The 12 Best Android File Managers Apps In 2022

People tend to get messy from time to time and an eventual cleanup is necessary. This unavoidable truth affects both our physical world and our digital selves. While cleaning isn't going to make most of us jump up and down with glee, it is a necessary part of life. While it's easy to tear into your closet and move things around, it isn't always so easy to do it in the digital world.

Having the correct tool to complete the job can be the difference between it being an activity of minimal effort or one that is hard work. Over time our devices tend to accumulate a lot of content. We stuff our devices with files and folders and things can become tough to find. This is where file managers excel. Before deep diving into the top 12 file managers for Android, we need to discuss what a file manager is.

What is a file manager?

A file manager is an application designed to help you manage all the files and folders on your device. While file managers can vary in design, layout, and functionality, they all tend to cover the basics of file management.

The basic functions of a file manager include the ability to copy, view, edit, delete, and move files or folders around your device. File managers are great if you need to copy a document to another folder, edit the name of a file, or delete an entire folder from your device.

Over the years, these applications have had more and more features added to them. While some file managers are more focused on the basics of file management, others include cloud integration, editors, and dual-pane views.

While there are a lot of file managers in the Google Play Store, let's check out the best that Android has to offer.

Root Explorer

Root Explorer was designed with the power user in mind. If you are someone who likes to root your device, then you will need a file manager capable of diving deep into the locked-off files of Android. If you are rooted, Root Explorer can get you to just about every file and folder on Android, including the data folder.

In addition to handling the basics, Root Explorer offers some nice-to-have features. It offers tabbed file browsing, Google Drive, and Dropbox integration. You can send files over Bluetooth, view APK files before opening them, and create and extract ZIP and RAR files.

Root Explorer doesn't have the nicest-looking user interface (UI) but it isn't complicated to use. It doesn't have the flash as some of the other file managers but the app is updated regularly. Root Explorer costs $4.99, which makes it tied for the most expensive app in this roundup.

Simple File Manager Pro

Simple File Manager Pro is developed by Simple Mobile Tools and costs $1.09 on Google Play. The UI is simple and was developed with ease of use in mind.

While there is a free version, the Pro version does enough to justify the additional cost. The Pro version gives you password protection, tabbed browsing, batch file renaming, printing, and USB and SD card handling.

The security of Simple File Manager Pro stood out to me. You can enable password protection for hidden items, deleting, or opening the entire app. You get the option of using a pattern, pin, or biometric lock to secure your files.

This app doesn't connect to the Internet. While that is great for your privacy, it also means that Simple File Manager Pro does not include cloud integration. If your device is rooted, it can't drill as far into Android as Root Explorer can.

Cx File Explorer

Cx File Explorer offers a clean and intuitive Material Designed UI. In addition to handling the required basic functions of a file manager with ease, you can compress, rename, extract, and share your files and folders. It can also access and manage your files located in the cloud.

Cx File Explorer allows you to connect to Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box to manage your files and folders in the cloud. You can also access your network-attached storage (NAS) files as well as shared storage by using FTP, FTPS, SFTP, and SMB.

A nice feature to have in a file manager is a storage analysis tool. Cx File Explorer allows you to scan your device to see the available space. You can then manage it from within the app itself.

Sometimes you want a relatively easy and simple experience. That is exactly what you get with this file manager. The app is free to download but is ad supported.

File Manager by InShot Inc.

InShot, known for its photo and video apps, has a great file manager as well. File Manager by InShot is another basic file manager with a clean UI, a simplistic design, and a lot of colors. File Manager utilizes what they refer to as XFolder to handle all your files on the device.

This file manager lets you scan your device looking for large and unused files. You can then choose to keep or remove those files. You can even remove unused apps within File Manager.

You can also scan SD cards and over USB for files. If you don't like wires, this app supports FTP so you can access your device from your PC. If you accidentally delete a file, it goes into a recycle bin. You can then restore the file, alleviating a potential headache.

File Manager by InShot provides an integrated music player, image viewer, video player, and file extractor so you can open these files within the app.

Amaze File Manager

Amaze File Manager is one of the more unique file managers on this list. This app is completely open source, is free to download, and has no ads. Team Amaze does suggest purchasing its cloud plugin if you would like to contribute to its cause.

While the app is based on Material Design, the UI doesn't offer anything unique. You can choose from multiple themes and it includes a navigation drawer for quick access. You can open, back up, or uninstall any app from within the app manager. Amaze File Manager is best for someone looking to do the basics of file management as its design is best suited for light file management.

In addition to the basic features, you can work on multiple tabs at the same time. You also get access to history and bookmarks. Team Amaze included a search feature, so finding files will not be a problem in Amaze File Explorer. They also included some additional features including a ZIP and RAR reader, as well as a text reader.

MiXplorer Silver

While MiXplorer hasn't been around as long as most of the other file managers on this list, it is jam-packed with features. At $4.99, MiXplorer Silver is tied with Root Explorer for the most expensive app on this list.

MiXplorer is very customizable, allowing you to modify skin colors, adjust the theme and change the icons. It has a well-thought-out design and is intuitive to use. You get a dual panel in landscape mode with unlimited tabbed browsing to easily move your files and folders around.

The developers packed in a font viewer, HTML viewer, and the ability to pack and unpack every standard you could think of. You can manage your cloud storage needs with access to 18 different providers. This includes Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. It even has built support for file encryption.

