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.
Dropbox is getting increasingly bloated and annoying — on the Mac, at least. When iOS 13 ships later this year, you’ll be able to share whole iCloud folders with other people, so you can ditch DropBox altogether. But how will you switch?
One thing you can’t do is just drag your Dropbox folder into iCloud Drive. iCloud just won’t let you. In fact, you can’t even create a new folder and name it “Dropbox.” WTF?
iOS 13 soups up its screenshot tool with the ability to capture an entire webpage as a PDF. That means it doesn’t just grab what you can see on the screen right now. If you’re viewing a webpage that’s really, really long, it will capture the whole thing, and turn it into a very tall PDF.
You can also mark up the resulting PDF before you save it to the Files app. This is a fantastic way to save a webpage, especially when you combine it with Reader View to remove the ads, sidebars and other junk first.
The Files app is waaaaay better in iOS 13 and iPadOS. It adds external USB storage support, so you can plug in anything from a hard drive or USB-C stick to a synthesizer that can mount as a USB drive to load samples and presets.
Apple’s built-in file-management app adds column view (with a handy preview) and all the metadata you want to know about a given file. And it also benefits from a massively upgraded search feature.
Mouse support has drawn more attention, but giving iPad Pro full access to external drives is the biggest improvement in iPadOS 13. It will make using a tablet easier and cheaper for professionals and average users alike.
With adapters, it’s now possible to access everything from hard drives to microSD cards. This feature is a real gamechanger.
Wow, iOS 13 is quite something. We got most of what we wanted, and a lot more. Proper USB support, an improved Files app, plus a radical new UI paradigm for the iPad. And what about that mouse support!
Let’s take a look at the main points. And over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be going extremely deep on everything that’s new in iOS 13.
At first glance, the decade-old OP-1 synthesizer from Swedish musical instrument makers Teenage Engineering looks about as standalone as it gets.
The tiny device couples a short, piano-style keyboard with a screen. And it contains a drum machine, several synthesizers, a sampler, a handful of sequencers, a virtual four-track tape recorder and even an FM radio. You can create entire tracks on it with no other gear, or you can hook it up to electric guitars and microphones and bring the outside world in.
But it also pairs surprisingly well with an iPad. You can record audio back and forth, but things go much deeper than that. You also can use the OP-1’s hardware keyboard to play instruments on the iPad, and use iPad MIDI apps to control the synthesizers on the OP-1.
Making music with an iPad and a synth
If you own both pieces of gear already, hopefully this how-to will give you some new ideas about making music with an iPad. But if you only own an iPad, this in-depth article will provide tips for using your tablet with other music gear.
And if you know nothing about the OP-1, or about Teenage Engineering’s work in general, you’ll learn why the company is kind of the Apple of the synth world. Teenage Engineering is known for its incredible interface design — and for having a quirky personality similar to 1984-era Apple, when the brand-new Mac was making waves.
One of iOS’s most ridiculous omissions is the lack of any way to create a local folder in the Files app. You can add as many folders as you like to your iCloud Drive, but if you just want to create a folder that lives on your iPad, tough.
Luckily, there are workarounds. Here are a couple.
If you keep your stuff in Dropbox, it’s easy to grab a link to a file or a folder. Then you can send that link to another person or store it in, say, your to-do list so you can quickly open it with a click. You can even grab the link inside the iOS Files app.
But if you use iCloud, this simple task is no longer simple. In typical Apple style, a clean UI comes at the expense of hiding almost everything behind multiple taps and cryptic pop-up boxes. But all is not lost. You can actually grab a link to any file stored in your iCloud Drive — and use it in any app you please.
Have you ever sat on the couch, or out on the porch with your iPad, and realized that the file you need is on your Mac? And only on your Mac — not in Dropbox or iCloud Drive or some other easy-to-reach storage? You have to get up, walk to the Mac, and then work out how to get that file onto your iPad.
It doesn’t have to be this way. With one app, you can put all of your Mac’s (or PC’s) folders and files right there inside the iPad’s Files app, ready to browse. Let’s do it.