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qqurioustiger8945

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 9, 2017
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I use Mac, Windows, iOS and Android and I wish to access the files stored on a phone from my computer. I do not use cloud services at all and I do not wish to.

With Windows and Android, I can plug my phone to my computer and fully access, read and write the files stored on my phone from my computer.

Can I do the same on my Mac? i.e., plug my iPhone (or Android) and fully access its files? Kind of like mounting the device as an external drive, basically. If not connection through USB, what about a home network router? (Without a cloud service being the middleman, of course)

Please, again, note I only refer to fully access, read and write all files stored on that phone. In real time (i.e., not having to move the file to the computer first to edit it and then move it back to the phone when I'm done)

Thank you in advance. : )
 

qqurioustiger8945

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 9, 2017
115
2
I think PocketDrive will do what you want.

Thank you for the suggestion.

Do I have to move my files from my iPhone's storage inside the PocketDrive app for it to work? Also, at any given time, (whether when accessing my files from my iPhone or from my Mac over the network) does PocketDrive or anyone else have access to them as well?

Again, thank you for the suggestion, I'll definitely give it a try. However, I would still like to keep this thread open in case someone has a USB/wired solution. ;)
 
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qqurioustiger8945

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 9, 2017
115
2
Somehow I misread your question. I use Phone View and it reveals the file system somewhat, and it works over USB.

I was just discussing this issue with a colleague and I was advised to use a program called iExplorer/iMazing.

While I was checking out PhoneView on MacUpdate, that program also came up on the dedicated relevant apps section.

Do you (or anyone really) have any insight on which one should I go with?

Stability is very important to me, I'd hate to experience bugs or corrupted files. I don't need fancy features, I just need simple and reliable.
 
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barbu

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Jul 8, 2013
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I was just discussing this issue with a colleague and I was advised to use a program called iExplorer/iMazing.

While I was checking out PhoneView on MacUpdate, that program also came up on the dedicated relevant apps section.

Do you (or anyone really) have any insight on which one should I go with?

Stability is very important to me, I'd hate to experience bugs or corrupted files. I don't need fancy features, I just need simple and reliable.
Yes Imazing was the one I couldn’t remember the name, otherwise I would’ve mentioned it too. Both are fine and should have free trials so you can see what’s better for you.
 
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NoBoMac

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Please, again, note I only refer to fully access, read and write all files stored on that phone. In real time (i.e., not having to move the file to the computer first to edit it and then move it back to the phone when I'm done)

Don't think you can do this.

Tools like iMazing will allow you to copy files to/from the device, but an iPhone does not act as a traditional USB drive like Android as the data is siloed in apps. And apps would need to allow moving of data. Tools like iMazing can at times extract files from backups for the apps that don't have file sharing in addition to moving back and forth.

On Mac, the Finder will allow one to copy to/from an app when iOS device is plugged in or on wifi (depending on how one has their phone setup). To copy from, Finder > click on the device > Files, select app, select file(s), drag to computer. Reverse the process to load to.

For example, here's a screen grab of my iPhone and some Podcasts I've downloaded from Mac into Readdle's Documents app.
 

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qqurioustiger8945

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Mar 9, 2017
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Don't think you can do this.

Ok, wait a sec, I'm confused... :S

As soon as a device (iPhone, Android, whatever) is mounted (and I mean actually mounted on my computer like any external HD, showing up on Finder and everything), why would I not be able to browse, and instantly read and write its files located in its storage.

(!) Please note, I am not referring to root/system files, (or in-app files). I am referring to the files one can find in the typical storage of the phone (like the ones we see under the "On My iPhone" location inside the Files app, which has the Downloads folder etc.)

So basically, as long as I made sure that the files I care for are always On My iPhone (and not inside the several apps), I should be able to access them with Finder when I mount my phone as a disk.

Thus, it all comes down to finding the tool that enables me to mount my iPhone in the first place.

At least, that was the way of thinking that led me to make this thread.

(Am I missing something here?) 🤔
 
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barbu

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Jul 8, 2013
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Ok, wait a sec, I'm confused... :S

As soon as a device (iPhone, Android, whatever) is mounted (and I mean actually mounted on my computer like any external HD, showing up on Finder and everything), why would I not be able to browse, and instantly read and write its files located in its storage.

(!) Please note, I am not referring to root/system files, (or in-app files). I am referring to the files one can find in the typical storage of the phone (like the ones we see under the "On My iPhone" location inside the Files app, which has the Downloads folder etc.)

So basically, as long as I made sure that the files I care for are always On My iPhone (and not inside the several apps), I should be able to access them with Finder when I mount my phone as a disk.

Thus, it all comes down to finding the tool that enables me to mount my iPhone in the first place.

At least, that was the way of thinking that led me to make this thread.

(Am I missing something here?) 🤔

You would be able to IF the iThings offered the USB Mass Storage profile. I think the problem is, they don’t. So it will never be able to be mounted as a conventional disk. At least, that is my understanding.
 
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qqurioustiger8945

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 9, 2017
115
2
You would be able to IF the iThings offered the USB Mass Storage profile. I think the problem is, they don’t. So it will never be able to be mounted as a conventional disk. At least, that is my understanding.

