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How to copy files to iPad from PC

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How to copy files to iPad from PC: Are you looking for a way to  transfer files from PC to iPad  without turning on automatic synchronization of all data with iTunes? Have you just bought your first iPad and would like a hand to copy videos, music or books to the latter? No problem: I am happy to inform you that you have come to the right place at the right time!

Thanks to today’s tutorial, in fact, we will discover together how to manage the files on the iPad thanks to the tools made available to us by Apple and some applications developed by third parties, both free and paid, able to simplify the process of transferring files. data between iPad and computer. 

Whether you have a Windows-equipped PC or a Mac, whether you prefer to transfer files via cable or wirelessly, I assure you that you will find the solution that best suits your needs. You just have to take five minutes of free time and follow the directions I am about to give you. Come on, let’s not get lost in useless chatter and let’s see together how to copy the data on the Apple tablet in the simplest and fastest way possible. I bet you will be amazed by the results obtained!


iTunes (Windows / macOS)

iTunes  is the official software for managing iOS devices from a computer. It allows you to synchronize music, videos and books between Apple’s mobile devices and your computer but also – and not everyone knows this – to import and export files in individual applications installed on iDevices. It is included “standard” on all Macs, up to macOS 10.14 Mojave, while it is available as a free download on PC.

If you have a computer equipped with Windows but you haven’t installed it yet, fix it now by opening the Windows 10 Microsoft Store and downloading it from there. If, on the other hand, you are using an older version of Windows (eg Windows 7 ), connect to the Apple website and download iTunes by clicking on the relevant button.

When the download is complete, open the.exe file  you just downloaded on your computer and complete the setup by first clicking on the  Next button , then on  Install, Yes  (twice in a row) and  Finish . In case some steps aren’t clear to you, check out my guide on how to download iTunes.

ITunes installation

Now you can really take action! Launch iTunes , accept the software terms of use (if this is your first time using it), and connect your iPad to your computer using the supplied Lightning / USB-C cable.

If this is the first time you connect the iPad to the computer, you must authorize the two devices to communicate with each other by first clicking on the  Authorize button  that appears on the tablet screen and then on the  Continue button  that appears on the PC / Mac desktop. Next, you will also need to type the unlock PIN on the iPad.

Well now you are ready to  copy files to iPad from PC . However, know that there are two ways to do this: the first is to synchronize the files with the iTunes library (so all the changes made on the PC are also applied on the tablet, and vice versa); the second, on the other hand, involves the direct transfer of files to the iPad memory (without synchronization with the computer).

To synchronize music, videos or books with iTunes, select the iPad icon  that appears at the top left of the main iTunes window, then click on the  MusicMoviesBooks or Photos items  located in the left sidebar (in the section  Settings ) and put the check mark next to the  Sync music / movies / books / photos option . 

If you do not want to sync ALL your library of music, movies, books or photos with iPad, but only certain contents, put the check mark next to the item  Playlists, artists, albums and selected genres  (for music),  Selected books  (for books) or next to thumbnails of movies or photos to move on iPad (for videos and photos). Then select the contents to synchronize and press the  Synchronize button , located at the bottom right, to complete the operation.

Do you prefer to transfer your files to iPad without activating automatic synchronization with iTunes? In this case, you need to select the  Music, Movies  or  Books item  from the left sidebar (in the  On device  section instead of the “Settings” section) and drag the files to copy to your tablet in the iTunes window.

If dragging files does not seem to work, select the Summary item from the iTunes sidebar, place the check mark next to the Manually manage music and videos (or Manually manage videos ) box and click the Done button (bottom right) to save the changes. Then repeat the file dragging operation, as explained above, and this should be successful.

It should be noted that if a subscription to the Apple Music streaming service and / or the iCloud Photo Library function is active on the Apple ID associated with the iPad, it is not possible to “manually” copy music and videos to the tablet: you have to switch necessarily for the cloud libraries of these services.

How to copy files to iPad from PC

As mentioned above, there are also applications for iPad (and iPhone) that allow you to export or import files into them via iTunes. To take advantage of this feature, click on the tablet icon  in the main program window (top left) and select  File Sharing  from the sidebar.

At this point, scroll down the screen that opens up to the  File Sharing box , select the application where you want to copy your files and drag them  to the iTunes Documents box  (which is next to it).

To delete a file previously copied on the iPad, just act directly from the device, or you can use the iTunes menus (selecting the file to delete and pressing the  Delete  or  Backspace key  on the computer keyboard). Easier done than said!

Note:  if the next time you want to synchronize or copy files to the iPad without physically connecting the tablet to the computer, select the device icon in the iTunes window (top left), click on the  Summary item  in the sidebar, affix the check mark next to  Synchronize with iPad via Wi-Fi  and click the  Apply button  to save the changes. For wireless file copying or syncing to work properly, the iPad and computer must be connected to the same wireless network and iTunes must be running.

