Apple took to the stage at WWDC 2017 in June to showcase a range of improvements to not only iOS, but macOS, watchOS and tvOS too. One of the main features of iOS 11 is the all-new Files app, providing iOS users with the ability to manually manage files – something that had previously been limited on the iPhone and iPad.

Here, we show you how to use Files for iPad (and iPhone too!) in iOS 11, including some handy tips to get the most out of the app.

Not installed iOS 11 yet? Here's how you can install the iOS 11 beta

How to use Files for iPad

The Files app, like many Apple-designed apps, is easy to use but it takes a bit of know-how to get the most out of it. That’s where we come in: we’ve spent some time with Files for iPad in iOS 11, and here’s how to use it.  

Move documents in Files

Drag-and-drop was a huge part of the iOS 11 at WWDC 2017 in June, so it comes as no surprise that it is an integral part of the Files app. It’s still possible to select and move files using on-screen buttons but it’s much faster to simply drag and drop them using your fingers.

So, how do you do it? Well…

  1. Tap and hold the file you’d like to move – it should pop out of its original place and follow your finger wherever it goes on-screen.
  2. You can move additional files by tapping them while holding the original document – they should all stack beneath your finger.
  3. While keeping your finger on-screen, use another finger (or better yet, your other hand) to browse the Files app and find the folder you’d like to move your files to. You can interact with iOS as normal while holding a finger on-screen to drag and drop files.
  4. Once you’ve accessed the destination folder, simply lift your original finger to drop the files into place.

Move, share and delete documents manually

If you can’t get the hang of the new drag-and-drop functionality, or if you want to move files using the smaller display of the iPhone, you can move them manually.

  1. Your first step is to put the app into Select mode by tapping the Select button in the top-right of the display.
  2. As with other apps for iOS, you can select the file or folder by tapping on the small circle that appears next to the file/folder icon. Once tapped, a check mark should appear in the circle to indicate that it has been selected.
  3. Next, tap the Move button to bring up the in-app file system, allowing you to move your files or folders with a single tap. Simply select your destination folder (or another cloud service) and the files should be moved.
  4. Along with moving files, the Select functionality can be used to bulk-delete files that are no longer needed. With files selected, simply tap the Delete button at the bottom of the screen to remove the files from your device.
  5. You can also use the Select functionality to share files with friends and family. As with the above, select the files you’d like to share and tap the Share button. That should bring up an iOS share sheet with all available sharing options, from iMessage, email, Facebook, etc.

Read next: iOS 11 vs iOS 10

Tag your documents

With the ability to store a range of file types within the Files app, it’s likely that it’ll get crowded and harder to locate specific files you need. Don’t panic though, as Files features a similar tagging system to what is used in macOS.

  1. Select the files or folders and drag-and-drop them onto the tag you’d like to add them to.
  2. Tap on the tag to browse through all tagged files.

It’s worth noting that adding a tag to files won’t move the files from their original location – it’s still up to you to organise your files in the app. The tagging functionality is only used to make searching for specific files easier.

Drag and drop from beyond the Files app

Dragging and dropping files isn’t exclusive to the Files app. In fact, you can drag and drop files from the Files app into a range of compatible apps, although it’ll depend on the files you’re moving. Photos wouldn’t know what to do with a Word document, for example, but dragging and dropping a bunch of photos and videos into the app should add them to your library.

To drag and drop files between apps, follow these instructions:

  1. Select the files you’d like to move as described above and press the Home button to leave the app while keeping your original finger on-screen.
  2. The files should still be beneath your finger outside the app. From there, open the app you’d like to move them to.
  3. Once you’ve got the app open, simply lift your finger from the screen to drop them into place.

For more information on dragging and dropping, take a look at our tutorial on how to drag and drop in iOS 11.