Still on the lookout for a good file manager for your Android device? Maybe it’s time to test drive some of the lesser-known options.
Apps, files, and folders are at the root of your interaction with your mobile companion. The in-built app drawer is good enough to manage and access your applications. But, to keep all the files and folders organized and under control, you need a dedicated file explorer and a few tricks to manage files, no matter which device or OS you’re using.
While the well-known options like ES File Explorer (review here) and ASTRO File Manager do their job exceedingly well, there are other relatively low-key apps that are also worth checking out. Here are three such options, one of which now happens to be my default file manager.
File Wrangler is a free (and ad-free) file manager that’s a delight to use. Its beautiful dual-paned interface with drag-and-drop capabilities makes accessing and transferring files a breeze. The Quick Draw panel on the left contains shortcuts to your regular folders like Movies and Pictures. You can even bookmark any folder and make it easily available from this panel.
Selecting multiple files, uploading them to Dropbox, sharing them through email, transferring them via Bluetooth, etc. is quick and painless. The app also supports the creation and extraction of ZIP and TAR archives.
The bluntly named File Manager app has a sharp and visually clean interface that comes in light and dark-themed variants. The sort feature includes the usual name, type, size, last modified, ascending, and descending options.
In the portrait mode, dragging the left edge of the screen to the right or tapping on the app icon at the top left reveals a pane with shortcuts to standard folders like and Apps, Camera, Downloads, Music, Movies, and Pictures. This quick-access panel is visible by default in the landscape mode. Use the Add to Bookmarks setting on any folder to add its shortcut to this panel. You can also add folder shortcuts to the home screen.
If you wish to customize file and folder behavior or modify interface settings, navigate to the Settings panel of the app. Switching between the light and dark themes, clearing search history, displaying hidden files and folders, reassigning the Home folder, and showing thumbnails are some of the tasks that you can take care of through this panel.
File Manager is supported by ads, which you can get rid of either by purchasing the premium version or by inviting at least ten of your friends to install the app.
Fylee is another bare-bones app for managing files on your Android device. Its appearance blends in beautifully with the native Android interface. Renaming, copying, moving, deleting, and sharing your files and folders is simple as can be. You can choose to sort them by name, type, size, and date. The app is also capable of bookmark creation, thumbnail display for supported apps, and zip archive compression and extraction.
Overall, if you’re looking for a minimal, ad-free, no-fuss file explorer, you’ll be happy with Fylee.
As far as I can see, the only drawback these apps have is the lack of cloud support and root access. But that hasn’t stopped me from making File Wrangler my regular file manager. I access cloud files using the native Dropbox and Google Drive Android apps. To access the root folder, as a backup, I have a lightweight file manager with root access. This can work for you too, especially if you need access to the root folder infrequently.
Sometimes, even the most popular and much-talked-about apps can leave you unimpressed, because they’re just not what you’re looking for. You need a different kind of app that is more suited to your workflow, and an app like that may not always be available as a mainstream option.
In such cases, chances are that you’ll find a better solution among the apps that are overshadowed by their well-known counterparts. Even if it isn’t very fancy or feature rich, or a top-ten list contender, it could turn out to be perfect for you.
Is your default file manager among the lesser-known alternatives? Or do you use something else? Let us know in the comments.