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How to save files on iPad

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How to save files on iPad: The iPad is a perfect device for those who travel frequently and need to carry documents, photos, videos and work files with them. So it would be wonderful to be able to save files on the Apple tablet and then browse, view or edit them on the fly, as happens with Windows, Mac and Linux file managers, right?

Well, if the answer is yes, know that it can be done, and how! Just turn to the File app , integrated “as standard” on all devices of the “bitten apple” starting from iOS 11, iPad included, through which it is possible to browse, view and manage the files saved on iCloud Drive, the service Apple cloud storage, and other apps installed and services connected to your accounts. It also allows you to save files locally but this is limited only to some specific folders. In short, it has some limitations but it is certainly a very valid tool.

If a version of iOS prior to 11 is installed on your device or if you are looking for an alternative to File, you can contact  Documents . This is an excellent free app for iPad (all models) that allows you to view, copy and save any type of file, locally and on the cloud, on the famous Apple digital tablet with the same convenience of the Resource Explorer of Windows or macOS Finder. The application is very intuitive, has an extremely accurate graphic interface and supports all the main file formats which, among other things, allows you to view without having to switch to other applications and to modify them with a simple “tap”. So let  ‘s see how to save files on iPad using both resources.



Let’s start this guide entirely dedicated to how to save files on iPad by analyzing the operation of the Files app . As already anticipated at the beginning, it is a resource pre-installed on all iPads (and other iDevices) made available by Apple itself starting from iOS 11. You can therefore find it on the home screen of your device and to be used it does not require configurations details. For more info, keep reading, you will find everything explained in detail right below.

Log in to the app

As already mentioned, in order to access the File app you do not need to download and install anything from the App Store. The application is in fact pre-installed on all Apple-branded mobile devices equipped with at least iOS 11 so you can find it directly on the home screen, to be more precise on the dock bar (by default).

To start using it, start the application by tapping on its icon (it is the one with the icon with a white background with a blue folder imprinted on it) and you will immediately find yourself in front of its main screen.

Can’t see the Files app on your iPad? Well, most likely it is because it was mistakenly removed from the device. In that case, fear not, you can download it again from the App Store as if nothing ever happened.

To remedy this, open the App Store by pressing on its icon (the one with the blue background and the “A” printed in the center), step on the Search item at the bottom and type File in the search field at the top of the screen that is shown to you. Then press on the first result in the list, step on the relevant Get / Install button and type the password of your Apple ID or, if enabled, use the Touch ID to unlock the download.

How to save files on iPad

Wait a few moments for the download to start and complete, after which you can finally access the application. If you want, you can also connect immediately to the relevant section of the App Store by pressing directly from your iPad on the link that I have already given you a few lines above.

Once the application is open, to start managing your files select the location you want to access, find all those available in the  Locations section , in the left sidebar. By default, File allows you to access iCloud Drive but also several other supported apps and services such as Dropbox , Google Drive and the same Documents application that I will talk about in the following lines.

If you are unable to view a specific position, you can tap on the Edit item at the top and add it (if available) by turning ON the switch that you will see appear in correspondence with its name. The same is true if you prefer to remove a given position. Turn the relevant switch to OFF and you’re done. In case of second thoughts you can always and in any case retrace your steps, in both cases.

In the Tags section , also located in the left sidebar of the application, there are instead all the tags with which you can mark your files or that you have already marked. By pressing on each of them you can therefore view all related documents on the fly.

On the right side of the app there are then the search field to find certain files by typing their keywords, folders and files related to the selected location or the chosen tag. By default they are sorted by name but if you want you can change this by making a slight swipe from top to bottom in correspondence with the reference section and choosing the option that interests you most from the top menu.

Pressing on a specific folder it opens automatically, the same happens for files that are opened directly in the app and that can also be modified (when possible) by tapping the pencil -shaped button in the upper right part of the screen of the tablet.

Save the files

As for the actual saving of specific files in the app that are located outside the latter, for example in  Safari or on Chrome , all you have to do is press the share button (the square with the arrow), select the Save to File option from the menu that opens (in the second line) and indicate the destination location, both in the cloud and locally, from the window that opens and tap on Add at the top right.

How to save files on iPad

For the rest, if on Mac you have activated the synchronization of documents and desktops with iCloud you will find the relative folders in iCloud Drive. Plus, if you create a folder on Mac, Windows, or the web in iCloud Drive, you’ll also be able to access it from the Files app. The same goes for the files you choose to add to the newly created folders or to existing ones from another location.

How to save files on iPad

Finally, I would like to point out that File also includes a section called Recent , which you can access by tapping on the appropriate item at the bottom left of the application window, which, as easily understood, allows you to view all the most recently opened files using the application.

Since, as I mentioned in the previous lines, File also allows you to access the items saved on various cloud storage services and the apps on the device that support their integration, you can save your files on iPad also by marrying them from a location to a other. To do this, press the Select item at the top right of the reference screen, step on the file or files you are interested in and use the commands below to perform the desired operation: Share  and  Move . There are also the Duplicate and Delete commands but, as easily understood, they are not used to save files on the device in the strict sense but to duplicate and remove them.

As well as as just indicated, you can then move your files also by opening the reference one (click on it in the app), selecting the sharing icon at the top right, then the Save to File item and indicating the destination location.

