How to Use ES File Explorer APK on Your Android Device

Manage all your Android files and programs with one app

ES File Explorer was once the go-to option for file management on Android, but the introduction of built-in Android file managers effectively rendered this once great app obsolete. Although Google has removed the app from the Play Store, it's still possible to use ES File Explorer on Android devices.

Instructions in this article apply to ES File Explorer version 4.2 for Android 1.6 and later.

Galaxy Z Flip phone
Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

Why Use ES File Explorer for Android?

ES File Explorer does everything the built-in Android file manager can do and more. Its file-management capabilities include managing local files, including root system files and other hidden files on your device. It manages the files in your cloud accounts, including Google Drive, Dropbox,, OneDrive, and more.

ES File Explorer manages how and where storage is used to optimize device performance and connects to devices on your LAN, such as Windows machines and their shared folders. Extra features include a notepad app, a download manager, and a music player.

How to Install ES File Explorer for Android

To use ES File Explorer, you must first download the APK file directly from the developer, ES App Group, and then sideload the app on your Android device. Once you have access to the free version, there's also a premium version you can unlock with an in-app purchase.

ES File Explorer was removed from Google Play in 2019 due to security concerns. Use ES File Explorer at your own risk.

How to Use ES File Explorer on Android

After installing ES File Explorer, launch the app and tap Start Now to accept the privacy policy and terms of service. When you arrive at the Home screen, tap the Menu icon in the top-left corner to view a list of all of the app's functions.

Tap Premium to remove ads, unlock custom themes, and enjoy more extra features.

The ES File Explorer for Android Home screen and main menu

Tap the magnifying glass at the top of the Home screen to search for files by name, and tap the three dots in the top-right corner to reveal a list of additional options. For example, tap Windows to see a list of currently open tools and menus.

Each time you open a menu item or launch a tool, the app creates a new Window. You can have up to 12 windows open at a time; after that, they'll start to overwrite each other.

Search for file with ES File Explorer for Android

Local File Management With ES File Explorer

From the Home screen, open the main menu and select Local to reveal a list of options. Home lets you return to the Home screen, Device takes you to the root directory of your device, Download brings you to your default download folder, and Internal Storage takes you to the location on your SD card.

Local file management options in ES File Explorer for Android

When browsing the file system, navigate the same way you would use a file manager on a desktop system. Tap a folder to descend into it, and tap a file to launch it.

Below the top menu bar is a breadcrumb trail that shows the hierarchy you've traversed to reach the current folder. Use these tabs to go back to previous folders.

How to Move Folders

To start moving files around, long-press on a file or folder to enter selection mode. You're then able to Cut, Copy, and Paste, as you'd expect with a desktop file manager. Tap More in the bottom-right corner to reveal additional options including file sharing, compressing, and encrypting.

Select Library under the Home menu to see your data sorted by file type rather than location.

Move folders in ES File Explorer for Android.

ES File Explorer's File-Analysis Tools

Tap Analyze in the top-right corner of the Home screen for an overview of the data on your device sorted by file category. In addition to the total amount of free space available, it will display the percentage of your storage used by images, media files, documents, and apps.

Tap the arrow beside Internal Storage Analyze to generate more in-depth reports for the individual categories.

ES File Explorer's file analysis tools

How to Access Cloud Accounts With ES File Explorer

To manage your cloud storage accounts in ES File Explorer:

  1. Tap the cloud icon in the history bar at the top of the screen (if one is there), or open the main menu and select Network > Cloud Drive.

  2. Tap Log in to Google Drive to connect to your Google account, or tap Log in with other cloud drive to connect to One Drive,, or Dropbox.

  3. After syncing your accounts, the Cloud Drive screen will show folders representing all your cloud services. Tap the plus sign (+) to add additional ones.

    It's possible to copy or move files directly from one cloud service to another from within ES File Explorer.

    Manage your cloud storage accounts in ES File Explorer.

Browse the Network With ES File Explorer

In addition to cloud services, ES File Explorer has many tools that let you interact with local network services.

Under the Network tab in the main menu, you'll see these options:

  • LAN: Connect to Windows file shares on your local network.
  • FTP: Connect to regular FTP, SFTP, FTPS, and WebDAV servers.
  • Android TV: Browse files on your TV.
  • Bluetooth: Browse or exchange files with other devices via Bluetooth.
  • View on PC: Start an FTP server on your device so that you can enter the URL into a desktop client and access your device's files.
  • Net Manager: Control Wi-Fi connections, or create a hotspot on your device.
  • Sender: Drop files to other devices running ES File Explorer on the same network.

ES File Explorer's Tool & Utilities

The app contains a number of extra features under the Tools tab in the main menu:

  • Download Manager: Enter a URL and filename to begin downloading a file.
  • Music Player: Play music in the background.
  • Cleaner: Scan for trash files, obsolete APK files, ad content, and unnecessary downloads you can delete from your device.
  • Note Editor: Create plain text notes using a basic editor.
The Tools menu, note pad, a Clear app for ES File Explorer on android
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