Fatyank

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Original poster
Jan 20, 2008
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I’m still transitioning from Android to iOS and having issues (confusion) with figuring out what is stored on internal storage on my iPP 12.9 second gen device. I can find ICloud storage but not internal storage. I want to download files from iCloud to internal but haven’t figured out how to create folders in internal storage once I do find it. Settings says I have 16gb of storage used but for what! Storage space not a problem, I have the 512gb iPP.
Am I missing something simple? Android listed internal storage and SD card storage separately. You could move items back and forth as needed, create folders etc. Each storage area had a list of folders or individual files so you knew exactly what was where. The usual cloud storage was available also.
Help Please!
 

rui no onna

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Oct 25, 2013
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You don't have access to the underlying file system on iOS, unfortunately. Apart from cloud storage, you don't really get shared internal storage. Files are stored on app by app basis.
 

sparksd

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Jun 7, 2015
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I’m still transitioning from Android to iOS and having issues (confusion) with figuring out what is stored on internal storage on my iPP 12.9 second gen device. I can find ICloud storage but not internal storage. I want to download files from iCloud to internal but haven’t figured out how to create folders in internal storage once I do find it. Settings says I have 16gb of storage used but for what! Storage space not a problem, I have the 512gb iPP.
Am I missing something simple? Android listed internal storage and SD card storage separately. You could move items back and forth as needed, create folders etc. Each storage area had a list of folders or individual files so you knew exactly what was where. The usual cloud storage was available also.
Help Please!

I also came over to iOS from Android and found the file system confusing. This site has a basic description of how things work:

https://developer.apple.com/library...de/FileSystemOverview/FileSystemOverview.html
 

Fatyank

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Jan 20, 2008
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Chandler, Arizona
You don't have access to the underlying file system on iOS, unfortunately. Apart from cloud storage, you don't really get shared internal storage. Files are stored on app by app basis.
What if I have say “Audio” files in iCloud but want to move them to internal storage. How do i do that?
 

Puonti

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Mar 14, 2011
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What if I have say “Audio” files in iCloud but want to move them to internal storage. How do i do that?

Since you can’t create your own folders on your iPad’s local storage, you’ll first need an app that will create one for you. Preferrably you want an app you won’t be removing from the iPad by accident as that will also remove all of the files stored within the app’s folder.

I recommend that you pick an app meant for organizing files since those will register as document sources for iOS 11, making it easier to deal with files - one such app is Documents. I’ll use it as an example here:

https://itunes.apple.com/fi/app/documents-by-readdle/id364901807?mt=8

Once you have the app installed go to Settings -> Apple ID -> iCloud and disable iCloud for the Documents app. This makes sure it won’t start using iCloud Drive for anything (otherwise it will create a ”Documents by Readdle” folder in your iCloud Drive).

Start the Documents app up and create a new folder within it - you can call it ”Audio” for instance.

Start the Files app and verify that in addition to ”iCloud Drive” and ”On My iPad” you now see ”Documents” under the ”Locations” list on the left side of the screen. Documents is now a locally stored document source.

Choose ”iCloud Drive” under ”Locations”, navigate to the folder where you have your ”Audio” files, select the ones you want to store locally and choose ”Move” from the tool bar at the bottom of the screen. Find ”Documents” from the list, and then your ”Audio” folder within it.

You’ll notice that you won’t actually have an option to ”Move” in the folder view, only ”Copy” (in the upper right corner of the folder view). If you don’t want to leave the files in your iCloud Drive, after copying them to Documents you have to delete them manually from iCloud Drive. That will not remove them from ”Documents/Audio”, but do a test run with a file first to verify that it works as I describe.

Congrats, you now have local copies of your files. The Documents app should be able to play them back, too, unless they are in some exotic file format. You can even search for them from within Files, or iOS’s Spotlight.
 
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canesalato

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Since you can’t create your own folders on your iPad’s local storage, you’ll first need an app that will create one for you. Preferrably you want an app you won’t be removing from the iPad by accident as that will also remove all of the files stored within the app’s folder.