While the file manager is not free, there are several add-ons that are. The add-ons include codecs for the video player, a PDF viewer, a tag editor, an image utility, and an archiver.

FX File Explorer

FX File Explorer is a solid file manager that is free to download and has no ads, no analytics, and no tracking. It is supported through in-app purchases, which costs $2.99 per item. The Material Designed UI is responsive and simple to use.

FX File Explorer includes FX Connect which lets you transfer files from phone to phone with Wi-Fi Direct. It has multiple window support and a dual-view mode. The usage view mode lets you see the size of every folder and you browse through them.

The standard FX File Explorer includes a text editor, image viewer, media player, file extractor, and a shell script editor. You can expand this functionality with the optional FX+ add-on. This expands functionality to include cloud storage support, application management, permissions management, and file encryption.

Updates don't come promptly. At the time of writing, the app hasn't been updated in the last year. It doesn't take away from FX File Explorer's utility, but it is something to keep an eye on.

Files by Google

Files by Google is a free-to-download file manager and the default file manager for Google's Pixel devices. As a Google product, it naturally integrates with Google Drive, but Google does allow you to back up your files to other cloud services as well. 

Files by Google is a relatively basic but powerful file manager. The design is well-thought out and it's fast. At only 10MB, the app won't take up a lot of storage space. Being made by Google, you can be sure that there is no malware or bloatware in this app.

This file manager helps analyze your storage space and offers recommendations to free up some space. Files by Google will break down your files into their appropriate categories, so you can easily manage your files. It also has a search function to find that hard-to-find file.

If you need to share a file offline, you can send it to anyone nearby who also uses the Files app. Offline file sharing is secured with WPA2 encryption and operates at up to 480 Mbps. As the maker of Android, Google had to ensure they offered a good file manager and they did just that with Files by Google.

Astro File Manager

Astro File Manager has been around since 2009 and has been downloaded over 50 million times. Even more impressive is its 4.3 stars on Google Play and it doesn't serve up any in-app ads.

Astro File manager's simple interface lets you manage your internal, external, and cloud storage locations with ease. Cloud storage options include Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Yandex Cloud, and Box. The developer promises that expanded cloud integration is coming in a future update. You can sort and categorize files, and explore all your media from within the app. It will show you a list of recently downloaded files so you can move them to a different folder.

This app also includes a free storage cleaner. You can free your phone memory with recommendations for deleting files and folders. It also gives you the ability to transfer your files and folders to SD cards to further make space on the internal storage.

X-plore File Manager

X-plore File Manager is a free-to-download app that is supported with in-app purchases. In-app purchases range from a low cost of $1.70 an item to $17.00 an item. Although some of the more advanced features are locked behind a paywall, the app offers a lot without paying for anything.

You get a dual-pane view to quickly move your files and folders around. You get access to cloud storage locations including Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, and others. It has a built-in viewer for images, text, audio, and APK files. You can even send your files by Bluetooth or email.

Some nice-to-have features are paid items in X-plore File Manager. Paid features include SSH file transfer, a music player, Wi-Fi file sharing, file encryption, and the ability to manage your files from a PC web browser. It doesn't offer the cleanest UI but makes up for it with advanced functionality.

Total Commander

Total Commander is a powerful file manager that offers no ads. While the Play Store says it contains ads, the developer notes that it only says that because they link to their plugins within the app. The layout of this file manager is clean and offers a no-frills experience. The file manager and its plugins are free to download.

In addition to handling basic file management, you can drag and drop files and entire directories. It comes with a built-in text editor, a two-panel mode, and a media player. Plugins can expand functionality by letting you access cloud files, view installed apps, enabling FTP and SFTP clients, WebDAV, and LAN Access. 

You can select groups of files and folders as well as search through the entire directory. Just be careful when deleting files and folders as there is no recycling bin. Once you delete it, it's gone for good. Total Commander has a simple help function available in multiple languages including English, German, Russian, Ukrainian, and Czech. The app itself has support for 29 different languages.

Solid Explorer

Solid Explorer offers a fantastic layout and is simple to use. You can customize the app by changing the theme and icons. The app itself is free to download and contains both ads and in-app purchases. The in-app purchases range from $0.99 to $9.99 per item.

With the paid add-on you can manage your cloud storage locations from within Solid Explorer. It also offers NAS support and file encryption (fingerprint or password). There is an indexed search feature to quickly look for files and folders. The developer lets you back up your apps, files, and folders to any desired location.

Solid Explorer lets you analyze your storage to find which files are taking up too much space. Files are organized into downloads, recent files, photos, videos, music documents, and app categories. You also get a batch renaming tool, an image viewer, a music player, and a text editor.

Wrapping it up

While file managers may not be the most glamorous app you have on your device, they are a necessary tool for file management. This is especially true when you need to find a downloaded document or need to find a document to upload somewhere.

You can make an argument for any of these file management apps, and it is true that your use case will determine which is the best one for you. If you like to root your device, then Root Explorer might be the one to take a look at. If you are a power user and want all the features, you should look into Solid Explorer.

The best file manager on Android is Files by Google. It's simple, well-integrated into Android, and does everything a standard user would need. With over a billion downloads and a Google Play Store rating of 4.6, it is the best file manager for most people.