How to save files on iPad

However, keep in mind that although File also allows you to access files saved in other apps and services, the interface in this case could be the proprietary one with the usual functions and the usual management mode. It all depends on whether the reference application has been updated and whether it supports integration with File.


Now let’s move on to Documents , the application to save and manage files on the iPad more generally online. To find out how to download it and use it on your Apple-branded tablet, follow the instructions below. It can be used on all versions of iOS and on all iPad models without any kind of problem.

Install the app

If you want to find out how to save files on iPad with Documents, the first step you need to take is to open the App Store , search for Documents by Readdle  and install the application on your iPad by pressing on Get / Install  and verify your identity using the password of the your Apple ID or using the Touch ID sensor for fingerprint recognition (if you have an iPad model that also includes this component).

How to save files on iPad

Once the download and installation are complete, start Documents by pressing the app icon that appears on the home screen of your iPad and press the Later button (top right)  to start using the application immediately. Entering the email address is not mandatory.

As you can see, on the Documents home screen there are various test files: a music piece, a ZIP archive, a photo, a Pages document, etc. By pressing on each of them, you can view them directly inside of the file manager without using external applications, while if you swipe down with your finger you can display the toolbar that allows you to change the display mode of the icons, organize files by name, date or size and create new folders.

How to save files on iPad

On the left, however, there is a convenient quick access bar through which you can quickly search among the documents on the iPad, connect the file manager to your Dropbox account and other cloud storage services ( Network ) and browse the Internet. ( Browser ). At the bottom of it, there are also links to the most recently opened files, so you can recall them more quickly when you need them.

Save the files

There are various ways to save files to iPad via Documents. The first you can try is to connect the iPad to the computer (via cable or wirelessly) and take advantage of the iTunes file sharing function , which allows you to copy files of all kinds to and from the tablet in a very simple way.

To better understand what I’m talking about, connect your iPad to your computer, start  iTunes and select the tablet icon  that appears at the top left. In the screen that opens, select the  App item from the left sidebar, click on the Documents icon  in the  File Sharing box and drag the files to be copied to iPad in the  Documents Documents field . You will find all files copied from PC to iPad in  Documents iTunes File folder.

How to save files on iPad

Alternatively, you can upload your files to iPad using the Documents web panel via Internet Explorer , Safari , Chrome , Firefox , or any other web browser. How do you do this? Nothing easier. You have to type in your browser the Documents address and a panel opens through which you can manage and upload files to iPad.

To activate the Wi-Fi data transfer function, go to the Documents settings by pressing the gear icon located at the top left, enter the  Drive Wi-Fi section and set  the Activate option lever  to ON Drive . The address of Documents (i.e. of your iPad) within the local network is the one that appears at the bottom of the Documents settings menu (it should be something like  http: //192.168.1.x or  http: // iPad- di-yourname.local ).

How to save files on iPad

Once you have the Documents address, open the browser on your computer and connect to it. Then authorize the computer to access the iPad by answering Yes / OK to the warning that appears on the tablet screen and upload your files to the device using the  Choose file / Browse button located at the bottom of the web page that has opened on the computer .

How to save files on iPad

Another way to have your files always at hand in Documents, as mentioned above, is to connect the app to your Dropbox accounts or other cloud storage services (eg Google Drive , SkyDrive , etc.).

To do this, you must select the item In the cloud> Add / Add  account  from the Documents sidebar, you must select the service to which the app is to be connected and enter the access data to it. In this way you will be able to freely view and modify all the files you have saved in the “cloud”. More comfortable than that?

How to save files on iPad

Other solutions to save files on iPad

Did Files and Documents not fully satisfy you? Don’t worry, there are many other apps that allow you to share files between your computer and iPad, either via cable or wirelessly. Let’s take a few examples right away.

  • If you want to copy files from a computer , other Apple device or even an Android device to your iPad, try Send Anywhere . It is a free application that allows you to transfer files to and from iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows PC, Android devices and computers equipped with Linux. It works very simply under any Wi-Fi network. To use it, just select the files to send from a device, enter the transfer code on the target device and wait for the file copy to complete.
  • If you want to transfer files from a Mac to an iPad , you can also rely on AirDrop . In case you’ve never heard of it, AirDrop is a file sharing system included with all newer Macs and iOS devices that works over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. To use it, all you have to do is select the files to move to the iPad, right-click on them and select the items  Share> AirDrop from the menu that opens. iPad and Mac must both have Bluetooth turned on and must be connected to the same wireless network. To learn more check out my tutorial on how AirDrop works.

How to save files on iPad

  • If you want to copy videos to the iPad but don’t want to waste time on iTunes conversions and syncs, turn to third-party players such as VLC  (free) and Infuse (free, but with an in-app purchase of 7.49 euros for exploit its full potential) that support all major video file formats and allow you to transfer files to iPad both wirelessly and via cable, via iTunes (using the file sharing function we talked about earlier). For more details see my tutorial on how to put movies on iPad where I explained how both applications work.

In conclusion, don’t forget that you can copy files from computer to iPad using good old iTunes and its sync features for videos, music, photos and books. Now, given the many alternatives available, it is a bit awkward as a file management method, but it works. To find out in more detail how to transfer files from PC to iPad using iTunes, consult my tutorial on how to transfer files to iPad: there you will find everything explained.