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DOS like File Manager

Discussion in 'iPad FAQ' started by Rob.Skully, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. Rob.Skully
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    Rob.Skully iPF Novice

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    Hello Everyone,
    I hope to learn ALOT from this forum so please bare with me.
    I have been using a CPU since about 1988 before Windows became popular.
    Started out using the DOS version of AutoCad then went to the Windows
    O/S platform since then. I was introduced to the I-phone & I-Pad idea
    this past Winter. Was driving up North to snowmobile and while I was driving
    my buddy hooked up his I-phone to his I-pad and was surfing the web
    as I drove. I thought ... Way Too KEWL !
    He showed me a few apps he had loaded and I thought it was neat.
    So now I need something so versitile like this for accessing the Web
    during lunch ;-) because it is frowned upon at work. Also seamed nice
    to have since I do not own a smartphone (just a regular cell phone).
    I want to do some side work and figured it would be of great use to
    have access to the Web anytime & anywhere. It look to be pretty easy
    to use (I-Pad 2) and I think I will get ahold of the Apple O/S down once
    I get to use it alot. I am not fimilar with the whole "App's" idea yet :-(
    One question I have not been able to get answered yet either from the
    Apple site, the Apple Store (near where I work) or the few people at
    work (they also mostly DOS based users). Is how do you handle non music or video files ?
    I am use to using File Manager (older Windows version) or Explore (not
    Internet Explorer). I plan on getting the 64 Gig WiFi/3G version.
    I was wondering if someone sends me a file via an E-mail how do I file it
    to a certain directory ? In the DOS O/S you make directories and folders.
    While I was at the Apple store playing with an I-Pad I could not figure it
    out and the store person could not explain it to me the way I could understand.
    They did say something about using an App some how. I seen where
    the have a dongle thing for connecting to a camera but it only transfers
    pic & video. Sorry for the long post and if I should be asking these questions
    in another forum please direct me to the right forum here.
    Thanks .....
    Rob .....
  2. oberkc
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    oberkc iPad Fan

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    I have, by no means, tried every option, but, in general, you cannot use windows explorer to drag and drop files to the iPad or gain access to the file structure or create folders. The initial way to share data between pc and iPad is through iTunes. When connected, the iPad shows up as a device in the iTunes list, where it gives you options to sync certain types of data, depending on what apps you have loaded. There are also apps which can be used to transfer data.

    It is definitely different than what you (or I) are used to. It is also my opinion that this represents a shortcoming in the ways of iOS. My suggestion is to find someone to show you how this works before you decide to purchase. It sounds as if this is a critical feature for your needs.
  3. Poser
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    Poser iPad Junkie

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    you my friend, need to jailbreak your ipad2.

    asap!!!!!

    ipad2 was just jailbroken on july 6th on its 4.3.3 firmware(OS version).

    reason why i said asap, apple might be updating 4.3.3 to something newer to try and stop future firmware jailbreaks.

    and for what/why you wanna enter ipad file system, is only done by being jailbroken.

    but you have to learn this whole jailbreak thing, and kinda abide by what it is already capable of doing, and not too much you can add, and that it might already be capable to do what you are looking for.

    Now... when you said you wanna add files, what are we talking about?
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2011
  4. richsadams
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    richsadams iPad Super Guru

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    Welcome to the forum! I think the first thing, and possibly the most difficult until you get used to it, is to get your mind around how the iPad/iOS works. iOS files are all associated with programs or applications, AKA "apps". Unlike Windows, DOS, etc., in iOS the "app" is king, not the file. So when you receive or transfer a file it will be associated with an app on your iPad. A text document for example might be associated with Pages or GoodReader. A spreadsheet might be associated with Numbers or Office2 HD.

    In the world of Windows (and its DOS legacy) files were generally the starting point. In iOS it's just the opposite. Whatever you're going to do it will start with an app. Within that app you will have saved files. So instead of finding an .xls file, double clicking on it to open a program as you would in Windows, you open the app, then open the file. Unlike Windows you won't find files listed that cannot be opened with that app (unless you accidentally saved them there).

    In the world of Apple files are like engine parts. You really don't need to know how they work or where they are kept exactly; you only need to know how to turn the key, get the engine running and drive the car...or in iOS terms, open the app and tap on the file. That tends to drive some folks nuts but the bottom line is that it's very simple and it just works.

    Having spent about as much time as you using and even building PC's the transition from "where's the file?" to "I don't care where the file is, which app am I going to use?" was a little difficult at first, but more than a year into it I'm more than happy with the process and in fact found it very liberating.

