Using the iOS 11 Files App

The new Files app improves on the old iCloud Drive app in many ways. You can now access files in third-party systems like Dropbox and Google Drive. You can preview PDF, text, image, sound and video files. You can move, rename, duplicate and delete files. You can create new folders and organize your iCloud Drive files. Like Preview on the Mac, you can mark up PDF and image files. You can also look inside ZIP archives and even extract files. You can share files with iCloud Drive to collaborate or simply let others see your files.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Using the iOS 11 Files App.

So iOS 11 includes a brand new Files app. Now this app is kind of similar to the previous iCloud Drive app that came with iOS 10. You'll find it here in the Dock but you may find it up in your regular icons in your Home screen depending upon how you have things arranged. This is what it looks like.

So basically you have a sidebar on the left and you have folders on the right. Now this app looks very similar to basically using the Finder on your Mac. But it combines some other elements as well. Like elements from Preview in addition.

So let's take a look at what we've got. On the left here we have the sources of things. Locations, it is called. So we have iCloud Drive. Also if you have apps that are storing things locally, documents locally, not on iCloud Drive you'll see Local Documents there as well or it's called just On My iPad. Also Dropbox. Now how did Dropbox get there because that's third party, that's not an Apple thing. It got there because the Dropbox app is installed and I've logged in using that app. So now I can access my Dropbox files here as well.

The same thing is true with other apps as well. Like, for instance, Goggle Drive. If you have that installed that would be available there on the left. I can hit Edit at the top and I can add new ones. So you can see the Documents app, another third party app, actually has the hooks to go into this Files app here. So I can turn that on if I want and any others that I would hook in with the Files app would also appear as well. So it depends on what you have installed.

Let's take a look here. If we look at these folders, just going into them, we just, you know, tap on them. So let's go into the Documents there and I've got some files. Now what can I do with these. Well, I can view standard files. So IMG files I just tap on and now I'm viewing them inside of this Files app. The same can be done for other standard file types. For instance, like PDF's. So I have some PDF's here and I can view them.

Now here's where it gets to be even more like Preview. Not only can you preview things like IMG and PDF's but I can mark them up. So I've got markup buttons on the upper right. The markup button right there and now I can draw on the PDF, change colors, and do some basic stuff like that. I've got Undo buttons at the bottom. I've got a Plus button at the right and I can add text, signature, shapes. Very similar to using Preview. I can hit Done and I can go back in anytime I want and work with those. So elements of Preview in there as well.

You can look at text files here too. There's not much you can do. You can't actually edit the text files. So kind of like Preview as opposed to TextEdit. You can mark things up but you can't necessarily edit them. Notice here when I scroll down I've got sorting options at the top. I can sort by name, date, size, tags. I can go to List View. I can use that Folder button there to create a new folder and give it a name and it sticks it there. So I've got the ability to do that. I can Search. I have a Search box there at the top and it searches by name. So it doesn't search inside the files I don't believe. Maybe that will come in the future.

I can look at other file types as well. Here's some audio files. All of these work and these are various different formats and I can play those files. The same thing with video. Video files here and I can actually play the video inside of the Files app. I'm not going to another app. Anytime I'm doing this I can use the Share button from any of these. For the video, for the audio, for PDF's and I can Share. So I can send an email. I can do other things with them. So there's a lot you can do.

Now you can also work with files in a more standard sense like say rename them. So let's take this IMG file here. I'll tap and I'll hold and I'll get Copy, Duplicate, Rename, Move, Delete, Share. Then I can add Tags and I can even get info on the file. So you can get info there. Very much like the Finder on the Mac. Tags will ask me to add different tags. I can add like a red tag to this and then the tags on the left here, I can go in and see things that have been tagged.

I can also add things to Favorites. So for instance if I'm using this document folder a lot I can drag it over to Favorites there and now I can jump right to Documents anytime I want. I don't have to dig down inside of iCloud Drive to get to it.

You can select multiple files at the same time. Go back to icon view here. I can select this. As soon as I start moving around I can now tap another file and now I have two that are selected. So I can use the drag and drop functionality to, you know, take it to some other place or move them around in here. Now you can also go and select and then select multiple ones there. So there's a Select button or Select All. You have buttons at the bottom like Share, Duplicate, Move, Delete. All there at the bottom. So Share will only work if I don't have those folders selected and I can do that right from the bottom there. You have multiple ways of doing things which is also a lot like the Mac Finder.

There are also some other things I want to show you. Archive. I've got the Zip Archive. So you can actually view Zip Archives. Go in and it tells you how big it is. There's three files. I can go Preview and I can see there's an image and there's a text file. So I can flip between the items in here and I can even mark them up. But I can also Share them out. So if I wanted to export this image from this zip archive I can do that. I can do Save Image here or I can do Copy or I can Save to Files. So I can put it in my Documents folder. So you have that ability to do it. There it is. So you can extract things from Zip Archive which is pretty advanced functionality as well.

So there's a lot of really cool things that you could do. You can view. You can see on the left there there's a Trash or Recently Deleted so it's kind of the same thing as trashcan. You can view at the bottom there it says Browse and there's also Recents. I can switch to Recents and see the Recent file. So as soon as I add some files to it, it can see them here. I can also Share files here using the new iCloud Drive functionality. It's also going to be available on Mac OS Sierra. So I can go to Documents and say I want to Share this file right here. I can go into it. This is just one way of doing it and I can hit Share and you can see Add People. Add People allows me to go ahead and invite people or create share options like, you know, anyone with a link can view this. So you can do the new share functionality right from in this Files app.

So it's really handy. You also see elements of this Files app in other apps. When you go to Access Files on iCloud Drive you'll be able to actually get a little mini version of this Files app that allows you to go in. Just like you get a mini version of the Finder when you go to open a file inside of an app on the Mac. So check it out. Play around with it. There's a lot of ins and outs and things to take a look at here with the new Files app. It looks a little different on the iPhone as it does on the iPad but the basic functionality is the same.

Comments: 8 Responses to “Using the iOS 11 Files App”

    Frédéric Sidler
    2 years ago

    Thank you for this video. No EXIF data for images?

    2 years ago

    Frédéric: EXIF data? I guess not. I’m sure for those that want to see EXIF data, they would be using apps that support that. This is just a file browser after all.

    2 years ago

    Thank you, Gary. Very helpful. One question. If you add or delete files in documents or create new folders, will it sync with a MacBook or iMac?

    2 years ago

    Jim: If you mean in iCloud Drive, then yes. iCloud Drive stays in sync across all devices, like any cloud service. Try it, you’ll see.

    2 years ago

    iOS11 new Files app does not run properly on 5S. Earlier in iOS10, previewing the text files was properly but not now. When I click to preview the text files, the app tries to upload the text file to the Google Drive. I couldn’t find any solution. However there is no problem in previewing the image and pdf files.

    2 years ago

    Ertugrul: This isn’t just a problem on the 5s. I believe that anyone with the Google Drive app has this issue. It looks like that App takes ownership of those types of files, similar to how that works on a Mac/PC when you have an app that handles a file type. Not sure if there will be a solution from either Google or Apple on this. Hope so.

    Ed Mullery
    2 years ago

    I am also having Google Drive hijack some (mainly Excel) files and attempt to upload to Google Drive when I tap on them in Files — and it doesn’t complete the upload, just hangs. Other than deleting Drive app, please keep us posted if Apple/Google offer a solution.

    2 years ago

    Ed: Google Drive’s app was updated to fix this issue. Make sure you have the latest version.

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