Everything you need to know about the new Files app on iOS 11


Files is the new Finder app for iOS 11, and it’s already about
a million times better than the basic file-picker it replaces —
iCloud Drive. Files is a central place from which to access all
the files on your iDevice, and in iCloud. You can find,
organize, open, and delete all the files on your device, in
iCloud, and on 3rd-party storage services like Dropbox. And
because this is iOS 11,
Files supports all the fancy new multitasking features like

lets take a look at what it can do:

Rounding up files is even easier than it is on a Mac.Rounding up files is even easier than it
is on a Mac.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Of all the new features in iOS 11, Files is still one of the
most beta. It’s buggy, laggy, and is missing several of the
features shown in the
2017 WWDC keynote
. Right now, it doesn’t even have an entry
in the Settings app. But despite this, its already more than

Files’ main screen

I call it the “main” screen, but
it’s really Files’ only screen. down the left is a list of
sources, and on the right you see the folders and files. Right
now the available locations are On My iPad and iCloud Drive.
You can also drag any folder to the Favorites section, and
there’s another section for tags. These tags are the same ones
that you may already use in the Finder on the Mac, and, like
everything in iCloud, they sync between Mac and iOS. In the
future, you will also be able to access Dropbox, Box, and other
file storage services.

Getting around

Tapping on
a source in the sidebar opens up that source. You can then tap
on any folder to open that. There’s a persistent search bar at
the top of this view, and while it doesn’t yet search within
files themselves, it will find files inside subfolders. This
lets you quickly find a file if you know its name.

Keyboard support is minimal in the current beta.Keyboard support is minimal in the current
Photo: Cult of Mac

down on the screen in this view reveals more options. You can
create a new folder, sort by Name, Date, Size, or Tags, and
toggle between and icon view and list view. At any time you can
drag a file and drop it in another folder, or drag it onto a
tag to apply that tag. You can also hit the home button and
drag the files onto another app (or into an app open in Split

You can
also drag multiple documents at one time, using multitouch. To
do this, you start dragging one file, then tap any other file
to add it to the pile under your other finger. This works
across multiple locations, so you can keep dragging as you tap
to visit many folders and tags, tapping files as you go, until
you have everything you want. And once you

Be careful, though. There’s no way to quit an operation once
you’ve started. You might find yourself dragging a fingerful of
files and realize you’ve gotten the wrong files, or just
changed your mind. Workaround include keeping a tag just for
this, and dragging them onto it. Nothing will be moved, just
tagged. Or you can tap the home button and drop the files on an
open space in your home screen. Fortunately, files are copied,
not moved, so you can safely delete the erroneously-copied
files and leave the originals untouched.

What can you do with your

Getting info on your files is currently a real pain.Getting info on your files is currently a
real pain.
Photo: Cult of Mac

File support is a little inconsistent so far. Some files can be
viewed and even edited inside Files. Others will open in their
parent app once tapped. Because there’s no way to tell whether
you’ll see a preview, or if tapping will launch another app,
its all a little frustrating. You can find out more about a
file by long-pressing it to bring up a popover, similar to the
ones that appear when you select text on iOS. Here the options
are Copy, Rename, Move, Share, Tags, Info, and Delete.

Images can be marked up right inside Files.Images can be marked up right inside Files.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Here’s a quick list of what I’ve found out about different file

  • Images can be previewed, and marked up using the standard
    markup tools in iOS 11. To remove your graffiti, use the erase
    tool. A folder of images can be swiped through ands viewed.
  • Text files can be previewed, but only if their parent app
    isn’t installed. For instance, I tapped a text file created
    with Byword and it launched in Byword. After I deleted Byword,
    those files could be previewed in Files instead.
  • Movies can be previewed. I (almost)successfully watched an
    AVI and a MOV file, although they both stuttered and barely
  • GarageBand files open in GarageBand
  • Music Memos files, in the iCloud Drive, are played inside
  • ZIP file contents can be previewed, as if they were in a
    folder. You cannot zip or unzip.


Sharing and collaborating on a file may be possible in future versions.Sharing and collaborating on a file may
be possible in future versions.
Photo: Cult of Mac

There is a mysterious Sharing feature, which lets you share a
file and edit it with other people. Right now it seems that you
can invite people to share, but they can’t actually edit the
document. I shared a text file with our own Luke Dormehl, and
it was added to his iCloud Drive, but he was unable to edit it.

Still, the option to manage collaborations from Files is an
interesting one.

Files is definitely a
beta app, with a long way to go. Even on an iPad Pro it’s
sluggish (although search is instant), and lacks a lot of basic
features (there’s no way too sort by file kind, for example).
But despite that it’s already pretty great. If nothing else,
Files on iOS is an easy and reliable way to access the files in
your Mac’s Desktop and Documents folders.

Source: appleact.com

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