How Apple’s Files app is getting better in iOS 16 and iPadOS 16

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Updates to Files App iOS 16 And iPadOS 16 brings it closer to the macOS Finder. What’s new here.

Files app brings basic file management functionality iPhone And ipad, Although it is not as strong as Finder MacIt can fulfill most of what a user needs for managing files.

Files started out as a way to view everything stored in it. icloud drive, then expanded to third-party cloud services like Dropbox, and finally ended with local and network storage options. Now, iOS 16 and . The feature set has expanded again with some much-needed updates to navigation and file controls. iPadOS 16,

Files App Update

Most of the changes to the Files app focus on making the interaction patterns the same Mac OS For better ecosystem parity. These new updates make it easier to locate, manipulate and organize files.

Save, open and transfer tasks

The “Save to Files” function has been improved with a new modal window. Whenever a user is saving something in the Files app, the entire app UI shows options for choosing a save location, adding tags, and renaming the file.

Gets better user controls for saving, transferring and opening files

Gets better user controls for saving, transferring and opening files

Opening files using third-party apps achieves a similar UI when the developer properly targets the Files app as a storage location. The modal window shows all the navigation UI for locating the file, including the new navigation options described below.

When moving a file to a different storage location, such as from one cloud service to another or an external SSD, a file transfer progress bar appears.

View options and navigation

Apple has enhanced the list view with better control over the organization. The file or folder is shown in blue with column headings on the left, as usual, with the modification date and file size on the right.

Navigating through folders and manipulating files becomes easier with more controls

Navigating through folders and manipulating files becomes easier with more controls

Tap the column title to arrange the list by that data point, and tap it again to reverse the order. Grouping by file type, date, size, or who shared it provides more organization options.

The navigation toolbar has also received a small but welcome change. Instead of showing the original folder or previous folder in the top left, the Files app now shows forward and backward arrows next to the name of the current folder.

Tapping on the name of the folder opens the navigation view of recent folders and provides some control options like renaming, copying and moving.

Organize files and folders using groups and listing options

Organize files and folders using groups and listing options

Within the View menu, selecting “View Options” shows a “Group By” option for any of the view modes, as well as a “Show All Extensions” button that we’ll discuss below.

When interacting with a file, a handful of new interactions are available depending on the file type and context. These are hidden under the “right click” or press and hold menu.

Using “Get Info” on folders will now reveal the size of the folder’s contents. Previously, it would not show any data for the size. Also, the “Where” section shows the file structure leading to the selected file or folder.

Files app menu has new options for converting files

Files app menu has new options for converting files

When selecting certain file types, new Quick Actions will appear in the menu. For example, image quick actions include rotating the image, converting to PDF, or removing the background.

When “Delete background” is selected, a new PNG image is saved with the object in the same folder.

The column layout offers a mixed view of the information and action buttons that are normally found when an image or file is selected in the file selection menu. The hamburger button reveals additional file actions similar to those listed earlier.

Also, some actions can be performed with multiple files selected. For example, select multiple image files to combine them all into one PDF file that is saved separately.

Other batch operations include changing file extensions, removing backgrounds from all selected images, or creating a new folder with selected items. However, the Files app cannot batch rename files.

File extension

File extensions tell you what type of file you’re working with, as an image file can be JPEG, PNG, or HEIF. Users can now freely convert an image between these extension types using the “Change Image” action in the Quick Actions menu.

Change File Extensions in iOS 16 Files App

Change File Extensions in iOS 16 Files App

For more advanced users, use the “Show All Extensions” toggle in the Layout menu to see the file extension followed by the file name. With this enabled, simply rename a file and change the extension shown after the period to actually change the file type.

Be careful when making file changes in this way. Some file containers contain additional information, such as locations, tags, or notes, that will not be visible in a new file type.

Understanding the Files App

The iPhone and iPad are fundamentally different computing platforms from the Mac, so users shouldn’t expect Files to feature feature parity with the Finder. One of the most important differences between the two is system file access.

On Mac, users can dive into hidden file structures and replace program files for installed applications or even system files for normal operating system operation. On iPad and iPhone, users only have user-generated files.

Apple hasn’t opened up on it at all, and users shouldn’t expect that philosophy to change anytime soon. Instead, Files Updates focuses on improving quality of life that make file management easier.

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