Apple 'Files' app for iOS 11 appears on App Store ahead of WWDC

Posted:
in iPhone edited June 2017
A placeholder listing for an as-yet-unannounced app called "Files" was spotted on the iOS App Store just hours ahead of Monday's Worldwide Developers Conference, suggesting Apple plans to grant users direct file management access in iOS 11.




Spotted by developer Steven Troughton-Smith late Sunday, a listing for Files appeared in the "Utilities" section of the App Store. The asset has since been pulled.

Apple failed to provide information alongside the app, though the title's icon is a familiar blue file folder similar to those used in macOS. Screenshots were also unavailable. The only tidbits revealed from the now removed listing were requirements regarding iOS 11 and 64-bit file structure support.

Though mere speculation, Files hints at a potential rethinking of iOS file management. More specifically, Apple could be on the verge of releasing an app that allows users to directly access iOS system and app files.

Since the launch of iPhone in 2007, Apple has gone to great lengths to obscure individual files from its portable device users, leaving data management largely to apps and services. While the method keeps iOS simple, some power users view it as a weakness.

The Files app listing is likely an App Store placeholder for an upcoming system app Apple intends to include in iOS 11. Apple introduced the ability to remove -- but not completely delete -- first-party apps from the home screen in iOS 10, a long-requested feature that minimizes feature bloat. The company makes those default apps available for download on the App Store so users can reinstall them at a later date, if they so choose.

Separately, Troughton-Smith also noticed a listing for the Activities app, suggesting that title will be a removable item in iOS 11.

AppleInsider will be in San Jose providing live coverage of WWDC 2017 starting at 7 a.m. Pacific.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    virtuavirtua Posts: 209member
    Where was Ming chuo kuo on that one 😜 

    This is about time.  Logic on iPad Pro next please.  
  • Reply 2 of 20
    lowededwookielowededwookie Posts: 1,052member
    I doubt Apple will allow system access. That's not the direction they've headed with iOS.

    I suspect it will be a cross platform method of accessing files bringing a similar "Finder" interface to macOS and iOS. It seems the most logical idea and will require iCloud therefore I suspect it's a replacement for the iCloud Drive app.
    SpamSandwichtdknoxrazorpitjbdragonpscooter63Hypereality
  • Reply 3 of 20
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,297member
    This would be a major improvement and very welcome. Better late than never. I hope it can be used to place files directly into a 'watch' folder and have music, videos, books etc picked up without having to sync first.
  • Reply 4 of 20
    rolandgrolandg Posts: 632member
    I was hoping that Apple would be courageous and revolutionize the way we deal with "files" and ditch the old paradigms of files and folders in favor of a keyword-based system.
    Hypereality
  • Reply 5 of 20
    boboliciousbobolicious Posts: 983member
    I'm at the point where I'm hoping for a 'pro' version of iOS + MacOS, stripped of all the consumer targeted 'features' and an ability to operate independently of iCloud (completely off by default or absent) for strict client privacy compliance and presumably more bug free performance. Just a beautiful, simple high performance GUI for pro hardware that is also more user configurable, upgradable and repairable...
    edited June 2017 bloggerblog
  • Reply 6 of 20
    irelandireland Posts: 17,785member
    Ha, at this being the only software leak and it was intentional.
  • Reply 7 of 20
    williamlondonwilliamlondon Posts: 1,114member
    rolandg said:
    I was hoping that Apple would be courageous and revolutionize the way we deal with "files" and ditch the old paradigms of files and folders in favor of a keyword-based system.
    They have the ingredients for such a system already in Tags. I agree that a semantic file system would be a much better way to implement file system management than the hierarchical-based systems most often used today (we really do need to move beyond that legacy system of yore). Perhaps others here know if the new file system (APFS) implements Tags or tagging/file metadata any differently??
  • Reply 8 of 20
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    Well that would suck!    Anything ICloud related would be an issue as there is an assumption people have 24/7 access to the network.

    That being said I don't think they need to give access to the entire file system to solve some major problems with iOS.   All they need is a place to manage files, a repository if you will.    The problem with iOS is the assumption that you will want to open a file with the same app every time.   That doesn't work in every case, some times you need to caress a file with multiple apps.