I recommend that you pick an app meant for organizing files since those will register as document sources for iOS 11, making it easier to deal with files - one such app is Documents. I’ll use it as an example here:

https://itunes.apple.com/fi/app/documents-by-readdle/id364901807?mt=8

Once you have the app installed go to Settings -> Apple ID -> iCloud and disable iCloud for the Documents app. This makes sure it won’t start using iCloud Drive for anything (otherwise it will create a ”Documents by Readdle” folder in your iCloud Drive).

Start the Documents app up and create a new folder within it - you can call it ”Audio” for instance.

Start the Files app and verify that in addition to ”iCloud Drive” and ”On My iPad” you now see ”Documents” under the ”Locations” list on the left side of the screen. Documents is now a locally stored document source.

Choose ”iCloud Drive” under ”Locations”, navigate to the folder where you have your ”Audio” files, select the ones you want to store locally and choose ”Move” from the tool bar at the bottom of the screen. Find ”Documents” from the list, and then your ”Audio” folder within it.

You’ll notice that you won’t actually have an option to ”Move” in the folder view, only ”Copy” (in the upper right corner of the folder view). If you don’t want to leave the files in your iCloud Drive, after copying them to Documents you have to delete them manually from iCloud Drive. That will not remove them from ”Documents/Audio”, but do a test run with a file first to verify that it works as I describe.

Congrats, you now have local copies of your files. The Documents app should be able to play them back, too, unless they are in some exotic file format. You can even search for them from within Files, or iOS’s Spotlight.

Nice work explaining a super complicate procedure for such a basic thing (unfortunately, and it's Apple's fault, not yours). One thing I would add is that if you use “Documents” by Readdle, you don't have a complete solution from Files: you can create folders and move files in, but you cannot delete them. Once they are there, they are "trapped" within, and you need to access them from the documents app to be able to delete.
 
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kristalsoldier

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Aug 10, 2013
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Nice work explaining a super complicate procedure for such a basic thing (unfortunately, and it's Apple's fault, not yours). One thing I would add is that if you use documents by Readdle, you don't have a complete solution from Files: you can create folders and move files in, but you cannot delete them. Once they are there, they are "trapped" within, and you need to access them from the documents app to be able to delete.
Do you mean the Files app that Apple put in with iOS 11? If not, can you explain please? Thanks in advance.
 

Eric5273

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Apr 12, 2009
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Nice work explaining a super complicate procedure for such a basic thing (unfortunately, and it's Apple's fault, not yours). One thing I would add is that if you use “Documents” by Readdle, you don't have a complete solution from Files: you can create folders and move files in, but you cannot delete them. Once they are there, they are "trapped" within, and you need to access them from the documents app to be able to delete.

I don't even use the Files app. I just use Documents as my file manager. I find it much more useful than Files. It has more capability, which of course not everyone needs. For example, you can also sync a local folder with a cloud folder. Documents is my most used third party app on my iPad. I use it to transfer files between FTP sites, cloud storage, and to backup and archive files for my company in zip files.

You can also add Documents to the iOS document picker so you can access the files stored there from within any other app that has an open file feature. I often attach files stored there to emails and upload files stored there to the web in Safari.
 
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Fatyank

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Jan 20, 2008
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Since you can’t create your own folders on your iPad’s local storage, you’ll first need an app that will create one for you. Preferrably you want an app you won’t be removing from the iPad by accident as that will also remove all of the files stored within the app’s folder.

I recommend that you pick an app meant for organizing files since those will register as document sources for iOS 11, making it easier to deal with files - one such app is Documents. I’ll use it as an example here:

https://itunes.apple.com/fi/app/documents-by-readdle/id364901807?mt=8

Once you have the app installed go to Settings -> Apple ID -> iCloud and disable iCloud for the Documents app. This makes sure it won’t start using iCloud Drive for anything (otherwise it will create a ”Documents by Readdle” folder in your iCloud Drive).

Start the Documents app up and create a new folder within it - you can call it ”Audio” for instance.

