PDF Viewer supercharges the native iOS 11 Files browser [Review]

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PDF Viewer uses iOS 11's Files browser to do its work.
PDF Viewer uses iOS 11's Files browser to do its work.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

A month or so back I was searching for a PDF app that would use the native Files browser on the iPad, but add features not available in Files app’s built-in PDF viewer. The result of that search was PDF Viewer, an app that is almost impossible to find on Google, but which is simple enough to be perfect for many people.

iOS 12 wish list: All the features we absolutely need

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iOS 12 wish list
Here's everything we want from Apple's next major update.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

WWDC is right around the corner, which means we’re about to get our very first look at Apple’s next major update to iOS.

We’re expecting big things from iOS 12, including a whole host of improvements that will make our devices more stable, and plenty of welcome bug fixes. Apple will surely surprise us with some nice new features, too.

Here’s our lengthy wish list for this update, which includes a Home screen overhaul, a more powerful FaceTime, better multitasking, and more!

The best Apple Pencil apps that aren’t for drawing

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apple-pencil-jar
Don't leave your Apple Pencil in the jar.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You have a new iPad, and you have a new Apple Pencil. Time to learn how to draw, right? Not necessarily. Just like a regular pen or pencil, there are ton of other things you can do with an Apple Pencil. You can write, of course, but you can also play games, compose musical scores, do coloring in books, edit photos, and even play the Apple Pencil like a musical instrument.

Let’s take a look at the best non-drawing apps for Apple Pencil.

How to use a USB drive with Files on iOS

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ixpand drive files
Now you can browse some USB drives in Files app.
Photo: Sandisk

There are several workarounds for getting data off a USB stick or SD card, and onto your iPad or iPhone. We’ve even covered some. But until now, there’s been no way to just plug a USB stick into your iPad’s Lightning port, and browse the contents in iOS 11’s Files app. Thanks to an update to the fantastic FileBrowser app, that’s now possible.

How to use iOS 11’s Files with (some) unsupported apps

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file

Photo:

iOS’ Files app is one of the best new features in iOS. It lets you move files from app to app almost as easily as in the Mac’s Finder. The problem is, not all apps support it. To use an app with Files, that app needs to either accept files dragged onto it via drag-and-drop, or it needs to integrate the Files picker.

But you can still use Files with some older apps, or apps from developers who don’t want to add support: Many file-based apps will open up a web server to let you load stuff in via a browser on a Mac or PC. We can exploit this old-fashioned workaround with a workaround of our own, effectively adding local Files support. And don’t worry, it’s dead easy.

Cult of Mac’s 2018 Apple wish list

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iPad Pro2
What the next iPad might look like.
Photo: Martin Hajek

Cult of Mac's 2017 Year in Review With 2018 about to begin, why rehash everything that already happened, just to fill up some space while we take time out for Christmas? Let’s go with a different year-end cliche? Yes, it’s a wish list for Apple products in 2018.

Some of these will almost certainly come to pass, while others perhaps will not. One is probably doomed before you even read about it here. Let’s take a look at what Apple products I hope will part me from my money in the coming year.

This SD card reader can transfer any file to iPad and iPhone

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The Kingston MobileLite G3
This little box solves all kinds of problems.
Photo: Kingston

If you’re traveling to see family this Christmas, then you may like the Kingston MobileLite G3, which is — amongst other things — a wireless SD card reader that lets you load and save any files you like. Unlike Apple’s own SD card reader, which only works with video and photos, the MobileLite can read any file you want, and then hand it off to any app that can open it.

Not only that, but the MobileLite also works with USB drives, and can juice your iPhone with its built-in 5,400 mAh battery.

How to add any audio file to iPhone’s Music app

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cd
Your music is so hard to get into the iPhone's Music app, it may as well be on CD
Photo: Lost Places/Flickr CC

It’s 2017, and yet you still can’t add music to the Music app on your iPhone. If you have an MP3 file that somebody sent you, that you downloaded, or that you created with one of the zillions of powerful apps on iOS, you can’t just add it to your library. Instead, you must add it to iTunes on your Mac or PC, and then manually sync it to your iPhone, either over Wi-Fi or with a cable.

It’s absurd, and today we’re going to fix it. You’ll still need a Mac to be running, but at least you don’t have to actually touch it.

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.