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On September 18, 2017 Apple announced its all-new Files app, which “provides a central place to access and organize files no matter where they are located — on iPad or in the cloud — with built-in support for iCloud Drive as well as providers such as Box, Dropbox, and others.”

Having a single app that can search for documents across multiple cloud services sounds pretty useful to us. Apple’s announced list of initial cloud service providers includes iCloud Drive, Dropbox, Amazon Drive, and macOS X Server. The Files app also offers the ability to access files stored directly on your iOS device.

The new Files app replaces Apple’s iCloud Drive app but offers much more functionality than its predecessor, providing perhaps the best argument yet for using your iPad as your go-to mobile computer.

Users running MacOS Sierra or higher have the ability to automatically store their documents in iCloud. The documents can then be accessed via the Files app from any device. To turn on this feature, go to Apple Menu > About This Mac. Click the Storage tab, then click “Manage” next to the name of your hard drive. Make sure the “Recommendations” tab is selected, then click “Store in iCloud.” (Please note: Newer Macs ship with this feature turned on by default.) This feature can be extremely useful if you have multiple devices and would like your Desktop and Documents folders synced so you have access to the files on all of your devices.

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On the same date, Google announced “full integration of the Google Drive app with the Files app on devices running iOS 11.”  For the Files app to work with Drive, users will need to install the Drive app on their iOS device (or if already installed, make sure they are running the latest version). Google Drive can then be added to a user’s list of cloud services. Users with the Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps installed on their device can open the Files app and tap on one of these document types to open the document in its native app, versus just showing a preview within Files.