Android TV boxes are designed to be easy to use, but this means that many of the backend functions you might be accustomed to working with on something like a PC aren鈥檛 easily available. This can be challenging if you want to manage, move, delete, or install files. For this, you need a file manager application.
These allow you to manage the files that you already have on your TV box, copying, moving, and deleting files and folders, but they also allow you to download and install files from outside the Google Play Store. Don鈥檛 think that it is just obscure apps that you might need a file manager to install. Popular apps such as Google Chrome and Minecraft need to be sideloaded to work on Android TV boxes. You鈥檒l also need a file manager if you want to point your Android TV box to other sources of media, such as a NAS server or cloud storage.
If you speak to anyone about file managers, you will quickly discover that everyone has a favorite, and it can be hard to choose the best. That鈥檚 why we have put together a list of five effective and highly usable file manager apps, each of which should work well for you. They are all available either from the Google Play Store or the Aptoide App Store.Contents hideProduct Links5 Best File Manager ApplicationsBuying GuideFAQsThe Verdict
Below you will find quick links to our top five picks for the best file managers for Android TV box. We鈥檝e also described which type of user is most likely to benefit from which application.
X-Plore File Manager
CX File Explorer
FX File Explorer
5 Best File Manager Applications
1. Downloader 鈥?Best Overall Product
Perhaps controversially, our top choice file manager is Downloader. This app is optimized for browsing the web for APKs for applications that you might want, downloading and installing those applications, and then deleting the installation files that you no longer need.
That part of the process is incredibly easy, but managing all of your files is more difficult; however, the reality is that this is the main thing that most people will use a file manager for. If you want the easiest and best way to install applications without using unnecessary storage space with installation files you no longer need, then Downloader should be your choice.
The app works with your standard Android TV remote control, or it can work with a mouse or game controller. It can also be used to browse the web, and the fact is that good web browsers for Android TV boxes that don鈥檛 require a keyboard are few and far between.
That is why, in our opinion, most standard Android TV box users 鈥?as opposed to superusers 鈥?will be very happy with this file manager.
- Available in the Google Play Store
- Free with options to donate
- Works with standard Android TV remote or another device
- Can be used to browse the web
- Easy to use
You can read our guide to using Downloader here.
2. X-Plore File Manager
If you are going to be managing the files on your device, as well as downloading anything else you need, then X-Plore File Manager is functional and also incredibly user-friendly. It uses subtle design features to make it clear exactly which files you are working with and where you are moving them to, which can be challenging on TV screens.
It has a very useful disk map visualization that helps you to see exactly which files are taking up space on your device so that you can free up what you need.
It uses a side-by-side screen layout, which makes moving files much easier than working with a single folder as you can see source and destination files at the same time.
You can also use this file manager to point to external network drives if you keep your entertainment library on a separate drive or server. You can add cloud storage such as Google Drive, OneDrive, Amazon Cloud Drive, and MediaFire from here.
- Available in the Google Play Store
- Easy to tie into cloud and external storage
- Simple side-by-side navigation
3. CX File Explorer
If you are accustomed to working with the Windows file explorer, you will appreciate that CX File Explorer looks and feels the same. Figuring out exactly what you need to do is very intuitive. It is easy to move files between internal storage locations, including SD cards, and also connect to external storage devices and cloud storage.
It comes with a data storage virtualization feature that lets you understand what is taking up space on your device and where you might be able to find more space for anything you might need.
You can also install APK files from here, and manage the apps that you have on your device. This is very useful if you prefer to do all of your central management in one place rather than switching between apps and settings menus.
It is not the most powerful or sophisticated option on this list, but it is free and incredibly easy to use.
- Available from the Google Play Store
- Manage files and apps in one place
- Looks and feels like Windows file explorer
4. MiXplorer Silver
If you want a more sophisticated app, and you are willing to pay for it, then you will be impressed by the features that come with MiXplorer.
As well as the standard features that we have seen with the other apps that we have already looked at, you get various view modes, multi-tasking options, customizable bookmarks for essential folders, HTML viewer, font viewer, pdf viewer, zip file management, and much more.
