iOS 9 feature wish list: File manager

iCloud Drive

Ever since Apple launched the iPhone, one feature that has made it to our wish list is a file manager.

In iOS 8, Apple introduced iCloud Drive and a revamped document picker, which finally allowed users to access files created using other apps. It was an improvement over Documents in the Cloud, which prevented an app to access a document created by another app.

iCloud Drive doesn’t come with its own dedicated app, but is instead built into the document picker that every app can implement.

I am not saying we need a full fledged file manager in iOS 9 like iFile (available on Cydia for jailbroken devices), which gives you access to the entire file system, including the system files. Apple can still have restrictions which prevents access to desktop-style filesystem, but there is a need for a central location for files just the way we have the camera roll for photos. We don’t need app specific directories in iCloud Drive.

In addition to the central location, we also need a Files app that allows users to access files in this central location natively rather than having to download an app from the App Store. I shouldn’t have to download an app to access the files in iCloud Drive. Just like OS X, it should also allow any compatible app to open a document created or modified by other apps, saving changes back to the original file’s location and generating versions of the file.

This will also make saving and attaching files in the Mail app a lot easier. I should be able to save any kind of file from the Mail app in this central location. Currently, I have to open the file using a third-party app, and then export it to iCloud Drive, if I need to save it. Instead just like OS X, I should be able to save the file directly in the central location.

I should also be able to attach files from this central location in the Mail app, and any other third-party app. It is quite ridiculous that we can only attach photos and videos in the Mail app or have to use the share extension to email files.

The file manager will certainly make it easier to switch from OS X to iOS devices. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Our Wish list for iOS 9 so far: