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

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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
A future Face ID iPad may have smaller bezels.
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.

How to change the default location of saved files on iOS 11

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default locations dropbox iOS 11
You're no longer required to use iCloud Drive as your default.
Photo: Cult of Mac

You probably know by now that iOS 11’s Files app can integrate services like Dropbox, and Google Drive, so that they appear and act like regular folders on your iPhone or iPad. But did you know that you can choose these third-party services at the default storage option for your apps? Take Apple’s own Pages, for instance. In the olden days, it would store files in your iCloud Drive, or locally on your iPad. Now, you can pick anything, including Dropbox, as the default location for saving.

Apple’s quick iOS 11.0.1 release is here to kill some bugs

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iOS 11
The first iOS 11 update is here.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iPhone and iPad users that upgraded to iOS 11 last week are already getting their first update even though Apple didn’t release any beta builds to developers yet.

The new iOS 11.0.1 update was pushed out to devices this morning exactly one week after the big release of iOS 11. It’s not clear if there are any major changes, but it looks like it may come with some important bug fixes.

Dropbox is now baked into the iOS 11 Files App

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dropbox files
Dropbox is now just another folder on your iPad or iPhone.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Dropbox now shows up as a regular old folder in the new iOS 11 Files app. The latest update to the Dropbox iOS aa brings full integration with Files, making it work much more like it does on the Mac and PC. For instance, now you can drag a file from a Dropbox folder into an iCloud Drive folder, and it just works.