Two file managers you should download for Windows Phone 8.1

Some of you were looking for file managers for Windows Phone 8.1, so a couple of developers have quickly delivered. These file managers let you access your Documents, Downloads, and other user folders. You can essentially read, copy, and move files.

The two apps that we’re looking at are Aerize Explorer and Pocket Explorer. They share similar features with a few differences. Both apps are currently works in progress but can already be downloaded from the Windows Phone Store.

Aerize Explorer

Aerize lets you manage your files, folders, and storage cards. It is the first file manager for Windows Phone that can read and write files and folders to storage cards and the device file system. This means you can easily move files and folders between your device and microSD card.

Like we mentioned before, Aerize Explorer is still a work in progress. We’re not fans of the current design. It gets things done, but it’s not pretty. For example, the file location address and time stamp are displayed underneath file and folder names. We think these can be omitted or perhaps displayed in a better way.

Aerize Explorer is a free download from the Windows Phone Store.  The developers are listening to your feedback and are responding quickly to requests. Head over to the forums to follow the conversation.

Pocket Explorer

Pocket Explorer also lets you Read, Copy, and Move files around, but we like the design better than Aerize. It looks clean and gets bonus points for integrating your phone’s accent color.

A feature we really like on Pocket Explorer is the ability to pin user files and folders. For example, I have my bus schedule in pdf format pinned to the home screen.

Pocket Explorer is free to try with the purchase option for $1.99 at the Windows Phone Store. It’s currently in beta, but we’re really happy with it so far.

You should install both of these file managers on your Windows Phone 8.1 devices with Preview for Developers.  You’ll see more improvements in the coming weeks as both developers continue to iron things out. Which file manager do you prefer so far? Let us know in the comments!

Mark Guim

Mark Guim is Video Editor at Windows Central. He switched to Windows because the MacBook Pro isn't Pro enough. You can follow him on Twitter at @markguim.

