Article Updated: 24 July 2020
We present you several completely ad-free File Manager apps for Android devices, as an alternative to ES File Explorer. All listed apps are free, do not contain any advertisement and most of them do not track you and collect any analytics data.
ES File Explorer is still being developed (latest version is from July 2020), and now they introduced new monthly paid features like professional file/junk cleaner, download manager etc. – some of them are no longer available in free version since last free release in late December 2019.
Amazon offers only the older last free version (from late December 2019), but you can get newest .apk file versions directly from APKPure and APKMirror sites and install it independently w/o their APK managers IF you (1) enable apps from unknown sources on your phone first and (2) (at least in my case) I had to restart my phone and then disable both Wi-Fi and Mobile Data internet access, because for some reason my phone was not allowing me to install it otherwise (“Install” button was not reacting at all – Play Protect?).
However, if you wish to go official route with apps available only from Google Play exclusively, then continue to read on.
BEST ANDROID FILE EXPLORER / FILE MANAGERS FOR ANDROID OS – No ADS!
Disclaimer: this is/was correct at the time of publishing this article. Developers are, of course, free to enable monetization (ads) in their apps at any given point in time (e.g. with the very next app update), and this may no longer be true. Please, if you find out about important changes or if you have any suggestions for new apps that you wish to be included in this list, submit them in the comments section below. Thanks!
Click below on app titles or images to open their respective Play Store locations and install them.
- key features: extremely easy & user friendly, dark mode, media player
- downside: lacks few common file manager functions (for now, it gets regularly improved)
EDITOR’S CHOICE ✔
- key features: extremely capable and useful file manager, built-in file search, analysis & cleanup, supports cloud storage services (Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive), network services (FTP/SFTP/FTPS/WebDAV/LAN/SMB) and more!
This amazing file manager covers 99% functions of ES File Explorer, and some missing ones can be achieved with other free apps. Not to mention that implementation of some features surpass ES File Explorer’s counter-parts by their simplicity, functionality and quality.
It comes with easy no-gimmicks large and junk files analyzer and cleaner, beautiful UI (user interface), app info and backup tool, cloud and local network drives support, built-in simple media player, FTP server – you can explore your phone’s both internal and external (SD card) storage from you PC’s web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Opera…) or FTP client (WinSCP, FileZilla, Total Commander…) and more! For comparison, in ES File Explorer’s built-in FTP/WEB file server, you could only access phone’s internal storage, but not the SD card.
This app does not track you e.g. it does not send any usage analytics data to Google or it’s own nor others 3rd party tracking services to the best of my knowledge (confirmed with a monitoring firewall app), but it will on a rare occasion contact 1e100.net Google’s domain [220.127.116.11:443 (sof02s32-in-f20.1e100.net)], most probably for periodical update checks (unconfirmed/unsure).
Cx File Explorer is currently (update: it still is in 2020!) our highly recommended app and No.1 candidate for permanent and complete replacement.
- key features: privacy / no analytics tracking
- key features: supports cloud services (e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive, Box), SMB Local Network / NAS Drives / Local Network Cloud
- key features: privacy / no analytics tracking
- key features: no ads, easy of use, custom sorting, advanced search, day/night (dark) theme
- planned features: Cloud Storage (Google, OneDrive…), root access, Wi-Fi file sharing
- key features: open source, donation/in-app unlock, apk/zip/rar/txt reader, cloud services support
- downside: Android Kit-Kat limited support / frequent crashing
ES File Explorer IS NOW HISTORY!
ES File Explorer app is now removed from Google Play Store — just two weeks after we published this article! This was a pure coincidence! You can no longer find it in the largest and official Android Marketplace.
Earlier this year, according to forum posts and various online news sources, Baptiste Robert (alias Elliot Alderson on Twitter) discovered that ES File Explorer incorporates a hidden web server with open port that exposed all users on the same local WiFi network to HTTP web server vulnerability and potential unauthorized file access and download breach. ES Global announced a fix on January 18th (version 18.104.22.168), apologizing for the issue.
In above screenshot you can see how access to the open port looks like using vulnerable ES File Explorer version 22.214.171.124.2 and desktop version of Google Chrome browser. Directory listing is prohibited by default, so ordinary users will not be able to exploit it without some extra work e.g. server responds to unauthenticated application/json commands over HTTP.
And, as we’ve already written about it 2 years ago, ES File Explorer already had a lengthy record of wrong decisions and unethical practices, annoying users with obscure features and hidden ads.
All this is more than enough to seek a healthy alternative.