I see. 🤔 So, when iExplorer/iMazing (not sure if it's the same thing) or any other software claims to be able to mount your iDevice on your Mac, what exactly does it do? (i.e., I guess it does indeed mount, but which directories do you have access to?)
 
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barbu

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Jul 8, 2013
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those tools use the USB profile that are available such at MTP, etc. There are a whole range of different ways USB devices can operate. They are defined by the device though, so no software can overcome the lack of an available profile.
 
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qqurioustiger8945

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 9, 2017
115
2
those tools use the USB profile that are available such at MTP, etc. There are a whole range of different ways USB devices can operate. They are defined by the device though, so no software can overcome the lack of an available profile.

Got it... :/

Well, if we forget all about USB connectivity, shouldn't I be able to access files between 2 devices connected to the same home WiFi network? But obviously without the use of a cloud storage being the middleman? I am talking direct connection through the router.

Let's say that both are set to allow file sharing, shouldn't I be able to access my phone's files from my computer (and of course vice versa)?
 
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qqurioustiger8945

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 9, 2017
115
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Yes certainly, that would be back to my original suggestion of pocket drive or similar

Sure, except what I mean, is why do we need PocketDrive (or any 3rd-party software really) to be the middleman?

I'd expect to just find my phone under Finder's Network volume without the use of a program. Or maybe, just use some Terminal command and be done with it.

(Does PocketDrive, or anyone basically, have access to my files when it's acting as the middleman in order to connect my devices through my router ?)
 
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NoBoMac

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There is no general file system on iOS, all user data is siloed in apps. So something like PocketDrive, the files you want to access need to be stored in it, it cannot access other app's file space.

And many of these apps that share over wifi are running as a server, so, in most (all?) cases need to be unlocked to access the app server.

https://manuals.info.apple.com/MANUALS/1000/MA1902/en_US/apple-platform-security-guide.pdf (Page 63)

Sandboxing
All third-party apps are “sandboxed,” so they are restricted from accessing files stored by other apps or from making changes to the device. Sandboxing prevents apps from gathering or modifying information stored by other apps. Each app has a unique home directory for its files, which is randomly assigned when the app is installed. If a third-party app needs to access information other than its own, it does so only by using services explicitly provided by iOS and iPadOS.
System files and resources are also shielded from the userʼs apps. The majority of iOS and iPadOS run as the nonprivileged user “mobile,” as do all third-party apps. The entire OS partition is mounted as read-only. Unnecessary tools, such as remote login services, arenʼt included in the system software, and APIs donʼt allow apps to escalate their own privileges to modify other apps or iOS and iPadOS.

"it does so only by using services explicitly provided by iOS and iPadOS" means using iOS Sharesheet to copy/send a file to an app.
 
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jeyf

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Jan 20, 2009
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this is all a grey area for me:
via wifi & smb
i can use the Files app and it seems to use an app in my iPhone "Fie Explorer"
I can sorta move files to from devices on my network to the iphone

Fie Explorer will move files w/ or w/o Files

if you can access files say off a MBP via SMB://MBP
or
or off a NAS box as SMB://myDROBO

again all kinda grey for me
 
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qqurioustiger8945

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 9, 2017
115
2
There is no general file system on iOS, all user data is siloed in apps. So something like PocketDrive, the files you want to access need to be stored in it, it cannot access other app's file space.

Wow, is it the exact same thing with the (official Apple) Files app? Is it just another app which stores files in it? I though it was a file browser, not just another container.

And many of these apps that share over wifi are running as a server, so, in most (all?) cases need to be unlocked to access the app server.

Can you elaborate on unlocked? Thanks
 
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jeyf

macrumors 68020
Jan 20, 2009
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Wow, is it the exact same thing with the (official Apple) Files app? Is it just another app which stores files in it? I though it was a file browser, not just another container.

there is no "Wow" here as the ios "Files" app is not the same ❤love as the macOS Finder.
-there are no stand along objects such as files or directories on an iPhone. As stated this thread all files must be contained with an application. The "Files" app has its own gaggle of files. There is a concept of copy and move but again this is from one closed ios app container to another.
-the "Files" app has only medium support for SMB. So you can SMB into another network device and get a list of files like the macOS Finder. Files's list is what it is; you can not re order the list by date, type or size so again medium SMB support. Once you got the list of files you can copy, move, delete. That is copy / move into a closed container of another ios application tho. Worth mentioning if you delete via "Finder" the file is totally gone no TrashCan.
-on an iPhone using "Finder" mount another device such as a mac book pro or some macOS or Linux network device type SMB://myMBP in Finder's Connect to Server screen. This screen is a little difficult to find but it is there. The finder's version of SMB is a little unstable so everything has to be just perfect. All your network devices are in the same ip address space right? so have your wifi as an access point pass through mode.
-there is a 3rd party ios app called "File Explorer" worth taking a look at.

i put some effort into typing the above but as stated above this is a grey area for me.

methods above would transfer a file object from a macOS device to an ios iPhone. Maybe not so much the other way?

i dont know what unLocked is from a ios user's point of view or how you could use it

good luck
 
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NoBoMac

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Unlocked: meaning you phone is on and not on the lock screen. Once the phone goes to lock screen, you lose the server connection and will need to re-establish a connection. So no real set-it and forget-it type setups to do file transfers.
 
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