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Opinion 288 Shares 67 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.

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

67 comments

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  • 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.

    • 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.

  • Rich M 2 weeks 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

  • The pro version of ES isn't bad. Those of you running out of space need to disable the recycle bin function. Everything you delete goes into the recycle bin and still consumes space. You don't have to install the extra "bloatware" either. That being said I've started using Solid Explorer with some of the extensions (mainly chromecast) and I'm happy with it too. In my opinion both are good choices. ES has a few more features and Solid is easier to navigate. As I said I'm using Solid ATM and it does everything I need. I don't like the fact they charge for the extensions though. At least once you purchase ES Pro, you can get the extensions for free. I don't understand all the talk of "bloatware" with ES. It has extensions yes but you can choose whether or not you want to install them.
    UPDATE:
    The chromecast extension for Solid Explorer quit working all together. Can someone recommend a file explorer with chromecast extension plz?

  • 长 宁 3 weeks ago Link to comment

    I just uninstalled my ES Explorer today, after many years of treating it like my priced collection. It was so useful until I realized my phone always ran out of space. Despite frequent cache wiping, combining with removal of a few suspected applications, I was never able to create sufficient space to run my applications, like WhatsApp and WeChat. They would tell me I didn't have enough space as I tried to upload or download photos or videos during my chat sessions. This situation lasted nearly half a year during which all attempts to solve the issue were in vain. It was by accident that, while using ES Explorer itself to analyze my phone storage today, I discovered some inaccuracies in the aggregate sizes reported by ES Explorer on the various file groups. For example, the analysis indicated there was a combined consumption of a few hundred megs by tmp files. But when I opened up the group in order to delete the files, I noticed nearly all of these files had 0B consumption. How could 0s add up to a few hundred megs? It could only be a mistake! In addition to this group, there were also a few other file groups with similarly blown up reported sizes. So my frequent phone storage run out problem ought to be due to this. Hence, I decided to remove ES Explorer immediately after this discovery. True enough, after its removal, I observed about 400 megs of free space was immediately generated. Now, I can use my WhatsApp and WeChat without any problem.

    Those who are using ES Explorer and encountering similar problem can consider this solution.

  • My ES File Explorer had become one of the biggest cashe magnets I have ever seen, so much crap on it from all my other apps, real bloatware. I can't uninstall the ES File Explorer but I can disable it, which I just did, got tired of seeing advertisements telling me, my tablet has viruses, my tablet has to be cleaned, my battery has problems, my battery is broken, even this little gem, my battery has viruses, which does not even exist. I installed their apps just to add a comment: WHAT CAN YOUR APP DO THAT MY APP CAN'T, YOU JUST WANT ME TO UNINSTALL MY APP FOR YOURS, USING B.S. SCARE TACTICS." Actually one of these apps did respond saying this should have never happened, surprised the heck out of me, let's see if they keep up the false adverts. One thing I did notice after disabling the app, my tablet got 20X faster. Just read the reviews on ES File Explorer and they took all the negative reviews off, go try to find one, everybody is acting like it's GODS GIFT TO THE WORLD, must be all employees or people paid to give good reviews. Now I just have to find a file explorer I like.

  • 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 3.2.3.1 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 3.2.3.1 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 mysearch.com 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.

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