    The thing here is that of late I've become more and more frustrated with iOS on iPad.   I don't care on iPhone as the phone is too important for mess things up.   One of the issues on iPad though is file management, if you want to use the device as more than a toy you need to be able to do smart file management.   Hopefully this is an indication that Apple is on the verge of dealing with many of iOS's issues that keep power users off the platform.   I know right now I won't be buying a new iPad with the current limitations.   So lets hope that this is a sign from heaven that Apple does get it an expects to modify iOS on Pad to support advanced users.
    cropr
  • Reply 9 of 20
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    That would be absolute evil.    Having a couple of data bases at work that I have to work with I can easily say that nobody constantly uses keywords.   Further database searches for keywords are far more difficult that browsing a directory structure.
    williamlondonmike1SpamSandwichdavidmalcolmilovemompscooter63zoetmbrepressthis
  • Reply 10 of 20
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,348member
    Great rating ;-)
  • Reply 11 of 20
    hmlongcohmlongco Posts: 374member
    It could let you manage files on the device, as well as being a way to access files on a device. What if Apple let your iPhone or iPad effectively be a WiFi accessible hard drive? 

    You could store presentations or whatnot on it, then access them as needed using another device.

    (Kind of hoping for a solution to the TSA's proposed laptop ban.)
  • Reply 12 of 20
    rolandgrolandg Posts: 632member
    wizard69 said:
    That would be absolute evil.    Having a couple of data bases at work that I have to work with I can easily say that nobody constantly uses keywords.   Further database searches for keywords are far more difficult that browsing a directory structure.

    Thing is, one has to come up with a filename anyway, which basically is a set of keywords. And other metadata could automatically be derived from the object to be stored itself (like location data is extracted from digital photos).

    I admit that it will take some getting used to especially for people that are accustomed to the now common hierarchical system. And even this could be emulated with a metadata/keyword based system.
    williamlondonnetmage
  • Reply 13 of 20
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    Oh Boy!  Another step in the steady march towards making IPads functionally equal to MacBooks....
    -  Processor power:  Check (comparable to Intel M series anyway)
    -  Storage capacity:  Check (again, especially at the low end and aided by ICloud)
    -  Keyboard:  Check
    -  File System:  Check
    -  Touchpad/Cursor:   ????

    The terror on faces of Mac devotees...  
    ... It's ok....   Things will work out.   Don't panic!
  • Reply 14 of 20
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,297member
    I doubt Apple will allow system access. That's not the direction they've headed with iOS.

    I suspect it will be a cross platform method of accessing files bringing a similar "Finder" interface to macOS and iOS. It seems the most logical idea and will require iCloud therefore I suspect it's a replacement for the iCloud Drive app.
    Just give me access to media I load on to my device via iTunes. Or better yet don't make us have to use iTunes to get media onto a device. Oh and make media (outside of photos) stored on the device accessible via share sheet. How hard is that?
  • Reply 15 of 20
    firelockfirelock Posts: 231member
    rolandg said:
    I was hoping that Apple would be courageous and revolutionize the way we deal with "files" and ditch the old paradigms of files and folders in favor of a keyword-based system.
    I work with DAM (digital asset management) systems and it is important to understand that keywords/tags and folder/directory hierarchies are all just metadata that is displayed in different ways, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. Keywords are essential to search, but unless you are willing to type an complicated search query, will often get more results than you need and therefore make it more difficult to find the specific item that you want. Also, for keyword searches to be fully efficient, you have to be 1) VERY consistent about how you apply the keywords, and 2) make sure that sufficient numbers of keywords are applied to make sure the search queries can filter out what you don't want to find. Let's say for example you want to find photos of apples in an image database. You type in "apple" in your search string but in addition to fruit you get computers. You could do a Boolean search such as "apples NOT computer" or "apples AND fruit" and hope that the person who keyworded the files added the keywords fruit and computer to the images, too. Whereas if there were directories already set up that had "Fruit > apples" that would be easier to find. This gets even better in systems that are not file systems per se, but databases where the files can show up in multiple directories.
    pscooter63Hypereality
  • Reply 16 of 20
    DracarysDracarys Posts: 72member
    ireland said:
    Ha, at this being the only software leak and it was intentional.
    Why would they intentionally leak something the morning of. Doesn't sound intentional at all to me.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 17 of 20
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    rolandg said:
    wizard69 said:
    That would be absolute evil.    Having a couple of data bases at work that I have to work with I can easily say that nobody constantly uses keywords.   Further database searches for keywords are far more difficult that browsing a directory structure.

    Thing is, one has to come up with a filename anyway, which basically is a set of keywords. And other metadata could automatically be derived from the object to be stored itself (like location data is extracted from digital photos).

    I admit that it will take some getting used to especially for people that are accustomed to the now common hierarchical system. And even this could be emulated with a metadata/keyword based system.
    Everything in the same file system just have to have the same tags, if you want the directionality of old file systems, you can just pile on the tags and give them "levels". Want shortcuts/links, put in a link, etc.

    Info should have metas and be connected to a web of related data (type of relation to be defined, part of a group (felide englobes cats and lions, cause (heat causes evaporation), effect (universe is result of big bang), state (water, ice, gas, liquid)).