    To answer your question about email attachments, all you need to do is tap on the attachment, a popup will appear with a list of apps on your iPad that can open that attachment. Open it and then save it in that application, done. It's there the next time you need to use it. If you don't have an app that can handle it there is almost certainly one available, often for 99 cents, possibly a little more.

    There are a number of apps that will allow you to drag and drop files from your Mac or PC into an app on your iPad while it's connected and syncing with iTunes. So if say you have a .pdf file you'd like to keep on your iPad you could email it to yourself or you could use one of the programs that allows drag and drop to copy it over. Right now that usually requires your iPad to be connected to your computer with a wire or dock, however there are a couple of apps including AirSharing that let you do that via your WiFi. It also looks like the next upgrade (iOS 5) will allow syncing to happen wirelessly as well.

    GoodReader is an excellent program that allows you to open most files to view them. Other apps like Apple's Pages, Numbers, Keynote, etc. as well as hundreds (thousands?) of third-party apps are available to do just about anything you can imagine.

    Evernote is another terrific program that allows you to do a lot of things with files, notes, web pages and more as well.

    DropBox is one of the best apps for saving files and making them available to not only your iOS device, but PC's and even to the public (if you'd like) too.

    As poser mentioned you can jailbreak your iPad to get other apps that may do what you're looking for. It's a little more dicey since Apple isn't screening the apps, but there are rewards as long as you're careful.

    It's a short learning curve and really a mindset change but once you've grasped the concept, the rest is a cakewalk IMHO.

    Do keep in mind that an iPad is not a PC and not a substitute for a full-on computer and it's not meant to be. If you have to live in a world of files and command lines, an iPad is probably just going to be frustrating. If you can get used to not dealing with a lot of bare files and just enjoy using apps that work almost without fail to do what you'd like, then like millions of others (including yours truly) you'll be very happy with an iPad. Plus the iPad continues to evolve with each new update and upgrade so the possibilities are endless as they say.

    Hope that helps and I'm sure others will have more tips as well.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
  5. slayda
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    slayda iPF Novice

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    Only trouble is, it's not what 'you'd like' but what 'Steve Jobs'd like'. I admit you're right in many respects but the "file" is what I'm interested in, not the app. There may be several apps that can do something with a particular file type, e.g. ebooks & ereaders. But if an ebook is somehow 'hidden' in the 'ibook app', how do I find it to use the 'goodreader app'? Or do I have to juse make another copy to use another app. Seem very counter-intuitive to me but I'm learning to work with purposely crippled iOS. :eek:
  6. Mickey330
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    Mickey330 Administrator Staff Member

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    Rich:

    I just wanted to say thanks for this. It's one of the nicer-written articles explaining the difference between iPad's apps and computer programs. Very well done...

    In fact, I've "stolen" it for future reference (it's all safe and secure in my Evernote notebook).

    Again, appreciate the time it took to write this up - and to share it.

    Marilyn
  7. speedlever
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    speedlever iPad Fan

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    That is outstanding information. But I'll probably have to read it a few more times for it to sink into my PC oriented brain.

    Thanks for that.
  8. bww
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    bww iPF Novice

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    richsadams:

    Great reply with lots of good insight. I have come from a file-centered world and I find Apple's app-centered world refreshing. It is not that one is better or worse but just different and both have their pros and cons.
  9. richsadams
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    richsadams iPad Super Guru

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    Agreed, it does take a little getting used to. Bottom line, I like that it works and I don't have to spend time working on something (files, file structures, my computer, phone. etc.) and working with the actual item.

    Like some I used to enjoy dealing with files and tweaking and other associated things from days past but I for one don't miss it. Using Apple products I've become more productive than ever.
  10. richsadams
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    richsadams iPad Super Guru

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    Thanks for the kind words! Evernote is Awesome isn't it?
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011
  11. richsadams
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    richsadams iPad Super Guru

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    Always glad to be confusing...ha! Hope it helps a little though. :)
  12. slayda
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    slayda iPF Novice

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    I have a question - If I have an ebook in epub format that I've opened with iBook, then iBook knows where it is. Then maybe I find another ebook reader and open the same ebook with it & it also knows where the ebook. With Apples system, of course I don't have a clue & will have to import it again. So does Apple then have two separate copies of the ebook or is the iOS smart enough to know it already has that ebook, create a pointer to the it and 'share' the location?

    It seems more likely that I'd end up with two copies since I would be importing the ebook anew from a location I know (e.g. my Dropbox). But if I knew where Apple put the file then 'I' could point the second ereader SW to that location, thus saving memory space.

