Files app makes iPad more Mac-like in iOS 13 [Video]

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Files app on iPad in iOS 13
File sharing was pulled from iCloud Drive during beta testing.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Apple has slowly been turning up the dial on what iOS can do, trying to make it more and more “computer” like. With iOS 13, one of the points of frustration with computing on iOS – and especially on iPad – is finally being addressed thanks to changes in the Files app.

With iOS 13, the Files app is taking a huge leap toward the Mac model of file management. There’s a whole bunch of smaller changes, as well as some big upgrades that make it really compelling.

How to use Files app with Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive

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Apple Files app
Apple's Apple Files can get documents from many online storage systems, not just iCloud Drive.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Files app can reach documents stored on more than just iCloud Drive. It gives access a whole range of cloud-storage solutions. A new video from Apple shows how to set this up, but it’s a simple process.

This is part of a series demonstrating ways to get more out of an iPad, but this guide applies equally well to iPhone users.

How to share and collaborate in GarageBand using iCloud

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recording studio
With iOS 11, you don't need to go to a recording studio to collaborate on a song.
Photo: Iñaki de Bilbao/Flickr CC

One of the great new features in iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra is shared documents. You can create almost any kind of file, and collaborate on it with other people. This can be a simple Pages document, or a complex song in GarageBand. In theory, the file will be updated with everybody’s changes, so you can work on the same project without emailing a zillion copies back and forth.

Currently, this feature ranges from a little shaky, to rock solid, depending on what apps you are using. Here’s how to share and collaborate using GarageBand in iOS 11.

Everything you need to know about iOS 11

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iPhone 7 iOS 11
The new Control Center is just one of many great new iOS 11 features.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Over the past two months, Cult of Mac scoured the iOS 11 betas to collect tips and tricks for Apple’s latest mobile operating system. We’ve covered everything, from the iPad’s amazing new Dock and Drag-and-Drop to the iPhone’s new lifesaving Do Not Disturb While Driving.

We’ve created this iOS 11 guide, which we will update going forward, so you can easily find links to our best iOS 11 tips and how-tos. Read on for more on the radically improved Notes app, iOS 11’s powerful new camera features and more.

Everything you need to know about the new Files app on iOS 11

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files app ios11
Files is like the Finder for iOS 11.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Files is the new Finder app for iOS 11, and it’s already about a million times better than the basic file-picker it replaces — iCloud Drive. Files is a central place from which to access all the files on your iDevice, and in iCloud. You can find, organize, open, and delete all the files on your device, in iCloud, and on 3rd-party storage services like Dropbox. And because this is iOS 11, Files supports all the fancy new multitasking features like drag-and-drop.

So, lets take a look at what it can do:

Everything you need to know about tagging files in iOS 11

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Tagging files in ios 11
Tagging files is a powerful and easy way to tidy up your files, but it’s currently limited to the new iOS 11 Files app.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

One of the most useful features in iOS 11’s Files app may turn out to ta tagging files. Tagging lets you gather pictures, folders, documents and any other files from all across your iPad and iCloud storage by giving them the same tag.

This means you can organize files without moving them — you could create a Vacation tag, for example, to collect maps, a PDF with your Airbnb info, your boarding passes, and even related emails. Then, when the vacation ends, you can delete the tag. The grouping disappears but the files never get moved.

Tags are also synced between the Mac and iOS, so your collections can group files from both platforms. You can also apply many tags to the same file, including it in as many “projects” or lists as you like. The tagging functionality is built into the Files app at a deep level, making it easy to use wherever you are. Here are all the ways you can use tags in iOS 11.

How to use the new keyboard shortcuts in iOS 11’s Files app

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Files app keyboard shortcuts
Files app keyboard shortcuts
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Files app is iOS 11’s Finder. You can use it to browse the files in your iCloud Drive, along with files and folders in your Dropbox, and inside other apps that open up their file systems to iOS. Apple has also added some keyboard shortcuts to the Files app. This lets you carry out many common tasks without touching the screen when you have a hardware keyboard attached.

Most of the new keyboard shortcuts are great, and show how serious Apple is about the new user-accessible iOS file system. But some serious limitations mean you’ll still need to reach up and tap the screen to do the most basic things.

How to share documents from the Files app in iOS 11

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Share documents
Files is awesome, but it could be better.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

We’ve been able to share and collaborate on iWork documents for a while, but in iOS 11 (and macOS High Sierra) you’ll be able to collaborate on any document, just by sharing it through iCloud Drive. To begin with, this will only work with Apple’s own apps, but third-party developers may add real-time collaboration features to their own apps. Here’s how to get started.