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Here's why we're removing ES File Explorer from our best apps lists

To say that ES File Explorer has had a rocky few months would be an understatement. It has gone from being the best file explorer on Android to being one that we can no longer recommend. And for one main reason: an intrusive advertising mechanism that ruins its user experience. This is why we've decided to remove ES File Explorer from our best Android apps lists.

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We no longer recommend ES File Explorer. / © ANDROIDPIT

Our best Android apps list alone has more than four millions page impressions, and we spend a lot of time testing the apps that we recommend there. As of tomorrow, ES File Explorer will no longer feature on any of our best-of lists. An app which we once described as, "the best way to keep your data organized on Android" has seen a catastrophic fall from grace over the past few months. 

Where did it begin? Was it when the app was redesigned to be pretty but less functional? Or was it when, after loading the app up with ads and spammy notifications offering to clean your device, the developers announced, "we are about to launch a paid version"? It's hard to know for certain. But one thing is for sure: ES File Explorer has dug its own grave with comical rapidity.

The final straw, and the reason for this article, is that ES File Explorer recently added another piece of bloatware: DU Charge Booster. If I install a file explorer, it's generally because I want a file explorer, not a charge booster. But the team behind ES File Explorer disagreed, and so DU Charge Booster appeared on my phone's lock screen whenever I plugged it in to charge. 

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The lock screen replacement with ad, and automatic redirection to the Play Store upon unlocking. / © ANDROIDPIT

Not only did it hijack my lock screen without asking, but it used the space to display ads. These were conveniently placed where I would usually swipe to unlock my phone, so when I did eventually manage to unlock my device, the charge booster directed me to the Play Store and whatever app was being advertised. This is a form of malware. 

Not only that, but when users began complaining, some that the additional feature was causing their chargers to become extremely hot, a subsequent update removed the charge booster. All negative reviewers were offered a copy-and-pasted reply, stating that they should "consider giving the app a 5 star rating, if you are happy to see this change." Um. No. 

AndroidPIT has reached out to ES APP Group, which owns ES File Explorer, for comment and will update this article once we receive a response.

AndroidPIT best file explorers solid explorer 1
Solid Explorer (pictured) and MiXplorer are both much better choices now. / © ANDROIDPIT
Solid Explorer File Manager Install on Google Play

If this had been an isolated incident, some naive and misguided mistake, there would be room for a little patience. But instead it comes at the most recent end of an ever-growing string of decisions that do not simply reflect embarrassing mistakes, but malicious and misguided attempts to make money. To reiterate, this disservice to the Android community is why we've decided to drop ES File Explorer from our best app lists. We have never done this before and hope it's the first, and last, time. 

Ultimately, the sensitive access you grant any file exploring app means that you need to be able to trust the developers, and the tricks the ES File Explorer team is pulling make them untrustworthy.

Opinion by Chris Marshall
The tricks ES File Explorer is pulling make it untrustworthy
What do you think?
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5670 participants

We recommend that you uninstall ES File Explorer; there are plenty of much better alternatives out there.

85 comments

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  • No problem with the paid version, if its really the best app, why not put your money where your mouth is?

  • Ben1265 1 month ago Link to comment

    It took me a good while to discover that ES File Explorer was responsible for a wheel of apps that appeared on the lower right or lower left corner of my screen if I swiped from one of these corners. VERY ANNOYING feature. It would also overlay my search bar with an "I'm feeling lucky" bar. If you have that, and do not want to remove ES File Explorer, just look for ES Swipe on ES File Explorer and disable that. @John Terdick: If you have Nougat, you can stop ES File Explorer from working in the background. That way you can still use without impacting your battery life. ES File Explorer is still the best tool I've seen for transferring files to network drives or FTP sites... Suggestions welcome!

  • Too bad...this was a great app that I was considering buying a few weeks ago. But it has become to intrusive and the ads get in the way and take over the entire screen. I hope users will remove the app and comment on google play store to let them know that they screwed up. Not to be mean, but ES people really screwed this one up. It is almost insulting the changes they made. I was researching replacements for ES when I ran across this article.

  • Which version of ES File Explorer started having these ads? I can download the APK file of any version of most Android apps (including older versions going back to the earliest versions) on this other website uptodown.com and I want to make sure I download the latest version of ES File Explorer that was released before the ads started being pushed. Does anybody here know what version that is? I would like to downgrade by downloading the APK file of the last non-ad version of ES File Explorer.

  • I've been using es file explorer for about 2 years now and I've gotten no ads nor seen it on my lock screen. It's still amazing for me. I used the cleaner part of the app (never again) and it WAAAY too thorough.. deleted a bunch of pictures I didn't want deleted and all of the music on my phone (I'm overseas currently and won't be able to get my tunes back for over a month - it's quite frustrating) but other than the cleaner deleting almost everything, I haven't had any of the issues with this app that I've read about recently.

  • Used the app for a lot of years. As time moved on I've been noticing more and more bloat and advertisements. I just removed from one device and will do the same on my other devices.