Start the Files app and verify that in addition to ”iCloud Drive” and ”On My iPad” you now see ”Documents” under the ”Locations” list on the left side of the screen. Documents is now a locally stored document source.

Choose ”iCloud Drive” under ”Locations”, navigate to the folder where you have your ”Audio” files, select the ones you want to store locally and choose ”Move” from the tool bar at the bottom of the screen. Find ”Documents” from the list, and then your ”Audio” folder within it.

You’ll notice that you won’t actually have an option to ”Move” in the folder view, only ”Copy” (in the upper right corner of the folder view). If you don’t want to leave the files in your iCloud Drive, after copying them to Documents you have to delete them manually from iCloud Drive. That will not remove them from ”Documents/Audio”, but do a test run with a file first to verify that it works as I describe.

Congrats, you now have local copies of your files. The Documents app should be able to play them back, too, unless they are in some exotic file format. You can even search for them from within Files, or iOS’s Spotlight.

Thank you. Very comprehensive but understandable. That cleared up a lot for me. I’m still withdrawing from Android. Now I’m trying to figure out syncing files between my iPhone and iPad using Readdle Documents. Trial and error but i think i have it figured out.
[doublepost=1512526301][/doublepost]
I don't even use the Files app. I just use Documents as my file manager. I find it much more useful than Files. It has more capability, which of course not everyone needs. For example, you can also sync a local folder with a cloud folder. Documents is my most used third party app on my iPad. I use it to transfer files between FTP sites, cloud storage, and to backup and archive files for my company in zip files.

You can also add Documents to the iOS document picker so you can access the files stored there from within any other app that has an open file feature. I often attach files stored there to emails and upload files stored there to the web in Safari.
In files manager i have my Google Drive, Drop Box, One Drive and of course iCloud. How do i remove those accounts except iCloud from Apples file app. When they are removed will they still show up in Documents?
When I download to Documents app and place in Documents folder are the files now on my iPad or still in the cloud?
 

Abazigal

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Jul 18, 2011
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Thank you. Very comprehensive but understandable. That cleared up a lot for me. I’m still withdrawing from Android. Now I’m trying to figure out syncing files between my iPhone and iPad using Readdle Documents. Trial and error but i think i have it figured out.
My experience with handling files on the iPad tells me that it's generally easier to store your files in a cloud storage solution (likely dropbox), then sync it to your iOS devices via the documents app (which lets you download and store them on your device for easy access even in areas with poor or no connectivity).

If I have files stored offline in the documents app, it's typically files I download from Safari, or mail attachments. Else, it's the best compromise between storing your files natively on your iPad and syncing them to your other devices.
 
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canesalato

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My experience with handling files on the iPad tells me that it's generally easier to store your files in a cloud storage solution (likely dropbox), then sync it to your iOS devices via the documents app (which lets you download and store them on your device for easy access even in areas with poor or no connectivity).

If I have files stored offline in the documents app, it's typically files I download from Safari, or mail attachments. Else, it's the best compromise between storing your files natively on your iPad and syncing them to your other devices.
Say you store your files offline on your iPad flash drive. How do you back them up? Well...you still need iCloud, with all its limits. There is no other way (unless you have a computer with iTunes, but I'm talking about notebook replacement), might as well use a cloud service. I think what's missing from the iPad is external storage support and a local backup solution (aka time machine).
 

Abazigal

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Say you store your files offline on your iPad flash drive. How do you back them up? Well...you still need iCloud, with all its limits. There is no other way (unless you have a computer with iTunes, but I'm talking about notebook replacement), might as well use a cloud service. I think what's missing from the iPad is external storage support and a local backup solution (aka time machine).
Apple seems to want to push everyone to cloud computing with the iPad. So maybe we will never get external storage support or time machine backup. Even their USB adaptor is wonky - it's supposed to let me view photos at least but I have great problems getting it work right.
 
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canesalato

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Apple seems to want to push everyone to cloud computing with the iPad. So maybe we will never get external storage support or time machine backup. Even their USB adaptor is wonky - it's supposed to let me view photos at least but I have great problems getting it work right.