    Even better, files are in fact searchable, you can then find what the hell your looking for.

    The main hick to that is that tagging (or assigning filename and directory names) and been mostly manual and that's why often file systems and your personal mp3 or video collection is a complete mess.

    Even Youtube clips aren't properly tagged and they're the personal responsibility of people who post there and they should be motivated for people to find their clips.
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 18 of 20
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,385member
    I'm at the point where I'm hoping for a 'pro' version of iOS + MacOS, stripped of all the consumer targeted 'features' and an ability to operate independently of iCloud (completely off by default or absent) for strict client privacy compliance and presumably more bug free performance. Just a beautiful, simple high performance GUI for pro hardware that is also more user configurable, upgradable and repairable...
    Why do people keep hoping that Apple will become something fundamentally other than what they are? A combined iOS + MacOS that would let "pro" users customize and micromanage system configurations is a description of Windows, except for the privacy compliance and more bug free performance. The privacy and bug-free things actually become less possible with greater user access to configurations and whatnot under the hood. Privacy is achieved by steadfastly keeping people who are not Apple out of certain parts of the system. 'Less buggy' is directly related to the limiting of variables, which Apple traditionally achieves by not granting as much user access under the hood. They also achieve less bugginess by not trying to create a single, combined all-things-to-all-people OS that's supposed to run everything from a workstation to a phone. That's what Windows does if you want it, but it comes with the bugs, because it's pretty much impossible for OS designers to anticipate every possible hardware configuration and user configuration under the hood that Windows OS is expected to accommodate. If you want the flexibility, you have to accept the responsibility that you could make things bang into each other and break. If that's what you need, please go buy Windows stuff. That's what it's there for. Just don't root for Apple to become not Apple. Some of us prefer their approach and would like for it to remain as an option.
    edited June 2017 Rayz2016
  • Reply 19 of 20
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,625member
    firelock said:
    rolandg said:
    I was hoping that Apple would be courageous and revolutionize the way we deal with "files" and ditch the old paradigms of files and folders in favor of a keyword-based system.
    I work with DAM (digital asset management) systems and it is important to understand that keywords/tags and folder/directory hierarchies are all just metadata that is displayed in different ways, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. Keywords are essential to search, but unless you are willing to type an complicated search query, will often get more results than you need and therefore make it more difficult to find the specific item that you want. Also, for keyword searches to be fully efficient, you have to be 1) VERY consistent about how you apply the keywords, and 2) make sure that sufficient numbers of keywords are applied to make sure the search queries can filter out what you don't want to find. Let's say for example you want to find photos of apples in an image database. You type in "apple" in your search string but in addition to fruit you get computers. You could do a Boolean search such as "apples NOT computer" or "apples AND fruit" and hope that the person who keyworded the files added the keywords fruit and computer to the images, too. Whereas if there were directories already set up that had "Fruit > apples" that would be easier to find. This gets even better in systems that are not file systems per se, but databases where the files can show up in multiple directories.
    Boolean can be confusing to those who don't really understand it.   I used to design CD-ROM search systems for metadata that were quite powerful but there was always a set of users who would confuse "AND" and "OR" (because they would think, "I want books with red and in the title AND I also want books with blue in the title" which is a Boolean OR.    There was also the issue of hierarchy.   Our users could enter green and (red or blue), but they would expect green and red or blue to provide the same result when in effect, the latter was (green and red) or blue.   One of the nice things about those search systems was that they had browsable indexes (using b-trees) and one could execute complex search queries like comput$ and (pu=addison or mc-graw) and py>1985 and il=x and pr<30 to find all computer books (including compute, computer, computing, etc.) published by Addison Wesley or McGraw Hill that were published after 1985,  illustrated and cost less than $30.  Try doing that today on Amazon or Google.  And this was over 30 years ago.   

    While I frequently use Apple's search to find files, 9 times out of 10, it returns far too many irrelevant results and the results don't return in a prioritized order.   Exact matches should return first.   I almost always wind up browsing for the file, which is easier, but it certainly depends upon how organized one's files are.   A non folder approach makes more sense for people who are "sloppy".   A folder approach makes sense for people who are highly organized.   One of the things I don't like about iTunes and especially iMovie and some other Apple apps is that it's very unclear where the OS is placing all the files and whether or not I can move them without issues. 
  • Reply 20 of 20
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,238member
    Oh Boy!  Another step in the steady march towards making IPads functionally equal to MacBooks....
    -  Processor power:  Check (comparable to Intel M series anyway)
    -  Storage capacity:  Check (again, especially at the low end and aided by ICloud)
    -  Keyboard:  Check
    -  File System:  Check
    -  Touchpad/Cursor:   ????
    However it's an app, not a system wide implementation
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