The best file manager apps for your smartphone

File manager apps aren’t always the flashiest or most famous tools on a smartphone or other mobile device. However, they provide an indispensable service when it comes to organizing your files. When the default file manager app is not sufficient for your needs, consider some of the apps listed below. These are the best file manager apps for your smartphone and mobile device.

What exactly is a file management application?

Most smartphones come with a file manager app, which is usually accessible from the home screen. It allows you to perform basic tasks on your phone files. These include deleting, renaming, and sharing the documents you’ve downloaded, as well as managing the photos and video clips you’ve taken with your phone.

Why should I use another file manager?

There are many alternative file manager applications. They allow you to do more sophisticated things, like accessing files in folders that the basic file manager included with your smartphone can hide from you. Using an alternative file manager, you can also access files directly from your cloud storage account or an FTP server.

How do I install an alternative file manager on my smartphone?

For Android phone users, you can install another file manager from the Google Play Store. For iPhone users, you can install one from the App Store.

What are the best alternative apps?

Here are some of the best alternative file managers for Android and iPhone. This list is based on the file manager apps which are highly rated by users as well as those downloaded and reviewed the most. In addition, these applications are created by independent developers. (Those made by smartphone manufacturers are often already installed on smartphones.)

Best alternative file manager apps for Android

1. File manager

This popular app is a step up from the basic file managers that come preinstalled on Android phones. On its main screen, access to your files is organized into categories such as Main Storage, SD Card, Downloads, Images, Audio, Videos, Documents, etc.

Tap a category icon to see your files listed there. Tap the Cloud icon to access your files on your cloud storage account (Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive). The Remote icon allows you to access files on a server via FTP, LAN, or SFTP.

Additional tools in this fast app include a music file player, text editor, and viewer for your image files. To remove ads from this app, pay $ 1.99 per year or $ 7.99 for a one-time purchase.

2. File manager

This file manager comes with 5 GB of cloud storage for free. You access your files via its main screen by pressing the button categories (Recent files, Images, Music, Videos, Documents, etc.). From this screen, you can also manage your files on Amazon Cloud Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive or access files on a server via FTP or LAN. You can transfer your files to another computer or mobile device over Wi-Fi.

This file manager can also be used to convert files from one format to another. It can for example convert PDF to JPG. And it has a built-in media player so you can listen to audio or video files on your phone. File Commander comes with ads, but you can pay to remove them for $ 29.99 for one year. The paid version also comes with 50GB cloud storage and more features including tools to encrypt your files and try to recover files you deleted from your phone.

3. ASTRO File Manager

From the main screen of this manager, the remaining space on your phone’s internal storage (and any SD card inserted in it) is shown at the top. You tap icons in the rest of this screen to access files on your phone that are grouped into categories (Pictures, Music, Videos, Documents, etc.) from an FTP or STP server, or stored on a service cloud (including Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive.)

ASTRO File Manager has a built-in image viewer and an application manager that allows you to save your applications to an SD card. This can be handy if you need to reset your phone to its original settings. ASTRO File Manager is free and does not appear to serve ads.

4. Total commander

Total Commander is one of the more sophisticated file management applications in this guide and is recommended for advanced users. It can be configured to show two open folders simultaneously, so that you can move files between them. You can create zip packages of your files and extract files from zip and RAR packages. Total Commander can play your audio and video files and comes with a text editor.

More features can be added by installing plugins from the Google Play Store. There are plugins that allow you to use Total Commander to access your files on cloud services (including Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive), a computer through a local network, or FTP and SFTP servers. Another plug-in allows you to share files on your phone over Wi-Fi. Total Commander is free and does not appear to have ads.

Best alternative file manager apps for iPhone

1. Documents

Documents is packed with important additional features beyond basic file management. You can delete, duplicate, and move files stored on your iPhone or iPad. From the app, you can view documents, PDFs or images, even annotate and edit documents. You move files between your iOS device and a desktop PC or Mac, as well as sync files with cloud storage services that include Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud. Password protection can be applied to lock your files from prying eyes. Documents is free with an in-app purchase of $ 50 to unlock its PDF editor.

2. File browser

With FileBrowser, you can access files in your cloud accounts (Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive) from FTP and SFTP servers, via WebDAV, or from your Mac or Windows PC via Wi-Fi. You can copy, delete, edit, move, rename and compress / decompress your files. It has a built-in reader that allows you to view your documents in iWorks or Microsoft Office and PDF formats. And it includes a tool that you can use to annotate image files and PDFs.

FileBrowser costs $ 5.99, but you can try its less-featured equivalent, FileBrowserGO, free for 14 days. There is another version with more business oriented features that costs $ 10.99.

3. File Explorer Pro

FileExplorer Pro costs $ 4.99, but it’s worth it if you need to copy, delete, move, or rename files not only on your iPhone or iPad, but also files stored on multiple network sources. It can connect to your cloud storage on Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud and OneDrive; to FTP, SFTP and WebDAV servers; and network shares on macOS, Windows, and Linux systems. It has a built-in FTP server for transferring files between your iOS device and a desktop or laptop computer over Wi-Fi. A free non-Pro version is available with fewer features.


This app is actually three tools in one: a file manager with a download manager and a secure private web browser. FileGet’s file manager doesn’t have most of the features of the previous three apps (it doesn’t support any cloud storage service), but it’s free and useful if you just need to use features basic file management with additional tools. This app lets you delete, move, and rename files – and it can open zip archives. It has a document viewer to let you browse your Microsoft Office documents (Excel, PowerPoint, Word) and PDFs. The file size of this application is small at only 32MB. (Documents is 139MB, FileBrowser 78MB, and FileExplorer Pro 150MB.)

Manage your files more efficiently

The default file managers generally leave a lot to be desired. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternative file manager apps for your smartphone that go above and beyond. Don’t settle for the factory file manager; you can get a lot more mileage with the file manager apps on this list.

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Donald E. Hollingsworth

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