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How to get Safari to view local html files?


iPF Novice
Aug 8, 2012
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I want to store some html files in the iPad and use Safari to view them. Is it possible? I don't seem to be able to see any option with Safari to allow me to access local html files.
You don't have any access to the iPad's file system. Apple lock down their idevices pretty tightly. However, that does not mean you can't view your own HTML files using an alternative method.

Have you tried Dropbox? Free cloud storage. You can put anything you like on there and the free app can be used to browse any HTML files you put on there with ease.

Goodreader is also an excellent "swiss army knife" file viewing tool, which can integrate with any number of storage services, or sync content on via iTunes. Again, this would be a fairly simple way of doing what you want.

If you want to actually save pages you visit from Safari to read later offline, then that feature will be baked right into the Safari app when IOS6 is released, estimated to be around September time. You will them be able to add pages to your "reading list" and save them for offline viewing later. At the moment, the features in IOS5 only allows on-line reading later.

If you really want full access to the iPad's file system, your only option is to jailbreak. Head on over to our hacking section if you want to find out more about that.

Hope that helps.
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You can't read the Safari Reading List offline. It's just a collection of bookmarks, optimized as a temporary reading list. It does not save the site locally.
You can't read the Safari Reading List offline. It's just a collection of bookmarks, optimized as a temporary reading list. It does not save the site locally.

Really? Woops. My bad. That will teach me to talk about features I don't use, but think I know the purpose of... Thanks for the correction TP.

In my defence, this is a description from the Apple web site - " Save articles to your Reading List and read them later — even without an Internet connection.". I guess I made a bad assumption that applied to the iPad reading list too...

UPDATE - Offline reading lists are available in IOS6... Phew. I knew I'd come across it recently... I'll update my post accordingly. Thanks again for the prompt. :)
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Ok. I was surprised to see that it did work on the computer. I turned off wi-fi and 3G on the iPad and my internet connection on the computer, just to be sure. Offline on the computer works, on the iPad it does not.

So I got to learn something too. :D

Nice to hear it will work offline in iOS 6.
Thanks Guys!

I do use Dropbox. However I do want to view the files in the local file system, no Internet, so the Dropbox doesn't help.

I have the basic iPad1 only, so no 3G. I would like to be able to put our product catalogue into the iPad and take it around to show our prospects. They are purely HTML pages, no flash or anything fancy, probably just some JavaScript.

I seem to be able to transfer files by connecting the cable to my Windows system using Windows Explorer. I believe iTune can do the same job too. I haven't tried it yet as I want to do a backup before I could muck up the system.

The guy from Apple store told me that I have to place files under or associated to the app like iPhone. In other words, there is no shared area in which files can be accessed by all apps. Conclusively I have to get the app first.

I am not planning to buy another iPad at the moment. Is there any free app available that would allow me to do the same job? A free app that would execute HTML files and JavaScript.

The Apple guy at the shop does recommend Goodreader which is a paid one. Perhaps I have no choice but to buy one. Is the licence for one iPad only? What for some reason if I need to re-install sometime down the track?
If you really want full access to the iPad's file system, your only option is to jailbreak. Head on over to our hacking section if you want to find out more about that.

Please tell me something about this. Where is your hacking section?
healer said:
Thanks a lot. There is a lot to read. I hope they suit my iPad1 where there is no specific declaration.

No problem. Good luck. I don't do the jailbreak thing myself, at least not yet.
Can anyone tell me if the fee for the app is one-off or repeated?
Once you buy Goodreader, it is free for you to use on your iPad, or any other iPad with the same AppleID

Are we supposed to connect to Internet in order to be able to use any app? I ask because I intend to get Goodreader to run a locally stored product web site without Internet connection. Without Internet, without authentication, so I can't use the Goodreader. Can I?
I searched for 'offline html viewer' in the App Store. Two products turned up that look like they may fit your needs; Web Express and HTML Presenter.

They are both short on reviews, but might be worth your time to look at; or at least try contacting the developers.

The problem with saving a site via GoodReader or other apps that can do so is that they generally only save the HTML of the site itself and (sometimes) the local resources. Many sites pull in outside resources and use various scripts for interactive elements. None of these will show up when you view the file offline.
I am not depending on GoodReader or Safari in iOS6 to save a site. It is a site I create for some catalogue of products. I want to be able to transfer the whole web site to this iPad and show the products to our clients while travelling without using the Internet. I presume other tablets could do the job easily. However I have an iPad1 at this stage and I don't want to spend more for another one. That's why I asked for your hacking information. I presume your hacking information would help me copy the files over one way or another. I have not read much of your information yet. The web site does not need to pull web pages from other web site. This web site only uses JavaScript in addition to HTML. Of course doing so I won't be able to use the payment gateway for immediate purchase.

In fact at the beginning I was able to see the contents of the iPad from Windows Explorer and I managed to delete a file in the iPad from Windows Explorer. Now I can't see the iPad from Windows Computer and I am still investigating the cause. I guess it is because I have started the iTunes to connect to the iPad. I am going to test it with another computer that never connects to the iPad before.

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