How to add a local folder to your iPad

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It’s not so easy to fill up that storage space on your iPad local files
It’s not so easy to fill up that storage space on your iPad.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

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.

Make your own iPhone Safari download manager with Shortcuts

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Who doesn’t enjoy a well-managed download?
Who doesn’t enjoy a well-managed download?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

One of the biggest shortcomings of mobile Safari is downloading files. It’ll do it just fine, but it loads everything as if it were a web page. PDFs, ZIPs, MP3s: They all get loaded right there into the current page, whereupon you have to use the Open In… feature to save the file.

Perhaps even worse — you don’t have any idea how long the download is going to take. All you have to go on is the loading progress bar up in the URL bar, which creeps along and really only offers two states: “not done yet” and “done.”

Today we will fix that by whipping up a download manager using the Shortcuts app. Let’s go.

How to create Dropbox-style links in iCloud Drive

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Cloud storage.
Cloud storage.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

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.

How to move your iOS GarageBand projects to the Mac

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This parking garage could totally have a band inside.
This parking garage could totally have a band inside.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I can’t tell you how much I love GarageBand on the iPad. But even though it’s a fantastic app, and totally self-contained, sometimes you need to use a Mac. That’s because the iOS version lacks several features of the desktop version. But that’s OK, because the Mac can open iOS GarageBand projects easily. And today we’re going to see how to do it.

Use Shortcuts to download YouTube Videos on iPhone

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download youtube videos
Shortcuts has no problem ripping and downloading YouTube videos.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Using Apple’s amazing new Shortcuts app, you can rip a video from YouTube, download it, and store it in a folder on your iPhone — all without using a computer.

Maybe you want to watch some clips on your commute without burning through your cellular data. Or perhaps you’re a language or music teacher, and you want to keep teaching materials offline instead of relying on your pupil’s Wi-Fi?

This shortcut can be triggered in Safari, and will save the YouTube video to your Camera Roll, iCloud Drive, Dropbox or other location of your choice. Let’s get started.

How to pick the best iPad Pro storage option for you

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If you buy the 64GB iPad Pro, you're getting ripped off.
If you buy the 64GB iPad Pro, you're getting ripped off.
Photo: Apple

I’m a pretty seasoned iPad buyer. I’ve been using them since the very first iPad back in 2010, and I’ve always known exactly how much storage to buy. Back in the early days it was easy — never buy the lowest storage tier, and if in doubt, always buy more than you think you’ll need. But today, the issue is a lot less clear. With cheap iCloud storage, and a pretty-decent entry level of 64GB, how do you decide how much space you need? Let’s see.

Say goodbye to Back to My Mac in macOS Mojave

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Apple Remote Desktop is one of the applications that replaces Back to My Mac.
Apple Remote Desktop is one of the applications that replaces Back to My Mac.
Photo: Apple

There’s bad news for anyone who’s still a fan of Back to My Mac: Apple is killing off this suite of remote-access applications.

The good news is that Apple’s doing so because all the functionality has been supplanted by newer options. 

How to rip and save audio from YouTube videos with your iPhone

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rip youtube audio
This screen represents YouTube, and the telephone represents audio. Or something.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

YouTube isn’t just for video. Lots of folks use it to post audio files, only they gum up the songs with slideshows so they can upload them to the video-publishing service. There are all kinds of apps that let you convert a YouTube video back into an MP3, but today we’re going to see how to convert a video to an MP3 right in Safari, using Apple’a own Workflow/Shortcuts app.

How to get iOS’ handy Recents feature on your Mac

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Clock recent items
This clock illustrates the time component of 'recent' items.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

One of the handiest features on iOS 11’s Files app is the Recents view. This view — available in the Files app itself, and in any other app that uses the Files picker to locate documents — shows all the files you have created or opened in the last few days.

Did you ever wish you could do the same on your Mac? Well, you can. Today we’re going to see how to add a folder to your Dock that shows recent iCloud Drive files.