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The new Files app in iOS 11 replaces iCloud Drive, offers a lot more functionality than its predecessor, and provides perhaps the best argument yet for using an iPad as your go-to mobile computer.

In Files, you have access not only to the files stored on your device and in iCloud, but also to those stored in third-party services that support integration with the app. Files also exploits all of the new multitasking gestures in iOS 11, making its file organization capabilities even more powerful.

The Files Interface

The Files app interface is very straightforward, although it varies from device to device and based on orientation, with various combinations using multiple columns, single columns with pages, or pop-overs. For the purposes of this overview, we'll look at using an iPad in landscape orientation, the most common setup for those doing productivity work.

Down the left side of the screen, in the Browse column, are links to your file sources, Favorites, and Tags to view files that are tagged with a particular color.

IMG_323500CABE8A-1-800x600.jpeg

Over in the main window you'll see the files and folders in the selected location, which you can view by name, date, size, or tags. There's a button on the right of these options that you can tap to switch between list and icon view, while the button on the left lets you create a new folder.

At the bottom of the screen are two buttons to switch between the default Browse view and a Recents view, which is useful for returning to the files you were last working with.

IMG_0084-800x600.jpg

In either view, you can open a file in the main window simply by tapping it, or you can perform a long press on a file or folder to access a range of options, including rename, share, tag, favorite, and more. However, the best thing about the Files app is that you can organize multiple files quickly and easily by utilizing the new drag-and-drop features exclusive to iOS 11.

Moving Files With Drag and Drop

IMG_31B1ECA18F22-1-800x600.jpeg

  1. Tap and hold a file you want to move, and it will expand slightly, ready to follow your finger around the screen.
  2. To move additional files, tap them while holding the original file and they will stack up underneath your finger.
  3. Keeping the same finger on the screen, use another finger - preferably one on your other hand - to browse the Files interface and locate a destination folder for the selected files.
  4. With the destination folder open, simply lift your finger from the screen to drop the files inside.
There's nothing to stop you from using iOS 11 drag-and-drop gestures to take files out of the Files app and move them into other iOS apps, as long as the app in question supports the file type. You might drag an image file into the Photos app to add it to your Photos Library, for example.

Organizing Your Files Manually

If you're uncomfortable using drag-and-drop gestures, you can organize your files using more traditional touch controls. Here's how.

IMG_EDB71E7264A5-1-800x600.jpeg

  1. Navigate to the folder containing the files you want to work with, and tap the Select button at the top-right of the screen.
  2. The Browse column will dim to put the focus on the currently selected folder. From here, you can tap one or more files to add a check mark against them indicating they've been selected for an action. A list of possible actions will appear along the bottom of the screen, including the option to duplicate or delete the file(s).
  3. Tap "Share" to bring up the iOS Share sheet, where you can send the file(s) to other people or apps, as well as access copy, print, and other actions.
  4. Tap the "Move" option and the Files app will present you with a directory tree, allowing you to navigate to the desired location for the file or files you've selected.
Tagging Documents

Using tags in the new Files app will help you locate particular files more easily, and they work much the same as tags do in macOS. As you'd expect, tapping a colored tag in the Browse column shows you all the files you've assigned that particular tag. To tag a file or folder, simply tap and hold it, and then drag it onto a tag in the sidebar.

IMG_AE53E6EEC574-1-800x600.jpeg

Linking Third-Party Storage Services

If you install a third-party storage app on your iOS device, it should automatically appear in the Files app under the Locations list. If the service doesn't appear, then it doesn't yet support Files integration. Services that do support Files app integration include Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Transmit, with more to come soon.

Article Link: How to Use the New Files App in iOS 11
 
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Fynd

macrumors 6502
Aug 11, 2010
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Worth pointing out as I did in another thread: If an app saves files locally, it will enabled “On My iPhone/iPad” local file management as well. This option shows on the side bar but is hidden until you do that. Once it’s done you’re free to create folders and manage local files.
 
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applesith

macrumors 68030
Jun 11, 2007
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I see google drive listed but when I click it I just get a smaller window to navigate and no option to share or add Apple files app. Any ideas?
 
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tkermit

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Feb 20, 2004
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It still feels like Apple has managed to make file management a whole lot more confusing. Who really knows where things are stored anymore, how you get to them and what results in them (not) being copied/moved/opened in place. With traditional file management, at least there was a chance I could explain it to my mom or dad (whether they would listen is another matter), now even I have no idea what's going on. I suppose at least Apple has created a level playing field where nobody has an intuition about how things work anymore.
 
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freiheit

macrumors 6502a
Jul 20, 2004
642
90
California
Okay, so for local file storage, since files on iOS are locked into the apps which created them (if you delete the app, you lose the files) does the new Files app allow one to actually move a file, let's say a photo created in Camera+) and move it into another app so that if Camera+ gets deleted you still have the photo?
[doublepost=1505873458][/doublepost]This sounds cool. The one thing I think they could do to make moving files much easier, rather than this tap and hold while tapping other files with another finger while continuing to hold and using another hand to select the destination, is to implement a drop stack like the one from PathFinder for MacOS. Drag files onto the drop stack as temporary storage, then freely browse to a destination and drag the files off the stack.
 
