Compared to a desktop computer or notebook, your smartphone or tablet usually comes with a file manager that lets you perform just basic tasks. If you need more sophisticated control over your files, there are many – perhaps too many – alternative file manager apps to choose from. Here we look at the top three in the Apple App Store and Google Play store.
Best Android File Manager Apps
1. ES File Explorer
This file manager's intuitive interface and complete feature set give you fast access to your mobile device's file system. It integrates with cloud storage services, including Amazon, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and others, so you can back up your files to them. ES File Explorer also has a gallery mode for viewing your images. With more than 5 million votes, the free version of ES File Explorer comes with ads; the Pro version ($2.99) has no ads and is rated a little higher by users.
2. Mobisystems File Commander
Along with the files on your mobile device, you can use Mobisystems File Commander to manage your files on Amazon, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive or access files on a server through FTP. It comes with ads, but you can remove them for $4.99. The paid version also offers tools to encrypt your files, and to try to recover files you've deleted. There's one that can convert your file from one format to another – it can convert a PDF to a JPG, for example.
3. Astro File Manager
Astro File Manager has no ads and is free. It features swipe-based navigation: Swipe left to see a breakdown of the space being used on your device's storage. Swipe right for a tool to move files between your mobile device and cloud storage services that include Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive. You can even move files among these cloud services without having to download them to your device first. Astro also has a powerful search function to find a file by using keywords.
Best iOS File Manager Apps
Documents is packed with lots of additional functionality beyond basic file managing where you delete, duplicate and move files stored on your iPhone or iPad. From within the app, you can load to view documents, PDFs or pictures and even annotate and edit documents. It also lets you move files between your iOS device and desktop PC or Mac, and sync files with cloud storage services that include Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud. Password protection can be applied to lock your files from any prying eyes. And all of these things are included in this free app.
2. FileExplorer 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 several network sources. It can connect to your cloud storage on Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud and OneDrive; to FTP, SFTP and WebDAV servers; and to network shares on macOS, Windows and Linux systems. It has a built-in FTP server for transferring files between your iOS device and desktop computer or notebook over Wi-Fi.
3. File Manager App
File Manager App lacks many features found in the prior two (Dropbox is the only cloud service it supports), but it's free and worthy if you only need basic file management capabilities. This app can copy, move, rename files, create new folders, and open ZIP archives. Its file viewer can display your images, iWork documents (Keynote, Numbers, Pages), Microsoft Office documents (Excel, PowerPoint, Word), and PDFs, as well as play audio and video files. Its file size is small (26 MB, compared to more than 100 MB for Documents and FileExplorer Pro), making this a lightweight choice.