About the Files app on iPhone: everything you need to know

Xiaobai Software  2022-04-20 19: 15  read 170 views

Introduced to iOS back in 2017, the Files app provides an easy way to manage all your saved files in one convenient place on your iPhone or iPad.You can collaborate with others, organize files with tags, preview documents, sync with iCloud Drive, and more.

The Files app has a lot of useful features and you can make full use of this app.We've covered all the main features of the Files app below for you to check out:

What does the Files app do?

The Files app is basically a file manager for your iPhone or iPad.It allows you to manage external files stored on your iPhone or iPad, including documents, photos, and more.You can sync your device with various file services like iCloud Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. to keep your files in sync.


The Files app has a variety of features to help you simplify file management, such as previewing documents, using markup, collaborating on files, and more.

How to install the Files app on your iPhone or iPad

The Files app has been preinstalled on every iPhone and iPad since the release of iOS 11, so it should already be there on your device.But if you delete it, you can download it for free directly from the App Store.

Download: Files (free)

How to Set Up Storage Services in the Files App

The main benefit of the Files app is that it allows you to access different storage locations and manage all your files from a single location.This means you can access any file stored locally on your iPhone, access your iCloud Drive files, or choose to sync with any third-party storage service (like Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.).

These also include files you might have downloaded via Safari, received via AirDrop, and more.With all your storage services available under one platform, it's easier to sync and browse files from different sources.

Set the storage location in the Files app

You need to set up different file services before you can access them in the Files app.You need to install the respective file service apps (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) on your iPhone or iPad before you can add file storage services to the Files app.

Setting them up is easy.Methods as below:

1. Tap the More button (three dots) in the Files app.

2. Select Edit.


3. This will display all available file services.Enable the services you want to set up and reorder them as you wish.


4. Once all your sources are set up, you should see them on the Files home page (or in the iPad's sidebar).Click on a specific service, log in and verify it (you may need to log in using the service's mobile app to set it up for the first time).

Once all your storage services are set up, you can use the Files app to easily access all the files stored on them.If you download any file directly to your iPhone or iPad via Safari or any other source, it should be available under "On My iPhone" in the file source menu.

Use external storage devices and web servers

You can also connect an SD card, hard drive, or any other external storage device to your iPhone or iPad, as long as you have the correct adapter.Once connected, the storage device should show up in the Locations menu in the Files app.

From here you will be able to access your drive and all its contents just like you would with a normal file explorer.Alternatively, you can add a web server to the Files app, which will allow you to access it directly on your device.

How to save a file to the Files app

To save a file to the Files app, use the "Save to File" option in the Share menu from another app.This is helpful when saving documents from Mail or Safari that you want to have readily available on your device.

The Files app can act as a central repository for the files you use across multiple apps.This way, you can avoid creating multiple copies of the file. Most apps on iOS and iPadOS now support the Files app, allowing you to select documents from the Files app and save them back to the Files app after making changes (overwriting the same file).

How to search for a file in the Files app

Searching for files is arguably the fastest way to find something in the Files app.To search for anything, swipe down and you'll see a large search bar.You can use it to search any document or file in all your locations.

How to organize files within the Files app

In fact, you can think of the Files app as the Finder in iOS or the File Explorer in Windows.While it's not as feature-rich, it does cover the basics of a file browser.Below we've covered some basic tips for organizing documents in the Files app.

Create a new folder

Creating a new folder is easy.On the iPhone, you can tap the "More" menu to create a new folder by tapping "New Folder."If you're on an iPad, just tap the "Add Folder" icon in the upper-right corner of the screen to create a new folder.

Move items between locations

The easiest way to organize and move files between folders and resources is to use the move feature.Just select the item you want to move, choose Move from the menu, and choose the new location where you want to move the item.

Using the "Get Info" menu for any file will also let you know the exact file location and file path, which can be handy when you're trying to find something.

Sort and view options

On the iPhone, tap the More button to see options to sort files by name, kind, date, size, or tag.You can also choose list or icon view.

On the iPad, you can see the same options by clicking the sort icon (four squares) in the upper right corner of the Files app.

Use all the features of the Files app

In addition to all the basic file management features listed above, the Files app offers other features to make your life easier.Let's take a look together:

add tag

Tagging files is a great way to filter multiple files from different sources without actually moving them.Let's say you use iCloud Drive, Dropbox and Google Drive to work on a project.And those files are scattered across multiple folders because you need to collaborate with your team members.

If you want to see all files related to a project in one place, the best way is to add a project tag.The steps for adding tags are similar on iPhone and iPad.To add a tag, tap and hold on a file and select Tag from the popup menu.


In the window that pops up, click Add New Tab.Give it a name and choose a color.After you go back to the tags section, you can pick multiple tags for the same file.A faster way to label multiple items on the iPad is to select all the items and drag them to a tab in the sidebar.

Mark a folder as a favorite

If there is a folder you use frequently, tap and drag it to the sidebar below the Favorites section.Now, no matter where you are, you can quickly find it.

Use the review section

Users familiar with the Finder on macOS should be pleased to learn about this feature, and the Files app also has a Recents section that allows you to quickly access any recent files you've interacted with over the past few days.

The Recents tab has different sections.It will show you previews of files you've used in the last week, as well as files you've shared with others.Click on a file and you'll see a preview of it in the Files app itself.

If you're using an iPad, you don't even need to launch the Files app to quickly open the last four files.Just tap and hold on the "Files" app icon on the home screen to see the "Recent Files" widget.Click on a file and it will open directly in the file preview.

Share files via the Files app

The Files app allows you to save and export files to different apps.This is helpful if you want to edit the document in another app, email the PDF to someone, etc.

When viewing a file in the Files app, just tap the Share button and the Share page will pop up.You can then open the file in any supported application.You can also use the Files app to scan files and share them via the "Share" menu.

Compress and decompress files

The Files app also allows you to zip and unzip files and folders to save storage space.Click and hold on an item and select Compress from the popup menu to create a ZIP archive for the selected item.If you have multiple items selected, click "Compress" from the "More" menu to create a ZIP archive of all files.

If you have a ZIP file you want to open, just click on the file to unzip and display the contents.Alternatively, you can tap and hold the ZIP file and select Extract from the menu.

Collaborate on iCloud Drive documents

While it's not as feature-rich as Dropbox and other services, the Files app does add collaboration features to the files you store in iCloud Drive.You can use this feature to quickly generate a public link to any file in iCloud Drive.

Tap and hold a file in the Files app, then select Share.Here, tap Share in iCloud.

From this popup, choose how you want to share the file.You can choose to send your invitation through different applications such as Messages, Mail, etc.You can also change any sharing options you see fit.

Files app is very useful

While the Files app can be a bit confusing to use at first, it's really helpful for managing multiple file services in one place.There are many features that are not fully covered here, so please take the time to explore and use the app on your own.

In fact, you can get so many features from the Files app itself, making it one of the most useful apps on the iPhone and iPad.


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