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mgauss7

macrumors regular
Apr 23, 2009
205
47
Miami
It still feels like Apple has managed to make file management a whole lot more confusing. Who really knows where things are stored anymore, how you get to them and what results in them (not) being copied/moved/opened in place. With traditional file management, at least there was a chance I could explain it to my mom or dad (whether they would listen is another matter), now even I have no idea what's going on. I suppose at least Apple has created a level playing field where nobody has an intuition about how things work anymore.
[doublepost=1505874667][/doublepost]Apple copied Windows!
 
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Scottsoapbox

macrumors 65816
Oct 10, 2014
1,011
3,955
I tried moving a Dropbox excel file to a folder I created in Files... it downloaded (and opened) to somewhere I couldn't find after I closed it.

So far the regular Dropbox app seems more useful and intuitive, if lacking in pretty drag animations.
 
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pika2000

Suspended
Jun 22, 2007
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crazy that we've gone full circle on file management and ended up with a much more complex environment that if we had access to the underlying file system.
Yeah it's quite crazy, but it's all our fault who keep nagging Apple for to open the file system. In reality, the lay consumers don't need it. Good thing this is optional and doesn't change the previous convention (unless I miss something).
 
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pat500000

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Jun 3, 2015
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It’s not that hard. Really. Sometimes we even, you know, read an article that points out the new features.

This elder loves the new Files app. Especially the iCloud files management—much better than the old iCloud Drive.
I guess slowly teaching them.
 
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xero9

macrumors 6502a
Nov 7, 2006
859
481
I see google drive listed but when I click it I just get a smaller window to navigate and no option to share or add Apple files app. Any ideas?

This has been my experience all through the betas. It really seems silly that 3rd party sources are behaving this way. I even tried deleting Dropbox and reinstalling it, but no such luck.

EDIT: On second thought, I'm wondering if the individual apps need to be updated to properly support Files? I mean you have to admit it seems really shortsighted of Apple if this is their proper implementation.. Or maybe I'm just being stupidly optimistic.
 
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Pinpoint

macrumors newbie
Oct 19, 2016
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1
Knoxville, TN
I see google drive listed but when I click it I just get a smaller window to navigate and no option to share or add Apple files app. Any ideas?

Same thing I thought. If that’s all there will be, I see no reason to use the files app. I mean really, how many people use iCloud exclusively for their files?
 
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nnoble

macrumors 6502
Jun 19, 2011
423
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I wonder how elders are gonna figure out stuff with these complex features.
What d’you mean by elders - anyone over 18? I’m heading for 70 and I’ve no choice but to keep up. My elder brother is 80 next year and he can’t operate without accessing his stuff. I think motivation and maybe patience, rather than age, is the driver for coping with change.
 
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dk001

Contributor
Playing with this and running into something ... strange.
Accessed Google Drive via this app. Via the pop up is like a waste and off putting. Anyway, when I open a document this way, I get strange file data.
6CA4DD85-C34D-417A-A4BB-CC9F4F3866A8.jpeg
The modify date is prior to the create date. Matter fo fact, they are reversed when I look into the original document via Word.

Btw - gotta luv the new naming convention for a screenshot on my iPad Pro.
 
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pat500000

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Jun 3, 2015
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Hey sonny, we're old, not stupid. Many of us were working on computers before you were born! :)
Lol there are exception to the rules. I get confused with features. :)
[doublepost=1505879742][/doublepost]
What d’you mean by elders - anyone over 18? I’m heading for 70 and I’ve no choice but to keep up. My elder brother is 80 next year and he can’t operate without accessing his stuff. I think motivation and maybe patience, rather than age, is the driver for coping with change.
Whoa whoa. Don't take it personally. Heh. My extended family members can't hang with updated features...so i'm just saying. If you can keep...it's all good.
 
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kittonian

macrumors regular
Aug 4, 2008
142
32
Austin, TX
When they finally allow you to mount an AFP or SMB share, only then will files become something of use for people who don't wish to depend on cloud based services to handle their documents.

By allowing local file storage on your iPad and opening files from shared drives, and allowing apps to access those files, we could have a potential replacement (or at least a nice alternative) to laptops.
 
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haruhiko

macrumors 603
Sep 29, 2009
5,247
3,230
I see google drive listed but when I click it I just get a smaller window to navigate and no option to share or add Apple files app. Any ideas?
Google needs to update the app to support it.
[doublepost=1505880951][/doublepost]
This has been my experience all through the betas. It really seems silly that 3rd party sources are behaving this way. I even tried deleting Dropbox and reinstalling it, but no such luck.

EDIT: On second thought, I'm wondering if the individual apps need to be updated to properly support Files? I mean you have to admit it seems really shortsighted of Apple if this is their proper implementation.. Or maybe I'm just being stupidly optimistic.
yes.
 
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RevTEG

macrumors 65816
Oct 28, 2012
1,168
905
San Jose, Ca
Hello everyone, I have a fast question. When I open the Dropbox link on the left side in the new Apple file app, all my files appear grayed out and will not let me select them. However, when I go to the actual Dropbox app, outside of the Apple file app, all the files are not grayed out and open like normal. What am I missing? What am I doing wrong inside Apples file app? Thx

Update… I went to edit and turned off Dropbox. Then turned it back on. Now the files are no longer grayed out. I can now select the file I want. However, I get the downloading notification but nothing seems to actually load. My internet isn’t the fastest but it isn’t that slow either.

Why wouldn’t I just use the regular Dropbox app instead of jumping through these extra hurdles in Apples file app?
 
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