Introduction: Material Design file manager for Android
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An open source Material Design file manager, for Android 5.0+.

Download: Google Play, Coolapk, APK



  • Open source: Lightweight, clean and secure.
  • Material Design: Like the good old Cabinet, with attention into details.
  • Breadcrumbs: Navigate in the filesystem with ease.
  • Root support: View and manage files with root access.
  • Themes: Customizable UI colors and night mode.
  • Linux-aware: Like Nautilus, knows symbolic links, file permissions and SELinux context.
  • Robust: Uses Linux system calls under the hood, not yet another ls parser.
  • Well-implemented: Built upon the right things, including Java NIO2 File API and LiveData.

Why Material Files?

Because I like Material Design, and clean Material Design.

Even among the apps with Material Design, they (more or less) have various minor design issues (about layout, alignment, padding, icon, font, etc) across the app which makes me uncomfortable, while still being minor enough so that not everybody would care to fix it. So I had to create my own.

Because I want an open source file manager.

Solid Explorer, Root Explorer and MiXplorer are all powerful and feature-rich file managers, but just, closed source.

I sometimes use file managers to view and modify files that require root access, but deep down inside, I just feel uneasy with giving any closed source app root access to my device. After all, that means giving literally full access to my device, which stays with me every day and stores my own information, and what apps do with such access merely depends on their good intent.

Because I want a file manager that is implemented the right way.

Before I started working on this project, I investigated the existing open source apps, mainly source code of the abandoned Cabinet and source code of Amaze File Manager.

  • They both built their custom models for file information (cabinet/, AmazeFileManager/, and mixed the path of a file with the information about a file together. Such way of abstraction might be in good shape in the beginning, but then it grows over time and eventually becomes a terrible mixture of everything.

    On the contrary, Java 8 has came with the NIO2 file API, a (comparatively) well designed abstraction for files, which is able to accommodate the similarities and differences of filesystems across Linux, Windows and macOS, and clearly separates the concept of a Path and how to get information about the file for that path (FileSystemProvider).

  • They are both parsing the output of ls (cabinet/, AmazeFileManager/ A proper file manager should never parse the output of ls, because there is just no reliable way to determine which part of that output is a file name, and if there's ever a file with an unexpected name, the app might crash or surprise user in even more unexpected ways. Moreover, parsing ls requires launching a whole new process every time, which noticeably slows down the loading time. And even if the app uses the old Java File API when possible, its symbolic link handling just won't let a file manager implement file operations correctly.

    The proper solution to this is to use the Linux system calls, because Android is built upon Linux, uses the file system mechanism of Linux, and file managers should be Linux-aware. Only by using the system calls directly instead of a fragile or limited intermediate, will file managers be able to handle file names, symbolic links, ownership and permissions correctly.

  • Their source code, organization or quality, just isn't in my own personal flavor to work on to build the best file manager for Android.

Because I know people can do it right.

Nautilus is a beautifully-designed and user-friendly file manager on Linux desktop, and it's fully Linux-aware. Phonograph is an open source Material Design music player app (which I've been using for years), and it has just the right Material Design and implementation.

So, it's time for yet another Android file manager.


Copyright (C) 2018 Hai Zhang

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
(at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
along with this program.  If not, see <>.
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