How to Browse Your iPhone’s Files in iOS 11

By Dwight Spivey

Long-time iPhone users have pined for a way to browse files stored on our devices, as opposed to being limited to finding documents and other files only within the apps they’re intended for or created by. Finally, iOS 11 introduces a new app called Files, which will allow you to browse not only for files stored on our iPhone, but also see our stuff that we’ve stored on other online (cloud) services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and others.

You’ll find the Files app on the second home screen, by default.

  1. Tap the Files icon to open the app.
  2. On the Browse screen:

    browse iPhone

    • Tap the Search field to search for items by title.
    • Tap a source in the Locations or Favorites sections to browse a particular service or your iPhone.
    • Tap colors under Tags to search for files you’ve tagged according to categories.
  3. Once in a source, you may tap files to open or preview them, and you may tap folders to open them and view their contents.

    browse iPhone files

  4. Tap Select in the upper-right corner of the screen and then tap items to select them for an action.

    Available actions, found at the bottom of the screen, include

    • Duplicating files: Make copies of selected items.
    • Moving files: Move files to other sources.
    • Sharing files: Share files with other people in a variety of ways (Messages and Mail, for example). You can even invite them to make edits, if you like.
    • Deleting files: Trash files you no longer need.

Should you like to retrieve a file you’ve deleted, go the Browse screen (tap Browse at the bottom of the screen if you’re not already there) and tap Recently Deleted. Tap Select in the upper-right corner, tap the file you’d like to retrieve, and tap the Recover button at the bottom of the screen. The file will be placed back in the location it was originally deleted from. Please note that some services may not allow you to retrieve a file you’ve deleted; if you don’t see the file you’re looking for, contact that particular service.