A great way to spot an Android geek is to see if they have ES File Explorer installed. According to Google Play Store stats, apparently there are more than 50 million of them out there. Which is great.
But I have a feeling that not all of them are aware of the awesome power of this one little, unassuming app. At Guiding Tech, we’ve written about all sorts of awesome Android apps for protecting your data, managing files, streaming files, transferring them, and a lot more. If you’re ready to put your foot down and use ES Explorer for all that it’s worth, you can delete almost all of those from your phone. Yes. ES is basically a dozen apps in one.
1. ES Gets File Management Right
Let’s address the obvious here. ES is not the best looking app out there. It hasn’t even been updated to Material Design standards, though I don’t think it should be. I’m doubtful that it even can be. ES’s design language is extremely utilitarian.
That means it’s feature-rich, and when we’re talking about the basics of file management – copying files, moving files, deleting files and transferring them, ES is the best out there. Just long press a file/folder and you’ll get hot corner options.
If you have to use ES File Explorer, here’s what you need to do – explore. Check out the sidebar. It’s where you’ll find all the features. The Options bar at the bottom is where most of your interactions will take place. And then there’s a sidebar on the right side. It will house all the windows and your clipboard.
Go to the folder in question and just create a new file called “.nomedia”. Now, when Android is scanning your drive for media, it will ignore the folder that has this file in it.
As you can see below, it works.
Left – after enabling hiding. Right – before.
4. Connect Shared Folders from PC and Transfer Files
From the sidebar, select Network -> LAN and tap Scan. In a couple of seconds, the PC that’s on the same network will show up. So will all the shared folders you’ve enabled.
Now you’re free to stream movies from your PC to your Android phone/tablet, copy stuff over, or send files to your PC.
The speeds are what you’d normally expect for wireless transfers. I got about 3/4 MBPS. It’s about half of what I get when using a data cable. But hey, no cables!. It took me around 8 minutes to transfer a 1.5 GB file. And yes, it can work in the background.
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For more information, check out the video below.
5. Create and Share APKs and Files with Other Android Phones
I think an app like Xender is probably the best bet for sharing app files, photos and videos with your friends, but this is something ES can do as well. It will let you extract the apk file from an installed app that you can then share with your friend’s Android phone using ES File Explorer.
From the sidebar, select Local -> Apps, then select the apps and tap Backup. You’ll find the app apk in the Backups folder.
6. Play Movies and Music, Stream to Chromecast
ES comes with a very basic video and music player. It’s not that much better than the built-in video player that comes with most Android phones.
Select the file or folders, tap the More button and select Compress. You’ll get an option to compress it using 7z or zip format. You can password protect the zipped file as well.
Extracting compressed files is easy. All you need to do is tap on an archive and you’ll see its contents. Tap the Extract button to extract the zip.
9. Robust Download Manager
Android has a built-in download manager, but ES’ is better. For some reason, I couldn’t get it working for direct link clicks. If you have the same issue, you can copy the link, go to Download Manager > New and paste the link to start the download.
Unlike the built-in download manager, ES will tell you the download speed and the exact percentage of completion. Most importantly, you can pause downloads without worrying about corrupting the file. If you’re downloading huge files, just send them over to ES.