6 of the Best Alternatives to ES File Explorer

Es File Manager Alternative Featured

For many years ES File Explorer was widely recognized as the king of file manager apps for Android. It had everything one could ever want in a file explorer, and it worked really well.

Recently though, developers have added some intrusive features and a half-baked material UI to the app which seems to have bloated up the app and ruined the experience for many users.

Fortunately, there are several other file manager apps for Android that are a good alternative to ES File Explorer. We’ll be sharing some worthy alternatives below in no particular order:

1. Astro File Explorer

In something of a mini-miracle, Astro File Explorer is a free app that – would you believe – is not supported by ads. Beyond that it’s an excellent package, giving you plenty of flexibility in terms of how you view your files (image thumbnails or full file details, for example).


Astro lets you copy, move and delete files as you’d expect, but one of its bonus features is the option to compress your files into the Zip and RAR formats. It makes it easy for you to backup individual files to external storage or the cloud, and has excellent abilities to sort your files by all kinds of variables.

Oh, and did we mention it’s free and without ads? Quite possibly, but it bears repeating…

2. Amaze File Manager

Amaze is a free and open source file manager app that is very well designed and easy to use. You get the option to display your files and folders in list or grid view, and there is support for basic operations such as copy and paste, compressing to and extracting from zip files, and moving or deleting.


Swiping from the left-hand side shows you a navigation drawer with options to view all your images, videos, audio files and apk files. There are other useful features such as SMB (Windows) file sharing, root explorer, an app manager which allows you to back up or uninstall apps and multiple tab support so you can quickly navigate through two directories.

The best thing about this app is that it’s completely free with no in-app purchases or annoying adverts, and you can contribute to its development on Github if you wish to.

3. File Commander

File Commander is another popular app for Android with over fifty million installations, and it is made by the same team that developed OfficeSuite for Android (MobiSystems). It features a “Secure Mode” that allows you to hide and encrypt your files from other users and a “Storage Analyzer” that shows you exactly what is taking up all the space on your SD Card.


You can also access your cloud files such as those on Google Drive, Dropbox, Onedrive, Box, Suger Sync and Amazon Cloud Drive. All you need to do is sign in, and you’ll see all your remote files. You can easily upload, copy, move, delete or download from there. File Commander also comes with FTP/SFTP support and allows connecting with nearby devices via Bluetooth or WIFI Direct.

The basic app is free, but it comes with ads which could be really annoying. If you want extra features and no ads you can upgrade to the premium version via an in-app purchase.

4. Solid File Explorer

Solid File Explorer is probably the closest app to ES File Explorer in terms of its feature set, but it’s not completely free, although you can install and use it for free for fourteen days before you will have to purchase the unlocker for $1.99 via an in-app purchase to continue using the app.


The app comes with all the basic functions of any file manager as well as more advanced functions such as cloud accounts (Google Drive, Onedrive, Dropbox and more), Dual pane interface, Chromecast support, a built-in image viewer and music player, Archive support, and the ability to hide files nd folders.

Solid File Explorer is also very customizable with three themes and several color schemes, so you can tweak those to your taste. In fact, you can purchase and apply custom icon packs for the app if you wish, too. There is also a built-in security feature which allows you to protect your network locations with a password.

5. MK Explorer

MK Explorer sports almost the same look as Amaze and Cabinet, but it has its own set of features that distinguishes it from the other two apps. For one, it has a built-in gallery function that allows you to view your images within the app instead of redirecting you to your photos app.


It also has this very detailed properties view when you try to view the properties of a file or folder. It shows you the full path, size, last modified date, and file permissions which you can change from the same screen. In addition, it supports several keyboard shortcuts for those who use a physical keyboard for their device.

Bottom Line

What do you think of the recent additions to the ES File Explorer app? Have you already switched to a new file manager app? If so, what influenced your choice? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject, so please fire away in the comments section below.

This article was first published in Feb 2016, and was updated in December 2018.


  1. They seem all similar. Material design shouldn’t be the only key to pic’ a good app.

    Have a look at File Manager by Asus (4.7 stars on the Playstore) and MiXplorer (still in beta on XDA, but damn, it rocks!).



  2. Why is TotalCommander for Android not listed?

    It is as great as the PC / Desktop Version and it is free (as in free beer). It has Plugins for LAN/SMB, WebDav, SFTP and some Cloud Services, too.

    it can be downloaded via Play Store or as APK from Ghislers website

  3. I’ll third that for TotalCommander. How it didn’t get top pick I don’t know. Ayo mustn’t have research very thoroughly as it is every way as good as the Windows version. Too bad they don’t have a Mac OSX version as it would rock OSX.

    Get it!

    1. Thanks for letting me know about Total Commander. I’m not a big fan of the UI but I see it has some really cool functions.

      1. Well.The UI. If you follow the official Forum for a while it is either you love or hate it ;) (for the desktop Version)

        doesn’t count for the Android Version though! It’s easy and clear to use.

  4. IMO ES still beats any of these in terms of usability. Being fully based on MD does not make a file manager better, I never missed the side drawer from ES. MD is just that: a design approach (ok, maybe UX too, but UX in ES was always good, only not necessarily following Google’s standards).

