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How to manage files in the iOS Files app

Step-by-step instructions

The Files app, introduced in iOS 11, allows you to browse, search, and organize your files. It provides access to files stored on your local device, iCloud Drive, or in other cloud services, such as Dropbox and Google Drive.

Browsing Files

The "Recents" tab allows you to view your most recently viewed files and your shared documents. You can also search for files using the search bar in the upper-right corner.

The "Browse" section of the app allows you to manage files in multiple storage locations, view your favorite files, and access files you have organized with tags.

In "Locations," you can view and access cloud storage locations connected to your account. You can add cloud services, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, but you must first download the corresponding app from the App Store. After you install the app, the storage location is automatically imported into the Files app. To enable or disable a location, simply tap "Edit," slide the location on or off, then tap "Done."

Managing Files

You can open a file by simply tapping it. To perform other actions, you need to press and hold the file. This is similar to right-clicking a file on your desktop. You can then choose to copy, duplicate, rename, move, delete, share, tag, or view information about the file.

You can move a file simply by dragging and dropping the file to a new location. You can also move a file by tapping and holding ("long-pressing") a file. If you select "Move," a new panel will appear, similar to a "Save" dialog box, and you can choose the new location for the file. If you duplicate the file, the duplicate appears next to the original. If you delete the file, it goes into the Recently Deleted location. If you choose to share a file, you'll be presented with several options, such as AirDrop, Message, and Email.

The "Info" option displays information about the file, such as the file type or "Kind," which is useful since iOS does not display file extensions. The "Tags" option allows you to organize files under a category. You can also drag and drop a file onto a tag to add a tag to the file.

Selecting Files

You can also tap the "Select" option, then choose one or more files. Then you can share, duplicate, move, or delete the selected file(s). This method is useful when you want to manage multiple files at once.

NOTE: You'll notice that iOS hides file extensions by default. You can tap and hold a file, then select "Info" to view the file type. You can also use the icon to determine the file type. Finally, you can organize your files in folders by file type. You can create your own folders or use Apple's default folders such as Numbers, Pages, and TextEdit.

Updated: December 22, 2017