Inside iOS 11: Files app brings some user control of documents stored on an iPad or iPhone...

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2017
Apple's iOS 11 brings along with it a new Files app, allowing iPhone, iPad, and Mac users the ability to seamlessly share working documents across iCloud, as well as integrate other online storage services with compatible applications.




The app itself is relatively simple, giving a two panes for recent documents and all documents stored in the cloud. Both are exactly what they say they are, with the former giving a list of all of the user's recently opened documents from iCloud and the latter presenting folders of various application's associated files.

The iOS 11 update's new drag and drop feature is critical to Files, and allows users to move files from folder to folder, or service to service with ease. Users can toggle on or off different apps and services that have Files compatibility, such as Amazon Drive, macOS X Server, Dropbox, or the like.





However, there are some limitations for users accustomed to the Finder in macOS. Files has no integration with other iOS apps by default, and has no ability to talk to macOS on a local network without macOS Server.

We like GoodReader for a PDF consuming tool here at AppleInsider. At present, the GoodReader file repository is stored in the app, and not visible by the Files app at present. This may change in an update to the venerable utility -- but that's up to the developer.

Other than setting up a macOS Server install, there is no way to move a file from macOS to iOS other than using iCloud, Amazon Drive, DropBox or some other service across the internet, rather than keeping the file on the local area network.

Even with the limitations that will only be notable for a small set of users, the Files app is a good move towards fulfilling user demands of more discrete file system access. For the first time, users can move files between apps in a graphical user interface, and not rely on an inconsistent "share" button to move files between apps.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    Except not music or video locally stored on device. That still has to be managed via iTunes on the computer. smh
    dysamoriaSoundJudgment
  • Reply 2 of 34
    Except not music or video locally stored on device. That still has to be managed via iTunes on the computer. smh
    Why not? Drop the files into iCloud Drive on the Mac or Windows (using the web interface) and see and enjoy them in the Files app on the iPad or iPhone.

    If you don’t want to use iCloud, there is a lot of file / download utilities on iOS that accept files under WebDAV from the computer.
    edited September 2017
  • Reply 3 of 34
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,555member
    Damn you, Apple!

    Still no command line!
    No chmod, no vi, no sed, no AWK!

    I can’t even write a shell script to back up our company’s thousand-server cloud farm onto my iPhone!

    Pah! Call this a mobile operating system??



    …thought we’d just get that out of the way first. 
    edited September 2017 GeorgeBMacjony0MartyvH
  • Reply 4 of 34

    Other than setting up a macOS Server install, there is no way to move a file from macOS to iOS other than using iCloud, Amazon Drive, DropBox, or some other service across the internet, rather than keeping the file on the local area network.

    A little misleading here as you can easily use Airdrop to accomplish this and keep the file within your local area network.  It would be nice to see support for connecting to standard file servers added in though.
    dysamoriaSoundJudgmentGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 5 of 34
    Kind of strange, 7plus on build (15A372) and I still don’t have the “ on my iphone “ option on files app, 
    only icloud drive and documents?, yes i did check the “edit” 
  • Reply 6 of 34
    irelandireland Posts: 17,521member
    I have Dropbox app installed and am signed in and it doesn't show up as a Location in Files.
  • Reply 7 of 34
    Except not music or video locally stored on device. That still has to be managed via iTunes on the computer. smh
    Why not? Drop the files into iCloud Drive on the Mac or Windows (using the web interface) and see and enjoy them in the Files app on the iPad or iPhone.
    I don’t want them taking up iCloud space plus as far as I know 3rd party video apps can’t import from iCloud Drive.
  • Reply 8 of 34
    Freedom!

  • Reply 9 of 34
    ireland said:
    I have Dropbox app installed and am signed in and it doesn't show up as a Location in Files.
    Did you go to "Edit" in the top right corner? Some have to be toggled on. I had to toggle on Drive.
    irelandStrangeDays
  • Reply 10 of 34
    Still no local file storage option. 512gb on an iPad Pro should be able to be utilized for LFS. 
  • Reply 11 of 34
    Except not music or video locally stored on device. That still has to be managed via iTunes on the computer. smh
    Why not? Drop the files into iCloud Drive on the Mac or Windows (using the web interface) and see and enjoy them in the Files app on the iPad or iPhone.
    I don’t want them taking up iCloud space plus as far as I know 3rd party video apps can’t import from iCloud Drive.
    That is a limitation of that application. At least they must accept files shared via the Sharing panel. The file is initially stored in the download app's own repository. You tap the Share button and transfer it to the 3d party video app. If that 3d party video app does not appear there, then this is not the fault of iOS nor the initial download application. Use Infuse. It accepts files from many venues.
  • Reply 12 of 34
    Looks good, but it doesn’t seem like a DropBox replacement at first blush. Please correct me if I’m wrong. 
  • Reply 13 of 34

    One thing I noticed about "On my iPhone/iPad" is that you can't save files to the main level, and you can't create or rename folders. You can only put things in a folder for an existing app.

