Seeking macOS app to access iPadOS local files

I am looking for a macOS app that will allow me to mount my iPad local files as a Volume or Folder on the macOS desktop. I am connected through a USB-C cable. Unfortunately, the approach to use the Finder does not work when the apps have files stored in folders. The Files view in the Finder only shows the folders.

I am not interested in syncing through iCloud.

Ideally, I would like to sync local iPadOS files in a folder and local macOS files in a folder using an app such as Beyond Compare or CCC.

The iPadOS and macOS are up to date. The macOS is a 2019 Intel MBP, and the iPad is an M2 iPad Pro.

Why do I want this? By example, let’s just say that I have a set of PDFs on macOS that I want to store in an iPadOS local folder for me to read and annotate with different iPadOS apps. Or I want to do the same with a set of image files on macOS without going through Photos.

Why not iCloud? Because my iPad has enough storage that I should not have to run through the sync issues with iCloud to get files on and off. BUT … I realize that if I did use iCloud, I can sync iCloud and macOS local files adeptly, for example with Beyond Compare.

My starting point is an app called iExplorer, but this seems rather dated. It also seems to keep the file view and access entirely within its own app (so no sync with Beyond Compare for example).

Does anything like what I want exist?


InterConnex and ChronoAgent? Both from Econ, makers of ChronoSync?

Have you considered Documents by Readdle?

It’s another sleeper app that doesn’t get a lot of attention, but is very capable. For instance, it has a built in WebDAV server that can be accessed from a Mac or other iOS device (or PC or Linux).

Edit: Tried this and it only serves files that are in the Documents app, which might be useful, but OP needs to share files from the Bookends folder in iCloud Drive, which is a walled garden.

Transfer files to desktop or another iPhone/iPad with WebDAV

With Documents, you can connect your iOS device to a desktop or another iPhone or iPad via WebDAV. This way, you can not only access, but also manage (move, or even delete) any files and folders from your iPhone or iPad on another device. You can also easily download or upload files and photos from one device to another.


You should be able to do this with Universal control as well. Mouse to the files app on the iPad and drag-drop it to your mac?

1 Like

AFAIK the “On My iPad” files are contained within the so there is no way to mount it on a Mac. But as @JKoopmans stated you can use UC.

If you have any problems ". . . you can go to iPad Settings - Accessibility - Touch - AssistiveTouch. Find Perform Touch Gestures and switch it off. Then you’ll probably find Universal Control works properly. "

So, you want to do exactly what iCloud Drive was meant to do but you don’t want to use iCloud. Hmm…

Apple’s mobile file systems keep evolving. iCloud in 2011, iCloud Drive in 2014, and the Files app in 2017. And with iOS 16, the file system has moved even closer to the Mac. However, it seems the complete fulfillment of your wishes will have to await further evolutionary changes by Apple.

in this case I think yes, but that’s not necessarily the issue
iPadOS also does store information locally (Downloads f.e.) that you might want to access from your mac.
So being able to access it trough tooling is helpful.

But I’ve always been able to get to locally stored iPhone (or iPad) files from my Mac via the Files tab in iTunes (now Finder). But @DrJJWMac tells us that he can’t do that because he created subfolders in his local iPad storage. I’ve never done that.

Yes. Because …

  • I have sufficient space on my iPad that I do not need to duplicate on iCloud and commensurately pay for it
  • I have no trust and little patience to wait on the OS to decide when it should sync iCloud files

Try it. At least for me, with Bookends as the example, I cannot get into the sub-folders.


I have no reason to doubt you. But you seem not to have been paying attention to Apple’s initial design and evolution of mobile file systems. They started out very un-Mac-like and almost completely locked down but have been SLOWLY moving towards a desktop model. I believe you are simply pushing the envelope in your desire for a more Mac-like file system. :slightly_smiling_face:

Fair enough. I think I may also play with the option to use an SSD as a go-between. In the meantime, it seems perhaps that you are saying this …

  • Revolution 1 - an iPad
  • Revolution 2 - the above iPad with a functioning, integrated pencil input device
  • Revolution 3 - the above iPad mounting by self-design as a macOS volume for file access


Nope. I don’t use an iPad much at all these days. I’m very Mac-oriented but I love my iPhone when away from my desk. And I don’t do any more file system work on the phone than I absolutely have to. :slightly_smiling_face:

Airdrop, perhaps? Very on demand and only useful for occasional sharing here and there, but this has worked well for me.

That works well. I use an encrypted APFS formatted SSD with my iPad Pro.

I do this in the opposite direction, using Blink app (Shellfish and other iPad ssh apps work too) to mount my home directory from the iMac on my iPad via sftp which allows for read/write access from the Files app on the iPad.

If you share files on macOS, you can connect to the computer as an SMB share from Files.
You’re then left with the contortions required by the iPadOS/iOS file manager to move files around.