Why a visible filesystem in iOS is key for iPad Pro

“Powerful as the iPad Pro is, there are still a number of tasks that need the additional power offered by a Mac,” Ben Lovejoy writes for 9to5Mac. “Video, audio and photo editing are obvious examples: you can do them on an iPad, but it would be a poor choice of primary device. Software developers, too, need Macs.”

“But even if you need neither the power nor the specialist apps of a Mac,” Lovejoy writes, “there’s still one area where I think the iPad falls down when comparing it to a Mac: the lack of a user-accessible file-system.”

“Steve Jobs, of course, argued that a file-system was an outdated concept. Why should a user have to either know or care where their files were stored? They simply open the app and do whatever it is they need to do,” Lovejoy writes. “That works fine for simple tasks, but not for complex ones involving multiple apps.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote near the end of last year:

Imagine an “iOS Pro” mode.

Turn on iOS Pro on your iPad Pro
1. Tap Settings > General, and make sure iOS Pro is turned on.
2. There is no step two.

Hey, we can dream, can’t we?


  1. iOS 9.3 is a step in this direction with its multi-user capabilities in Education. But I haven’t seen it so I can’t say for sure. But if documents are usually stored in app-space and there are multiple users, perhaps iOS 9.3 will segregate files by user. And, as a consequence, make them more accessible in general. This is pure speculation, but I can dream, can’t I?

  2. You want a filesystem? Install Dropbox. It works extremely well and it’s cross platform. It has a finder equivalent that works well on multiple platforms as well as Web access.

  3. I wish you can use an iPad Pro as extra monitor plugged into a Mac like a Cintiq. Then I can run Photoshop on the mac but draw on the iPad (so far iOS drawing apps are not equal to desktop ones)

    and yes I’ m one of those who want a file system for the iPad plus a better way than iTunes to sync.

  4. I agree that iOS in its current form is quite suboptimal for file management. But I would posit that OS X and Windows could be greatly improved as well. I also think that many file management proponents on this forum are going to need to unlearn a lot of what they believe file management it about.

    At work I’m on a Windows machine (not my choice) where I manage thousands of files through a combination of hierarchical folders and strict use of file naming conventions. I keep it clean and well structured but it’s a manual process for every single file. Meta tags can also be applied but the current implementation isn’t very useful.

    I see a huge opportunity for Apple to automate file naming, tagging, searching and sorting in the OSX Finder. They could make it dead simple for the machine to manage your files with minimal intervention. HFS should become a real relational database. But you shouldn’t be a database expert to use it. The user should be able to manually intervene in any part of the file management process but the default should be fully automated. If it can be done on OS X it can be done in iOS.

    1. Apple removed the brilliant and convenient “Coverflow” view option when selecting files to attach to an email. I don’t expect them to move in the direction of improving their file system, just removing options and control from users. The writing has been on the wall for power users or anyone even in the same ballpark. Apple knows it can make the most money off of the vast majority of casual users. It’s not worth the extra investment for the rest who are a loud, though ignorable fraction.

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