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Directly manage files on iOS 11

It Appears We'll Finally Be Able to Directly Manage Files on iOS 11

Apple's Software
June 5, 2017

For years, iPhone and iPad users have been wishing for a way to directly manage files on iOS. With the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) just hours away, it appears that iOS 11 may finally provide us with that capability. Twitter user Steve Troughton-Smith found a placeholder for an app that, by its name, should be just what the doctor ordered.

We May Manage Files on iOS with the Files App

We May Manage Files on iOS with the Files App

The missing link in being able to directly manage files on iOS will apparently be solved by an app aptly called Files. Troughton-Smith located the placeholder for the software on the App Store late Sunday night, June 4, and posted a screenshot of it to Twitter.


The app doesn’t include any screenshots, and is listed as being developed by Apple Distribution International. Its placement in the App Store was confirmed by The Verge, but the placeholder has since been removed.

If the app truly is being introduced alongside iOS 11, it could mean that Cupertino is changing its general philosophy about file management on mobile devices. Currently, files within apps are protected from each other, and cannot be accessed directly. Until recently, there has been no easy way, for example, to transfer a file from Readdle’s PDF Expert to a mail client. That recently changed on certain iPad models, however.

Complete File Management on the iPad

Complete File Management on the iPad

Readdle’s drag and drop functionality is limited in use to just that developer’s apps. If a Files app truly does come to the App Store, it could allow users to easily drag and drop files from any of their apps to other software, email clients, and more. Such a capability would definitely make iOS more powerful, so it’s addition would definitely be a good thing.

The listed app requires iOS 11, according to Troughton-Smith, and its icon is unmistakably that of a macOS-style folder. It is remotely possible that the app isn’t from Cupertino, since the listed developer name isn’t the same as on Apple’s other mobile software titles. However, I believe it is a new introduction from Cupertino, and will provide us the means to directly manage files on iOS. I have my doubts that a developer would be able to register with the Apple Developer Program with such a name as Apple Distribution International.

In an unrelated finding, Troughton-Smith also located an App Store entry for Activities. If that remains, it means users who don’t use the Activities app may be able to remove it from their devices. Apple began allowing users to remove unwanted stock apps from their devices with iOS 10.