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The iPhone and iPad file management apps

manage files on iphone and ipad

The iOS system does not have a user-accessible file system such as Windows or Android. But that doesn't mean you can't use your iPhone or iPad as a file manager. If your company revolves around files and documents that you need to download, modify and share regularly, you must necessarily use a third-party app for iPhone and iPad file management.

Fortunately, there are some very valid options that allow these operations to be performed on iOS devices. Let's talk about mostly free apps that allow you to easily manage files on these devices, including features that allow you to open, transfer, share and edit files on your iPhone and iPad.

What makes a good iPhone and iPad file management app?

A good file manager must have these three functions:

  • Import: it must be easy to import files and documents into the app. Plus there are import options, better.
  • Management: a good file manager must give you total control over the organization of your data. It must be able to create nested folders, tags and file codes, store folders and more.
  • Export: a file management app with which nothing can be done useless. You should be able to export any file to a third-party app to view and edit it.

Our recommendations meet all three requirements and more. But an app with too many features could prove to be complex for some users, so we also looked for simpler alternatives.

Documents 6 by Readdle

Documents 6 the best third-party document and file manager app for iPhone and iPad. completely free and full of all the productivity features you can imagine.

This app leads our list of file managers. Documents facilitate import (from computers, cloud storage, Wi-Fi transfer, web pages and other apps) and manage files (drag and drop, share, store functions, tags and the like).

documents 6

Documents 6 works well with all file formats, including text, audio and video. You can read books in the app, listen to music, watch videos, share files, show PDFs and more.

In a world of synchronization in the cloud, Documents gives you the security you need by storing and managing all your data locally on the device. This means that it is not surprising when the Photo Gallery in iCloud decides to delete old but important photos because the memory is exhausted. No need to worry if Dropbox Sync will not work reliably when in a remote area.

DOWNLOAD |Documents 6 by Readdle

Apple files

With iOS 11 the new free app arrived File from Apple, replacing the old iCloud Drive app. Mac users will find the File application very similar to Finder. Files are integrated into iOS and you can connect multiple cloud sources directly within the app. If you are using different cloud services like iCloud, Dropbox and OneDrive but you need a central place to organize and manage the files in them, the File app is the best option.

You can find, organize, open and delete all the files on your device, in iCloud and on third-party storage services like Dropbox. File also supports all the fantastic multitasking features like drag-and-drop.

Apple file

File support is currently a bit inconsistent. Some documents can be viewed and even modified in File. Others open up in their parent app. Considering that there is no way to know first if you will see a preview or if clicking will start another app, all a bit frustrating. However, you can find out more about a file by long pressing on it and a popup will appear, similar to the one that appears when you select the text on iOS. Here the options are Copy, Rename, Move, Share, Tag, Information and Delete.

Some basic features are still missing (not possible to sort by file type, for example). But in spite of being quite beautiful. If nothing else, File on iOS is a simple and reliable way to access files in desktop folders and documents on your Mac.



If all your documents and files are stored in Dropbox, the official app for iPhone and iPad will be enough to manage your files. When you have an active Internet connection, you will have access to your entire Dropbox library. You can open a file, preview it in Dropbox and use the menu Share to open it quickly in a supported app. For example, if someone shares a Pages document with you via Dropbox, you can open it directly in the Pages app using the sheet Share. You can even edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files directly in the Dropbox app. This function eliminates any need to switch from one application to another.


Dropbox also has an offline function. In the free plan, you can only save individual files for offline access. If you are a Dropbox Plus user, you can also save entire folders offline.

DOWNLOAD | Dropbox


If you often manage PDF files on your iPhone or iPad, GoodReader necessary to have it. You can import PDFs from cloud services, local servers or from your computer. Then, you can use GoodReader to organize files in folders.

GoodReader has an excellent PDF reading engine that makes scrolling PDFs a pleasure on the iPad (a simple function, but many apps don't). one of the few apps that don't crash when you open PDF with hundreds of pages.

The app also simplifies the annotation of PDFs. You can mark a PDF using text boxes or go freehand with the Apple Pencil. There is also a comment function that allows you to attach classic sticky notes to PDF pages. The app is priced at 5.49.

DOWNLOAD |GoodReader

File Manager & Browser

Documents 6 can be a bit too difficult for new users (the user interface with many features is not very welcoming). The app File Manager & Browser a good alternative to this app. It has a simpler and more visual user interface that helps you perform many of the same tasks. You can import files from a PC using Wi-Fi transfer, organize and manage files and share them with third-party apps.

File Manager & Browser

The user interface of the app is very clear and displays all the important options at the bottom of the screen instead of hiding them in a menu (which is what most productivity apps do).

This File Manager features a simple, free iPhone file management and simulates a virtual USB drive for iPhone and iPad. Easily view images, audios, videos, PDF documents, Word documents, Excel documents, ZIP / RAR files and more.

DOWNLOAD |File Manager & Browser