From Bad to Worse

22 09 2017

Apple’s app FILES not worth to use it

Add third-party apps to let FILES access my cloud providers? What a strange idea. I can’t define access to cloud storages or computers by entering my credentials. Also not supported is WebDAV.


In 1995, Microsoft first released „NewShell“ which replaced the Windows 3 file manager with Windows Explorer. Believe me, this early version of Windows Explorer was better than Apple’s app FILES in 2017.

I use the apps Documents, File Browser, and File Explorer and they all do their job much better than Apple’s embryonic FILES app. Again I see a totally unfinished product.

Although file management was always a problem in iOS because it generates a crazy amount of redundant files when using the ‚Open in‘ command, nothing changed with iOS 11. Do we have to wait another decade?

I still can’t access files in the DOCUMENTS directory of other apps or, as an alternative, in a publicly available directory.

File management in FILES is driving me crazy. Lots of missing features and lots of bugs. Have a look at my image. No chance to remove this folder which caused an error during the creation process.

Apple tells us about its iOS file system

Every app is an island.

During installation of a new app, the installer code creates a home directory for the app, places the app in that directory ( /AppName .app) and creates several other key directories. These directories constitute *the app’s primary view of the file system and represents the universe for that app*. It contains everything the app can access directly. The problem is that there is no directory which could be shared with other apps.

More about
a secure but not user-friendly file system

Every app is an iLand

Apple Support: Files

Thanks for 💧ping by.

Out of memory

1 03 2013

If your iOS-Device is beginning to run out of memory it’s time to look for files, their sizes, and their locations. And it’s time to clean up the mess.

Can I upgrade the memory of my device?

That might be your first question when your device is beginning to get less and less free space.
The answer is, no. The memory of an iOS device is fixed to that value you once had when you purchased your iPhone or iPad.

Where can I see the the memory usage?

Go to Settings – General – Usage.

The image is taken from an iPad 3 with 64 GB.


What you see is that the sum of Available and Used is 57,2 GB. The difference to 64 GB is 6.8 GB and used for the operating system. On an iPhone you will get a slightly different value of 6.6 GB for iOS.

What you also can see is the space used by the installed apps. If you tap on a non built-in app the App Size is and the size of it’s data are displayed.

The used space is displayed in a descending order. This enables you to quickly identify the apps which are on the heavy side.

On most of the devices running out of memory the total size of movies, music, podcasts and (with reservations) photos are responsible for the problem.

Type of Media Mean Size MB
Photo 1.3
Song 7.6
Video 1m 25.1

(These values have been calculated as mean values on an iPhone with 197 songs, 430 photos, and 17 videos.)

What you can see is that the problem usually does not come up with photos. 800 photos would use 1 GB unless your device is an 8 GB version.

Disadvantage of the iOS filesystem …

There is a disadvantage in the concept of the iOS filesystem often not taken into account.

Specific folders are assigned for each app on your device. An app only can work with these folders and not with folders of another app. This is what Apple calls ‘The sandbox mode‘ and it’s designed for security reasons. An iOS app’s interactions with the filesystem are limited mostly to the directories within the app’s sandbox. Because it is in a sandbox an app is generally prohibited from accessing or creating files outside its home directory.

That’s why Apple implemented a functionality called ‘Open in’ to enable transferring a file from one app to another.


If you use ‘Open in’ frequently it may take a lot of space and, what should always be avoided, there are redundant copies of files. After a short time you won’t know where to find the original version. But this is only the case if you use many apps which in general provide the same features.

Refer to my blogs

Every app is an iLand

iTunes and File Sharing

for basics of the iOS filesystem.

Intermediate result …

Frequently cleaning up your device in total saves time.
If you make an extensive use of the ‘Open in’ command delete the transferred files either at source or final destination, that means in the local folder of the source or the finally used app.
I recommend to do so anyway regardless of whether there is a low memory problem or not.

Keep in mind that iOS provides no ‘Finder’ respectively ‘Explorer’ to perform a full-text-search on your device to find out where the required file is located.

