Files app improves greatly thanks to iPadOS 15

Files app gets much better thanks to iPadOS 15

 By Andrew O’Hara | Jun 15, 2021

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When iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 land on millions of user’s devices it will bring a massive influx of new features. The list of additions spans the entirety of the OS, but here we will walk you through all of the changes coming to the Files app.

New features inbound

The Files app is a fairly recent addition to iPad and iPhone, and Apple has steadily added more features over the years. This year, it becomes even more crucial as iPad Pro now has not only USB-C, but Thunderbolt 3 support as well. If Apple wants the iPad to truly be a do-it-all machine, it needs to ensure it is capable.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into these new features for iPadOS 15. Subscribe to AppleInsider on YouTube

Progress indicator

Preceding iPadOS 15, any time you transferred files in the Files app, users had no idea of the progress of those transfers. For most small documents, iPad is so fast that there is no need. As more work is being done on iPad and larger files are being transferred — such as managing video footage or large RAW photo batches — a status indicator is the least we could ask for.

File transfer status indicator

File transfer status indicator

Apple has delivered here with iPadOS 15. Whenever documents are being moved in the Files app, a small circle indicator appears in the top-right corner. When tapped, it will show a progress bar of the transfer. Users can tap edit to cancel multiple transfers at once, but if you swipe from right to left on a transfer, a cancel button will also appear.

This brings increased transparency to working with files and the ability to stop accidental or unnecessary transfers that were in progress.

Marque tool

When using a mouse or trackpad with iPad — including the iPad Pro’s Magic Keyboard — users have a new way to select multiple folders or documents.

Marque tool in Files

Marque tool in Files

Just like on a Mac, you can click and drag to create a marque to select as many files or folders as you need at once. This is perfect for moving a large number of files, compressing a pile of documents, or just bulk-adding tags.


Files sorted by Groups

Files sorted by groups

There were several ways to view documents in the Files app, but iPadOS 15 adds one more. Groups are a new sorting option to group documents together based on specific criteria. This, too, is a feature found on Finder on the Mac.

By choose groups, it will split all your documents based on type. You can see all PDFs, photos, documents, videos, and any others.

Group options in Files

Group options in Files

Aside from the type, you can also group by date or size.


Partial NTFS support has been added to iPadOS 15, which is crucial for those who are constantly using shared storage with their tablet. For example, if you are given a flash drive formatted as NTFS, you’d previously be unable to view or add documents.

Now, just like with the Mac, users can view any NTFS files on iPad. Users still cannot write to NTFS volumes, but they are at least able to read them. Connect any hard drive, SSD, or flash drive and import any files as needed.

Drag and drop support

With iPadOS 15, Apple has improved multitasking quite a bit. One of those ways is with drag and drop. Users are now able to drag much more than just photos between apps. Users can now drag and drop documents, images, and files from one app to another. 

Drag and drop files

Drag and drop files

This is perfect for working in split view.


This is only Files app-adjacent, but when coming to iPhone or iPad from Android, Apple will now transfer your folders and files and everything else. 

Coming in the fall of 2021

These improvements to the Files app are only some of the new features coming to iPadOS in the fall of 2021. Stay tuned for more feature deep-dives as we approach the release of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS MontereywatchOS 8, and tvOS 15.

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