  • What a sniper, just downloaded those two yesterday. If they could access OneDrive too, with copy/cut functionalities, than it would be perfect.
  • With Pocket File Manager (not mentioned in this aritcle) I can copy a file from OneDrive (once you add it) and past it on my phone
  • PFM is the best hands down ! And the developer is very responsive.
    Mark please cover it too, it needs attention ! It gives FULL access to sd card EVEN ON WP8, and gives much more features than these "file explorers" on wp8.1 ...
    WPC wake up !
    P.s. It's official 8.1 release should've happened by now.
  • I keep wondering why sites are claiming these other two apps are the "first" since I recall using Pocket File Manager on WP8 to access the SD card and the local storage.
  • I've been using pocket file manager but it does not compare to these 2 reviewed by wpc as it doesn't access the phones file system like these do. Pocket file manager does have some cool features but in the short time I've used pocket explorer since reading this article, pocket explorer is hands down better since it can access and manipulate all your user files stored on the phone unlike pocket file manager that creates it's own file system within the app.
  • Did you see pocket file manager for 8.1 ? The PFM you talked about was for 8.0 when these explorers weren't even there. The new PFM for 8.1 has most of the old features and a great UI, along with phone storage access. You think he was going to be left behind ? ;)
  • Yes you are right. Using pocket file manager in my wp 8.1. It's more than awesome for accessing SD card.
  • No need for that.File manager will be coming in the official update.If you remember one video of leaks of wp8.1 showed it.So i think there will be no need for these.Still PFM is good but not free so i hate it.We need more free apps to beat other markets though an in-app purchase or donation support is respected but paid apps nah!
  • Use its trial, the only limitations in it is that you cannot delete, use ftp. The rest is fully functional.
  • Thank you. Also, can you post the link of suc a video you spoke of? I'm curious watching at such a great update. Thank you.
  • There's no such thing as official file manager. Officially only a file picker was coming, and it did come. Aerize etc exploit the file picker to show you the files. Pocket file manager has special sd card access permissions from MS for 8.0, and now they've created an 8.1 app too.
  • I was just referring to a statement, which suggested a sort of official fm will arrive perhaps in future updates - I've interpreted them as future WP8.1 GDR1 or GDR2 or WP8.2 WP8.5 or even WP9 ones. Who knows?
  • i use Pocket File Manager too. Purchased the full version. The developer always update the app. Now with WP 8.1 I'm able to rename photos through PFM :) :) :)
  • Pfm needs update as it does not shows folders in phone memory
  • That is because in 8.0 no app can access phone memory, and PFM was the only app which could access sd card. Now the 8.1 version would be out in a day or two, and ir can do everything aerize etc can do, and,better, and more.
  • It can. You have to manually click the '+' sign and add 'Phone Folder'. PFM is better than these 2.
  • I just want one. Which one is better?
  • Try both! I personally like Pocket Explorer more
  • Pocket File Manager is better than both
  • Yes !!
  • +1520
  • It could be when it uses the new 8.1 APIs.  However, at present, these two have far more use than Pocket File Manager.  Pocket File Manager lets you access either its own internal folder (which is pretty much useless for other apps) or the SD card.  In WP 8.1, the file picker lets you access any of the user-accessible folders internally - so Documents, Ringtones, Music, Videos, Downloads, etc (the user-facing folders when you connect the phone to a PC via USB) are now accessible in these two new apps. As good as Pocket File Manager is, until it lets you do that (and I believe I saw in the forums they're starting a closed beta of that soon), it just doesn't compete.
  • He has submitted the 8.1 version (which means the closed beta is now submitted for store) and should be out in a while for the public. It's going to have all the things 8.0 didn't allow it to.
  • The 8.0 PFM could always access the internal files. Pfm has existed with special OEM access for a while- I get that new developers should have a bite at the Apple but it seems most of the wpcentral community didn't even know about it.
  • In my opinion none of these in the article but I haven't tried them. I have pocket file manager and I think, judging by the article, it's more complete than any of these mentioned.
  • While I have no need for a file manager, hopefully this will calm the vocal minority of people that do.
  • If you think it's a vocal minority, head your ass over to MS' WP Feature request forums and get clued in.
  • What does that forum prove? Pro tip: it proves nothing. Having a vocal minority (which still could be hundreds of people, but compared to millions, is very tiny) complain means nothing. For one, look at these forums. There are very long threads and tons of people complaining about bugs, but WPCentral has said multiple times that almost everyone's update (including mine) went smoothly. Or look at Crackberry vs. Android Central. Using your logic of listening to a vocal minority, Crackberry must be 10x the size of Android Central in terms of users, but in reality, Android Central is 4x bigger than Crackberry. It IS a vocal minority (of which you are a part of, clearly) since most people don't even know what it is, let alone want/need it.
