iOS doesn’t have an immediately obvious file management system like Windows or Android. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use your iPhone or iPad as a file manager. If your business revolves around files and documents that you need to upload, edit, and share on a regular basis, you’ll need to use a third-party file manager app on iOS.
Fortunately, there are a lot of awesome options.
What Makes a Good File Manager App?
A good file manager should have three correct functions:
- Import: It should be easy to import files and documents into the app. The more import options, the better.
- Manager: A good file manager gives you full control over the organization of your data. You should be able to create nested folders, tag and color coded files, archive folders, etc.
- Export: A file manager app where you can’t extract anything is useless. You should be able to export any file to a third-party application for viewing and editing. And we will offer bonus points if the app offers file conversion options.
Our main recommendation meets all three requirements and more. But all of these features may be overkill for some users, so we have presented some simpler alternatives as well.
If you’re looking for a great tool to transfer files between your iPhone and PC, check out FileApp.
1. Readdle documents
Documents by Readdle is the best third-party document and file management app for iPhone and iPad. It’s completely free and comes with all the productivity features you can imagine.
The app is skyrocketing thanks to our file manager checklist. Documents make it easy to import (from computer, cloud storage, Wi-Fi transfer, web pages and other apps) and file management (drag and drop, share , archiving functions, beacons, etc.).
Documents is compatible with all file formats including text, audio, and video. You can read books in the app, listen to music, watch videos, share files, present PDFs, and more.
In a cloud-sync world, Documents gives you the confidence you need by storing and managing all of your data locally on the device. This means that there are no surprises when iCloud Photo Library decides to delete old but important photos because you are running out of storage. You don’t have to worry about whether Dropbox sync will work reliably when you’re in a remote area. Everything is available when you need it.
Documents also has a VPN browser, offering 50MB per day for free, with more available if you choose to pay for the subscription model. This VPN browser allows you to upload your searches, images or videos from a website into the Documents files app and then switch to another platform of your choice.
To download: Documents by Readdle (Free, subscription available)
2. Apple’s Files app
iOS 11 gave us the Apple Files app, which replaces the old iCloud Drive app. Mac users will find the Files application similar to Finder. The files are integrated with iOS and you can connect multiple cloud sources directly in the app. If you use different cloud services, like iCloud, Dropbox, and OneDrive, but need a central location to organize and manage everything in them, the Files app is the best option.
What Files lacks superior import options (there’s no Wi-Fi transfer or web download) it makes up for with its stellar organization and sharing features.
The Files app embraces all iOS conventions. Not only does it support in-app drag and drop (you can use it to assign tags and favorites, as well as move files and folders), but you can also easily drag files to and from from the Files application. This interaction is incredibly natural and you no longer have to configure your sharing options in a particular way.
On iPhone and iPad, the app will allow you to access files from your iCloud drive or internal storage. You can also organize your files further through the Key words feature, allowing you to color-code apps based on their relevance, such as work, family photos, and vacations.
To download: Files (To free)
3. Drop box
If all of your documents and files are stored in Dropbox, then the official app for iPhone and iPad will suffice. When you have an active internet connection, you have access to your entire Dropbox library.
You can open a file, preview it in Dropbox, and use the To share menu to quickly open it in a supported app, link, or invite another Dropbox user to the file. For example, if someone shares a Pages document with you through Dropbox, you can open it directly in the Pages app using the share sheet. You can even edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files right in the Dropbox app. This removes any need to jump between apps.
Dropbox also has an offline feature. In the free plan, you can only save individual files for offline access. If you are a Dropbox Plus user, you can also save entire folders offline. Dropbox lets you connect up to three devices on the free version, with more available on the Plus version.
To download: Drop box (Free, subscription available)
4. Good reader
If you often use PDFs on your iPhone or iPad, GoodReader is a must-have. You can import PDFs from cloud services, local servers, or your computer. Then you can use GoodReader to organize your files in folders.
GoodReader has a great PDF rendering engine that makes scrolling PDFs a pleasure on the iPad (it’s something simple, but many apps don’t work well). It is one of the few apps that doesn’t break a sweat when you launch PDF files that are hundreds of pages long.
The app also makes it easy to annotate PDFs. You can tag a PDF using text boxes or you can use your freehand Apple Pencil. There is also a caption comments feature that allows you to attach classic sticky notes to PDF pages.
To download: Good reader ($ 5.99)
5. File manager and browser
Readdle documents can be a bit too overwhelming for new users. File Manager & Browser app is a good alternative to this. It has a simpler, more visual user interface that helps you accomplish many of the same tasks. You can import files from PC using Wi-Fi transfer, organize and organize files and share them with third party apps.
You can also use the browser to search the web and save documents that appear on the web pages you visit.
The app’s user interface is fun and shows all the important options at the bottom of the screen instead of hiding them in a menu (which most productivity apps do). It also allows you to set a unique password specifically for the app, thus protecting your data if you regularly allow other users on your iPhone.
To download: File manager and browser (Free, subscription available)
6. Send anywhere
Send Anywhere is a simple app that lets you send and receive pictures, videos, contacts, and files.
Allow Send Anywhere to access all photos and videos, then head to the Send tongue.
On the Send tab, you select the images you want to send, then the app will give you six character key, QR code and link. The recipient you’re trying to send photos to can then use the link or QR code to navigate to and download the image.
If they also have the Send Anywhere app, they can head to the To receive tab, then enter the six-character key to get the photo into their app, which allows them to download it to their device.
You can create an account with Send Anywhere to manage your links.
To download: Send anywhere for ios (Free in-app purchases available)
Your iPad is a productivity machine
We’ve heard for years that the iPad is a consumer device, not a creation. Well, that’s a flawed narrative. You can do almost anything on the iPad these days. Yes, it won’t be as easy as using a Mac and you will have to tweak your workflows, but you can definitely do it.
Here’s everything you need to take your iPad to the next level of productivity.
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