All iPads All Things iPadOS File System Thread

Discussion in 'iPad' started by loybond, May 28, 2019.

  1. loybond macrumors 6502

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    #1
    What does everyone think? Some time back it was rumoured that we'd see enhanced functionality with the USB-C port, and many took that to mean we'll be able to use external storage. After Gurman's roundup of iOS 13 features, which made no mention of it, it seems talk of this feature (if we can minimize such a big thing to a "feature") has died down.

    Personally it's the feature I want to see most, if I am ever to use the iPad for photo and video editing. I think it would be great to edit on provided I can work with files easily.
     
  2. AutomaticApple macrumors 65816

    AutomaticApple

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    #2
    I know, that would be perfect!
     
  3. jmarttu24 macrumors member

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    #3
    It's the only thing holding me back from buying one. I doubt it will come though, but I hope I'm wrong. My guess is they will make a new model and sell it as the only model that will allow external storage or as I have seen some people suggest, apple could make it's own external drive and sell it at premium markup and make it only compatible with theirs.
     
  4. sparksd macrumors 68020

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    #4
    I'd love to see it too but it won't be enough to induce me to upgrade from my 10.5" 256GB LTE iPP to an equivalent new Pro - prices have pushed beyond my limit for an upgrade this soon.
     
  5. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

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    #5
    Apple thinks we were satisfied with the "Files" app they gave us.

    I do not think Apple will ever give us a proper File system.
     
  6. aevan macrumors 68030

    aevan

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    #6
    Supposedly, there are updates coming to the Files app, and there were some hints that accessing external usb drives could be possible in iOS13.
     
  7. richpjr macrumors 68040

    richpjr

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    #7
    Here is an article on some rumors:

    https://www.idownloadblog.com/2019/04/23/ios-13-media-import-third-party-apps/
    --- Post Merged, May 28, 2019 ---
    I already have one, but it is the only thing holding me back from using LumaFusion for my video editing needs all the time. It's just so clumsy to get media in and out of an iPad now, all due to self imposed limitations in iOS.
     
  8. loybond thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    How much easier would it be if we could keep all the media on an external USB-C drive like the Samsung T5? Or keep your Lightroom library on there? Your Photoshop assets etc.

    Along with that, I think Apple is missing a group of people by not having a full version of Final Cut. To me, with its power, nice screen and USB-C, the iPad Pro is just screaming out for this, and currently, it feels like the iPad Pro doesn't really do much over a basic iPad.

    But of course, for Final Cut, you'd need the ability to download things sometimes. Back to square one.

    --- Post Merged, May 28, 2019 ---
    I think that article is mostly speculation and wishes unfortunately...

     
  9. macfacts macrumors 68040

    macfacts

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    #9
    Allowing external storage access would kill iPad storage upgrades and iCloud sales.
     
  10. richpjr macrumors 68040

    richpjr

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    #10
    It would tremendously simply the workflow. I'd love to use an external drive to import and export photos and videos directly to it. I'd go to LumaFusion full time for video and probably Photoshop when the full version comes out. I could do all my multimedia work on my iPad - it certainly has the power for it.
     
  11. loybond thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Maybe, but it would probably also increase iPad sales since it would really be a computer replacement with that feature. I personally can't think of a lot of reasons to get a laptop if iPads had the file system + external storage. Desktop, that's a different story though.

    If Apple allowed the internal storage to be used a little more freely, it wouldn't be much different from choosing a Macbook with a certain storage. iCloud isn't really a great replacement for storage; its pretty good as far as cloud storage goes, and it has certain uses that still justify its expense e.g. cloud backups for iOS devices.

     
  12. throAU macrumors 603

    throAU

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    #12
    You have been able to use external storage for years at this point.
     
  13. aevan macrumors 68030

    aevan

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    #13
    Just like it kills MacBook sales? That doesn't make much sense. People want big drives inside their devices, especially mobile ones, but they also want external drive support for transfer/importing.
     
  14. richpjr macrumors 68040

    richpjr

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    #14
    I think the point is a lot of people want to be able to plug an external drive directly into an iPad and read/write from it from any app they want.
     
  15. sracer macrumors G3

    sracer

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    #15
    I highly doubt that we'll see that any time soon. Having a universally accessible file system is contrary to the fundamental design of iOS. If anything, we'll see Apple adjust the Files.app to inch things a bit further.
     
  16. richpjr macrumors 68040

    richpjr

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    #16
    Sadly, this is likely true. If the reports that we'll be able to import a picture directly into an app are true, that's a nice, but very small, workflow improvement for a very specific case but will not come close to letting the iPad live up to its full potential.
     
  17. loybond thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Unfortunately, I think you're right about not seeing this type of support. However, I think we see the implementation differently, because I don't think it has to be "contrary to the nature" of iOS.

    You should be able to plug in an external drive and have access to it from apps that support those files. You already have apps that can open most types of files, such as File Browser. I can use that app to access files from my network shares almost like I'm on a computer.

    I have a device called a Ravpower Filehub Plus. It allows me to access hard drives and flash drives, but the iPad has to connect to it via wifi. I should just be able to do the same thing by plugging in directly; it wouldn't really change anything fundamentally.

