Is universal file management possible?

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by Neon01, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. Neon01
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    Neon01 iPF Noob

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    Hi all, been reading the site for a little while, some really good info here. Glad to be a new member!

    I'll cut right to the chase - I'm wondering if there's some way I can transfer files to my ipad2 and store them in typical directories so that these common files can be launched with various apps. I've seen a million "file manager" apps that allow klugey transfers from a PC by setting up a network drive, starting the file manager app, then dragging and dropping files into the ipad, but this solution has a number of flaws for my purposes (something similar can be done in itunes, but it's far more limited):

    1. I have to initiate the whole thing from my PC. This wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to have the app actively running on the ipad too, which requires me to access both devices.

    2. It still doesn't let me load the transferred files with any other apps.

    3. They all have extremely limiting options as far as compatibility with file types.

    What this leads to is a million file managers, each with an embedded web browser, pdf viewer, image viewer, and video player. So if I find that I like the PDF viewer of Goodreader (I do - it's excellent) but the picture viewer of readdledocs, then I have to have two distinct (and somewhat complicated) processes for transferring the different types of files over.

    I'm guessing that what I'm looking for just doesn't exist, but it'd be nice to be able to actually have a universal file manager with directories. Then I could open any of my media apps and just load up any one of the compatible files.

    Failing that, at the very least, I'd like a way to actually reach out to my PC and grab files to save in my various apps (like Goodreader). For instance, if I want to transfer a PDF file from my PC that has the files all shared on my network drive, and I don't want to leave my bed where I'm reading on my ipad. Possible? From what I can tell Goodreader and ReaddleDocs won't connect to network drives, and I have no FTP server or other similarly fancy file sharing technique.

    Another scenario (same problem) I'm trying to address is if I'm at a friend or coworker's house and they have some files I'd like to get onto my Ipad for use/viewing (and they're too large to email). I also don't want to have to guide them through a 10 min process of setting up a network drive on their computer and transferring that way. I'd love to be able to just plug in and have them drag and drop the files or even to just grab them from a network shared directory.

    Your ideas are appreciated.

    Thanks!

    note: I'm not averse to jailbreaking if this is what it would take (when one is available for ipad2)
  2. variador
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    variador iPF Novice

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    Universal file access from a storage area on the iPad is not possible except for photos.
    Have you tried Dropbox? It is a storage area in the cloud that many/most apps can read from. It is free. If you are connected to the internet all your dropbox files are available to you. If you read a file from dropbox in goodreader the file is now in goodreader till you toss it. If you change the file in goodreader you have to upload it back into dropbox to have that file universally accessible.
  3. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    A combination of DropBox and GoodReader, or one of the other cloud services and file managers, is about as close as you can get without jailbreaking.

    If you jailbreak you can use something called iFile which gives you better access to the iPad's file system. But that is about as much as I know. Try going over to the Hacking forum on this site and read the Stickies and the recent posts, and maybe do a few searches. If you don't see what you want to know, ask them. They're a helpful bunch.
  4. RAC
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    RAC iPad Junkie

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    In a word no, unfortunately. Each app has it's own file space.

    There is a chink in the "Walled Garden" though. Often when you open a document in an app there will be an option to open it in another app (such as GoodReader) you can usually also send it to email, DropBox, MobileMe etc. Anywhere but a storage location usually :D.

    On the basis that the iPad is a "Cloud Computer", I (and many others) have set up NAS for mass storage, a sort of personal cloud.

    FileBrowser then becomes very useful. You can open/view files in FileBrowser, which is often all you need, but you can, usually, open and store files in another app if you want to.

    FileBrowser is also quite good for viewing photos and playing movies that are stored on the NAS. I have 80 GB stored and accessible this way.

    I also have lots of PDFs stored, on the iPad, in GoodReader. They are easy to find and always available.

    The one thing that you don't get in iOS Is a traditional File Manager or Finder. I don't understand the reason for this actually, my Windows Mobile has a "normal" File Manager.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2011
  5. Machank
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    Machank iPF Noob

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    My issue is the limitation of 10 apps (selected automatically--not even under user control--for the destination of any file movement across apps using the Open In... Facility. I can't seem to send PDF files to Goodreader. There are so many apps now that will receive pdf's. I would have to remove maybe a dozen apps from my iPad in order for Goodreader to show up in the list of possible destinations. I sure hope that limitation--or at least the automatic selection of apps--is removed in the next iOS version. It's my biggest gripe.
  6. graywolf
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    graywolf iPad Super Guru

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    We are! :)
  7. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    I didn't even know there was such a limitation.

    A quick search suggests that they are selected by install Date, first installed get on the list. So if you were to delete and then reinstall that apps that you don't want on the list it would at least give you some control of what shows up.

    The order on the list seems to be last used goes to the top, which is actually a good idea.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2011
  8. Neon01
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    Neon01 iPF Noob

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    Thanks for the replies. Unfortunate news, but not altogether surprising.

    About the other request - is there any way to pull down files from a network shared drive (just using Win 7 shared drive on a regular home network) using the ipad alone? Or failing that, at least a way to connect with the standard ipad USB cable to a PC and, without installing any software, downloading files to the ipad (say, if I wanted to do it on a friend's laptop or a PC with no admin privileges with which I could install itunes).

    Thanks again.
  9. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    GoodReader has a web server mode. You turn this on and it supplies you with a URL that you can type into the browser any computer as long as it is on the same network. You can use that web page to upload/download files to GoodReader.

    There are local file sharing solutions for you Home network, even one that works with GoodReader. That they exist and work is about all I know. I've run across them several threads, but haven't been interested enough to try them myself.
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