storage use as well as find and delete duplicate files.
X-plore File Manager (Free)
X-plore File Manager features a two-pane file explorer with buttons and features displayed in a dividing column in the middle of the screen. The interface makes comparing and moving files around easy, but X-plore's folder view acts like the Folder sidebar of Windows Explorer, expanding outward for an exploding view of your file system. Built-in media viewers, zip file creation and unpacking, as well as LAN and Web storage support are among the many additional features.
File Explorer (Free)
The rather unimaginatively named File Explorer or FX, offers a nice browsing interface that starts you out with a single window displaying bookmarks, files and additional resources. You can then open up new windows that can be viewed in split view style, à la Total Commander, while also including the ability to create even more windows, for a combination of multi-tab and two-pane interface styles. The app includes thumbnail viewing, a text editor, support for Wi-Fi SMB sharing, a Recycle Bin and an optional Root Explorer plugin.