Files App Featured Image

How To Work In The Files App

The Files app was released in iOS 11. It allows you to store documents, photos, videos and audio files across all of your devices. It includes local (content stored on your device) and iCloud content (content stored in the cloud).

Before it’s release, I had my content stored all over the place. Some of it was stored in Dropbox, some in Google Drive and some in iCloud Drive. Now 99% of my content is stored in the Files app, which is part of iCloud. It’s even compatible with third-party services like Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud Drive. This means I can access any of my content across my iPhone and iPad.

That said I bet you don’t pay much attention to the Files app? Why? Because change is difficult. If you want to start getting your digital life in order and become more organized, start using the Files app.

Finding Your Way Around the Files App

  • Locate and open the Files app on your iPhone and/or iPad (if for some reason you can’t seem to find it), go download it from the App Store, its free and made by Apple.
  • The Files app offers two tabs, Recents and Browse. 
  • Recents contains recently added or edited files
  • Browse breaks down into three sections, Locations, Favorites and Tags

Files App

Adding Third-Party Apps and Scanning Documents 

  • Open Files app
  • Tap on the More icon (circle with three dots) in the upper right corner of the Browse tab
  • 3 options appear: Scan Documents, Connect to Server and edit
  • Tap on edit and you’ll see the third-party apps installed on your iPhone or iPad (if you aren’t seeing any it just means you don’t have any installed on your device, you can download them from the App Store)
  • Toggle the switch to green to add that app to your locations
  • Tap done when finished

To scan a document in the Files App

  • Tap again on the More icon (circle with three dots)
  • Choose Scan Documents
  • Position the document in view
  • The Scanner will automatically take a picture of the document, if positioned properly or choose manually
  • Tap Save and choose which folder to save it to or go ahead create a new folder and the scan will go directly in the folder

Files App

Creating a Folder Once in the Files app make sure the Browse section is highlighted

  • Choose a Location
  • Tap on the More icon choose New Folder
  • Give New Folder a Name
  • Tap Done

New Folder in Files App

Organizing Folders

  • Inside the app choose the Browse tab
  • Tap on iCloud Drive
  • Tap on the More icon
  • Choose Icons or List
  • Choose by Name, Date, Size, Kind, or Tags

How To Use Favorites

In the Files app any folder can be added to the Favorites section

  • Tap on the Files app
  • Choose Browser tab
  • Open iCloud Drive or any other Third Party app
  • Long press (push and hold) on the folder you want to add to Favorites
  • Choose Favorite

The folder you selected is now listed under Favorites on the Browse tab.

Creating Tags in Documents

Adding colorful and custom tags, makes it easier to find content, regardless of the location of the document. Tags, when created will carry over to MacOS devices when applicable.

  • Open the Files app
  • Choose Browse tab
  • Choose iCloud Drive or any 3rd Party Location
  • Long press (push and hold) on the file or folder you wish to tag

Tag in Files App

Choose from the list of tags or Add New Tag. If creating a new tag add a name and color, now tap done.

The recently created tag will be available under the Browse tab in the Files app.

Adding Documents to the Files app

You can almost add anything to the Files app, PDF’s, Photos, Webpages, music, videos. In this example I’ll show you how to add a photo to the files. 

  • Tap the Share Sheet icon on the photo you want to save
  • Select Save to Files
  • Choose the Folder you want to save to
  • Or Create a new folder by taping the Folder icon with a plus sign, Name File Folder
  • Tap on Save 

You’ll find the photo inside the folder you chose or created. If someone sends you a file via email and you want to save it, this is an easy way to do it.

Save to Files App


Like a computer you can now easily access your documents, files and folders across all of your iOS devices using the Files app.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to post them in the comments section.

To Download the Resource guide, CLICK HERE and to get an indepth video walk-through on the iPad head on over to my YouTube Channel.

If I can help you with any problems or issues with your device, sign up for a free 20 minute consult. Just CLICK HERE.

Hi, I'm Ellen!

I help mature adults master their iPhone and iPads, even if they aren’t  techie! 

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