File Managers other than iTunes

Do you use, or have you tried, a manager other than iTunes?

I’m relatively new to using an iPad and a Mac for file sharing. While iTunes has worked well (99% cable) for me, I’d like to at least have a Plan B, if not something potentially better. Any information, whether brief or comprehensive, will be appreciated.

Thank you.

PS: I’m not sure that something other than iTunes would work for iOS and Windows file sharing. Feel free to post any suggestions for that combination.

There aren’t any other ways to interact with iOS devices over a cable. You can’t treat them like an external hard drive (Apple doesn’t provide the specs for accessing the raw data like you can with your computer’s internal storage). So if you are unwilling to use dropbox, then you’re stuck with iTunes.

Edit: I stand corrected. Not sure where my (false) facts came from, but I was sure of my supposed memory until Ioa pointed out iTunes alternatives. Please ignore my response…

Although you can’t mount the thing like a hard drive, there are plenty of tools that do provide better device management, and some with document access far better than iTunes (you might even want to consider making iTunes your backup, rather than the other way around—that’s what I do). I’ve used iMazing for a while. I’m not entirely comfortable recommending it as it is a bit buggy and clearly not a Mac native development effort, but it does do a lot of things a whole lot easier than iTunes does, and many things iTunes won’t let you do, like directly browse your photos and pluck off just the ones you want, save your messages transcripts to text files, export Notes, etc. It also has a companion app for basic file storage and management on the device itself. I use that to store zipped Scrivener project backups, which I can later easily extract to the Mac. FileApp is also a bit buggy and quirky in my experience, but I never ran into anything awful about it.

Then we have stuff that I consider even better than iTunes-alikes, and those are utilities that make it possible to mount iDevices directly on the Mac like plugging a drive in. In other words, you can double-click on a “disk” on your desktop that loads straight to your Scrivener projects folder on the iPad and then drag and drop stuff onto it. iExplorer is a good entry in that category. Stuff like this saved me probably collective weeks of time when rapidly testing hundreds of project sync operations and other tests, during development. I could monitor precisely what the iOS version was doing right on my Mac like I could any other folder or file.

I don’t know as much about it, but I would imagine there are a good number of Windows tools for this as well.

Then beyond utilities there are techniques for getting stuff on and off the device, AirDrop chief among them. Enable AirDrop on both your Mac and iDevice and now you can drag .scriv projects from the Mac to the iPad, or from the iPad export the project to a .zip file and send it back to the Mac. This doesn’t work with a cable, but it does use secure local WiFi/BlueTooth for the transfer, no clouds. For quick transfers of the one or two projects I need at the moment, this is nearly always my go to method.

Thank you, AmberV, for the suggestions and info. You’ve given me and others much to go on.

(I appreciate your honesty, rdale. You could’ve easily made the post disappear, without comment.)

iExplorer has a Windows version, according to its website.

Hello. I am brand new here. Don’t know if I’ve come to the right place… But you all sound so smart, chances are good you can help me :slight_smile:
I have used Scrivener happily on my Mac for a year, and a couple days ago added it to my iPad mini. I successfully used Airdrop to move my project from my Mac to my iPad. After doing some writing on my iPad, I wanted to send it back to the Mac.
However, my iPad can’t see my Mac. The Mac can see the iPad, and the iPad can see my iPhone (and my husband’s iPhone).
Am I missing a step?
Also, when I want to share my work on the Scrivener app on my iPad with Scrivener on Mac, which format do I choose (plain text? RTF? PDF?)
Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

The simplest way is to use Dropbox.

Fine, I can hear that you are saying it’s best to use Dropbox. In the past, I had Dropbox on my Mac (before I had Scrivener) and did not have a good experience with it. It was trying to eat my computer.
I was hoping to avoid Dropbox and was pleased to find Airdrop.
I will think about this. Thanks.

Eat your computer? Sounds weird.
I have used Dropbox for years and never had any problems.

In my experience, AirDrop connections are hit or miss. I would recommend using iTunes in the event that you’d like to avoid Dropbox.

Scrivener on the iPad and Scrivener on the Mac use the exact same project format. If you are attempting to export at all you’re doing something wrong. A detailed (Dropbox-focused) discussion of sharing between the two platforms can be found here: … g-with-ios


Thank you all very much. We are going to try the Dropbox thing one more time. Fingers crossed.

He had mentioned this earlier but I didn’t follow through with it, and this explains its usage step by step.

A helpful addition from a post by @AmberV (<Thank You):

I had recently, successfully tried Apple’s Files App. Works well for what it’s capable of doing. The above method with FileApp adds the ability to use the advantages that .zip brings. Can other Apps do this? Don’t know. I don’t use Dropbox so this improves my workflow quite a bit. Better late than never.

[EDIT to fix broken link.]

Thank you for your tips, I found the Windows version of iExplorer. This is a very good tool. Thank you again for your generous sharing! :smiley: