iOS 11 includes an incredible list of new features that gives a lot of love to iPads. However, there's one app that will be available for iPhones and iPads that provides a new way to manage files on your devices and cloud accounts. This new app is called Files, and it's replacing the existing iCloud Drive app when iOS 11 is released later this year.
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This tutorial presents tricks for getting the most out of the Files app, including how to enable access to cloud services other than iCloud Drive and access the files stored in those services; how to create folders and organize your files; how to drag and drop files to improve your productivity; and how to tag and search for files.
1: How to enable cloud services other than iCloud Drive via Files in iOS 11
By default, iCloud Drive will be enabled inside of the Files app if you're signed into your iCloud account. If you have other apps installed that can take advantage of iOS' file sharing extensions, you can access the files stored in those apps and cloud services directly from within the Files app; this means that you no longer have to access multiple apps to manage files—file management can be handled under one roof.
With file management apps like Dropbox, Box, etc. installed, open the new Files app, and perform these steps.
- Select the Browse tab, and then tap it again to return to the main Browse view (if you're browsing other folders).
- Select the Edit button.
- To enable a third-party app, turn on the toggle next to the app's name (Figure A). Then it will appear under the Locations in the Files app.
- Select Done when you're finished.
Now you can easily browse to the locations in the app you've enabled by selecting a location from the Locations menu in the Browse tab. You can do all of this without leaving the Files app.
Note: Even though you can browse other file services from the Files app, in order to use the features of the Files app (tagging, searching, etc.), you need to import the files into iCloud Drive first.
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2: How to create folders and organize files via Files in iOS 11
Inside the Browse tab, you can easily create new folders to store and organize your files. Follow these steps to create a new folder.
- Open Files.
- Navigate to Browse | iCloud Drive.
- Select the new folder icon below the search bar.
- Type in a new name for the folder and tap Done (Figure B).
3: How to drag and drop files via Files in iOS 11
With iOS 11, Apple introduces dragging and dropping throughout the system, and the Files app gets this ability (Figure C). You can now drag and drop files, folders, and more to move a file into a folder, or to move a folder into another folder.
On iPhones, drag and drop only works inside of the Files app to drag and drop files between folders, but on iPads, iOS 11 drag and drop works between apps as well. Drag a file from one app into the Files app, and then drag and drop a file from the Files app onto the app icon in the Dock to open the file in the app. This makes creating workflows and managing multiple files on iPads even easier with iOS 11 and the Files app.
4: How to tag and search via Files in iOS 11
Tagging files in the Finder is a new concept in iOS. The brand new Files app introduces the ability to tag files and then search by tags.
Tags can represent a collection of files that meet a certain criteria; for instance, you might tag all of the files on your iCloud Drive account that relate to work with a certain color tag, give taxes a different color tag, and use a different color tag for home items.
To customize your tags, perform these steps.
- Open the Files app.
- Navigate to the Browse tab.
- Scroll down to the Tags section (Figure D).
- Select Edit and then tap a tag to edit the name.
- Select Done when you're finished editing the names.
Now that the tags are customized to your liking, you can start tagging files and folders for easier searching. Follow these steps.
- Locate a file you wish to tag, and tap the file to open the file detail view.
- Select the share icon in the top right of the Files app.
- Tap the + Tag icon (Figure E, left).
- Tap the tag you wish to add (Figure E, right).
- Select Done.
Note: You can select multiple tags per file, and tags can also be applied to entire folders of files.
When you're ready to search, tap in the search bar at the top of either the Recents or Browse tabs. You can search by file name or the file's contents; or, you can search by tag name by entering the Browse tab, and then selecting one of the tag names in the Tags section—all of the relevant tagged files will appear.
- iOS 11: All the new features, tips and guides (CNET)
- How to safely test iOS 11 public betas on your iPhone or iPad (ZDNet)
- iOS 11 hands-on: Improved multitasking, drag-and-drop support on the iPad Pro (ZDNet)
- 4 features in Notes for iOS 11 that take note-taking to the next level (TechRepublic)
- How to record your iPhone and iPad screens with iOS 11 (TechRepublic)
- Hiring kit: iOS developer (Tech Pro Research)
Cory Bohon is an indie developer, creating both iOS and OS X applications at Cocoa App (his own company), MartianCraft, and for various other clients. As a part of full disclosure, he does not write about any software that he has created or has helped to create through these outlets.
Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite technology part-time since 2007. He runs a development blog named ObjDev when he isn’t writing about consumer tech.