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How to Download & Save Any File Type on Your iPhone

Sometimes we wonder if future generations will even know what a filesystem is, or whether it will be abstracted away completely. On a PC or a Mac, downloading files is pretty straightforward, although many users save everything to their desktop and don’t really know how to manage files and folders. On iOS, that is on an iPhone or iPad and the iPod touch, things work a little differently. There is no full-fledged file manager such as Windows Explorer or the Mac OS X Finder on your iPhone, yet you can download files to store them for offline viewing or save them to a personal cloud. This is a guide on how to download files on iPhone by using third-party apps.

How to download files on iPhone using a file manager

Basically, iCloud Drive is your native file manager and it works pretty well. Although there are certain limitations. When downloading files to your iPhone, iCloud Drive will be an option for certain but not all filetypes and is thusly limited somewhat. There are other means of achieving the goal of file downloads in iOS, such as third-party apps including Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive by Microsoft. You can choose whichever you prefer and whatever best fits your personal workflow. The following guide will work with all of the listed apps, as they all work as a front-end to cloud services.

We use Dropbox for this example because it is free, reliable and easy to use. Dropbox has been our go-to solution for years and can be recommended unconditionally with the exemption of sensitive files, which you should first encrypt or store elsewhere.

Which types of files or filetypes can i download to my iPhone?

You can download any kind of file to your iPhone, this includes PDF documents, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations, Keynote presentations but also .zip, .txt, .mp3, .m4a, .wav and .mov files as well as others. All of the most common filetypes are supported.

Saving files to your cloud

Fire up the Safari browser and open up a file download you would like to save. Then select the Share button from the bottom icon bar.

Now pick the file manager you prefer from the bottom row of icons, for our example we’re going to use Dropbox as explained above. Tap the corresponding icon to save the file to your file manager and/or cloud.

The following step determines the target location for your download. You can pick other folders in Dropbox, or simply save it to the root of your cloud. Additionally, changing the file name is as easy as tapping it and typing another name. Tap Save when done.

That’s it! You are now able to access the file from all of your connected devices, as it will be synced there automatically. This is the standard way of storing files from your web browser, an email attachment or downloads that are presented through apps onto your device or into your personal cloud.

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