    Curious though, what are the additions that make ES less useable as a file manager? (And by that I mean, those that cannot be simply ignored if not needed.) To me no new features are in the way, I can access all my files just the same easily. I say I don’t use some of the additions, but they are oit disturbing either. (Meaning, they did not change my “workflow”.)

    I do understand some might prefer a simpler approach, but ES was never simple, it’s always been a “full house” of features, so so such comparisn is not justified (again, IMO).

    In conclusion: ES is still unbeaten as the de king of all file managers. The king is dead. Long live the king. :P

    1. I also loved ES File explorer but they’ve added lots of rubbish recently like the cleaner feature that doesn’t even work well plus the ads are really intrusive and lots of other annoyances I can’t remember now. Maybe it doesn’t bother you but I (and several other users) hated the new UI and hence sought for alternatives.

      That said, if you’re happy with ES despite the changes, then that’s fine but you should at least try some of the ones I mentioned here like Solid File Explorer which I use and love or Total Commander as suggested by some of the comments.


      1. Yea, what I meant to point out is that in order to make a case, you could have detailed what features you did in fact find a dealbreaker in ES, at least a half paragraph mentioning them would give the article a little more context. Besides one of your points is the MD UI, which I think is great (I love MD), but not the answer to all UX questions. I think UX-wise ES still wins over many purely MD based FMs.

        I give you that the cleaner feature is pointless, and I dunno about ads, I block the hell out of them. ;) (My first two steps adter acquiring a new handset is rooting and applying an ad-blocker.)

        So you see, these two could have been valid points to make, right in the intro. ;)

        I did try those apps you mentioned, some are nice, but IMO they don’t compete for the same market ES does. That said, I used to love Total Commander fromy Vindoze days, I’ll sure give it a try now.

        (Disclaimer: I’m not trolling you here. I used to write for MTE too, just having a conversation in the same tongue in cheek style that got me fired.) :P

        1. I think the UX in ES File Explorer is now ruined for good. Have a look at the recent reviews on Google Play. I also found a few threads on XDA and Reddit discussing how terrible the app has become hence the idea for the article. So I don’t agree when you say ES has better UX than the apps on this list.

          I agree that some of the apps included cannot match ES File Explorer’s feature set but I find that lot of people just need the basic functions and for those power users Solid File Explorer should fit their needs just fine (I gladly paid for the app and I would gladly have done so for the older ES versions).

          Thanks for the feedback anyway, I will take note for subsequent articles.

      2. Ok Total Commander is good, but…

        – Asks for root rights right at the first start. I prefer an optional root explorer (i.e. it can be turned off)

        – List view is not very practical when you have a lot of folders/files to browse, I miss the grid.

        – The dark UI is ugly ;)


        – Two pane mode is really well implemented with the active pane enlarged. Big thumbs up.

        – Custom buttons with custom actions are a very nice festure too.

        All in all, this is a very different market again, but of those it is one of the better ones.

  5. What evidence do you have to make these claims? What intrusive features? How is it ruined? Who are these many users? You can`t just make these statements without explaining and backing them up with evidence. I use ES File Manager and yes the UI has changed somewhat but to state it`s ruined … that`s just not so in my opinion. It still provides me with great features, perhaps equally as good if not better than all your optional apps.

    1. If you look at the recent reviews on Google Play, you will see that a lot of people are dissatisfied with the recent changes. Also check these Reddit threads



      There are many more threads like this which I won’t bother to list here but you can see my claims are real. That said, I should probably have added a link or two in the article with some examples.

      Cheers for the comment!

      1. +Ayo Isaiah … thanks for reply. This additional information does indeed support your article premise to a great degree and I agree with you that it might have been better had a link or two been included initially.

  6. nice post, I’m installing Amaze. I haven’t had a problem with es but it is a pain being offered to get my phone cleaned and those temp files just come back. I do like the es downloader though.

  7. File Manager app will manage your files efficiently and easily http://www.thegreatapps.com/apps/file-manager And I’m using this app

  8. I used es file explorer, but I forgot my password so I called them to have it reset. They said they need to run a diagnostic. They they told me my I had virus on my computer. They refused to allow me to change my password. They wanted

    Email me for any questions of troubles you experience, we will make sure your up and running!

    Update my Kodi, and I forgot my password. I call

  9. Astro uses the US date format, mm/dd/yyyy, as default, and I cannot find any setting to change it to what we use in Europe, dd/mm/yyyy. This is quite confusing, as a file updated on 1 May looks as if it were updated on 5 January. I’ll try Total Commander instead. I’m no fan of material design anyway.

  10. I recently tried to analyze an app and even though I didn’t give it permissions ES File Explorer Analyzer said it had all 32 sensitive permissions. Then I did a general analyze and it said all my 97 apps had all the 32 sensitive permission.

    Anyone else bumped into this problem?

    Think I’ll go for Amaze now.

  11. ES file explorer is irreplaceable for me as well. This is a the the only app where I can navigate to folders, select multiple MP3 files and play. While it’s playing, I can further navigate to other folders and add more audio files to current playing queue. Samsung music player is close to this functionality but it shows only top level folders and not the actual folder hierarchy.

    I tried few file explorer and they can only play one file. The moment I got back to navigate to another folder, the current playing music stops.

    ES files explorer is a benchmark for user experience and usability of an app.

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