Coming from a background of Symbian, Windows Mobile and Android, copying documents from my PC to my smartphones has always been a straightforward process. I plug my device to the PC with a USB cable, the PC recognizes the smartphone as a drive and, presto I can copy and paste or drag and drop my files.
iOS is a different kettle of fish however. It has no mass storage mode and no file system. Actually, iOS is all about the apps. I remember that after getting an iPhone 3GS last year, a reader here wished me luck getting my files unto it.
While it takes a different route, it is not impossible to get files from a PC to an iOS device. The method I will outline below avoids cloud solutions like DropBox and SugarSync. This is all between your iOS device, a USB cable and your PC.
The first lesson of using iOS is probably something I already mentioned above and which I will repeat again: its all about the apps. As such, you will need an app that recognizes the file types that you want to copy.
For office documents, you have iWork, QuickOffice (my preferred), or any of the other available titles in the App Store. Most of them are commercial apps though, so you have to hunt a bit to find free ones.
QuickOffice, which is my preference, takes care of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, text and PDF files. Install the document app of your choice, then follow these steps:
- Connect your computer to the iPad using the USB cable
- Launch iTunes on the computer
- In the Devices section of the left-hand menu on iTunes select your device
- Click on the Apps tab and scroll to the bottom of the page. If you have any apps on your iPad that support file sharing, they will be listed in the left section
- Click on an app and you will see a list of the documents for that app on your iPad presented on the right
- To copy a file from your computer to the iPad, simply drag and drop it into the document list. You can also click on the Add button at the bottom of the iTunes window and browse to the file on your computer and select the files that you want to copy
- The file will be copied to your iPad. Note that it can only be viewed and edited from within the application it was copied to
There you go – a relatively easy way to copy your non-media files (iTunes handles media) from your PC to your iOS device. now, you can read (and edit, if your documents app has editing capabilities) on the go. Enjoy!
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.