Files app gets much better thanks to iPadOS 15

Posted:
in iPad edited June 18
When iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 land on millions of user's devices it will bring a massive influx of new features. The list of additions spans the entirety of the OS, but here we will walk you through all of the changes coming to the Files app.

Files app on iPad Pro
Files app on iPad Pro

New features inbound

The Files app is a fairly recent addition to iPad and iPhone, and Apple has steadily added more features over the years. This year, it becomes even more crucial as iPad Pro now has not only USB-C, but Thunderbolt 3 support as well. If Apple wants the iPad to truly be a do-it-all machine, it needs to ensure it is capable.

Let's dive a bit deeper into these new features for iPadOS 15.




Progress indicator

Preceding iPadOS 15, any time you transferred files in the Files app, users had no idea of the progress of those transfers. For most small documents, iPad is so fast that there is no need. As more work is being done on iPad and larger files are being transferred -- such as managing video footage or large RAW photo batches -- a status indicator is the least we could ask for.

File transfer status indicator
File transfer status indicator


Apple has delivered here with iPadOS 15. Whenever documents are being moved in the Files app, a small circle indicator appears in the top-right corner. When tapped, it will show a progress bar of the transfer. Users can tap edit to cancel multiple transfers at once, but if you swipe from right to left on a transfer, a cancel button will also appear.

This brings increased transparency to working with files and the ability to stop accidental or unnecessary transfers that were in progress.

Marque tool

When using a mouse or trackpad with iPad -- including the iPad Pro's Magic Keyboard -- users have a new way to select multiple folders or documents.

Marque tool in Files
Marque tool in Files


Just like on a Mac, you can click and drag to create a marque to select as many files or folders as you need at once. This is perfect for moving a large number of files, compressing a pile of documents, or just bulk-adding tags.

Groups

Files sorted by Groups
Files sorted by groups


There were several ways to view documents in the Files app, but iPadOS 15 adds one more. Groups are a new sorting option to group documents together based on specific criteria. This, too, is a feature found on Finder on the Mac.

By choose groups, it will split all your documents based on type. You can see all PDFs, photos, documents, videos, and any others.

Group options in Files
Group options in Files


Aside from the type, you can also group by date or size.

NTFS

Partial NTFS support has been added to iPadOS 15, which is crucial for those who are constantly using shared storage with their tablet. For example, if you are given a flash drive formatted as NTFS, you'd previously be unable to view or add documents.

Now, just like with the Mac, users can view any NTFS files on iPad. Users still cannot write to NTFS volumes, but they are at least able to read them. Connect any hard drive, SSD, or flash drive and import any files as needed.

Drag and drop support

With iPadOS 15, Apple has improved multitasking quite a bit. One of those ways is with drag and drop. Users are now able to drag much more than just photos between apps. Users can now drag and drop documents, images, and files from one app to another.

Drag and drop files
Drag and drop files


This is perfect for working in split view.

Android

This is only Files app-adjacent, but when coming to iPhone or iPad from Android, Apple will now transfer your folders and files and everything else.

Coming in the fall of 2021

These improvements to the Files app are only some of the new features coming to iPadOS in the fall of 2021. Stay tuned for more feature deep-dives as we approach the release of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, watchOS 8, and tvOS 15.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    5hortty5hortty Posts: 7member
    I use outlook for iPad and one drive to store documents. When multitasking side by side on iPad, I cannot drag a file from an email in outlook to the one drive app (or the files app with a one drive location favourited). The ONLY was I can save a document from email to one drive is for it to go into a default folder the all docs go into. If I put them in there, I then cannot even move them on the iPad to the relevant client folder in one drive.

    it is absolutely impossible to move a document from an outlook email to a specific one drive folder. I’ve tried all work arounds.

