Got files? Of course, you do. Where are they? On the Mac we keep most of our files– document files– in the Documents folder, easily accessible via the Finder or from the popup window within apps. I know a few Mac users who do not organize their Documents folder, but that’s a personal issue only made worse with files scattered everywhere when simple folder organization makes managing files much easier.
What if you have files that you want to share between devices; Mac to iPhone, iPhone to iPad, iPad to Mac? What’s the best way to manage app files between devices?
Actually, that’s easy, too but you have to bite the bullet. I use both iCloud and Dropbox (they are similar, but not the same) to store files. Allow me to focus on the benefits of iCloud first because it shows up on the Mac’s Finder and popup file access window, as well as in the Files app on iPhone and iPad.
The Mac has a setting in System Preferences > Apple ID > iCloud which will sync Desktop folder and Documents folder (as well as data from other apps like Calendar, Contacts, et al) to iCloud. Once files are synchronized to iCloud they become available on iPhone and iPad, too.
It still means you need to pay attention to file and folder management, but Files replicates whatever you have in the Mac’s Documents folder and on the Desktop folder.
What’s the problem?
Files and folders take up space and it takes little effort to hit the free 5GB ceiling on iCloud, so you may need to cough up a few dollars for more space.
It’s worth it.
Keeping files on iCloud gives you access from any Apple device, as well as any web browser, so the only issue is how Files management differs from Finder files and folder management.
Here’s a good question. When someone sends you a file via AirDrop, where does it go? The answer is, “It depends.”
If you’re on the Mac, most files will go to the Download folder so they’re easy to find. iPhone and iPad are different. Files coming in from AirDrop go to wherever those particular files should go.
For example, photos go to the Photos app. Contacts go to the Contacts app. That sounds reasonable but can be messy if you’re not sure which app has access to which files.
Sending a file to iPhone via AirDrop gets you a popup menu on iPhone which asks which app you want to use. Buried in the list is Files, and if you select Files, then you get another menu to determine which folder in Files you want to use.
That works, but the process is different on the Mac.