    It would be very useful if I could keep things like office documents or creative assets (various forms of images, videos, fonts, mp3s etc.) on a drive and use them in a Final Cut or iMovie scenario, as well as be able to open office files from a flash drive, as well as download everything I mentioned from a browser. Ideally, you'd have a portion of your internal storage you could access for these things.

    Having a file system in this way just means added functionality. It doesn't mean it needs to be like Windows or something, where you can launch executables and modify registry files. It just means you don't have to jump through crazy hoops like accessing files through File Browser, Filehub Plus to access your media, having tons of steps to copy files from your SD cards (which doesn't even work if the folder structure is off a little bit).

    I think file system access, even in the limited way I've mentioned, is actually of primary importance looking forward, if this device is ever to actually replace a computer.


     
  18. sracer macrumors G3

    sracer

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    #18
    The fundamental nature of iOS is for each app to have their own sandboxed storage area. This is the thing that makes direct and open access to external storage a convoluted process.

    I too have the RavPower FileHub. Because of the sandboxed storage area for each app, apps cannot access the RPFH directly. It needs an app that can communicate with a file server (which the RPFH is). It is written to natively handle different file types. For those it can't handle, it sends the file to another app. The File Browser app is like any other iOS app and has its own sandboxed storage. It can pull files from a server and place them in its own storage area and then send it to other apps.

    I also have a custom 2-headed USB thumbdrive that has a lightning port on one end, and USB-A on the other. Even though this can attach directly to my iPad, the iPad itself cannot access the files on it. It requires a custom app that acts as a go-between like File Browser does for the RPFH.

    I went through a similar discussion when rumors first leaked about Apple producing a Files.app for iOS that would be similar to mac OS' Finder. People's imagination ran with it and they concluded that Files.app was finally going to be the file system that everyone was waiting for. I said at the time, the Files.app is going to be nothing more than Apple's version of the Documents by Readdle app. That turned out to be true.

    I hope that this time I'm wrong and Apple DOES implement a universally accessible file system.
     
  19. richpjr macrumors 68040

    richpjr

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    #19
    I get why they have chosen the sandboxed approach for security. It really doesn't seem to be that big of a stretch to allow an app to import and export data from an external device into its sandboxed area.
     
  20. sracer macrumors G3

    sracer

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    #20
    Apps can do that now. That is how File Browser and i-USB-Storer work.

    The problems are that (A) each individual application would need to be modified to include that support and (B) there is no standard for those apps to write to. This is analogous to the pre-Apple Pencil situation where there were different makers of bluetooth styli and apps had to add support for a particular stylus.
     
  21. 007p macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Wouldn't that be solved by allowing the files app to manage the external storage? In theory, anything that currently uses the files app should then just instantly be able to access the external storage devices without any additional code on the specific apps part? Basically - just get rid of the 'middle man' app finally. Same could be said if the files app actually allowed you to add other network storage?
     
  22. subjonas macrumors 68000

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    #22
    Is the problem that files.app would need compatibility with each usb/lightning drive on an individual basis? Or there would need to be drives made specifically for the files.app? I’m unclear on this as well. Also not sure what’s keeping files.app from accessing network storage like File Browser does.

    But one of the main features I need is autosync. I use Documents by Readdle for this. It lets me choose which folders to store offline on my ipad from my cloud storage and it keeps it synced as long as the app is open. Ideally, I want to get rid of my limited subscription cloud storage, though, and just autosync it with folders in my home network storage. I think Documents is capable of this, but I haven’t looked into it quite yet.
     
  23. sracer macrumors G3

    sracer

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    #23
    That's a good thought. But ultimately it simply replaces those specialized apps with the Files.app. Files.app would still be the middle-man. It might be the preferred middle-man, but one none the less.

    iOS wasn't designed to be a general purpose OS. Apple has certainly expanded the features and functionality of iOS to go beyond its original design. They've been successful in some areas, not so much in others. But there are (at least) two fundamental design elements of iOS that will prevent it from being that general purpose OS that some of us are looking for in touch devices.

    "dialing back" a MacOS for ARM should be an easier fit for that full function iPad than trying to "lift up" iOS. I think that is the primary reason why Apple has been aggressively expanding storage options. It makes no sense to expand local storage if their goal was to push iCloud... but it makes sense if there will be a macOS-like OS.

    Funny how those who defended Apple's hesitation to expand the storage on iPhones/iPads years ago gave "to push iCloud" as the excuse (even though Apple never said that), are now silent today.
     
  24. itsmilo macrumors 68020

    itsmilo

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    #24
    i would be fine with a dedicated folder for safari downloads from which i can pick an app to open it with instead of doing it the other way around which is SO cumbersome
     
  25. MyRomeo macrumors 6502

    MyRomeo

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    #25
    I’m hoping to see direct SD card / DSLR import to third party apps like Lightroom, skip the need to import via photos would be a big step forward. The ability to export to a usb device would be even better, essentially retire my MacBook for photo editing if we got that. I’ll keep hoping but I’ve a good feeling about ios13!
     

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