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How to Look at Files on iPhone: A Comprehensive Guide

File management and accessibility are crucial aspects of our daily lives. With the increasing reliance on smartphones, particularly the iPhone, understanding how to look at files on your device is essential. Whether you need to find a document, view a photo, or access a music file, having an efficient file management system can save you time and frustration. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of accessing and managing files on your iPhone. From understanding the basics of the iPhone file system to exploring the native Files app and using third-party apps, you'll learn everything you need to know to make the most of your device's file management capabilities.

Jul 21, 2023

Understanding the Basics

Apple's iPhone has its unique file system, which differs from other platforms. To effectively manage your files, having a clear understanding of these basics is essential. The iPhone file system is designed to ensure security and privacy, while still allowing users to access their files seamlessly.

For a detailed description of Apple's iPhone file system and an explanation of why iPhone's file management differs from other platforms, check out this blog post on the Slik Safe website.

Exploring the Files Application

The native Files app on the iPhone serves as the primary tool for managing files. This app provides a user-friendly interface and allows you to organize, open, and share various file types conveniently. To get started with the Files app, follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Files app from your iPhone's home screen.

  2. Familiarize yourself with the different sections and menus within the app.

  3. Navigate through folders and directories to locate your desired files.

For a detailed step-by-step guide on how to launch and navigate the Files app, refer to this Apple support article.

Looking at Specific File Types

The iPhone supports various file types, including photos, videos, music, and documents. Each file type has a designated location within the iPhone's file system. Here's an overview of where these files can be found and how to open and manage them:

  1. Photos: The Photos app is the default location for managing and viewing your photo library. You can access it by tapping on the Photos icon on your home screen.

  2. Videos: Similarly, the Videos app serves as the default location for managing and viewing videos. To access it, tap on the Videos icon on your home screen.

  3. Music: The default Music app allows you to manage and play your music library. Launch the app by tapping on the Music icon on your home screen.

  4. Documents: The Files app is the centralized location for managing and accessing documents on your iPhone. Follow the steps outlined in the "Exploring the Files Application" section to access and manage your documents efficiently.

Accessing iCloud Drive Files on iPhone

Apple's iCloud Drive offers seamless integration with the iPhone file management system. If you use iCloud Drive to store your files, you can easily access and manage them directly from your iPhone. To access iCloud Drive files on your iPhone:

  1. Launch the Files app.

  2. Tap on "iCloud Drive" in the Locations section.

  3. Browse through the folders to find your desired files.

For a comprehensive explanation of iCloud Drive and its integration with iPhone file management, refer to this blog post on the Slik Safe website.

Using Third-Party Apps for File Accessibility

While the native Files app offers robust file management capabilities, some users may prefer third-party apps for advanced features or specific file types. Several apps are available on the App Store that enhance file accessibility on the iPhone. Here are a few recommendations:

  1. Documents by Readdle: This versatile app allows you to manage various file types, including documents, photos, videos, and music. It offers advanced features such as PDF annotation and integrates seamlessly with various cloud storage services.

  2. FileApp: FileApp provides a user-friendly interface for managing files of different types. It supports a wide range of file formats and enables easy file sharing and organization.

  3. GoodReader: Primarily targeted towards professionals, GoodReader offers advanced document management capabilities. It supports annotations, file transfer protocols, and works with a variety of file types.

To install and use third-party apps for file accessibility on your iPhone, follow these general steps:

  1. Open the App Store on your iPhone.

  2. Search for the desired app using relevant keywords, such as "file manager" or "document viewer."

  3. Select the app that suits your needs and tap on "Get" to download and install it.

  4. Launch the app and follow the on-screen instructions to set it up.

It's important to read app reviews and check the developer's reputation before installing any third-party app to ensure its reliability and security.

Sharing and Deleting Files on iPhone

The iPhone offers various methods to share files with others, including Airdrop, email, and messaging apps. Deleting files is also essential to free up storage space on your device. Here's how you can share and delete files on your iPhone:

  1. Sharing Files:

    • Airdrop: Use Airdrop to wirelessly share files with nearby Apple devices. Simply open the file you wish to share, tap the share button, and select "Airdrop." Choose the recipient from the list and follow the prompts to complete the transfer.

    • Email: Attach the file you want to share to an email and send it to the desired recipient.

    • Messaging Apps: Many messaging apps, such as WhatsApp or Telegram, allow you to directly share files with your contacts.

  2. Deleting Files:

    • Open the Files app or browse to the specific app where the file is stored.

    • Locate the file you want to delete and swipe left or right on it.

    • Tap the "Delete" option to remove the file from your device.

Read More: How to Delete Files on iPhone

Troubleshooting Common File Access Issues

Sometimes, you may encounter issues while trying to access files on your iPhone. Here are some common problems users face and practical solutions to resolve them:

  1. Unresponsive Files App: If the Files app freezes or becomes unresponsive, try force-quitting the app and relaunching it. If the problem persists, restarting your iPhone may help resolve the issue.

  2. File Compatibility: Ensure the files you're trying to access are in a compatible format supported by your iPhone and the respective apps.

  3. Cloud Sync Issues: If you're storing files on iCloud Drive or a third-party cloud service, ensure that your internet connection is stable. If files aren't syncing, consider reconfiguring the cloud service settings on your iPhone.

For more troubleshooting tips, visit this Apple support article.


Efficiently managing and accessing files on your iPhone is crucial for productivity and convenience. By familiarizing yourself with the iPhone's file system, exploring the native Files app, and utilizing third-party apps when necessary, you can streamline your file management process.

Remember to regularly organize and delete unnecessary files to maintain optimal storage capacity on your device. Refer to the Additional Resources section below for further reading and helpful guides related to file management and data security.

Explore the full potential of your iPhone's file management system and unlock efficiency in your daily life.

Additional Resources

For further reading on managing files on your iPhone, check out the following resources:

For more information on data management and security, visit the Slik Safe website.

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