    For example, I wanted to save some web images to "On my iPhone/iPad", but I had to choose an existing app's folder (I chose "Pages") to drop those files into. It is a new folder, not the same "Pages" folder that is on my iCloud Drive.

    I hope Apple will create an update for iOS 11 that will allow users to put files into "On my iPhone/iPad" at the top level, or to create and name their own folders.

    edited September 2017
  • Reply 14 of 34
    jurassic said:

    One thing I noticed about "On my iPhone/iPad" is that you can't save files to the main level, and you can't create or rename folders. You can only put things in a folder for an existing app.

    For example, I wanted to save some web images to "On my iPhone/iPad", but I had to choose an existing app's folder (I chose "Pages") to drop those files into. It is a new folder, not the same "Pages" folder that is on my iCloud Drive.

    I hope Apple will create an update for iOS 11 that will allow users to put files into "On my iPhone/iPad" at the top level, or to create and name their own folders.

    That won't happen. There is no centralized document repository in iOS as one of its main differences from desktop operating systems. in iOS only apps have document repositories. If you need a centralized document repository in iOS then this is the iCloud Drive.
    edited September 2017 GeorgeBMacMartyvH
  • Reply 15 of 34
    Anyone know if there is a way for files app to see and interact with external drives.. (with either wired or wireless connection)? Thanks....
  • Reply 16 of 34
    Anyone know if there is a way for files app to see and interact with external drives.. (with either wired or wireless connection)? Thanks....
    External drives provide their own apps, from there you can copy to iCloud Drive or other app repositories.
  • Reply 17 of 34
    Anyone know if there is a way for files app to see and interact with external drives.. (with either wired or wireless connection)? Thanks....
    Wireless drives work through their own apps. There is NO wired external hard drive support. Documents 6 works easier than Files.app for a direct drag and drop transfer, although Sandisk is now in Files.app. I would guess others (like WD) will soon show up there. 
  • Reply 18 of 34
    jurassic said:

    One thing I noticed about "On my iPhone/iPad" is that you can't save files to the main level, and you can't create or rename folders. You can only put things in a folder for an existing app.

    For example, I wanted to save some web images to "On my iPhone/iPad", but I had to choose an existing app's folder (I chose "Pages") to drop those files into. It is a new folder, not the same "Pages" folder that is on my iCloud Drive.

    I hope Apple will create an update for iOS 11 that will allow users to put files into "On my iPhone/iPad" at the top level, or to create and name their own folders.

    That won't happen. There is no centralized document repository in iOS as one of its main differences from desktop operating systems. in iOS only apps have document repositories. If you need a centralized document repository in iOS then this is the iCloud Drive.
    Never say "never". All Apple would have to do is allow Files.app the same privileges to store files locally as any other app that currently does. They should move in this direction. Constantly re-downloading files (often at great expense over LTE) keeps iPad from being a pro level laptop replacement. 
    entropys
  • Reply 19 of 34
    Anyone know if there is a way for files app to see and interact with external drives.. (with either wired or wireless connection)? Thanks....
    External drives provide their own apps, from there you can copy to iCloud Drive or other app repositories.
    Thanks Macplus 
    my main issue is to see if Files App will interact with external drives.. and act as a consolidated centralized file managment sys. 
    If i have to use other apps to get the task done the whole purpose is defeated. 
    Thanks for the pointers though !

    entropys
  • Reply 20 of 34
    jurassic said:

    One thing I noticed about "On my iPhone/iPad" is that you can't save files to the main level, and you can't create or rename folders. You can only put things in a folder for an existing app.

    For example, I wanted to save some web images to "On my iPhone/iPad", but I had to choose an existing app's folder (I chose "Pages") to drop those files into. It is a new folder, not the same "Pages" folder that is on my iCloud Drive.

    I hope Apple will create an update for iOS 11 that will allow users to put files into "On my iPhone/iPad" at the top level, or to create and name their own folders.

    That won't happen. There is no centralized document repository in iOS as one of its main differences from desktop operating systems. in iOS only apps have document repositories. If you need a centralized document repository in iOS then this is the iCloud Drive.
    OK....  I can live with that.  
    ....  Sort a simplified or bare bones file system.

    The main thing is that I can do what I need to do...   And this seems to handle that OK

    Added: Thinking that through, it makes a LOT of sense.   I have seen some of the biggest confusion among non-computer savvy people is around files vs programs -- and how they all relate (or not!) with each other.    Setting up a table in MS-WORD for a friend last night, he seemed to believe the only way to get to the file was to open WORD and then look for "recent".   I mentioned that there were other ways, but didn't go into detail.  It just wasn't worth it.   He was able to do what he needed to do.
    edited September 2017 MartyvH
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