How to explore iPad: Running out of space on your iPad ? Would you like to browse freely within the tablet, in order to find all the files saved on it, but you can’t figure out how to do it? Don’t worry, I’ll give you a hand if you want.
For security reasons, Apple devices do not allow users to freely “roam” within their memory, but a little something can be done anyway. If you follow the instructions below, you can find out how to explore iPad both through iTunes (Apple’s official program to manage iOS devices from your computer) and using third-party solutions, some of which can work directly from the tablet, without risking do damage.
So, what are you doing still standing there? Take five minutes of free time, concentrate on reading the instructions below and, once you have identified the solution that seems most suitable for your needs, start using it by following my instructions. I assure you that, in one way or another, you will be able to achieve your goal. Having said that, there is nothing left for me to do but wish you good reading and have fun!
How to explore iPad with iTunes
If you are looking for a solution to explore iPad from your computer in order to find out which files are stored on the tablet’s memory, all you have to do is use iTunes : the official Apple program that allows you to manage iOS devices from your computer. As you probably already know, iTunes is free and is available on both Windows and macOS : on Windows it is distributed as a free download (you can find it on the Microsoft Store of Windows 10 and on the Apple website ), while on macOS it is “standard” “in the operating system. If you need a hand to download and / or install it, consult my dedicated guide.
When you’re ready to explore your iPad via iTunes, connect your tablet to your computer using the supplied Lightning / USB-C cable, launch the software (if it hasn’t already started by itself), and if it’s your first time put the two devices in communication, authorize their connection by clicking on the Continue button on the computer and on the Authorize button on the iPad (where you will then also have to type the device unlock PIN ).
At this point, select the iPad icon from the top left corner, in the iTunes window, and scroll through the various items in the program sidebar, under the heading On the device , in order to discover the various contents present on his memory. The contents are divided into specific categories: Music , Movies , TV Shows , Books , Audiobooks , Ringtones and Purchases (with books, songs and other content purchased from the iTunes Store).
If you want, you can also browse the files hosted by the individual applications installed on the iPad. In this case, you need to select the File Sharing item from the iTunes sidebar and select the applications whose content you are interested in discovering.
Through the same window, you can also copy the files from the iPad to the computer or vice versa (by simply dragging their icons to and from the Documents box of [application name] ) and, again, delete the selected files (by pressing the key Del / Backspace on the PC keyboard).
If you were wondering, the iTunes sections listed under Settings allow you to manage the synchronization of music , movies , TV shows , podcasts , books and photos between your computer and iPad: just go to them, check the box on the synchronization of the files in the iTunes library (eg Synchronize movies ) and click on the Apply button to start copying the data on the iPad.
By going to the Summary section of iTunes (always accessible via the left sidebar) and checking the box Manually manage music and videos , you can also activate the function to copy music and videos to the iPad by simply selecting the items On the device> Music and On device> Movies from the left sidebar and dragging the files to be transferred to the tablet in the iTunes window.
If you have activated a subscription to the Apple Music streaming service and the iCloud Music Library , however, know that you will not be able to copy the music tracks “manually” to the iPad: you will have to copy them to your online library and wait for their automatic synchronization with the device (which will then take place via the Internet).
Finally, I would like to point out that by activating the Synchronize with iPad via Wi-Fi option in the Summary section of iTunes, you can activate the ability to manage the iPad from your computer, via iTunes, without physically connecting the two devices to each other (provided that both are connected to the same Wi-Fi network).
For more details on how to transfer files to iPad, if you need them, I leave you to my guide on the subject.
Programs to explore iPad
Once your iPhone is connected to your computer, if you are using Windows, you should be able to navigate the folders on the device using File Explorer . However, finding your way around the paths present on the Apple tablet is really difficult, so I would like to recommend the use of some third-party applications, which allow you to easily navigate the iPad’s memory, browsing folders and files on this one. last according to their category. To work on Windows they require iTunes , so make sure you have previously installed this software on your PC.
iMazing (Windows / macOS)
iMazing is a software available for Windows and macOS that allows you to explore the contents of the iPad and iPhone memory, with the ability to exchange files between connected devices. It also allows you to back up your iOS terminals and extract data from iTunes backups. It is paid for (prices starting from 39.99 euros) but is available in a free trial version which, while limiting the number of operations that can be performed (e.g. it is possible to carry out a maximum of 100 file transfers), provides for deadlines in terms of time.
