iPad The Pervasive Filesystem Argument

Discussion in 'iPad' started by rwp, Mar 22, 2017.

  1. rwp macrumors member

    Oct 13, 2015
    LA, CA, US
    As I have described in detail previously, I use a 12.9 iPad Pro as my primary computer. I have participated in many of the threads arguing what would transform the iPad from primary computer to only computer. The concept of a mac/pc-like filesystem invariably comes up as a core requirement. I am in the middle of an experiment where I am trying to move off my iMac entirely, shut it off, and force myself to see where my remaining pain points are with the iPad. And in doing this, I have refined my opinions about iOS filesystems.

    In day-to-day use, I actually don't have a significant problem with how iOS manages files. There are some flows that are more awkward than they could be, but functionally, between iCloud Drive, Open In..., and a smattering of useful apps, I am able to do my work. I also continue to discover 'hidden' features, like the ability to save PDFs from the print dialog, that have helped with this. But I have spent decades using computers and accumulating hundreds of thousands of files that I have dutifully migrated from each system to the next.

    In trying to move off the iMac, those files have to go somewhere. So far I have split them into the 5% that I use/need on at least a semi-regular basis; those files I have moved to iCloud Drive. The 95% I have moved to an external 4TB hard drive. If my iMac disappears, I will essentially have no access to those files. There are kludgy solutions today (like network file systems, paying significant fees for cloud storage, etc...), but none are optimal. Until iOS provides a way to mount an external hard drive -- even if in a limited way through some iCloud Drive-like app -- I will not be able to really let go of my desktop system.

    The only other thing so far preventing me from selling my iMac are the remaining ties iOS still has to desktop iTunes. Those ties have to be severed for the iPad to be considered any form of traditional computer replacement.
  2. steve23094 macrumors 68020


    Apr 23, 2013
    If that 4TB drive was in a NAS you could access the files from your iPad. eg see the Synology iOS apps like DS File.
  3. sparksd macrumors 68020

    Jun 7, 2015
    Seattle WA
    I use a portable 4TB My Passport HDD with my Air 2 using a wireless RAVPower FileHub and FileBrowser app.
  4. jeremiah256 macrumors 65816


    Aug 2, 2008
    Southern California
    This is the normal discussion you have to have with yourself whenever you are leaving a legacy system (internal storage for the cloud). I still have tons of CDs and Iomega Zip drives packed in a box somewhere. You can always keep an extremely cheap computer on hand to access those files when you need them. A Raspberry Pi Zero is $10 and can connect to your current hard drive(s).
  5. rwp thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 13, 2015
    LA, CA, US
    I appreciate both of your responses -- I will look at the RAVPower FileHub as a possible solution.

    Thanks for the response. I have wrestled with keeping my iMac, or moving to a Mac Mini as a remote file store. However, I really want to reduce the number of actual computers I have; they all require maintenance, updates, etc... :)


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4 March 22, 2017