That's what I hate about the iPad. its development always followed Apples "pushing" priorities more than user needs. But then marketing is trying to push it as a laptop replacement. Well...at least we have seen some baby progress with iOS 11, but please, for iOS12 Apple, sort out file management on iOS, I have been waiting for 7 years :(
 

Abazigal

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That's what I hate about the iPad. its development always followed Apples "pushing" priorities more than user needs. But then marketing is trying to push it as a laptop replacement. Well...at least we have seen some baby progress with iOS 11, but please, for iOS12 Apple, sort out file management on iOS, I have been waiting for 7 years :(
Yeah, it's weird that I still can't create folders in the files app and save files there. Looks like the Documents app lives on to fight another day.
 

canesalato

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Yeah, it's weird that I still can't create folders in the files app and save files there. Looks like the Documents app lives on to fight another day.
The fact that on the forums I always see "dark mode, new icons, redesign theme" as most requested features, makes me feel a bit desperate. =)
I'd like proper file management (including external storage) and mouse/trackpad support
 
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Eric5273

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In files manager i have my Google Drive, Drop Box, One Drive and of course iCloud. How do i remove those accounts except iCloud from Apples file app. When they are removed will they still show up in Documents?
When I download to Documents app and place in Documents folder are the files now on my iPad or still in the cloud?

Which cloud accounts you have set up in Files has noting to do with which ones are set up in Documents.

In Documents you will notice on the left panel there are two sections: "On my iPad" and "In the Cloud". Under the "On my iPad" section you have "Documents" and "iCloud". The "Documents" section is what is stored locally on your iPad. "iCloud" should really be in the "In the Cloud" section -- I'm not sure why they put it in the "On my iPad" section, but it is indeed what is stored in iCloud Drive.
 

Puonti

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Mar 14, 2011
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Say you store your files offline on your iPad flash drive. How do you back them up? Well...you still need iCloud, with all its limits. There is no other way (unless you have a computer with iTunes, but I'm talking about notebook replacement), might as well use a cloud service. I think what's missing from the iPad is external storage support and a local backup solution (aka time machine).

It’s worth keeping in mind that iCloud is not backup. Yes, you can recover files that have been deleted from it (I think for 30 days, if you go to icloud.com), but it’s still just one place where your files exists - even if it’s shared by multiple devices. If you lose a file on iCloud, there’s no guarantees it’s also cached on all of your other devices by the time you realize the problem.

You should have two, preferrably three distinct copies of a file to make sure you can recover from a disaster. iCloud is helpful if you combine it with a laptop or desktop system that keeps its copies of iCloud files up to date AND you routinely backup that computer via Time Machine or some other backup system. But if your digital life depends solely on iOS devices and iCloud, that’s not a good place to be backup-wise.
 
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canesalato

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It’s worth keeping in mind that iCloud is not backup. Yes, you can recover files that have been deleted from it (I think for 30 days, if you go to icloud.com), but it’s still just one place where your files exists - even if it’s shared by multiple devices. If you lose a file on iCloud, there’s no guarantees it’s also cached on all of your other devices by the time you realize the problem.

You should have two, preferrably three distinct copies of a file to make sure you can recover from a disaster. iCloud is helpful if you combine it with a laptop or desktop system that keeps its copies of iCloud files up to date AND you routinely backup that computer via Time Machine or some other backup system. But if your digital life depends solely on iOS devices and iCloud, that’s not a good place to be backup-wise.
I agree with you. Everything on my iCloud is also backed up from my Mac via Time Machine. But what about an iPad only user? Apple implemented things so that anything which is on iCloud Drive / iCloud Photo Library cannot be backed up via iCloud. It tells me that (even if I don't agree) Apple considers iCloud a backup. I'd like to hear your opinion on this. =)

Edit: for the records, and to confirm what Puonti says, 2 months ago I had a catastrophic data loss on iCloud drive. About one hundred important files lost for no reason, deleted from all my devices. No way to recover them from the iCloud website. Luckily I had Time Machine backups, made from my Mac. If I had notice too late, Time Machine would have made a newer version of my Mac backup synced with iCloud and the files would have been deleted even from the local drive.
 
