Apple Bytes: How to Access and Manage Files on Your iPad

How to Access and Manage Files on Your iPad

If you have been using a computer for any length of time, you are accustomed to accessing your files with a traditional folder management system in Windows or OSX. You create or download files and then store them on your desktop or in a folder somewhere so that you can get to them when you need them. However, things are not quite as simple on an iPad tablet. At least, not at first.

Where Are the Files Stored on My iPad?
Apple takes a different approach to storing files from what you are used to on a computer. The iPad has no visible file structure, and any files that you have are accessible only through a compatible app. When you create a file on your iPad, it will be accessible only from the app that you created it with or an app that you send the file to.

When you are online and click on a file you want to download, the file will open inside the browser you are using. To save an offline version of that file, tap the screen, then look for the Open in . . . function on the upper right of the screen.

Tap that function, then choose which app you want to open it with. For example, say you want to download a free PDF ebook from a website. Tap on the book download, and the book will open in a new window of your browser. Tap on the middle of the tablet. Tap on Open in . . . and choose the app you want to save the file in—in this case, iBooks. The ebook will open in iBooks and will be permanently stored there.

There are a number of file manager apps available for the iPad. While these apps don’t give you access to the original location of the files themselves (Apple does not allow this), they do let you consolidate copies of all your files in one location. So, instead of opening PDFs in the Adobe Reader app and opening Word files in Pages, for example, you can open them both in a file manager app. One of the best file management apps is Documents by Readdle. It is clean, simple to use, and has a lot of file management options. With this free app installed, you can manage and find files quickly and easily. Here is how:

1. Open the app that contains the file you want and tap on the Sharing icon.

2. Choose Open in another app, and select Documents from the list of apps that come up. A copy of the file you are working on will then open in the Documents app.

3. By default, the file will automatically open when you send it to the Documents app. Tap the Back button to return to the list of files in the Documents app.

4. Tap Edit in the top right corner to access more options, such as creating folders and renaming files. Simply tap the file you want to manage, then choose from the options on the left side of the Documents app. If you connect a Cloud account such as Dropbox or Google Drive to Documents, you can even move some of your files off your iPad and into your Cloud account!

Accessing and managing files on table devices is not as easy as it is on a Mac or PC, but once you get used to the iPad ecosystem, it is perfectly possible to find the files you need without too much effort.

~ Jonathan
Courtesy of