  • And how many people asked for transparent tiles?! Or how many asked for the photos hub death, or all the other hubs for that matter?
  • No one asked for the hubs to be changed (not killed), but they're what Microsoft had to do. Previously, they had to wait for an OS update to change anything in the hubs and couldn't fix anything if there was a bug. For them to make their products better, they had to take them out of the OS. I'd take more features over more integration any day. As for transparancy tiles, no one asked for them like that, per se, but being able to put a background image was one of the most requested features since like... the beginning of WP.
  • The file manager request on user voice had over 100.000 votes. So much for your "hundreds of people". Have a nice day.
  • I think that's what he means by a vocal minority. That IS a minority, but they are vocal. I for one downloaded Aerize and will try PFM too. I just can't envision a scenario where I'll actually use these.
  • Last time I checked, you could submit up to 3 votes for a single feature, so that would only be 33,000, which would be .06% of the total WP user base, so... yes, it's a very very VERY vocal MINORITY. Have a nice day.
  • UserVoice isn't a population wide census, but a sample. The fact that a file manager is one of the most widely requested features, i.e. the fact that 30,000 people went out of their way to request one, can be seen as a good indication of lots of people wanting it. At the minimum, it wouldn't hurt having it available. No need to be dogmatic and forcing people to give up on one.
  • My OP wasn't to say that they shouldn't have it, but that the people that want it are a vocal minority. If they add it, fine, but I'll never use it. UserVoice is still only a sample of the vocal minority of a few. People that are satisfied with their phone not having a file manager would never even think to visit UserVoice page, let alone even know what one is.
  • 33,000 - i.e. over thirty *thousand* individuals going out of their way to some site called UserVoice and complain about no file manager is a lot of people.
  • That number is eclipsed by the number of WP users. Minority. Vocal.
  • +810 you win the internet for your logical response
  • Hrmm, what does that forum prove? It's evidence you're full of shit. Compared to the zero evidence you have of a minority.
  • The evidence is that out of 50M users of WP, 100,000 or below have voted for the feature. That, in any language is proof that it's a minority, however vocal.
  • Who proves you are in majority? Arrogance, maybe?
  • WP users are now reckoned to be over 50M and 100,000 people voting for the feature in the Users Voice can definitely be styled "vocal minority".
  • You are seriously in a sorry state of things if you feel that there would be even 1 million people of the 50 million who would be knowing anything about user voice. This is not a minority, it's a majority when you consider that there are millions who would be ready to switch to WP if it gets a file manager. Just go to FB, Twitter or any tech site & you can find people like these easily on any WP topic.
  • And if you think that those people in FB, Twitter, and tech sites plus the 100,000 in UserVoice would come close to a 1M total, you are in a sad state because you are definitely delusional.
  • I have no need for a file manager either
  • But if it could access your PC... That's what I want.
  • Exactly what I was thinking. And if there is a 3rd party FM, hopefully MS won't have to bother with it.
  • Not really. I think what people wanted was to be able to click on a file (or a couple of them) and chose something like "send to folder" and them chose one of the other folders. And to create folders for photos etc on the phone without having to connect it to the PC.   That's something that was even available on Symbian and that I've always missed on WP.
  • While that does sound useful for some people, it's not something that I would need. Idk, I had a Z10 for a while and never even used the file manager, and seeing how when I talk to regular people and say the name "file manager" they go "whaa...." then when I explain it to them they go "that sounds really complicated", I suspect that it's not a feature that most people are craving. Maybe it's because I've never used a phone that has a file manager as my primary device that I don't see a use for it, but I'd rather just handle that on my computer since that's where I back everything up.
  • And that is why you're moving to the X, or Jolla, or Z2, or iPhone 5S, etc., right? So when are you finally moving?!!
  • I would LOVE a file manager... but this isnt the reason why. I want it built into the OS so that applications have access to it. For example, the comic book reader apps and emulator apps cant access any comics/roms you copy to the onboard memory.  You have to import it from skydrive or have it on the SD card (which my Lumia 920 doesnt have). So 600mb comics from skydrive? Not Ideal for me. This might not be the File manager people are asking for but i want this ^ feature on WP. Allowing apps to access the file system even if its a shared portion available when you plug the phone into the PC.
