Files: Serious Learning Curve, or, It Just Sucks?

Discussion in 'iOS 11' started by m0nkeyb0y, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. m0nkeyb0y macrumors member


    Jun 16, 2009
    I'm using Files on an iPhone 7, an iPad mini 2, and an iPad Pro 10.5, which I'm trying to use as a replacement for a 2011 MB Air.

    I've connected Dropbox, iCloud, and Google.

    Files lists files/folders just fine, but inexplicably displays the hidden dot files of OSX. (Would love to hide these, if anyone knows how in iOS Files.)

    I use tags a lot, and they seem to be listed below "Favorites", but clicking on the listed tags doesn't find anything at all.
    Searching doesn't find anything either.
    Trying to "save" things to Favorites on the iPad doesn't always work. Or they disappear.
    Clicking on the "download" overlay on files to save them to the iPad hasn't worked most of the time.

    So, does anyone find Files productive? Is there something wrong with my setup rendering Files crappy? Or is Files 1.0 an alpha build, and iOS 12 will suck less. (I guess the last part is a given.)
  2. gigapocket1 macrumors 65816

    Mar 15, 2009
    I know this was a very excited feature for iOS 11...even I was a tad excited about it.. I think I’ve opened it one time lol. Don’t really see the point
  3. lexvo, Dec 29, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018

    lexvo macrumors 65816

    Nov 11, 2009
    The Netherlands
    Things have improved but Files is not a full explorer/file browser yet. I wish I could add a Webdav share for browsing my NAS for example. (you can add Webdav but only from apps that support it like Numbers). Files is still not a single point from where I can manage all my files (on iOS and elsewhere).

    So for me, Files is partly productive but I still prefer apps that are more MacOS Finder like.

    EDIT: I take this back as Files has annoying bugs. For example copying a file from iCloud to a WebDav share often does not work. Sometimes restarting my iPad helps. Sometimes the folders are not displayed under WebDav in which case restarting Numbers helps. I don’t feel I can seriously work this way.
  4. canesalato macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2010
    It sucks
  5. Pagemakers macrumors 68020


    Mar 28, 2008
    Manchester UK
    It sucks. Another Apple software that could be brilliant but just isn’t because it is half baked.
  6. Saskat macrumors member


    Mar 27, 2017
    I find it very confusing to use. For example it is not always very clear whether a file is saved on my physical phone or somewhere in iCloud. I have to put my phone in airplane mode periodically to check.
  7. RecentlyConverted macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2015
  8. jeremiah256 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2008
    Southern California
    I think you need to tag within iOS or macOS:

    - Open Folders
    - Navigate to the file or folder you want to tag
    - Force Press until the options bar shows up
    - Scroll to the ‘Tags’ option
    - Select the tags you want and/or create a new one

    Edit: So my vote goes toward learning curve.
  9. az431 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 13, 2008
    Portland, OR
    I'll solve the mystery for you:

    iCloud Drive = iCloud
    On My iPhone = Your phone
  10. sparksd macrumors 68000

    Jun 7, 2015
    Seattle WA
  11. Nikhil72 macrumors 65816

    Oct 21, 2005
    It’s a lightweight file browsing application not meant to mimic a full file system but to permit one stop access to your cloud services with a unified file browsing experience across apps that support the API. Not overly complicated, tags and labels sync over iCloud for me, and it’s nice to have one location for my google drive, Dropbox, and iCloud files so that I can bury those extra apps. Drag and drop organizing via iPad is great.

    My only two wishes: pinning files for offline caching, and the ability to share folders, not just files.

    But overall, I found it to be perfectly great for my purposes and canceled my premium storage with Dropbox and google drive and went all in on iCloud and have been thrilled. Even so far as to stop using iPad apps (ahem Microsoft) that don’t fully support the files api.
  12. Saskat macrumors member


    Mar 27, 2017
    See that's what I thought. It really should be simple like that right? But no. Right now I have files under iCloud Drive that I can access when on airplane mode.

    When I try to save files to my phone the "On My iPhone" folder is listed but greyed out and I have to save them to iCloud Drive. And when I go to Files later the files I saved are under iCloud Drive and I do not even see an "On My iPhone" folder. Then I change to airplane mode and I can still access the files in iCloud Drive.
  13. oldmacs macrumors 68040


    Sep 14, 2010
    It's too limited. It's fairly useless as I have to download stuff manually all the time just to use it .
  14. jeremiah256 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2008
    Southern California
    It can get complicated.

    If you go into your iCloud files, some will show little blue cloud icons. These are the files that have not been downloaded to your phone’s folder, and therefore are only online. All others are on your phone but could be embedded within other apps, so not showing up in the ‘On My Phone’ folder.

    In addition, other storage apps, like OneDrive for example, may have separate folders specifically set for offline vs cloud access, embedded with their main folder.

    Best way forward is to pick your main storage service, configure it on your device as you want it (ignoring Files temporarily), then when you are confident of your setup, add it to Files (if not already synced).