    will this new drag and drop feature solve this. I hope so!!!
    entropysGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 2 of 27
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,620member
    These features sound like they will go a LONG way to resolving the complaints about the Files App. Well, at least the current crop of complaints. 
    StrangeDaysdewmewilliamlondongenovellewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 27
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,209member
    Still weird.
  • Reply 4 of 27
    bohlerbohler Posts: 35member
    Microsoft is not fully supporting drag and drop on the iPad....it is about time for Microsoft to deliver full versions of excel, powerpoint and word on iPad OS as well and to stop crippling office for competitive reasons only! it is an outrage,
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 27
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,388member
    crowley said:
    Still weird.
    Not weird. iPadOS wasn’t designed as a windowed OS like desktops owing to the small screen and large tap targets. Split view is a natural compromise as it allows an app to render in an iPad mini-like size. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 27
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,388member
    In the WWDC demo, drag and drop via Universal Control was amazing — dragging a document from an iPad to an app on a Mac…like magic 
    williamlondonuraharawatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 27
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,104member
    5hortty said:
    I use outlook for iPad and one drive to store documents. When multitasking side by side on iPad, I cannot drag a file from an email in outlook to the one drive app (or the files app with a one drive location favourited). The ONLY was I can save a document from email to one drive is for it to go into a default folder the all docs go into. If I put them in there, I then cannot even move them on the iPad to the relevant client folder in one drive.

    it is absolutely impossible to move a document from an outlook email to a specific one drive folder. I’ve tried all work arounds.

    will this new drag and drop feature solve this. I hope so!!!
    Microsoft does some weird crap with their OneDrive thing. Even on a Mac it gets in the way. On any other app on a Mac, you can tap the file's name in the center of the bar at the top, and make changes and move it around on your Mac's file system. Not in a Microsoft program. Nope. They try to get you to use Microsoft's cloud instead of your own disk or iCloud.  In a Microsoft app on the Mac, you can only save or change your file's name on the Mac's file system by clicking file>save as or whatever.

    So all that is to say if Microsoft manages to do all that on a Mac, I wouldn't hold out much hope of them playing nice on the iPad version of their apps. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 27
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,142member
    What about a list view or giving some sort of control over what files are kept locally or deleted?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 27
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,209member
    crowley said:
    Still weird.
    Not weird. iPadOS wasn’t designed as a windowed OS like desktops owing to the small screen and large tap targets. Split view is a natural compromise as it allows an app to render in an iPad mini-like size. 
    Still weird.
    neoncatGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 10 of 27
    neilmneilm Posts: 893member
    Not “marque,” but “marquee.”
    chadbagwilliamlondonFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 27
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,402member
    Hopefully a lot of this makes it into iOS 15 on the phone.  Files app on the phone is genuinely infuriating when trying to find stuff.  Hopefully with the new Spotlight stuff on iOS you will be able to search for documents based on content.  I often know I have a document I was working with on my Mac and I forget what I called it but I know it’s contents.   Trying to find it on the phone is enough to make me bald. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 27
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,693member
    5hortty said:
    I use outlook for iPad and one drive to store documents. When multitasking side by side on iPad, I cannot drag a file from an email in outlook to the one drive app (or the files app with a one drive location favourited). The ONLY was I can save a document from email to one drive is for it to go into a default folder the all docs go into. If I put them in there, I then cannot even move them on the iPad to the relevant client folder in one drive.

    it is absolutely impossible to move a document from an outlook email to a specific one drive folder. I’ve tried all work arounds.

    will this new drag and drop feature solve this. I hope so!!!
    It’s sad that the world’s biggest software company can’t (won’t?) write software. This feature has been available for a few years now. Complain to Microsoft or use Apple software which is written properly for the platform.


    williamlondon
  • Reply 13 of 27
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,693member
    This race back to the 80s is very disappointing, has Apple lost its innovators? They should be pushing forwards not running back to become an Android wannabe.

    Information Management has moved well beyond File System managers (on or off device). The vast majority of files are managed by the OS & Apps and even user data should be mostly managed by the Apps themselves not prodded & poked at by users. Most App documents are not readable/editable by other Apps anyway and those file formats which are standard (PDFs, HEIFs, MPEGs etc.) should be managed by something more than a tired hierarchy which only allows for a single doc mgt perspective (one file in one place).

