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

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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. 

androidpit es file explorer lock screen charge booster ad
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

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.

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

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Chris Marshall

Chris Marshall
Junior Editor

Chris is a graduate in English and Philosophy and habitual tamperer with technology. A recent convert to Android, through the marvel of the Samsung Galaxy S6, he looks to share the fruits of this technological honeymoon through AndroidPIT.

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  • 1
    vinemont Dec 1, 2020 Link to comment

    I have continued to use pre bloated versions of ES File Explorer and have had no problems with them. Frankly I like the way the program works.

    Somebody is continuing to develop the program. A new version recently came out, version It's available on the various APK download sites. You can find them by Googling ES File Explorer download.

    I was hesitant to to install it because it was a 25 megabyte download, about three times the size of the pre bloat versions.

    Does anyone have any evaluations of the current state of the program and whether or not the developers have gotten their act back together.

  • 1
    Bob Koure Sep 15, 2019 Link to comment

    I always buy the non-advert version of any app (I use the ad version for eval). I've had the Pro version since whenever it became available - and no problems whatsoever. It never seems to have used more than 1% power based on GSam showing app usage - and I move a lot of files between phone, SDcard and home NAS (SMB)
    But now I see both versions have disappeared from Google Play. Sigh...

  • 1
    Emmet Ray Jan 20, 2018 Link to comment

    Wow, turned my phone into a spaztastic tweaker. Overheating, hanging, freezing, that infuriating swipe "feature" with the app wheels that made it impossible to do anything without it popping up over everything else. And I've only had it ONE day. I have adguard and haven't seen much spam but I know it takes awhile for some apps to build a profile of you. Still, good for accessing my network through wifi and playing/copying media files, etc. For now I'll just force stop the thing in apps under settings until I'm ready to use it again. Shutting it down seems to have returned everything for normal. I'll see if it remains so.

  • Introgauge .C 1
    Introgauge .C Oct 29, 2017 Link to comment

    This file explorer completely screwed up the file recognition on my phone, it doesn't recognize pictures, videos or music I've downloaded. Phone clerks and customer support are completely clueless about it. I bought a more expensive phone for the extra versatility when it comes to files, and this explorer completely destroyed that. I am super pissed.

  • outpost99 1
    outpost99 Oct 7, 2017 Link to comment

    I had an ad for Amazon appear on my ES File Explorer and I couldn't get rid of it as it locked up my screen, so I exited ES but every time I tried to go back in the ad was still sitting there and I couldn't do anything else in there - In the end I had to delete ES.

  • 1
    A Smith Sep 17, 2017 Link to comment

    I noticed that ES file manager consumes 7% of my power. that's an incredible amount for a file manager. I installed solid explorer and file commander and they don't even show up on the list. Plus having to deal with the 'logger' feature in ES file manager is not pleasant.

  • Jessica Miller 2
    Jessica Miller Sep 2, 2017 Link to comment

    wiped my SD card, which isn't what I was doing and I've now lost everything!
    Thanks a fucking lot 😟 😢😡

  • Eric Bowling 2
    Eric Bowling Aug 26, 2017 Link to comment

    Fuck you, es. You went from the best file explorer out there to this piece of shit that is the definition of malware infused piece of shit apps. I hope you, whoever, read this.

    Jessica Miller

  • 1
    MANGESH GALANDE Aug 5, 2017 Link to comment

    Battery analyser shows that ES File explorer is using 35% of battery. I wonder why

  • Joshua Harvey 1
    Joshua Harvey Jul 31, 2017 Link to comment

    I have had ES File explorer for a long time and have always loved it. However lately I have been getting all of these horrible advertisements that I HATE! I don't care if the app is face time I would uninstall it because of these horrible adds. My point is it doesn't matter how great your app is when you make it so annoying it has to go. I am uninstalling it as we speak!

  • 1
    William Pompen Jun 14, 2017 Link to comment

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

    • 1
      Kyoten3 Nov 19, 2018 Link to comment

      I wouldn't have a problem if they just made a basic explorer and then said, "want more functionality, give us 3 bucks" thats fine. But to slip ads, battery apps, and other things in there with out permission, thats underhanded Microsnot BS. Be clear about your apps, if you want to offer a limited free version then fine, if you want people to buy your app, fine. But dont slip stuff in under the radar that frigs with peoples phones, slows them down, causes all kinds of issues and more then likely steals their data and sells it to the highest bidder.

  • 2
    Ben1265 May 18, 2017 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!

    Robin D.

    • 1
      JDB Jul 24, 2017 Link to comment

      Oh my god, thank you so much! This has been driving me crazy recently as it keeps appearing when I'm just trying to use the phone normally, but I thought it was Samsung's Nougat update that caused it. I already disabled some other features of ES File Explorer that were driving me crazy, like the balloons that would pop up on screen every time I added a new file on my phone, but I hadn't figured out what was causing this particular issue.
      I do still like ES File Explorer as it has a lot of features that I like, and I thankfully haven't noticed the issues pointed out in the article, but it sure has been getting rather bloated recently.
      I'm certainly open to suggestions for other, better file managers if anyone knows of any.

  • 2
    Bob Atom May 11, 2017 Link to comment

    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.

    Eric Bowling

  • 3
    Ben Hutchinson Apr 27, 2017 Link to comment

    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 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.

    Eric Bowling

    • Dale Start 2
      Dale Start Jul 4, 2017 Link to comment

      Hey Ben, did you ever find which version was best to use?

      Eric Bowling

      • Nicola Ursino 1
        Nicola Ursino Jan 24, 2018 Link to comment is perfect. With Android nougat it broke (at least) one feature: sending files through Wi-Fi. This feature is also broken on ES file explorer pro, but it works fine on the bloated version.

    • Brian Jensen 1
      Brian Jensen Jan 4, 2018 Link to comment

      if you like this app so much. why your not buy pro version. 3 usd. is not much. if people not buy the good apps. so it disappear from update.. and the put all that adware--crap in the free version.

  • 1
    Nascar Jenkins Apr 4, 2017 Link to comment

    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.

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