4 Android File Manager Alternatives (That Are Better Than the Default App)

Cx File Manager.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

The default Android file manager is a handy app. It does what you need and not much else. Also, like all built-in Android apps, it works well with the operating system and has a consistent look and feel.

My problem with the default file manager is that it doesn’t have all the features I need. In particular, I often need to move files between devices on my network to shared folders. Since the default Android file manager doesn’t offer this feature, I turn to alternatives that include an SMB option for network file transfer.

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While this capability may not be a feature you need, you may want to consider one of the following file managers. Each offers more features than you’re used to.

With that said, let’s get to the apps.

1. Solid Explorer

Solid Explorer is one of the most popular file managers on the Google Play Store, with over 10 million downloads. Although this app doesn’t offer shared network connectivity, it does allow you to run a simple FTP server from your Android device that you can connect to from remote devices.

What makes Solid Explorer stand out is the user interface. In addition to being well designed, it offers a lot of flexibility. Take display modes for example. You can view files/folders by list, grid, gallery or compact. You can also sort by name, date, size and type. Even better, you can apply view mode and filters by folder.

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You will also find folder options to show hidden files, show folders first, remember last folder, show folder size and show sections. There’s a sidebar, where you can access collections (like recent files, photos, music, videos, and more). In other words, Solid Explorer is as well thought out as a file manager can be.

Solid Explorer has a free and paid version (with a 15-day free trial for the premium plan). The full version ($5.99) removes ads, lets you install the app on unlimited devices, and includes cloud functionality and file encryption.

Solid Explorer.

Solid Explorer has an outstanding user interface that perfectly matches the style of Android.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

2. File Manager Plus

I use File Manager Plus because it includes a network sharing option that works like a charm. All I have to do is enter the IP address, username and password for the share and I’m good to go. I can even add as many network shares as I need.

File Manager Plus also includes a handy file analysis tool that analyzes your storage to give you a breakdown of what’s taking up the most space. This app allows you to view by list, grid, compact gallery, small gallery and large gallery. The app also features powerful file/folder sorting (by name, size, date and type, each ascending or descending), which lets you apply options to a single folder or globally, and can show hidden folders.

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While the user interface feels a bit dated in File Manager Plus, the features make it an excellent choice, especially if you need to connect to remote shares on your network.

There is a free version that includes ads, but you can upgrade to the Premium edition for an annual subscription of $2.49 or a one-time fee of $8.99. The Premium version removes ads and adds a dark theme.

File Manager Plus.

File Manager Plus feels a little outdated, but it has all the features you need.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. File manager

File Manager offers a great user interface that perfectly matches the Android aesthetic, but it’s not just a pretty face – this app packs a lot of features that will help you move past the boring default. You’ll find favorites, the cloud, the local network, the ability to manage on your computer, a cleaner, a recycle bin, a built-in sharing tool, and more.

The PC manager feature turns your file manager into an FTP server, which requires an FTP client on your PC, such as FileZilla. The only problem with the FTP part of the app is that there is no way to set a username/password, which makes connecting difficult. Fortunately, the network share option allows you to connect to network SMB shares. Another nice feature is Secure Folder, which will let you protect your files in a password-protected folder.

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File Manager is free to use (with ads) or you can remove ads (and add file analysis and wallpapers) for a one-time fee of $3.99.

File manager.

File Manager is a beautiful application with many features to make it a worthy candidate to replace the default application.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

4. Cx File Explorer

Cx File Explorer offers all the features you need in a file manager and more, but one thing elevates this app above much of the competition. In addition to allowing you to connect to remote machines on your LAN, the app also includes integration with cloud services, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Box. In terms of remote connection options, you can use SMB, FTP, SFTP, and WebDAV.

You have the makings of one of the best file managers on the market when you combine the above features with local storage management, libraries (for images, audio, video, documents and new files), storage analyzer, memory cleaner cau, automatic USB. connection detection, built-in applications (music player, video player, image viewer and text editor) and removal of duplicate files/downloads.

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Cx File Explorer is free to use, has no ads and no premium version.

Cx File Manager.

Cx File Manager might be the best of the bunch.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

If you’re not happy with the features or behavior of the default Android file manager, one of the apps above will certainly fit the bill.

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