If you have an iOS device that you use regularly, chances are good you have one or more cloud storage accounts. These accounts not only provide file storage that can be accessed from just about anywhere, they also serve as off-site backup. Now the question is how to get to those files from your mobile devices. Sure, each cloud service offers its own app for managing files, but iOS users will find the free Documents app is not only an impressive reader but an amazing file management system too.
Here you see the main screen in Documents on an iPad. The folders and files you see displayed here are all contained within the storage area in the Documents app. The sidebar displays the cloud storage services I use.
With Documents installed on your device, you can download a file using your browser by tapping the Open In . . . command located just below the tabs bar then choosing Open in Documents.
Once downloaded, the file will appear in the Documents main screen. Opening attachments in email messages works much the same way. The Documents app is also an impressive reader app and can read PDF, Microsoft Office and ePub files as well as view photos and videos.
Obviously, I don’t want to keep every file I download on my iPad. Documents also has an impressive collection of file management tools. Start by tapping the Edit icon at the top right corner of the title bar. A screen appears similar to the one shown below.
The first step is to select the files you want to work with by tapping on them. In the example above the checkmarks show which two I’ve selected. The sidebar presents the options available to me. In this case, I want to send them to my Dropbox account so I tap on the Upload icon in the sidebar.
Documents displays my cloud storage options – in this case Dropbox and Box. [NOTE: iCloud has its own “area” in Documents and doesn’t appear with the networked services.] I tap the Dropbox item which will display my list of folders then I select the folder I want. It’s that easy.
As you can see in the sidebar, there are a lot of other things I can do with Documents. I can copy, move, rename and delete files currently in the Documents app. I can also merge PDF documents and create zip files. Want to add a file attachment to an email message? Select a file and tap Mail to.
Documents is an impressive app providing a full range of reading and file management features. It won’t take long for it to become indispensable.