The procedure to be faced on Mac is even simpler: open the .dmg package obtained, click on the Agree button in the window that opens and drag the iMazing icon into the MacOS Applications folder . That’s all!
You are now ready to take action! Therefore, connect the iPad to the computer via a Lightning / USB-C cable and start iMazing .
In the window that opens, choose whether to decline or accept the invitation to back up iPad (know that if you refuse, you will not be able to access some of the program’s features) and use the left sidebar to navigate through the various contents of the tablet: Files , Camera , Photos , Music , Videos , Ringtones , Books , Messages , Phone , Safari (history, bookmarks and reading list), Calendar , Contacts etc.
To explore the individual folders, instead, select the File system item and browse the various available paths. If you want to access the files saved in the apps , select the appropriate item from the left sidebar and then expand the icons relating to the applications of your interest. It’s all very intuitive, as you can see.
iExplorer (Windows / macOS)
If iMazing did not fully meet your expectations, you can contact iExplorer : a valid alternative to the latter, also available for Windows and macOS and also available in a free trial version with no time limits (but with limits in file transfer operations). The full version, however, costs $ 39.99.
To download the trial version of iExplorer, connected to the program’s website , click on the arrow located next to the Download iExplorer button and select the For Windows item or the For Mac item from the menu that opens (depending on the operating system installed on your computer).
When the download is complete, if you use Windows , open the .exe file you just obtained and click first on the Yes button and then on Install to complete the setup (some files will be downloaded from the Internet). If you’re using a Mac , open the package instead. dmg obtained, drag iExplorer to the MacOS Applications folder , right-click the program icon and select the Open item twice in succession, in order to bypass the restrictions imposed by Apple on software from non-certified developers (operation required only on first start).
At this point, connect the iPad to the computer using the supplied Lightning / USB-C cable, start iExplorer and click on the Continue with demo / Continue in demo mode button to continue using the trial version of the software.
Once this is done, use the icons in the left sidebar to access the data saved on the iPad, based on their respective categories: Media Library to view the files in the libraries of multimedia applications, Backup to browse the device backups, Photos to view photos, Apps to browse app files, Media to browse folders on the iPad, iCloud to browse files on iCloud, Books to view books from Apple’s Books app, Bookmarks to access to Safari bookmarks and so on.
By selecting, on the other hand, the Browse iTunes Backups item you can browse the files in the iTunes backups. Convenient, right?
App to explore iPad
Are you looking for a way to explore iPad without connecting it to computer? No problem: you can also do something directly from the tablet, although the freedom of action is more limited than that granted by PC programs. For more details, read on.
As you surely know, the most recent versions of iOS (the operating system of iPad and iPhone) include File , a very basic file manager that allows you to navigate between the folders of some applications and the online spaces of various cloud storage services, such as iCloud Drive and Dropbox.
File is integrated “as standard” in iOS but, in case of uninstallation, it can be easily downloaded from the App Store . For the rest, there is not much to say: once the application is started, you have to select from the left sidebar the path you are interested in accessing (e.g. on iPad to browse app files or iCloud Drive to browse files saved on iCloud Drive) and then press on the various icons to open the selected folders and files.
By making a long tap on an icon, however, you can call up the File context menu , which allows you to perform operations such as copying, deleting, sharing, adding tags or changing the name of the selected items.
Readdle’s Documents is one of the best third-party file managers available for iPad: it was launched before Apple’s Files app, when it was still one of the few apps capable of navigating user folders on iOS devices. However, even today, despite the availability of an integrated file manager in iPad, it is still very useful.
Among its main features, apart from the support for the main cloud storage services, there are the possibility to send files to the iPad via the Wi-Fi network, an integrated browser with download manager (to download files from the Internet) and the possibility to browse the files of various apps.
Documents by Readdle is completely free and is very easy to use: to open a folder or file, just tap on the element of your interest, while to call up the contextual menu of the app and carry out operations such as copying, sharing or the deletion of an element, just press the … button located under the icon of the latter.
More information on how the app works can be found in my tutorial on how to save files on iPad.