  • Rich M 4 months ago Link to comment

    I already said in this conversation, that if you want the version without ads, contact me on: richardrich2004@gmail.com

  • Dean Rose 4 months ago Link to comment

    Totally agree with this. I have been using ES file explorer for year now. I removed it as soon as the spam started. Its now a crap piece of software

  • Prior to uninstalling ES my battery life was less than 4 hours. After uninstalling ES and the crapware it had installed my battery life is now almost 2 days.

  • Just curious if anyone knows the last known good (or best legacy) version of ES and/or where to find it? I still use uTorrent 2.2.1 and WinAmp 2.x because a lot of times a legacy version of a great app remains the best option forever after the app's demise. I loved ES but this article is right, it's garbage now. Any advice?

  • I just uninstalled ES because the apps it installed reduced my battery life to less than 4 hours. I had used ES for several years and enjoyed the function it provided but with the latest release and the malware it is the pits.
    I replaced it with Solid Explorer File Manager, hopefully it will do what ES did without the malware.

  • I uninstalled es but just saw it included in Amazon underground as a preferred app to transfer files to my Kindle. Is this also not recommended? I saw that some of the issues you mentioned were indeed included but not activated by default.

  • Sorry, but have you checked your device for other malware? I have ES "Free" installed onto 3 devices, and never once seen "charge booster" hijacking my lock screen. Nor, ads. So, this article, to me, is basically unfounded ranting and slander, due to not researching fully. The author needs to really look at their device, and test ES on other devices, before posting such a piece like this. I am an Android app developer, and have multiple devices I work with. Not one time, has the author's claims been valid for me, in well over 2 years of installing and using ES on my devices.

    • Scott 902 6 months ago Link to comment

      Right on! Also, a little look at the file explorer the author is plugging, shows this:

      This is Solid Explorer File and Cloud Manager
      Please note that this is a 14 day trial version

      Gee, sounds like someone that's connected to the development of Solid Explorer, trying to sway people wrongly to use that app, instead of ES.

      And the author wants to talk about "The tricks ES File Explorer is pulling make it untrustworthy" when it's his tricks, and Solid Explorer's advertising tricks that should be questioned.

      • You guys are missing the whole point of the article. I found it because I searched for "best ES File Explorer Version" because all of the added crap is annoying. Add to that the issues that SOME have had with it (your device is not the same as mine, or my rom, or kernel, none of which affected or were affected by ES previously but with the addition of new features, came issues for many like myself). I don't want to have to turn off the little floating gidget and all this other crap. I want the most basically powerful file manager there is. That used to be ES, but these newer updates bury functionality in ads and unnecessary fluff.

        So if you think the author is trying to "plug" Solid Explorer, you're right. It's because this whole site, one dedicated to telling us which apps they think are best, has decided, like many of us, that ES File Explorer in it's current build no longer qualifies. And, therefore, has been replaced at the top.

        Time to go download a 3.x.x build. Screw the bloat, but ES is still the best.

      • Have you not installed es on a 7.0 device? It's full of nonsense adds and pop-ups. It hijacked my lock screen.. Tries to clean my system. And is sending me floating widgets when I take a screenshots. This used to be a good file Explorer. Now it literally is just plain shit.

    • Burke Knight - for me ES was a disaster! I had used it for about 4 years and really liked the function that it provided. This past summer I started getting all kinds of pop-ups when using it. At first I trusted the pop-ups because they were coming from ES and after installing a few the screen lock was driving me nuts and my battery life was less than 4 hours. While it is possible that I had some malware that Kaspersky did not detect I felt the issue was ES. I uninstalled it and all of the aps that I had installed while using ES and like magic my battery life had increased to almost 48 hours.

      I also email the ES developer at the sametime and as of this date still no reply from the developer.

      Also if you search you will find a lot of other people recently having issues with ES. It is possibly that all of us are wrong but when I uninstalled it and the apps installed while using ES my battery life went from less than 4 hours to about 48 hours and the developer does not respond to an email. I don't think I have any other option but to suspect that ES is now crap and the developers don't care. I would gladly support the developer if he responded and explained what had changed or what I should do to resolve the issues.

      I agree that the author of this thread seems to be promoting Solid Explorer File. I also read several other postings regarding ES and most recommended SEF thus I took the leap and purchased it. Today, sometimes even after doing extended research we, the novice users, make the wrong decision based on our findings. Not everybody posting on the internet are ethical and are just promoting some product and it is difficult to impossible to filter through the research findings.

      The main reason I dumped ES was because the developer did not respond to my email. In fairness I gave him a chance and his lack of response implied he did not care about me. I also attempted to find a forum for ES but I failed.

  • Rich M 6 months ago Link to comment

    Hello everyone, I was really sad, when I saw ES File Explorer PRO and Ads in Free version...
    Anyways, I still last FREE version without Ads and it is backuped, so if you want it, send me a message on my mail: richardrich2004@gmail.com

  • I know this article is a few months old, but I was growing suspicious of ES File Explorer and its bloatware and shady ad practices. I Googled their company “Estrongs” location and...my gut was right...China. I can’t completely trust Chinese “ex: 360 Anti-virus” or Russian “ex: Kaspersky Labs” software. I’m sorry I didn’t do this sooner: "EStrongs Inc. develops applications for Android platforms. EStrongs Inc. was founded in 2009 and is based in Beijing, China."--Bloomberg

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