While many users can live their entire smartphone lives without ever needing to touch their phones file system, there are times when more advanced measures are needed. When you need to sideload an app or move a downloaded file, for example, you’re going to need a file manager. Here are our picks for the best that Android has to offer.
Before we get into that, however, let’s first talk about one that you won’t see on this list: ES File Explorer. For many, many years, when someone asked about the “best” file manager on Android, that answer was simple, and it was ES. In recent months, however, the developers took the app in a different direction—one not appreciated by its many users. They decided to riddle the application with ads, many of which can actually be perceived as malicious (fake virus warnings and the like), so we can no longer in good conscious recommend this app outside of very, very select situations .
But if you’re looking for a replacement for ES File Explorer, you’re in the right place.
The Best for Most Users: Solid Explorer
Solid Explorer has been around for a while now, and has gained quite a strong following. Development on the file manager is very active, which is always nice to see—it’s already chock-full of useful features, and the developers do an excellent job of keeping more coming (without making it feel like bloated).
There are two versions of Solid Explorer available in the Play Store: Solid Explorer File Manager and Solid Explorer File Manager Classic. The latter is essentially a legacy app that was left in place as some early adopters of the app preferred it to the newer redesign. Our recommendation is for the newer application, not the Classic version.
Like you’d expect from a file manager, Solid is easy to use and straightforward. It offers quick access to oft-used files—like photos, music, videos, and even apps—and even allows custom bookmarks to be set for specific locations. If you find yourself accessing the same locations repeatedly, this is a godsend.