  • "Two file managers you should download..."   Why? I have never, not even once, found myself needing to manage any files on my device.  It makes no sense.
  • Yeah me too. But this one should shut up people out there who whining about file manager.
  • What a stupid comment. There where already file managers for WP in the 8.0 version. What people want is for it to be in the OS. I have no need for Cortana, in fact, the vast majority of WP users don't even have access to it, so according to your logic Microsoft should kill it.
  • Heh. When feature absent, people call for it. When it's available, you wanna ditch it cause of some nonsense reasons. Meh tired of people like this.
  • The APIs are new in 8.1, so no there were no real file managers for WP8. There were a few apps that saved files to the camera folder because WP8 allowed that. They only worked with a few file types and are not even close to being the same thing.
  • It's funny because my dad lost his mind when he found about push email... "BUT I DON'T WANT PUSH EMAIL...NO PUSH...NOOOO!!!" Simply put, there are people who like things a certain way, e.g. control over their content, no push email, etc. It's better to give them that control than to try and convince them to change their ways, you won't win.
  • I have a 64GB Lumia 1020. I have a RIDICULOUSLY long camera which until these file managers came along could only be managed by connecting my phone to the computer.
    You may have no use for file managers, but there are definite scenarios where we can all benefit from having one.
  • You're wasting your time. Some people are just like that. If they don't need it then it proves nobody needs it.
  • I'm of the view that it doesn't hurt having one.
  • That's not true. Apple did it.  Repeatedly.
  • Sometimes you might need to rename a file, or bulk delete videos. Also there is a Download folder which is not accessible elsewhere.
  • +1020  
  • Why is Pocket File Manager always left out?
  • Good question...
  • And it's been around for quite some time, even allowing for transfers from phone to SD card on WP 8
  • No dog in Mark Guim's post......OMG!
  • Google is feeling lazy today
  • Lol
  • Aerize UI is very bad . They need to change it and do it as es file explorer in android .
  • Why does it have to be like Android?
  • Doesn't have to be like android, just like another app on Android.
    ES has one of the best touch interfaces I've ever seen in a File Manager. No reason to mess with success. Can try for better but it'll be a very tall order.
  • In WP we have modernUI, though.
  • What is all this hate for people wanting more features? That's backwards. There are plenty of use cases where file manipulation is useful. Just because some people can't envisage a use for a file manager - well that's the reason why finance, political enterprise and high level enterprise in general uses blackberry and/or are migrating to android devices. Choice is a good thing. Surely. And perhaps there are some being more vitriolic in their opines but that is not the case for all.
  • Oh, good grief. Whatever.
  • Absolutely! It would be much easier to not use it, than to complain about why people want it.
  • Pocket File Manager is best
  • The Nokia 808 PureView cameo made my day! I must charge my 808 and let it take a few pictures for old time sakes. Thanks for the reminder! Mark, do you still use your 808 for anything?
  • Is it possible with these app to open a local html file? I know that's weird bit it's what I need!
  • Don't get the need for a file manager on the phone, personally. But... to each his own. I suspect Microsoft will release an official one at somepoint, maybe along with Remote Desktop or something. Definitely doesn't need to be built into the OS though.
  • Yeah, probably at the same time when they release remote desktop for Windows Phone. I think the release date of RDP for WP is in 2019. Perhaps, it'll come with Windows Phone 9. In the meantime, i've been almost using it daily on my Ipad. Works pretty good btw. On the Ipad. With IOS. By Apple. The competitor. :| I can't help but feel Microsoft is really dropping the ball on app support of their own ecosystems. Gives a clear signal to developers.
  • Lol, and within the hour: Should've posted this rant sooner! :D
  • Do either of these apps allow me to send a PDF as an actual attachment (not a OneDrive link, which many corporate users are prohibited by policy from opening)?  To clarify, suppose I reveive an email with an attached PDF.  Can I save the PDF, then send it using either of these apps?
  • You can attach a PDF through the Office app. You just can't reply to an email and attach a PDF. Edit: In your case scenario, why wouldn't you just forward the email with the PDF already attached?
  • Because maybe they don't want the recipient seeing the rest of the email chain? Either way, Pocket Explorer lets you send PDFs through email (and unlike the Office hub, multiple PDFs per email if you choose.) The email app still needs an update to give it file picker support as well, but this is already a huge improvement over previous options. Edit: Of course though, the email app doesn't currently save to any of these folders (I mean common sense would have it saving to Downloads, but it doesn't) so it wont quite work for that scenario now that I think of it.