Finder (macOS)


If you are using macOS 10.15 Catalina or a later version of macOS, instead of iTunes (no longer available), you must use the  Finder , selecting the iPad icon from the left sidebar and going to the  File tab . The steps to be taken, then, are the same as I showed you earlier for iTunes.

iCloud Drive (Windows / macOS / iOS)


If, as highly likely, you have associated your iPad with an Apple ID , you can take advantage of the cloud storage space made available to you by Apple ( iCloud Drive , whose free plan includes 5GB of online space) to exchange files between all your devices. In a nutshell, you can save a file in the iCloud folder on your computer – be it a Windows PC or a Mac – and find it automatically synchronized on the iPad, as well as on the iPhone and on all other Apple devices in your possession (a provided that these are associated with the same account).

To begin with, go to your iPad settings (the gear icon on the home screen) and check that your name is on the screen that opens at the top left . In case of failure, press on the item to log in on iPad and log in with your Apple ID (or create a new one, by tapping on the appropriate option and following the instructions on the screen).

Once you’ve paired an Apple ID with your iPad, you need to do the same thing on your computer. If you have a Windows PC , you must install the iCloud client on it, which allows you to synchronize data between the Apple cloud storage service and your computer. If you are using a Mac , however, you simply need to go into System Preferences and log into iCloud using the same ID configured on the iPad.

To download the iCloud client on Windows, connect to  the Apple website  and click on the  Download button . Then open the resulting .exe file and, in the window that opens, check the box to  accept the terms of the license agreement . Then click on the  Install , Yes and  Finish buttons  to complete the setup and restart the PC.

When Windows restarts, log in to the iCloud client using your Apple ID data (the same one configured on the iPad), make sure there is a check mark next to iCloud Drive and use the File Explorer to copy the files you want to transfer to the iPad in one of the iCloud Drive folders.

iCloud for Windows

If you use a Mac , however, you can activate data synchronization between your computer and iCloud without resorting to external software. All you have to do is go to System Preferences (the gear icon located on the Dock bar), select the iCloud item from the window that opens and check that you are logged in to the same configured account on the iPad. If not, fix it.

At this point, check that there is a check mark next to iCloud Drive (otherwise put it yourself) and use the Finder to copy the files you want to transfer to iPad in one of the folders synchronized with iCloud Drive.

iCloud Mac

To access the files synchronized with iCloud Drive on your iPad, start the iOS Files application (the blue folder icon on a white background that you can find on the home screen) and select the item relating to iCloud Drive from the left sidebar.

If you don’t find the File icon on your iPad home screen, you may have uninstalled the app: in this case, download it again from the App Store . If, on the other hand, you are using an iOS version prior to 11, you cannot have the Files app: instead, you must use the iCloud Drive app .

For more information on how iCloud Drive works, see the tutorial I dedicated to the service.

AirDrop (macOS / iOS)


If you have a fairly recent Mac, you can copy files from your computer to your iPad using  AirDrop , an Apple technology that uses Bluetooth and Direct Wi-Fi to share data from one device to another wirelessly. 

AirDrop is available on all MacBook Pros made from 2008 onwards (except the 17 “MBP from late 2008), MacBook Airs made from late 2010 onwards, MacBooks made from late 2008 onwards (excluding the white MacBook from late 2008 onwards). 2008) and iMacs produced from 2009 onwards equipped with macOS Yosemite or later, fourth generation iPads and up, iPad Mini, iPad Air and iPad Pro with iOS 7 or later.

To copy a file from Mac to iPad using AirDrop, make sure that the  Bluetooth  and  Wi-Fi connections  are active on both devices (if you don’t know how to do it, follow my dedicated guide). Then click with the right mouse button on the file to be sent to the iPad, select the items  Share> AirDrop  from the context menu and click on the iPad icon in the AirDrop menu. Once transferred to the iPad, you can decide with which apps to open the files received via AirDrop.

If you can’t use AirDrop, make sure there isn’t too much distance between your Mac and iPad (both devices must be within Bluetooth’s range) and make sure your tablet doesn’t have the screen off. For more info about it, please consult my guide dedicated to AirDrop.

Documents by Readdle (iOS)

How to transfer files from PC to iPad

Another solution you can use to  transfer files from PC to iPad is Readdle’s  free Documents file manager , which allows you to have a sort of File Explorer / Finder on iOS, in many ways more complete than the included File app “by series “in iOS 11 and later.

Readdle’s Documents supports file sharing in iTunes (the function for importing and exporting files directly to apps, which we talked about earlier ) and transferring data wirelessly. This means that, by connecting tablet and computer to the same Wi-Fi network, you can open the browser on the computer and copy files to the iPad without using other applications (using only the local Wi-Fi network).

To take advantage of data transfer wirelessly in Documents, select the Wi-Fi Transfer item from the left sidebar and allow the app to access the device’s camera. At this point, open the browser on your computer, connect to and scan the QR code that appears on the screen with the iPad camera.

Perfect: now all you have to do is click on the Upload file button in the browser (top right), select the files to upload to iPad and wait for the upload to finish. The file will then be made available in the Documents app on the tablet: more convenient than that?

Just remember, at the end of the transfer, to press the Disconnect button on the iPad: in this way you will close the communication between the tablet and the computer