My personal opinion …
You remember a famous dictum of Steve Jobs?
It just works. Agree, but the user has to fire on all cylinders as well.

Suggestions for the come-back of memory …


Go to Settings – General – Usage.
Tap on apps you do not need any longer and then tap on Delete App.
Keep in mind that whenever you delete an app the related data are deleted too. They only cam be restored from external copies (iTunes, cloud storage, hard drive, USB).


Open frequently used apps and delete unwanted files stored in the app specific folders (folder for documents and folder for images).


Transfer rarely used files to a cloud storage e.g. iDriveSync or Dropbox or a local hard drive via iTunes File Sharing.


Take your time to delete apps from your device.
Nobody needs 50 or more apps, except bloggers who check them all for you.

You might say I need them all because none is fully developed and meets my requirements.
Agree. iPad is ready but at the time the software is still a bit embryonic. So update all apps on your device and read the update feature description of apps you use. Some apps have got important extensions to their feature list so that other apps may be obsolete.


Apple’s apps iBooks, iTunes U, and Podcasts are space consuming apps.
Delete media you don’t need any longer. If you need some of them again later you can download them again. You don’t have to pay another time for as Apple manages your list of apps and media and allows repeated downloads as often as you like.

Files overview …

To het an overview of files on an iOS device I used the demo version of iExplorer by Macroplant with some limitations. After installing the application on a Windows PC or a Mac and connecting your iOS device to your computer via USB it allows you to access the app specific folders on the iPad or iPhone. You can use this app to delete files on your device that are no longer needed.


Thanks for reading my post. I hope you enjoyed it.
If so I would appreciate your comment or share with your friends.
That’s the blogger’s food.

Bridge the gulf, Apple

1 12 2012

There are some documents provided by Apple presenting cases of business applications on the iPad, e.g.

iPad @ work
iPad @ work Volume 2

These e-Books give an overview how iPad features and apps allow you to streamline common daily business tasks.

That’s the theory.
Lets take a look at the reality.

Consider the following scenario …

You have to provide an iWork-Document (created with Apple’s iWork-Apps Numbers, Keynote or Pages) on different cloud storages (with recommended complex passwords), e.g. two Numbers-documents containing data worth being protected.

As a normal user with basic knowledge there are some questions which have to be answered:

  • What is a secure way to transfer data?
  • Which cloud provider guarantees a secure storage?
  • Do I need additional apps to work efficiently?
  • Are the additional apps stable?
  • Is there a fast and understandable support if errors occur?
  • Which apps should I buy to improve the usage of the device?

Generally you have 3 features which allow you to move documents:

  • Send by E-Mail
  • Open in another app
  • Save to WebDAV

Using ‘Send by E-Mail’ …

Apple’s NUMBERS does not support sending more than one document to a recipient.

Apple’s Mail does not support access to iWork-Documents to send them as attachments. Only photos and videos can be inserted.

Apple’s Mail does not support E-Mail distribution lists.

So for easy distribution of documents via E-Mail you will need an additional app.
But is it possible to use the ‘Open in another app’-Feature of iWork to provide the helper app with the required documents?
Does the app support IMAP-Accounts? If it does you have one more E-Mail-Client installed on your device.
If it does not, you will not see what you sent in your other E-Mail-Client.

Using ‘Save to WebDAV’ …

iWork supports only one connection to a WebDAV-Server. Changing the server from time to time requires the knowledge of the address and the password which might be complex so that you have to look it up in your Password-App.

(The app ‘Documents To Go’ from DataViz, Inc. allows access to 4 preconfigured servers.)

Summary …

There are many features not supported by iOS or standard apps of Apple.
So it will take a long time until you have found out the right apps for your specific requirements.
You will need additional time to find out which app fits best to to do your work.

Bridge the gulf, Apple
and take frequently used workflows into account when updating iOS and the iWork-Suite. There are still to many stumbling stones.

And …

Is it an advantage to offer more than 600.000 apps? No it is not, except I have the option to first look within a limited time whether an app meets my requirements or not.

The security of iOS, the iOS-Filesystem and the usability of the File-Management
are not well-balanced so far.