One of the most vexing frustrations cumbering those of us who use the iPad for content creation is iOS’s lack of support for file level directory access. This makes even some relatively civil tasks much more time consuming and complex than they would be with OS X on a Mac. Both Windows RT and Android support directory access to documents, so there is nothing inherent about mobile operating systems that makes file level access difficult—it’s a deliberate decision by Apple to lock users out of any underlying geekiness on its tablets and smartphones, analogically similar to their not including support for multiple user accounts in iOS. Some folks refer to these policy determinations as “dumbing-down,” and are apprehensive about more and more iOS-sequence crossover in recent versions of OS X.
Getting back to the topic of file access in particular, there are no really satisfactory workarounds, but some third-party add-ons can help make things less tedious. One such app is called MobiFolders (formerly HotDoc), recently acquired by Infovole, developers of a fleet of excellent text processing apps for iOS.
MobiFolders is a file manager and PDF viewer that can be used as a complimentary document manager with Infovole’s and third-party text processing apps, supports Integrated version control for PDF documents, and lets you look into and unpack protected or simple ZIP and RAR archives. Scheduled reminders for folders and files are optional as In-App Purchase. MobiFolders can display file properties and search for file names.
MobiFolders’ edit functions include reading, marking, and annotating PDF and Microsoft Office documents (Word, Exel and PowerPoint). The PDF viewer holds multiple documents open simultaneously and provides, drawing, marking, and annotation functions. It can convert emails into PDF files and archive them, directly edit text files or open them with Infovole’s Textkraft, Textkraft Multilingual, Word-2-Text, and Easy Writer text processors or other text editing apps with an “Open In” command, and compress as many files as you want into small, safe and ready-to-send ZIP archives.
MobiFolders can directly import email attachments and text from an unlimited number of email accounts, supports all mailbox providers and both IMAP and POP connections, and previews emails and images before import. It can Import files directly from Dropbox, GoogleDrive, Sky Drive, STRATO HiDrive and all WebDav services, import pictures and videos from the iOS Photos app, and supports direct network connections to Windows PCs and Mac OS X via SMB, NAS systems and other SMB/CIFS devices.
Other MobiFolders capabilities include saving or syncing files with cloud services or within a local network, moving or copying files into a local file system, exporting pictures and videos to the Photos app. even if you leave the app immediately, the export or sync will be completed in the background.
With MobiFolders you can manage your files locally,and don’t don’t need an Internet connection after the import, so you are insulated from unauthorized access. You can also protect a complete app or single ZIP archives with a passcode. Infovole apps are compliant with European data protection laws, meaning no data, content or user behavior are evaluated, or made accessible to third parties or Infovole.
The MobiFolders user interface has four areas. Documents in various formats can be downloaded in area four to finally appear in area three—the Desktop—which is the hub of the program. From here, the imported documents can be moved to different folders. Similarly, documents and complete folders appearing in area two can be copied into the Desktop and subsequently moved to other folders or subfolders.
All of these operations can be executed comfortably by just moving/copying the documents and the entire folders with a finger gesture. For example, when you press a file on the Desktop and maintain the pressure, MobiFolders automatically encircles the area above, indicating the destination of the movement. By moving your finger, the file is placed in the previously selected folder. Creating folders takes place in area one by clicking on the button. You can create subfolders in a similar way in area two. Moving files into various subfolders is done by tapping the target folder in the path display.
MobiFolders is thus a powerful file management tool that can mitigate some of the iOS’s document access and handling shortcomings. I found its functions usably lively on my iPad 2 running iOS 7, but I get the distinct impression it would really like to have more RAM and processing power backing it up. I expect it works really well on an iPad Air or iPad mini with Retina Display, and I expect it will become an even better performer with ongoing development and refinement.
MobiFollders is not a perfect solution for me, as my primary text processor on the Mac is Tex Edit Plus, which, being a formatting text editor, has its own proprietary text format. Pretty well any OS X text editor or word processor can open TE+ documents, but MobiFolders can’t, which renders it much less useful to me than it will be for users who work mostly with Word files.
Requirements: iOS 5.0 or later
Version Reviewed: 1.12