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How to Copy/Transfer Files to iPad

Posted In iOS devices, iPad - By Techtiplib on Saturday, June 9th, 2012 With No Comments »

I love my iPad ever since I got it a year ago, but one thing that really sucks majorly is transferring files. You would think that Apple would have thought about this and made it seamless either via iTunes or via iCloud, but they didn’t. As far as cloud services go, iCloud is the worst cloud service ever. You can’t sync any of your personal content other than photos, contacts, bookmarks, and documents only from Keynote, Pages, and Numbers.

Managing files is something they obviously didn’t put much time into, maybe because they felt not too many people would use the iPad like a normal computer. However, it’s really handy sometimes to be able to copy videos, documents, etc to the iPad quickly so you don’t have to use your bulky desktop or laptop.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the various ways you can get files on and offyour iPad. Some methods are definitely better than others, but no method is anywhere near perfect. Hopefully, iCloud gets some significant updates in the coming months that makes this process a lot easier. Until then, enjoy the pain!

iTunes File Transfer

The most common method you’ve probably heard about is transferring using iTunes. Unfortunately, this is a very limited option. Yes, you can transfer some files to the iPad, but only if the app supports file sharing with iTunes. Secondly, you can only view that file in that particular app. This method is best if you simply need to transfer a few PDF files to your iPad or something like that.

First connect your iPad to your computer. Then, go to iTunes, click on Devices, click on your iPad, then click on Apps and then scroll down to the bottom where it says File Sharing.

Here you will see the list of apps that support file sharing with iTunes. You can then click on the app and if there are any documents on the iPad, you can drag them to your computer or you can click Save to to save to the hard drive. To add files to the iPad, click on the app and then click the Add button or simply drag the files into the window to transfer them automatically.

Like I said before, this works, but far from ideal and definitely not cool like mostApple products are. They have great hardware, but a lot of work needs to be done on the software side. The other major downside to this approach is that you physically have to connect your iPad to your computer in order to transfer the files. Definitely not cool considering we can beam whatever is showing on our iPadscreens to a TV via AirPlay. So is there a way to do transfer files to the iPad without a physical connection? Yes, but it’s again limited.


The quickest and easiest way to do this is via email. It’s simple, but very limited. If you want to keep files in sync, you have to keep emailing them back and forth and remember which one is the latest version. Secondly, you are limited in size to the max attachment size for your email provider, usually around 20 MBs. Not good for videos or other large type of files. Lastly, you can only email a few files at a time. What if you want to transfer 500 PDF files to your iPad? Not the best solution.

So the only other option left that tries to make the experience slightly better is the cloud. Not iCloud. iCloud is useless for anything other than syncing a few Numbers, Pages or Keynote presentations between your iPad and Mac and even that doesn’t work so well. In order to get them to show up on your iPad, you have to manually go to and upload the presentations. Hmmm, so much for syncing! So we are only left with third-party cloud services.

Cloud Services

The best way I have currently found to quickly transfer files to my iPad is to use a third-party cloud service like DropBox. You can quickly drop pretty much any kind of file into your DropBox on your Mac or PC and then load it up on your iPad using their app. The nice thing about their app is that it will allow you to open the files using other apps that are installed on your iPad. So, for example, if you tap on a PDF file, you then have the option to open that PDF in other apps that can read PDF files like Adobe Reader, iBooks, Kindle, etc.

That’s a nifty little feature so you are not stuck trying to view everything in the DropBox app. There are lots of other cloud services out there with iPad apps, so you have to see what works best for you. By far, though, Dropbox has the most apps for the iPad that are compatible with it. What does that mean? Well, basically a lot of apps already integrate with Dropbox, so you can drop a file into your Dropbox on your computer and then go directly to QuickOffice, for example, and open the file there and then push it back to Dropbox once you are done editing it.

This is by far the closest you can get to actual file syncing on the iPad. The only downside is that you have to find an app that is Dropbox compatible in order to get the benefits. If you are using something else, then you are out of luck.

There are other ways you can try also like using an FTP app on your iPad, etc, but they are fairly complicated and not for the faint of heart. Plus, they still don’t work that great. Overall, getting files onto and off your iPad is a serious pain. If you really need access to a lot of files while on the go, your best bet is to buy an Ultrabook like the MacBook Air or one of the new Intel Ultrabooks. The iPad can do a lot, but it’s not a computer and therefore when you try to get it to do computer stuff, it falls short big time.

Source: online-tech-tips

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