  • Pocket Explorer has a better UI.
  • Not able to find pocket file manager in store why?
  • Isn't managing file storage location in the OS? I mean, I've got a choice of phone, card or one drive, or connect to a PC and move to it. Why should I download betas to be a guinea pig for a developer? Kind of like paying someone to stick me with a needle...why would I do that?
  • So you can easily move an individual folder of images between 2 locations using the phone? Or create a folder in your camera roll and then sort your images without the need of a pc? Didn't think so. That's a seriously bad attitude to have towards the developers. Without devs like this, you would have nothing.
  • I can't even start to comprehend how idiotic your comment is. Unreal...
  • Need for file manager had more than 100000 votes but still ms didnt gave their own file manager withh full features..the most imp feature i was looking for..
    Fuck u ms
  • Well these apps wouldn't be possible without the changes Microsoft made in 8.1, so I would say they are half way there
  • I hav not yet updated to 8.1
    Can u tell me whether call recording is now working or not ?
  • Hate on MS, but not being able to use Google or Bing. Priceless.
  • Why?  Why on earth?
  • [[midfing]]
  • Meh still doesn't mean its necessary to the os
  • I'm in a band, and although I can save recordings of our practise sessions (which I upload to OneDrive), having a file manager helps me to keep all our music together in one folder. Much more convenient for subsequently opening in the music app...
  • Mark, Pocket File Manager is 10x better then these. You really need to add it to your article. The UI might not be as good, but it's so much more feature rich. Can add multiple OneDrive accounts and copy complete folders from a OneDrive account to my phone.
  • Pocket File Manager can't access the internal memory, only external. On my Lumia 920, PFM only works for pictures.
  • Yup, same here. ONLY pictures.
  • Pocket Explorer for sure
  • Aerize explorer is much better
  • Can anyone share a working link to pocket manager? thx
  • If you want to share any file through bluetooth is that possible without any file manager?
  • Do an article on Pocket File has been overlooked...way too much!! Its by far the best file manager in store..
  • It can't access all folders in phone. Only pictures. They need to update
  • PFM is great piece of software, much better than this two software.
  • Pocket File Manager is great if you are working with the external memory, but it can't access the internal memory. On phones lke the Lumia 920 you can't do anything with PFM, only access to pictures.
  • And it's to be said, moving a picture from a subfolder to another with the Pocket File Manager - at least on a Lumia 920 - doesn't work. I mean, the picture is moved into the new subfolder seen in the Pocket File Manager, but, if you close it and open the system Picture Hub, you keep on seeing the picture in the former subfolder, as if no action were performed through the Pocket File Manager. It's a shame. And nobody speaks about it. Pocket File Manager is exalted by the taking in press, teasing it to be the best file manager of the universe, but it neither works with a folder.
  • Top to bottom:
    1. Pocket File Manager - awesome fantatic but needs design retouching
    2. Pocket explorer has a meet design but less functionality and needs an urgent update, crashing alot when hiting refresh or back and only folders are being displayed with no files.
    3. Aerize Explorer, haven't tried it yet.
  • Aerize works great for me. Pocket doesn't see my music files on my sd card. Aerize works great. And I like the design with the big icons so I can see easily the files and folders. I will keep Aerize. Lumia 720, WP 8.1 Preview
  • I wish these explorers can find out where downloaded PDFs from email are stored on the phone so we can use these file managers to move these PDFs and attach them to email. This would solve the PDF problem on Windows Phone. I can use Pocket Explorer to find PDFs stored in my documents folder and attach to email but for some reason PDFs downloaded through email can only be found when I open Adobe Reader. So the question is where are these PDFs downloaded from email stored and is there a way for developers to access that location so that we can permanently move and save these files?
  • The file picker APIs pretty much only give access to these folders. I don't know for sure but I'd guess that email attachments are saved into the email app's Isolated Storage folder, so that only things that are explicitly given permission such as the Office hub can touch them. Really, the email app just needs an update.  We need to be able to pick where files get saved to (using the file picker APIs this is now possible), we need to be able to attach any file to an email within the email app (same), and there needs to be a bunch of other improvements as well (I for one would love if the Windows Phone email app actually worked with aliases, for example). Really, the only hope would be if Email is decoupled from the OS and can get updates similar to Music and Videos, but I'm not sure that's the case.
