What's the best way to send a big file from my iPad? I don't want to swamp my colleague's inbox with a massive email.

iPads, contrary to some early comments, are great devices for creating media, but the device's lack of non-proprietary ports and cables can make it a pain for writers, designers, artists and musicians to get their (potentially gigantic) creations off the tablet and over to collaborators and fans. The obvious method is email, but a large document is liable to overload the recipient's inbox.

In this article we'll look at one method that allows you to easily send a very large document from an iPad over email, but without actually including the document itself in the email. If you're sending slightly smaller files over email, take a look at How to send email attachments on iPhone.

How to send large files on iPad & iPhone: Use Mail Drop

In iOS 9, Apple added a new feature that's exactly what we're looking for. It's called Mail Drop.

Open the Mail app on your iPad and start composing a new email. After filling in the To and Subject fields, tap anywhere in the body of the email and five icons will appear above the keyboard on the righthand side: the first three are for formatting text as either bold, italicised or underlined, but the others are for attaching videos and photos (the camera icon) and for attaching other documents (the paperclip icon).

How to send large files from iPad or iPhone using Mail Drop

If you tap the paperclip, you'll be given the option of several folders of documents you can attach to the email. In our example, we can choose from Pages or TextEdit files that are stored in iCloud Drive.

How to send large files from iPad or iPhone using Mail Drop

Tap the appropriate folder, then tap your chosen document. If it's a large document - and the fact that you're reading this article suggests that it will be - then at this point there will be a brief delay while Mail prepares the file for sending; Mail will be frozen and you'll just have to wait. When it's finished processing the file, an icon will appear in the body of the email, and you'll be able to hit Send.

How to send large files from iPad or iPhone using Mail Drop

It's at this point - again, assuming it's a big attachment - that Mail will give you the option of using MailDrop. It isn't compulsory: you can select 'Try Sending Attachment' and Mail will do its best to shove the document into your recipient's inbox. But the fact that this dialogue box has appeared is a pretty fair warning that Mail Drop is a better option. So we'll Tap 'Use Mail Drop' instead. This sends the email - you don't need to confirm the decision.

Mail Drop is a better option because it doesn't send the document itself across email; it uploads the document (temporarily) to iCloud, then sends the recipient a link that will allow them to download it from iCloud at their end. The end result is the same, but it avoids having a large file taking up space in their email inbox.

Here's what it looks like to receive a Mail Drop email. You'll see that there's a deadline in there: the file will be deleted from iCloud after 30 days.

How to send large files from iPad or iPhone using Mail Drop

Read next: How to use AirDrop | Best tips for iOS 9