How to manage files on iPad

Discussion in 'iOS / iPhone' started by abenn, Jul 6, 2019.

  1. abenn

    abenn Mobile Deity

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    I'm new to iOS, with a 2019-model iPad, and can't figure out where files are stored, or how to see them. On my desktop PC I've got Windows File Manager and on my Android phone I've got Astro file manager, both of which allow me to view and manage the folders and files. Having just used Send Anywhere to transfer a bunch of music files from my phone to my iPad I'm curious to find out where they've been stored, but can't figure out how to do so. I can play them okay, but only using the Send Anywhere app that did the transfer.

    I've installed an app called File Manager (4.5 star rating in the Apple store) on my iPad, but it simply reports 'Folder Empty', with no indication of which folder it's looking at, and no apparent option to navigate anywhere.

    Is there an app that will function in iOS like the file managers in Windows or Android, or does Apple simply not allow this functionality?

    P.S. I've also tried FE File Explorer, which only displays one folder ('On my iPad') with no files in it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  2. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    I'm also new to iOS. I started using an iPad a few months ago, and asked the same questions. You can read about this here. I quickly learned that the concept of file management is completely alien to iOS. Users are expected to not worry about where the files are stored. To use an iOS device, you must change your focus from files to apps: if you copied music, then you have to open the music player app and play them. If you want to organize the music, do it within the player app via playlists on the iPad or iTunes in your computer, but not via folders and subfolders in a file manager. You don't need to know where the iOS device saved that music, because even if you knew, iOS has no features to let you benefit from that knowledge. Same with videos, documents, etc. I couldn't transfer a PDF to the iPad until I first installed Adobe Reader, and I have no idea where the file is. If I want to email that PDF to someone, I have to open Adobe Reader, and from within it I can share the file.

    I haven't embraced this philosophy, nor I intend to, at least for the foreseeable future. That's why my iPad has been relegated to drone controller for the most part. But just this week I found another use: comic book reader. My Kindle graphic novels and comic books look great in the iPad's 8" screen, compared to my LG G6's 5.7" screen. I find myself using the iPad considerably more time now. Perhaps I'm slipping to the dark side one comic book at a time :D
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  3. headcronie

    headcronie Greyscale. Nuff Said. Super Moderator

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    This is one of the core reasons Apple up-sells their cloud storage and charges ridiculous prices for more local storage. They make it beyond frustrating to manage the meager space they provide which then drives up their total cost of ownership even higher.

    #nothankyou

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 using Tapatalk
     
  4. lelisa13p

    lelisa13p Your Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    *grumble mumble grumble* :vbgrin:
     
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  5. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    That, minus the laughing smilie, has been my usual response when using my iPad. That is, until a few days ago when I started reading books - mostly watching pics- on it. It does have a great screen for that!
     
  6. abenn

    abenn Mobile Deity

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    Thanks for confirming what I suspected. So why does the App Store contain so many apps that purport to be able to 'manage' files on an iOS device?

    I bought my iPad earlier this year to replace an ageing Samsung tablet. I wanted another Samsung but, according to their specs, they were selling with an Android version that had already been superseded. I phoned Samsung to find out if they would be automatically updating Android once I activated the tablet, but they could give no guarantee that they would. In that respect I'm happy with my iPad as they've automatically updated the iOS at least twice since I bought it.

    But this file management thing is a bit of a demerit so far as I'm concerned -- I've used an app to transfer music files from my Android phone to my iPad, but now that I'm using it to play the files I find it's rather limited in its capabilities, so would like to use a more-capable music-player for listening. Without knowing where the files are stored, that seems to be impossible.
     
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  7. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    I'm not completely sure about this, mostly because I gave up on file management under iOS many months ago. But I think the "file managers" shown on the App Store associate themselves with as many file types as possible, so they can grab and move/copy those files. Most file managers I saw have built-in web browser, photo viewer, pdf viewer, video /audio player, etc. Why? Because once the files are grabbed by the file manager they're copied to its own storage location, and then other apps will not see them. I have several pdf files on my iPad, transfered using Adobe Reader, and none of the file managers I tried can even see them. Conversely, if I download a pdf using a file manager, then I can copy/move/share it within the file manager but Adobe Reader can't see it. I can only open it within the file manager. In other words, file managers under iOS are mostly useless.

    Another example regarding file association: my comic books are in CBR format. Universal format, can be read by dozens of apps under Windows, iOS, Android, etc. But to transfer books to the iPad first I had to install a CBR reader. No problem, I installed several to try and see which one is best. But iTunes will only transfer files from computer to iPad to a certain app, so the file is copied to that app's storage area, effectively associating the file with that app. This means every CBR book I copied can only be seen by the app it was transfered to. I can't open it with other apps. If I want to test a second CBR reader I have to copy the file again using iTunes, sending it to the second CBR reader, and no other app will be able to see it. It's very cumbersome, it's a waste of storage, and so annoying that I haven't tested the other CBR apps I installed.

    I think this is why you can play the music you transfered only within the Send Anywhere app. Files are saved in its own storage area, invisible to other apps. If you want to play them with a music app, you'll have to copy them again using iTunes, sending the files to the audio player app.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
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  8. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    Perhaps this article explains it: https://www.alphansotech.com/ios-application-files-and-folder-structure.

    From what I understand, sandboxing is part of iOS's security structure, protecting user data and prevent hacking. Android also uses sandboxing, but the implementation is different. In Android, apps can have more powerful permissions, but in iOS, permissions tend to be more limited.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
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  9. abenn

    abenn Mobile Deity

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    Yes, I've noticed that the couple of 'file managers' I looked at had all the extra functions you've mentioned, so I assume they can only 'manage' files that they've uploaded or transferred from somewhere else. Seems rather useless to me too.

    Edit: Thanks for that link jigwashere, you posted while I was typing. It's all very well sandboxing data like that, but being unable to share files/data between different apps reduces the usefulness of the computer immensely so far as I'm concerned.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  10. scjjtt

    scjjtt A Former Palm User

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    I asked our oldest daughter's husband to read some of these posts. He's heavy into iOS for years. He has no problem with file management because he wants nothing on his computer. He pays & uses cloud storage so he can access whatever he wants from any device. On Dropbox & SharePoint (a business organization form of OneDrive) he uses file management for all his needs & his staff.

    Sent from my LG v10 using Tapatalk
     
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