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Apple File Manager app for iOS 8

I have been using iOS for quite some time. I’ve been seeing rumors that the next iPhone will have a bigger screen which personally is good but I’d rather have an exceptionally great battery life than anything else for the next iPhone. It turns out that I’m not alone at all in this. Reading an article on BGR, based on a survey of WalletHero, it turns out that 97% of survey respondents want better battery life.

ios-8-at-wwdc-2014
Photo from 9to5mac

On the software side, every year Apple introduces a version of iOS with new features including a complete overhaul of the UI in iOS 7. With just several days before WWDC 2014 where Apple is expected to introduce iOS 8 with it’s new features. At this point everyone is sharing their own ideas of what features would make the iOS experience all the more better.

For instance, iMore has some pretty cool compilation of some ideas we’d like to see on iOS 8. Things like a customizable Control Center or even a multi-window iPad comes to mind. Rene Ritchie of iMore even posted a cool idea of have Privacy Sheets for iOS 8.

As for me, one of the things that I would really love to have on iOS 8 would be a File Manager app. I can see why it’s a challenge to get one working on iOS with so much concern and focus on sandboxed applications but here’s an idea that can potentially solve this concern and give all iOS users a better way to handle their files on iOS.

As a long time user of iOS, I’ve struggled to make sense of being able to manage the files of my apps in one place. Most file manager apps on iOS offers solutions that aren’t just good enough. In my opinion, only Apple can deliver a truly effective file manager so I’ve created this concept of what a File Manager app can look like on iOS 8 based on bringing the existing feature of iTunes File Sharing directories for apps to the next level.

A File Manager app for iOS can be as simple as giving access to the file sharing feature found on the iTunes app for OS X.

Some of the added features could include:

  • The File Manager app’s contains the File Manager Home/Sync directory and all the other Sync directories implemented by all the apps on the iOS device that looks like the one below:

    Main screen of File Manager app
    Main screen of File Manager app
  • Each app’s Sync directory will contain files shared by the app. For example, the File Manager has it’s own Sync/Home directory which contains all files being shared by the app.

    Sync directory of the File Manager app itself
    Sync directory of the File Manager app itself
  • Ability to sync the File Manager “Sync/Home/File Sharing” directory and the individual “Sync/Home/File Sharing” directories of apps via WiFi.
  • Give access to the “Sync directories” to other devices via Bonjour, SFTP or AirDrop.
  • Control Permissions The user can control the permission of each shared folder/file. And also copy, rename, move or delete the file/folder.
    Info and permissions of a file
    Info and permissions of a file

    Folders can be set as “write only” wherein apps can save files but not read/list contents of the folder.

    Info and permissions of a folder
    Info and permissions of a folder
  • iOS API for allowing apps access to the “Sync directories” ‐ developers will be able to make apps that can have access to these resources and share their functions with other apps instead of all apps having to implement functions themselves. Imagine all apps that have a PDF file to be finally be able to use an excellent PDF app to access the PDF.
  • iOS users can set per app privacy access of an app’s shared directory.
    Privacy screen listing the File Manager
    Privacy screen listing the File Manager

    A list of apps that implemented the File Manager Framework API. These apps will have “Sync Directories” that could be accessed by the File Manager app and other apps.

    File Manager Privacy settings of app list
    File Manager Privacy settings of app list

    File Manager Privacy settings of each app for VLC
    File Manager Privacy settings of each app for VLC

There are so many benefits to finally having a core File Manager app on iOS but here are some of the advantages that would really make using my iPhone/iPad a lot more easier:

  • Apps will be able to access files on other apps without sacrificing on security
  • Apps do not have to implement all types of file readers
  • Have a core app with the ability to transfer/share files from apps on one iOS device to another without needing an Internet connection or a Mac/PC.

I really hope that, if not on iOS 8, a File Manager for iOS will finally be available. With a lot of iOS features making its way to OS X, I hope that an OSX-like File Manager will get implemented on iOS. Even better would be the addition of an inter-app communication will finally be available.

Gerry Ilagan

Mobile, web, development, apps and games are the things he's passionate about. Gerry Ilagan is engaged in mobile/web development. His development platforms include Android, iOS and WordPress. He writes about mobile, the web, development, #crazyidea, apps and games on this blog.

Comments

Eric Dave
Reply

Hi Gerry That was an awesome read. Your thoughts looked quite impressive on file manager I have to say as most of the ios community is thinking about it most than everything else in my view as there are several other apps which have labelled as perfect document manager or file manager for ipad but still not giving complete control a user on his documents and that people blame on apple which is some way right also. I have used several file manager apps including files-finder edition being latest of the collection but I wish also if there will be less security restrictions from iOs then it would be much more pleasing for all of us.

Gerry Ilagan
Reply

Hi Eric,

Thanks for your comment.

With Apple’s recent announcement of the Extensibility Framework that will be made available on iOS8, I am pretty excited on all the new powerful apps that will be available since now Apple has opened up a way for iOS apps to communicate and share functionality.

This, I believe, will provide better use cases for users since now if a certain app is such a great PDF reader, users will now be able to use them from other apps.

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