Files

Files is a file storage application for your iPhone. You can think of it as a glorified flash drive because it lets you put just about anything you want onto your iPhone for retrieval later. The nice thing about using your iPhone for this purpose is that you can actually read quite a few of these files on the go, without a computer. There are quite a few apps of this kind on the App Store, but Files does have its share of unique features.

Every “file app” for the iPhone uses the iPhone’s wireless networking capabilities to transfer your files, and Files is no different. In order to use Files, you’ll need a computer that shares the same local network that your iPhone does.

When you open Files, you’re immediately greeted by a popup which shows your iPhone’s address. At that point, you can immediately connect to your iPhone using Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, or any other OS that supports WebDAV volumes. Your iPhone will mount as a network drive which you can copy just about anything to.

The Good: Files can read just about anything the iPhone can, including video, almost any audio file, Office docs, iWork docs, RTFs, PDFs, Safari web archives, and nearly any image type. Videos are fairly limited due to the iPhone’s capabilities, but just about any non-DRM’d audio can be played.

The application itself and every viewable file can be seen in landscape or portrait mode. If you’re looking at a multi-page document or web archive, you can scroll down with a tap, and even bookmark certain scroll positions. Photos can also be added directly to your cameral roll for use later.

If you accumulate tons of stuff, you may need to search through it all. Files includes a search feature which will let you search for particular file names. Unfortunately it doesn’t search through text.

For those who are unfamiliar with connecting to network volumes, Files offers extensive documentation and videos to help you along. In fact, just about every feature is documented and diagramed right inside the app.

An indicator at the bottom of the screen shows you the status of the Files server. Green means that everything is up and running, orange means that it’s starting up, and red means that the server is turned off. Tapping the indicator gives you access to your iPhone’s address and the ability to turn the server on or off. Next to the indicator is a display of how much space is used along with a file count.

If you’re concerned about security, Files will let you add a username and password to keep people out of your stuff. A public folder can also be enabled. You can also secure the application locally so that a 4-digit password has to be entered to access the app. If you want guests to have local access to the app, you can also enable local guest access.

There is also an option to prevent your iPhone from sleeping while Files is running.

The Bad: Although you can optionally prevent your iPhone from sleeping, there is no timeout option.

Unlike many file applications, Files doesn’t offer a thumbnail preview for readable files. It’s not a deal breaker, but it makes it hard to find something quickly.

There’s also no way to view your stuff in a web browser. Some applications offer this feature, but it’s not a feature that I missed.

The Bottom Line: With its solid list of features, easy to use interface and deep level of customization, FIles is my favorite file storage app so far. If you’re looking for the file storage app for your iPhone, Files is it.

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