How to use the Files app on your iPhone or iPad


Apple’s Files app lets you view and access files stored on online services, such as iCloud Drive, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive, all in one place. You can also view your files directly on your iPhone or iPad and run a variety of commands on them.

With the update to iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, Apple has added some exciting new features to the Files app. Now you can sort your files into groups, multitask more easily with multiple windows, and select multiple files by dragging them with an external mouse.

To get these features, open Settings> General> Software update and make sure you have updated to the latest version of your operating system. Your device will notify you that your software is up to date or prompt you to download the latest update.

Let’s take a look at the Files app to see how you can work with your documents.

Connect services to the Files app

The first time you launch Files, you need to activate and sign in to the services you are using. Tap the ellipsis icon at the top and select Edit menu. The application displays all available file storage services. Turn on the switch for any online locations you want to add. You can also tap the hamburger icon next to your favorite services and drag them into a new order.

to identify

Tap the name of a service you want to load and connect. The first time you do this, authentication is required to view items in this folder. In some cases, you may receive an authentication message, which means that you must first open the mobile version of the app in order to use it in Files. Do this for each site you add.

downloads folder

You can also access downloaded files in Safari through the Files app. If you download a PDF, audio file, or document from Safari, a Downloads folder will appear in the Files app. Faucet On my iphone Where On my ipad, and you’ll see folders for other apps and services on your device, as well as a Downloads folder. Open this folder to access all files downloaded from Safari.

Connect to external storage

external storage

You can connect your device to a USB stick, SD card or external hard drive. To do this, you need to physically connect the storage device to your iPhone or iPad using the appropriate adapter cable. You can then access this drive and its contents through Files.

If you have a network server or NAS, you can connect to it with your device and access it through the Files app. Just make sure that it supports and has enabled SMB (Server Message Block), a universal network protocol that allows different systems to access and share the same files.

network storage

To set this up in the Files app, tap the ellipsis icon at the top right, and then tap the Connect to server command and type the name or IP address of the server. (For example, to access my Synology NAS, I had to type smb: // followed by the name of the NAS then .local, a sin smb: //SynologyNAS.local.) Then enter the username and password for this device.

I was initially unable to connect to the NAS. Through a helpful online forum I found out that I need to set the maximum SMB protocol to SMB3. If you are having trouble connecting to a server or NAS through the Files app, you might need to contact the vendor for assistance.

encrypted drive

You can access an encrypted drive, either directly connected to your iPhone or iPad, or configured on your network. However, only drives formatted using APFS are currently supported. To try this, connect your encrypted storage device or connect to an encrypted network share. Select the drive and press the Lock connect. Enter the reader password, and select To open to access the player.

Find and view files

to look for

You can search for files in different locations. In the Search field at the top, enter a word or phrase for the desired file. The app scans your different locations and displays a list of search results in response.

If you frequently use the same folders, consider marking them as favorites for quick access in the future. Tap the folder and select Favorite from the menu or just drag the folder to the sidebar. Any folder marked as a favorite will be available in the left sidebar under the Favorites section.

Recently viewed files can be found quickly in the app. Press the Recent in the sidebar to view files that have been recently added, moved, or viewed.

See the notice

From the Files app, tap a specific service to see the folders and files stored there. Tap a file to open it and the app downloads and displays the file. You can view documents, PDF files, images, audio files and videos. Photos and other static images can even be edited with built-in drawing and coloring tools.

Manage your files

manage files

You can perform basic file management by copying, moving, or deleting files. Open one of your online storage services to view your saved folders and files. To run a command on a single file, tap its thumbnail. From the menu, you can copy, duplicate, move, rename, preview, tag, share or delete the file.

To run a command on multiple files, press the To select link in the upper right corner on an iPad (the button is hidden behind a three-dot icon on an iPhone). Tap each file you want to include. The bottom of the screen displays links to share, duplicate, move and delete the selected file. Faucet Following to see additional commands, such as Download and Compress.

select files

Now that your iPad is working with an external mouse, you can select multiple files at once without using the Select option. Make sure your mouse is connected to your iPad, then click and drag on a series of files, and they should be selected.

Mark and sort files

Key words

The Files app lets you view key details and even tag each file. Tap a file and select Info in the menu to see the file type, size, creation date and time, author and other details. With a photo, you can know the size, resolution, exposure time, focal length and ISO speed.

If you want to add a tag to categorize the file, tap Show more and swipe down to see all the details of the file. At the bottom of the screen, tap the Add tags connect. You can then add a label from the existing color coded list or press Add a new tag to create a new one based on specific criteria, which may help you find that file.

by group

You can now also sort files in a folder based on groups. To try this, open a folder, tap the three-dot circle icon, and select Use groups. The files in this folder are sorted into different groups, the default criterion being Kind (file type).

To change the criteria, tap the three-dot circle icon and select By group. You can then organize the files into groups based on date or size. To cancel the group arrangement, tap the icon again and uncheck the box. Use groups option.

Compress and decompress files

zip file

The Files app also allows you to compress and decompress files and folders. Tap an item and select Compress from the context menu to create a ZIP archive of the item. If you have a zipped file that you need to open, just tap the ZIP file to unzip it or tap the file and select Relax menu.

Manage deleted files

recently deleted

If you want to delete a file, tap it to open a context menu, and then select the file. Wipe off order. Any file deleted by mistake can be recovered by pressing the button Recently deleted Entrance. This will show you all recently deleted files on your various file storage services. Press the To select link, and then select the file you want to restore. Press the Recover link to return the deleted file to its storage service.

Multitasking with multiple windows


Your iPad includes a range of multitasking features that were improved in iPadOS 15. You can more easily view and work with your files when multiple windows are open at the same time. Open a folder in the Files app and tap the ellipsis icon at the very top of the screen to open the new multitasking toolbar.

shared view

Press the center icon to open in Split View mode. You can then open a second instance of the Files app and view a different folder at the same time.

slip on

Now, if you want to view a file, tap it to open a Slide Over floating pane that you can position on top of either of the two existing windows.


Comments are closed.