Does Not Compute: The Missing Android App and How To Live Without It

Maybe you’re old enough to remember the internet without browsers. For everyone else, here’s how it used to work: you typed the address you wanted, then went there. No address, no page. Obviously, browsers brought the internet to the masses. And on the desktops of our devices there’s an app just like a browser for navigating the space inside the device. It’s called a file manager. But what do you do when your device (gulp) doesn’t have one?

Lacking a file manager makes even the most intuitive OS gradually get harder to use,because there’s no centralised way of finding files. It’s like the pre-browser internet days:no address, no file.

On desktop and laptop devices it’s relatively easy: Apple and Windows both come with file managers. Windows just updated from Windows Explorer in previous incarnations to File Explorer in Windows 8, while Apple uses Finder. But Android, while it has a file system, doesn’t have a file manager.

Obviously, that’s not as good as it could be, so what can users do to work around it?

Hit the Play Store

Just because a seemingly basic piece of functionality isn’t bundled with your OS, doesn’t mean you have to face life without it. Just head over to the Play Store and download the solution.

ES File Manager

Popular and free, ES covers the basics and comes with some impressive functions you didn’t know you couldn’t live without, like an archive creator. As well as arranging your files on your device it can also act as a cloud client for apps like Dropbox or Google Drive and supports App management.

Astro Cloud and File Manager

Another popular (and free) choice, Astro focusses more on cloud support than ES but otherwise they’re quite well matched. Astro uses a fullscreen viewer and contains other functions like an SD card optimizer and app management.

Solid Explorer

Solid Explorer comes with a free trial and costs a whopping $1.99 to unlock. Two separate explorer panes and drag and drop support means that hefty price tag might well be worth it, and Solid supports popular cloud options like Skydrive and Dropbox, has an indexed search function, and supports archived files like .zip and .rar.

AntTek Explorer Ex

You don’t need to use a paid-for app to get a full-featured, two-pane file manager. As well as the basics, AntTek supports streaming from a remote server, FTP and Samba, and Yandex, and if that’s not enough it also has built-in music and video players. And it’s free.

File management doesn’t bother some people, but if you live life through your phone – or if you BYOD to work – sooner or later, you’re going to need it!


Posted on: 04.29.15