    Lastly, there’s no obligation to use Files if it does not fit your workflow.
  15. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    No trouble for me, personally. But I use it for iCloud Drive exclusively. Works great between my iPad, iPhone, MBP and iMac. No visible hidden files.
  16. friednoodles, Dec 31, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017

    friednoodles macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2014
    I think the biggest misunderstanding comes from the "On My [Device]" section, because people think this includes "files from my cloud services that are cached on my local device", which is incorrect. The "On My [Device]" section has nothing to do with your cloud services is just a local folder that contains files that you've decided to save directly to the device you're using.

    (you can copy files from your cloud services to your local "On My [Device]" folder, which just makes a local separate copy of them, like if you were on a Mac and dragged a file from Dropbox to your Documents folder - that file is then just a local copy and any changes made to it don't get automatically pushed anywhere, unless you decide to copy or move it back to one of your cloud services)
  17. Saskat macrumors member


    Mar 27, 2017
    That is my understanding too, but I can't seem to add anything to the "On My iPhone" folder. The "Add" button is always greyed out whenever I try to add.

    While I can access everything I saved to Files under iCloud Drive I don't know if they are cached or actually on my phone. The fact they are listed under iCloud Drive does not give me reassurance.

    BTW, I only add PDF files. Not sure if that is significant.
  18. Jonathantuba macrumors regular


    Oct 6, 2017
    I don’t really understand people’s complaints. Files is not perfect, but it is a very useful tool which i use everyday for business. A file created on one device is accessible on all others linked to iCloud - folders can be created, files renamed, tagged, moved, copied and deleted.

    Two things annoy me - in iOS 10 you could set say Numbers to download spreadsheets created on other devices automatically. That does not now seem an option, but instead if have created sheet on another device, I have to click link to download to iPad from iCloud - really annoying if required somewhere without internet access. I now get around this by always creating spreadsheets on iPad, even if i then are going to edit on Mac. That way it is always synchronised. The reason for having 500Gb iPad Pro is so I can access all my documents at any time.

    The second lesser problem is thumbnails of documents sometimes display, and sometimes not, apparently at random.

    But in most situations Files does its job fine.
  19. Mayanja macrumors member

    Jun 30, 2017
    For me - It works fairly well with iCloud Drive, which also gives the most stable experience. I wish we could make entire folders downloadable and synced the way the Music app does, and that we could keep folders on top.

    For 3rd party services the experience differs, as some services have buggy implementations. They don't always cache files properly for offline use, or don't know what to do when you add a file and you are offline.
  20. niji macrumors 6502a


    Feb 9, 2003
    agree with all your comments.
    its totally fine as is, if you work within the apple macOS-iOS system.
    your idea of "pinning" a file for off-line cacheing is great. sounds doable since apple is trying to market Pages, Numbers, and Keynote 's Collaboration facilities. should be ale to cache it as well. somehow.
    my only request is that they make the space given for a file name shows more characters than the default now. i need to long press on almost any file in order to see the full name.
    tip: Default (colour) tagging for key files is probably easiest way to find things when using the iOS Files app.
  21. Jonathantuba macrumors regular


    Oct 6, 2017
    I guess you use list view? If you change view to icons the full names are shown. At least they are unless you use exceptionally long file names.
  22. friednoodles macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2014
    Ah... this is probably because you don't have any apps installed that support the new local files/storage APIs. The silly thing about "On My iPhone" is that you can't save files directly into that main folder, you can only save them to its sub-folders (and the sub-folders are created by having apps that support the new APIs... you can't create your own sub-folders directly within "On My iPhone", you can only create them inside an existing app's folder in there).

    So if you install Pages, Pages will then show up as a sub-folder of "On My iPhone" and you can save files - any files - into that Pages folder, as well as create sub-folders within the Pages folder. As far as I know, if you don't have any apps installed that support the local files/storage APIs, you won't be able to save files to "On My iPhone" at all. This is totally illogical and they should work out a way to allow it, but it's a current technical limitation due to the way all user files in iOS need to be "owned by"/associated with an app for sandboxing reasons (my thinking is that these files should simply be owned by the Files app itself, but I suspect the technical implementation means it's not that simple... still, Apple needs to fix this, because the current situation of not being able to save files to "On My iPhone" unless there's a supported app installed is silly).
  23. GlenK macrumors 6502a


    Aug 1, 2013
    St. Augustine, FL
    I use files pretty regularly and like it. I do not understand the purpose of the Preview Folder and can't figure out a way to get rid of it. Anyone know how to disable the Preview folder?
  24. Saskat, Jan 2, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018

    Saskat macrumors member


    Mar 27, 2017
    Thank you so much! That makes sense.

    So is there a way to tell if a file saved on iCloud is also saved locally, as opposed to cached? I do a lot of off-the-beaten-path backpacking and it is crucial that my map files are available offline.
  25. Jonathantuba macrumors regular


    Oct 6, 2017
    My experience is once you have opened/accessed the file on the device, it is downloaded- so would advice opening the maps on WiFi before you set off, then you can later access if no on-line connection

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