Something else that stands out is the ePub and PDF reader add ons. This is something for a niche audience, but if you are in that niche you won鈥檛 find better tools. There are also file encryption and decryption options, you can receive files from servers, and more.
You also get a lot of options when it comes to theming the applications, including downloading and installing icons. This is definitely just icing on the cake, but some people like icing. Finally, there is a free trial option if you want to try before you buy.
- Available in the Google Play Store
- $4.99 with a free trial
- Sophisticated publishing and document editing modes
- Personalization options
5. FX File Explorer
FX File Explorer markets itself as the file manager for the security-conscious user. It features no tracking or advertising of any kind, and every security permission that it requests to work is optional, so you decide what you are willing to give it access to. They make money by selling upgrades to their paid-for service, rather than from tracking and selling data.
Some of the best features of the app include the data visualization that allows you to see where you are using space and automatic cleaning options if you want to create space without looking through files individually.
Browsing for files is intuitive, and there is good search functionality if you are seeking something specific.
The interface feels a lot like the interfaces that you use on your computer, so it is relatively intuitive to get started, but there are also layers of functionality if you want to dive in and complete complex tasks. This means that the app works equally well for beginners and superusers.
You do need to upgrade to the premium FX Plus version of the application for certain features such as network and cloud access, remote access, direct device-to-device file sharing, and app management, but this license key will set you back just $2.99.
- Available in the Google Play Store
- Free and Premium versions ($2.99)
- No adds
- Tight security features
- Excellent search functionality
What should you be prioritizing when you look for a file manager? That depends on what you want to use it for and how much you enjoy poking around in the extra features of your Android TV box.
A lot of users really just want a file manager to download and install APKs so that they can get apps that aren鈥檛 in the app store, and delete files they don鈥檛 need anymore to free up space. If that sounds like you, then something like Downloader does the job, and it does the job even better because you can use the app to locate and download the APKs that you want. With most other file managers you download the files to your computer and transfer them to your Android TV box (using your file manager) in order to install them.
If you are using your Android TV box as a central node in a home media system, you are going to need something more sophisticated. You will want a file manager that lets you organize files on your device, on SD cards, and other external storage devices, and point to your entertainment library wherever you might be storing it, whether that be on the cloud, a NAS, or elsewhere.
If you want to be able to view files such as documents and PDFs from your file manager, you will want something with additional features such as file viewers and editors, like the MiXplorer Silver.
As with most things, the right choice for you depends on what exactly you want to use it for. Also, bear in mind that while these file managers are 鈥渦sable鈥?with your Android TV box mouse, working those onscreen keyboards is a pain. You will want to consider an air mouse or keyboard to make it easier.
Which is the best File Manager for Android TV?
The best file manager for Android TV depends on what kind of access you want to your box back end files and functions. If you just want to download and install APKs, then go with Downloader. If you want superuser-level access to your file setup, then X-Plore file manager is our top choice. If security and data protection are important to you, you might consider paying for FX File Explorer Plus.
Does Android have a File Manager?
While there are limited file management options within the Settings menu of your Android TV box, a file manager does not come as part of the Android TV box operating system. You should be able to delete and move files using the basic functionality that comes with the box, but finding files and identifying hidden files that take up space on your box is incredibly challenging. It is also not possible to manage content on external storage that you have connected to your box, or point to other sources of media that you might wish to access.
While Android TV boxes are designed to be easy to use, that means that when you want to do something more sophisticated it鈥檚 not always easy. You often need to install additional apps and find workarounds. File management is one of those things!
The right file manager for you depends on what you want to do with it. Someone who just wants basic functionality to download and install APKs will want something different from someone managing a media library from their Android TV box. Figure out what you want and then find something that fits.
Hopefully one of the file manager applications on our list will have what you need for whatever it is you want to do with your Android TV box.
What鈥檚 your favorite file manager for Android TV? Share your recommendations with the community in the comments section below.