    This is just an example. Many file types can be worked on by more than one program (or app). How would the second app know where the file is?
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2011
  13. info
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    info iPad Junkie

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    I'm not certain but it is my impression that even when one uses Inter-App Document Exchange, two separate files are created. Though it seems like it might be a waste, if this is the price of security, it might be a good thing.
  14. Mickey330
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    Mickey330 Administrator Staff Member

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    Each app will create it's own copy. Some apps, such as Documents2Go, for example, only use a copy - it doesn't save to it's files until you tell it to do so. Others, such as Goodreader, automatically create a file that is accessible later (even after you've closed and then reopened the app).

    It's just the nature of the iPad - there is no across boundaries sharing. It's "I'll make and use my own copy, thank you."

    Agreed, it's a good way to prevent random acts of hacking on the iPad. You'll just have to remember, every now and then, to clean out the various apps and the duplicate copies.

    Marilyn
  15. info
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    info iPad Junkie

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    That's a tall order, but maybe an essential part of getting used to a different operating system.
  16. richsadams
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    richsadams iPad Super Guru

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    As others have mentioned, if you want to save a file to more than one app, then yes, you would have more than one copy. That would apply to epub, .pdf files, etc. The fact is that you're almost certainly going to settle on one app to do what you want so I guess I don't see that as being a real concern.

    I'm a little confused as to why you would want to "work on" a file in more than one app. Even though one file might work with more than one app you shouldn't assume it would be the same experience or that you'd end up with the same results. That's no different on an iPad than on a computer.

    Although MS Word and Apple's Pages are both word processors, they are two different programs. Apple's Pages is much more accommodating when it comes to opening and saving MS Word files than the other way around, but in the end they are different programs and handle files in different ways. It's no different with apps on the iPad. You shouldn't expect to "work" on a file in multiple apps.

    Like any computer, you should pick a program/app you want to use and use that exclusively. If at some point a better app comes along, just as on a computer, you'd need to import your files into the new program, make adjustments if needed and then archive or delete the old files and start using the new app.

    Or am I missing your point completely? (Wouldn't be the first time :) )
  17. PDB
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    PDB iPF Novice

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    There may be no need to work on a file in several apps, but for many tasks a centralised folder system is very much needed. In a work environment, where keeping track of different tasks for a particular client for example, being able to store different file types in a folder structure (spreadsheets, powerponts, word doccs, mails) is very much needed. Thinking about this the other day I thought of one way which could potentially work within IOS as it is. We can save a web page links to our homescreen, right? Well if we could do the same with files - ie. Save a direct link to that file, which lies within an app, to the homescreen, we could then use folders to organise the different files as we wish. Make any sense?

    All the best!
  18. Mickey330
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    Well, PDB, you can kind of do that now - if you use Dropbox.

    In Dropbox, there's a public link folder, in which you can put any file that you wish. Then, you can copy that link and paste it anywhere, to include Safari on the iPad. Once it's open in Safari, you can save the link to your homescreen and manipulate it (the icon) from there.

    Hang on a sec...

    Yep, just tried it - once it's on the homescreen, and when you press on it, Safari opens with three options: View your file within Safari (for example, I just looked at a PDF) or two "Open In" options, (1) Open In..." where you pick the app to use or (2) Open In [the last app you used, from Safari, to open files of that type].

    It's not that pretty, given the sandbox restrictions, but it does help gain easy/quick access to some of your files. And, as long as you never move that file from within the Dropbox public folder, you can edit it all day long (within Dropbox, or by using your PC) and the changes will come up when you press that home screen bookmark.

    And, Dropbox is free (to have a 2GB account).

    Marilyn
  19. richsadams
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    richsadams iPad Super Guru

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    That's exactly what I was going to suggest...great minds think alike. ;)

    Besides Dropbox another option is Spideroak, a great new cloud/sync service (also 2GB free).

    Ultimately I think folks still need to understand that the iPad is just not a replacement for a full-fledged computer. I get the desire to do everything on an iPad that you could on a computer, but that's not its current design or really objective. Many millions of folks are very happy with the capabilities of the iPad and what the iPad can do seems to grow daily, but they are not for everyone.

    I love my iPad and use it for all sorts of things, but when I want to get serious about detailed and/or complicated work on various files I switch to my 11" Macbook Air if I'm on the road or one of my computers if I'm at home.

    For those trying to get iPads to do the work of a computer, I think only frustration will be the result. I had a play with a couple of Android tablets and the new HP Palm/Web OS-based tablet. None live up to the iPad at any level IMHO, but I suppose it's possible that file-oriented folks might find some of those meet their needs better than an iPad. Otherwise a laptop or even a netbook might be the answer.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011
  20. PodFace
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    Do you mean your buddy tethered his iPhone to his iPad?
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