    When Jobs claimed to have killed DropBox he was onto something. Apple failed to come up with a solid solution but should still be investing in that vision. Perhaps a decent tagging system to create multiple document perspectives, default cloud document caching, moving device storage to its own place in Settings allowing us to thin each App’s documents back to iCloud to free up space as well as ‘pinning’ specific documents from within the document selectors.
    Anything but 80s tech again.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 27
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,693member
    5hortty said:
    I use outlook for iPad and one drive to store documents. When multitasking side by side on iPad, I cannot drag a file from an email in outlook to the one drive app (or the files app with a one drive location favourited). The ONLY was I can save a document from email to one drive is for it to go into a default folder the all docs go into. If I put them in there, I then cannot even move them on the iPad to the relevant client folder in one drive.

    it is absolutely impossible to move a document from an outlook email to a specific one drive folder. I’ve tried all work arounds.

    will this new drag and drop feature solve this. I hope so!!!
    Drag & drop aside, you can tap the file (to show in Microsoft’s god-awful previewer), tap share, tap Share File via, tap Save to files, from there you can navigate to any folder in any cloud drive.
    williamlondonthtFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 15 of 27
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,006member
    The files app needs a tonne of work. It was based a paradigm where people only tend to use one file type on a project and accessed from the app. This has broken down towards a more rational approach in recent times, but you are really forced to cloud storage. The NTFS read is not useful if it doesn't allow you to write. Similarly OS level access to NS servers would be good.  Third party apps do allow this, but they are usually banned in the workplace. 

    Personally I was disappointed in ipadOs15 mostly because the files app improvement was so marginal.  I was hoping for fully functional file management. not this half step.
    muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondonGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 16 of 27
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,224member
    entropys said:
    The files app needs a tonne of work. It was based a paradigm where people only tend to use one file type on a project and accessed from the app. This has broken down towards a more rational approach in recent times, but you are really forced to cloud storage. The NTFS read is not useful if it doesn't allow you to write. Similarly OS level access to NS servers would be good.  Third party apps do allow this, but they are usually banned in the workplace. 

    Personally I was disappointed in ipadOs15 mostly because the files app improvement was so marginal.  I was hoping for fully functional file management. not this half step.
    What specifically are you looking for?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 17 of 27
    The only reason I bought a MacBook Air is because I can’t attach my optical drive to my iPadPro. Apple for the fail. Unless they are making too much money selling MacBooks for that very reason
    williamlondon
  • Reply 18 of 27
    Does the ‘new’ Files app finally have proper file extension support? At the moment there is shamefully none. I need another app to be able to see or rename a file extension. And what about creating and editing just a simple text file anywhere at the spot? I love my iPad for its hardware but Apple should be ashamed to treat users like little children.
    entropys
  • Reply 19 of 27
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,006member
    genovelle said:
    entropys said:
    The files app needs a tonne of work. It was based a paradigm where people only tend to use one file type on a project and accessed from the app. This has broken down towards a more rational approach in recent times, but you are really forced to cloud storage. The NTFS read is not useful if it doesn't allow you to write. Similarly OS level access to NS servers would be good.  Third party apps do allow this, but they are usually banned in the workplace. 

    Personally I was disappointed in ipadOs15 mostly because the files app improvement was so marginal.  I was hoping for fully functional file management. not this half step.
    What specifically are you looking for?
    Shorter version the same level of functionality and utility in the Files app as in the Finder of MacOS or File Explorer in Windows10 (actually Apple should aim for better). Not that Finder is great, but at least it is functional.

    it is the key reason why the iPad is not a true PC replacement. That and peripheral support.
    edited June 16 muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondon
  • Reply 20 of 27
    nicholfdnicholfd Posts: 608member
    5hortty said:
    I use outlook for iPad and one drive to store documents. When multitasking side by side on iPad, I cannot drag a file from an email in outlook to the one drive app (or the files app with a one drive location favourited). The ONLY was I can save a document from email to one drive is for it to go into a default folder the all docs go into. If I put them in there, I then cannot even move them on the iPad to the relevant client folder in one drive.

    it is absolutely impossible to move a document from an outlook email to a specific one drive folder. I’ve tried all work arounds.

    will this new drag and drop feature solve this. I hope so!!!
    Stop using crappy Microsoft software on an Apple product, and I bet your problem will go away...

    I'm 100% sure this is because Microsoft hasn't developed both Outlook (shitty iOS/iPadOS app) and One Drive to support this properly.
    williamlondon
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