iOS 13.1 Files App - Still Second-Rate Cloud Storage?

I was very excited when, at WWDC, Apple indicated it was opening things up so apps could interact with the entire iCloud Drive file structure, rather than being limited to their own little sandboxes. Finally some of the automations and interactions we’d been doing on Dropbox or OneDrive would also be possible on iCloud!

But, aside from enabling zipping and unzipping in Files and allowing file re-naming when saving (both solid improvements), the reality has proved disappointing.

While some apps (e.g. iAWriter, PDF Viewer, etc.) can be given access to the entire iCloud Drive file system, this doesn’t appear to be any more powerful than what was already possible in iOS 12. Shortcuts—which might be the most useful place for full iCloud Drive access—is still sandboxed and can’t interact with files outside of the /Shortcuts/ directory.

So I’m curious. Are others finding other benefits to the new Files? Is it just a matter of waiting for an app or two to update to take proper advantage of the new capabilities? Or is iCloud Drive still really a second-rate solution? Are we still better off using File system substitutes (other cloud providers, or things like DEVONThink or KeepIt).

It seems to me that you’re mixing up two things. Files, the app, and iCloud the storage service. With the Files app I can also access Dropbox or my local files on the iPad. Or, with an app like FileExplorer I can access ftp servers or local Macs/PC drives.

I use Files the app everyday to access iCloud stored files as well as locally stored files as well as the above mentioned access points of files on FTP and my Mac.

Files, the app, is more powerful/flexible in a variety of ways. You mentioned zipping, unzipping and file renaming It’s also got built in document scanning. The new column view. Having the ability to have multiple views of Files app open (a system wide feature but still great when working with Files).

I’ve been very happy with it and the new features.

All iCloud on iOS really needs to bring parity is a prompt to give apps the equivalent of Mojave’s Full Disk Access. I’d expect it’s coming.

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I have a minor problem with the new Files app but, all in all, I find it to be a good upgrade. iCloud Drive depending on who you talk to, is great, is good, is OK, sucks. I tend to fall into the “it’s good” category.

I’ve never lost data on iCloud. I have found its transfer rate to be slower than AWS or Google Drive.

If you’re happy with iCloud use it. I prefer Google Drive but I’ve been using their services for many years.

Either way our data could be sitting on the same servers:

“The encrypted chunks of the file are stored, without any user-identifying information or the keys, using both Apple and third-party storage services— such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform—but these partners don’t have the keys to decrypt your data stored on their servers.”

Sorry, I realize I could have been clearer.

My criticism is of the Files app as a means of interacting with the files stored in the iCloud Drive files service. Generally the service has been very good. I‘ve had very few issues and trust iCloud with my photos.

But I was hoping the improvements to Files in iOS 13 would make interacting with files stored on iCloud at least as good as interacting with files stored in DropBox or OneDrive. But that seems not to be the case. Files seems to be lagging behind those other services, rather than leaping ahead (as it should, since it has the advantage of being Apple’s native product).

Maybe I’m not quite understanding, but iCloud offers

Maybe I’m not understanding you, but its definitely possible to have more data in iCloud than you have local space for on the device. On the Mac this is controlled by the “Optimize Mac Storage” setting in the iCloud Drive pane of the iCloud control panel. On iOS/iPadOS it’s just baked in, that’s how the system always works.

What Dropbox has that iCloud currently does not is the ability to force the system to keep certain files on your device. In typical Apple fashion, iOS and macOS just manage this for you without any finer grained control.

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Apple’s intent from the beginning has been to make all cloud sync drop dead simple for the vast majority of people using it around the world. You probably will never get selective file sync any time soon, any more than you’ll get selective image folder sync. Perhaps the one sop Apple made was the ability to exclude folders in Time Machine (but that was already built into Spotlight so it wasn’t much more work to implement in TM). So if you have more sophisticated needs then definitely use another service.

When Apple rolls ut the updates to iCloud that got pulled from IOS13/Catalina, you’ll be able to Pin files and folders to your laptop, ensuring they’re always available even when offline.

You can let Optimise manage the rest and thus have more content in iCloud than will fit the laptop

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