  • In short, Windows Phone is just too strict with user accessible files. They should have implemented a common system wide storage area which all apps can access to. All the current implementation is making Windows Phone looking lame, just like iOS.
  • No, that's not actually what I'm saying at all.  In 8.1, there IS a common system wide storage area.  Apps just need to be updated to take advantage of that, including Microsoft's own email app. Sandboxing of applications is a good thing sometimes.  I don't want some app I download to touch my emails, for example.  But I do want the ability to choose where I'm saving a file in the email app when I hit save as.  And as I said, 8.1 fully enables this... Microsoft (and all other app developers, for that matter) just needs to update their app to take advantage.
  • Glad that you brought up this issue TJWINS. Infact I am frustrated with this inability of WP OS to save pdf's to a folder since owning the phone. How could MS lure professional business people to use windows phone without such functionalities?
  • Doesn't Cortana do this?
  • Am I the only one whose Pocket Explorer tabs are blank? I only see the headings there (Music, Video, etc) with no folder listed under them...
  • I got both ;)
  • I am the main person to download an app because its Why not give it run.
  • Both not installing... Error: 80073cf0
  • Pocket file manager is still more awesome than the above two file managers mentioned
  • Still hoping for microshit to provide explorer/file manager OTG. If nothing happens then bye MM Oy. Patiently waiting......
  • Still hoping for microshit to provide explorer/file manager + OTG. If nothing happens then bye MM Oy. Patiently waiting......
  • Pocket file Manager is the bessst! U can rename the file extension & extract .rar & .zip files in your phone itself!!! Wow!!
  • I don't want to be ungrateful, but these are pretty weak file managers. I realize it's through no fault of their own; MS limits access to everything. I almost wish I had nothing at all, instead of this "nibble".
  • Still nothing beats Pocket File Manager. ;)
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  • My major complaint against Aerize is the lack of preview for the files. For example, if I want to move photos, it would help to be able to SEE them instead of having to guess which is which. That's what Pocket Explorer has currently that I like better than Aerize.
  • Any one else experiencing crashes on pocket explorer when trying to open the music folder?
  • I tried Aerize and it is really good. Now I can send any file on my phone using bluetooth. Even if the file type is not recognised by WP I can send it over bluetooth. This a feature that I needed very much. Now I can send files which are recognised on other phones like Android or Symbian using bluetooth, this has really made sharing very convinient.
  • Is there a way to send/share my .DNG files through one of those file explorers? Sometimes I am not home and would like to get the .DNG files off my #1020 and show to friends.
  • Funny ...the people who claim not needing a filemanager are the ones whining about not needing one on a thread about filemanagers
  • There is this option in Office that says SD Card ( On WP8.1), whenever i click on it it doesnt do anything. Has anyone used it recently and can someone tell me how to fix this. Thankx
  • No it does what it can. It shows the supported files for office, even it shows the PDFs too. But on tapping on PDF files it redirect to chhose app with which it can be open.
  • No what I meant was when i click on the option nothing happens. I stay on the same page. Dunno how to fix this. BTW NOT Complaining Love the Wp8.1, Cant remember how i used my phone without Wp8.1 LOL
  • Hey guys, now that we have 8.1 how do we get to the QR reader that was part of the OS when you hit the Search button in 8.0?
  • If you are Using Cortana go to the Action centre and disable location. After that when you hit the Search Key you're "Original" Bing with the QR Reader will be available, after using enable location to get Cortana back
  • And yes, Pocket File Manager is the only one which allow to view the app data on phone. No other explorer even doesn't show the "WPSystem" Folder.
  • You won't be able to see hidden files and folders in new PFM version for WP8.1 because of that new way to access files. When MS will fix their problem with access rights, PFM for WP8.1 will show hidden files again.
  • Azerie crashes for me when trying to access my large list of files in SDcard, pocket works but they both pale in comparison to pfm. How could they not? Pfm has special permissions.
  • There is also a new version of "Pocket File Manager" specifically for WP8.1 available today. Version is absolutely great.
  • Windows Explorer is the best file manager on Windows Phone 8.1 for just 0.99$
  • Is there a way to get the full version of pocket explorer for free?
  • Aerize is the best.
  • Aerize is not there, can't find it :S
  • If you have small kids at home, chances are they often use your phone to play games.  
  • Pocket Explorer doest recognize my SD card and im on 8.1   useless app...
  • nice plz visit