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Eric5273

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Apr 12, 2009
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New Jersey
Here's how I organize and backup my business files:

I do everything in the Documents by Readdle app. First, I store all of my files and folders in iCloud Drive. To make things easy, I created a single folder in iCloud called "Files", and then all my other folders and all my files are inside that folder.

I also have a OneDrive account that I get for free with my Office 365 subscription. Once per week I download the entire "Files" folder from iCloud Drive to local storage in Documents. And then I zip that entire folder into a single zip file. I then mark the file with the date and upload it to OneDrive in a folder I made called "Backups". That serves as my backups, same as if you had Time Machine working on your iPad. Once in a while I clear out some old ones that are more than a year old, and I keep one backup from the first of each year permanently.

My business files are mostly PDFs, Excel and Word files, and total a couple of thousand files and take up about 1-2 GB of space total. I suppose if someone had a much larger amount of files that this process would not work. But for me this backup process takes about 5-10 minutes, and I can walk away while waiting for the download and zipping to happen. I find this is the cleanest and easiest way for me to make sure all my files are backed up in a second location.

Another strategy I have considered is that there are companies that offer a Microsoft Office 365 backup service. It basically backs up your OneDrive (and your emails, contacts, calendar too) daily and keeps previous versions of all files. These services seem to run about $30-50 per year, which I don't think is bad at all. If I had a much larger volume of files on my iCloud I would probably move them all to OneDrive and then use this kind of backup service.

I actually prefer keeping them in iCloud rather than OneDrive because overall iCloud seems to play better with many apps. So I just use OneDrive for my backup storage.
 

Puonti

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Apple implemented things so that anything which is on iCloud Drive / iCloud Photo Library cannot be backed up via iCloud. It tells me that (even if I don't agree) Apple considers iCloud a backup. I'd like to hear your opinion on this. =)

First of all I’m glad to hear your smart backup strategy saved your files!

The way I’m looking at it is that (as you hint at above) Apple themselves say iCloud Backup does not back up iCloud Photo Library or iCloud Drive, for instance:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207428

So to clarify I should say I don’t consider iCloud *Drive* to be a backup. iCloud Backups are a backup (still just a single backup, though), but since they don’t contain your iCloud Drive files...

And this isn’t just limited to iCloud Drive - Dropbox works the same way last I checked. For an iOS-only setup one “backup” strategy might be to store duplicates of all files on a variety of cloud storage services and / or local network drives. I’m not sure how much effort that would take, though, considering how closed up iOS is (for better or worse).

(actually, just above this post Eric5273 outlines a backup strategy much like this - thanks!)
 
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Fatyank

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Okay, lets backup for a minute! Sorry, couldn’t resist that. There is a wealth of information here that i can put to good use. I do not have a laptop or desktop computer. I chose several years ago to go with tablet/iPad and a smart phone. All of my pre iOS files are stored on a external drive that I can connect to my old Samsung tablet and see or transfer to Google drive or One drive. From there I can access them from my phone or iPad. I mentioned the wireless flash drive as a means of having access to certain files with or without internet. I still have over 480gb of space left on my iPad so the files I want access to, with or without internet, should be on there so I don’t need the flash drive. I will never use all the storage I have available. My concern is backup, and files like Word, PowerPoint, PDF etc being synced so I don’t have two or three copies of the same file that aren’t the same. I understand a backup is a snapshot of everything and won’t necessarily have all the changes to a file but gives me a starting point if everything else is lost. Working files can be on my iPad and in the cloud (iCloud, Google Drive)as long as I can sync them. Basically using the cloud as a temporary backup.

Eric5273, you have a solution that sounds good to me. I can also backup my external drive to One Drive in case I am no longer able to access it with my old Samsung tablet. It was a good device but doesn’t play well with others anymore.
 
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