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Opinion 285 Shares 59 comments

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.

Chris Marshall
The tricks ES File Explorer is pulling make it untrustworthy
What do you think?
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We recommend that you uninstall ES File Explorer; there are plenty of much better alternatives out there.


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  • And there is another thing, and it is worse then just a booster, it is an icon displayed whenever and where ever there is new file downloaded, even in games when a video ad is cached it shows icon on my screen, I disabled the look screen but I can't disable that icon, and that is the reason, i am going to uninstall it.

  • Scott M 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    I came to the same conclusions you did months ago. I didn't use ES for a while and when I opened it up, I thought it was the wrong app. Holy Crap they threw the bloat in there.

    The only app I found that comes close to what ES used to be is MiXplorer. Can you recommend any others? Can I download ES from 2 years ago?

    • Scott M 3 weeks ago Link to comment

      Never mind. I just checked out the "Top 9" list and found Solid Explorer and tried it. I'm LOVING this one. MiX and ES are now uninstalled.

  • Wow, thanks for the heads up. Nuts to those guys, I was just in the market for pro apps for my new phone, but after hearing this I will not even consider these chumps simply on the grounds of principles alone.

  • When sideloading APK files I've been to install newer versions over older versions but not the other way around so I must first uninstall the newer version. Sometimes I get the same error message ("App not installed") with the newer version uninstalled in which case I'll try a different "vintage" version which usually does install properly. Other versions besides also seem to be acceptable as long as you avoid the "tainted" ones on or after 4.0 (at least for me but that was an issue of the UI not the crapware they started later.)

    FWIW with one of my older rooted tablets I seem to remember being able to downgrade apps without having to uninstall the newer version when using Titanium Backup.

  • Thank you for the pointer to androiddrawer. Unfortunately the installation fails even after allowing non Google App Store packages. Can anyone suggest a workaround? I was of course trying to launch ES File Explorer_3.2.3.1.apk from the current version of ES File X. Thank you.

  • For people that miss the older versions they can be downloaded from the uptodown and androiddrawer websites. I've been using version for years (I could not relate to the user interface in versions 4.0 and above.)

  • I don't know about the bloatware, but recent version is crap. What happened to Favorites? Those shortcuts were central to apps utility. Home screen has zero configurability. Developers crippled a once helpful app.

  • Ive used es file explorer since gingerbread came out. Never had a problem with it. I use it to explore files folders and send apps and for networking. I think its the best app ever. Pro version 1.0.6

  • I've used it in the past and installed it again the other day and was surprised at all the bloat. I just uninstalled facebook this morning and somehow I agreed to let ES delete my music on the extSD card. Quickly uninstalled ES file explorer and won't ever use it again.

  • I recently noticed being linked to items in the favorites described as images, music and documents by esfileexplorer .

    I have noticed by examining the running processes that ES File Explorer runs ' poocesses ' called "filemonitoringservice" and "FileScanningService" .

    I'm beginning to feel as if I were the emperor who wore no clothes.

  • I totally get people choosing function over form...I do it too. But, at some point, principles have to step in and influence a decision. I have a problem supporting a company who clearly made decisions that were not in my best interest, multiple times. I used to LOVE ES File X, but there just no justification for holding logs of my storage activity-we have to give our trust to an explorer, and I can't trust them anymore And though I expect ads with free apps, they took it to a whole other level. It's grimy, untrustworthy, and not something that says "hey, now that they've hurt you, give them money to make it stop."
    -I'm out. And that makes me sad. But, as they say, "fool me once, shame on you... Fool me twice, shame on me!"

    • I agree with you completely but didn't realize that I was supporting the company by using a years-old version of ESFX. So what would you suggest as a replacement? Preferably something that has been around for several years and will work well with my 2013/14 tablets... (I just bought another Hisense Sero 7 Pro on eBay for $30.)


      • I checked out Solid Explorer v. 1.6.5 from Android Drawer (the last free version without ads- not that I'm cheap but I'm not sure if its a keeper for me with its graphical interface.) I like how ESFX is more text-based, like the Windows XP file explorer.

        Any other suggestions for a replacement for ESFX version 3 would be appreciated (I did not like the changes in version 4.)

      • After 3 days Solid Explorer 1.6.5 declared that its trial period had expired and woud not load. I had not yet figured out what all of the icons would do so I just uninstalled it. Back to ESFX for me for now until I find another candidate to try... :-(

      • Explorer from Speed Software looks very good as does FX Explorer. Total Commander looks decent enough with a more graphical interface for those so inclined. (Speed Software also has Root Explorer for $3.99)

  • I've been using older versions of ESFX like on all of my tablets for years because it got way too complicated with version 4. I turn off auto-updates in Google Play (there is no checkbox for that option in its settings so click the phrase to be sure.) And I turn off auto-updates and auto-check in ESFX, as well. I love how the program interfaces with Dropbox to offload files from tablet's internal memory (I have both rooted and unrooted devices running mainly KitKat which does not allow most 3rd party apps to write to the microSD card.)

    With a new tablet the first thing I get from Google Play is Dropbox and from there I download the APK files for my favorite KitKat app versions, starting with ES File Explorer. (The stock file manager programs that come with new tablets are horrible!)

    Sorry to hear that they took some really bad turns this year... :-(


    P.S I haven't read any comments yet so perhaps someone has recommended an acceptable alternate.

  • Eh, I don't think I care. The ads (which my rooted OS found and blocks) don't outweigh the great versatility about ES that I use and love. I'm on a Nexus 6, so a little advertisement wouldn't affect my game while I'm using it. They made an excellent app, so my opinion is that they deserve the money they're getting from them considering it is indeed free, while less good free apps are always an option for those who don't like ads. I don't mind all the additional features because, unlike Cleean Master's additional features (ie iSwipe, CamWish which you use to send pictures to friends WTF CM WTF CM WTF CM), they're actually more helpful and they are completely optional. I'm not getting rid of ES until it starts adding ridiculous features that aren't actually helpful, regardless of advertising.

  • Ben Davis 2 months ago Link to comment

    I can understand these issues may lead to you not trusting the freeware app but how about the paid version? I have been using the paid version for a long time and love the power it gives me controlling my file system, NAS, cloud and work ftp. Also, the sd card analyzing function is nothing short of amazing, I've had phones bloated with files scattered throughout file system and this awesome app has made short work of locating large files, and allowing me to delete them. The only thing that annoys me about es explorer is the recycle bin is enabled by default and for most people this is just a waste of precious SD card space, particularly if you aren't aware that its storing all your deleted files.

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