iPad file management--moving files from one app to another

Although I’ve had my iPad for a couple of years, and appreciate many of the Apple design features vs. Windows, I still struggle with simple file management. There seems to be no concept of a central directory structure. Each file seems to be managed by a single app using its own methods.

I use Dropbox, and just moved a couple of videos to a Dropbox folder from my desktop computer. Then from the iPad I opened Dropbox, selected the files, and found “Save” on the menu. But it saves the files to “Photos”. How do I move them to “Videos”? I can access them but it’s counterintuitive.

In a similar vein, PDF documents in iBooks don’t seem to be available anywhere else.

I also have an iPad and I hate, hate, hate how it handles files. The OS is specifically designed to not save files in a common location and to not let different applications access each others’ data without permission. This is supposedly an anti-virus measure, but personally I think it is because Apple hates us and wants us to be miserable.

In order of increasing obnoxiousness, here’s all three of the ways I have found to move files from one app to another:

  1. If the app the file is associated with has been built with the ability to talk to the other app you want to use, you can use the “share” button (a little box with an arrow pointing up) to send a copy of the file to the other app; open the file, tap the share button, and select “open in…”, and it will show you a list of the apps it can talk to (along with social media links etc.). Of course, if the app designer didn’t include the specific pairing you want, you’re SOL on this method.

  2. If the two apps cannot talk to each other, use the first app to send the file to cloud storage (such as Dropbox) and then use the cloud storage app to send it to the second app. This only works if they can both talk to the cloud storage app.

  3. Connect the iPad to your computer and open it using iTunes. If both of the apps lets iTunes access their files (some don’t, for whatever reason), you can drag-and-drop the file out of the first app onto the desktop and then drag-and-drop it into the second app.

If none of these work then as far as I can tell your only other option is to re-import the file from its source directly into the app you want.

Another option I forgot to mention:

The Dropbox app can open a wide variety of file types (and in some cases edit them too), so you could just put everything on Dropbox, use the “save on device” setting (star icon) in the Dropbox app to make specific files available when you are offline, and just view everything in the Dropbox app. A bonus for this method is that Dropbox has a sensible files-and-folders directory system so everything isn’t just smooshed together in one big list.

Thanks for your response, it’s good to know that I wasn’t just missing something obvious.