Apr 19 AT 1:37 PM Guest Blogger 18 Comments

ASTRO File Manager: More than just file browsing

Android doesn’t come with a file manager, however several apps are competing to fill the void. The most feature-rich, ASTRO File Manager, goes surprisingly beyond just browsing files on your mobile phone.

To start, ASTRO offers both the Android standard “list view” and a more desktop-like “icon view” that some desktop PC users may find more comfortable to work with. It also includes other advanced features usually only found on desktop computers, such as image thumbnails as icons, a special built-in image browser, ZIP archive creation and extraction, FTP browsing, directory bookmarks, and a highly customizable file search function. It also offers home shortcuts to any directory.

ASTRO does not stop there. It also backs up free apps, manages running processes, edits music playlists, and examines the SD card to easily display what directories and files are taking up space. But perhaps the most powerful feature is a setting that enables Android’s Internet browser to download any file type. By default, only files with extensions that are recognized and claimed by installed apps can be downloaded. This is a very frustrating limitation of Android, and is a perfect example of how Android’s openness encourages competition to augment and improve the basic functions of the platform.


  • Move/Copy multiple files at once
  • Excellent “.zip” archive support
  • File Search
  • Enable Browser to download any file type


  • Home shortcut to kill all processes

Final Verdict

While there may be other more simple or intuitive file managers available depending on taste, ASTRO File Manager’s feature set and extra tools set it apart from the competition. It’s worth downloading if for no other reason than to enable Android’s included Internet browser to download any file regardless of extension.

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Note: This review was submitted by Lane Montgomery as part of our app review contest.

From time to time we invite guest bloggers to contribute articles about various Android topics. This is one of those times...

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  • http://Website del

    EStrong File explorer is so much better. It can access FTP and Network shared drives. Works great with my NAS.

    • Lane

      SMB network browsing would be a great addition to this app, but it does support FTP/SFTP.

  • http://Website Ed

    The app is over 2mb in size. Waaaay too big for my G1.

    • Lane

      If I didn’t have Cyanogen’s ROM with Apps2SD for my G1, I probably wouldn’t use it either. But if you have the space, this File Manager offers the most bang for your buck. Especially so if you consider that it can replace an FTP app, a task killer, and a .zip archive app.

  • http://Website Anthony

    Linda File Manager offers many of the same functionality and comes it at about 675KB vs. 3.1MB for Astro.

    • Lane

      Linda is a great file manager, but it doesn’t support near the range of extra features as ASTRO, and the point of the review is all the extra things you get with the app.

      I used to use Linda before I switched to ASTRO and I highly recommend it if you are looking for a simple file manager.

      • loic

        how do i use astro on youwave?

  • http://sweeterskins.net Lemon

    +1 for Astro.

  • http://Website Donald

    Quote from article…


    * Home shortcut to kill all processes

    Has that…

    Open Astro
    < Menu button
    < More option ( … )
    < Preferences

    "Scroll down"

    Under helper apps

    Home Screen Icons
    < Open
    < Check Processes

    Hit Home button and BAM its on there it has a black skull


  • http://Website Brian

    Astro would not connect to my SFTP server.. Kept saying “Auth Failed” even though I tested the login info from another machine and it worked fine. Downloaded AndFTP and it worked flawlessly!

    • http://Website Mike

      Had exactly same situation: can login from laptop with regular openssh client (ssh), but not from android SFTP clients.

      “PasswordAuthentication yes” in sshd_config (openssh, server-side) fixed the problem for me.
      Note that it’s actually obsolete way to authenticate, since both pam and openssh support challenge-response auth, and openssh client uses it by default, to avoid transferring non-hashed password even over secure link.

  • http://Website MArcelo Obters

    SFTP nor SMB not working at all, is just a workless feature and doesnt even mention this feature in their website…

  • grandfunnyboy


  • http://Website Nadool

    SFTP works just fine. This offers a lot of great features it just takes some time to get used to, for me at least. Couldn’t find my SFTP directory over and over until I added “\” and it went right to my home dir of my SFTP server.

    The ability to select multiple files is nice because copying and pasting back and forth multiple files one at a time would have been a pain. Is copy/paste the only option for DLing from FTP? Works but seems it should be easier.

    I like it but I am hearing good things about EStrong and will give it a crack. AndFTP was ok but I found this to be much better.

    Not sure what the “Auth failed” issue is about, works fine for me, AndFTP did too.

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  • http://Website technoid

    I wish I could get sftp to work. Seems great otherwise. I get the same “auth fail” exception. wish I could debug this.

  • http://Website Robert

    I get the same auth fail on SMB and I can’t get the FTP nor the Bluetooth transfers to work either. I’d love to be able to add file types to it as well. So i can get my GPX files to open automatically in MyTracks.