Readdle App Updates from May 2017 – Documents 6 & Drag n’ Drop
Today I wanted to discuss some significant announcements & changes that Readdle made at the end of May for iPad users.
Readdle makes some of my favorite productivity apps for the iPad including the Documents app (which I’ve reviewed previously), Scanner Pro (also reviewed previously) and of course PDF Expert (review coming soon!).
First, Readdle updated their terrific (and FREE!!) Documents app from version 5 to 6.
I reviewed version 5 a few months ago and showcased how the app lets you manage and organize your files from various cloud & local locations on your iPad.
Version 6 wasn’t a HUGE update, and didn’t really make any major changes in the way the app works, but there were some significant improvements on the interface.
Each file now has a “3-dot” button for quick access to a contextual menu that allows you to copy, move, rename, delete, and share the file.
There’s also bigger file previews, or thumbnails, which are helpful to quickly see the content of your files.
And lastly a big blue “plus” button now appears in the bottom right corner of the file list that allows you to easily create a new blank Text file or PDF, or create a new folder.
The plus button also lets you import files from Photos or a cloud service … although I still prefer to use the buttons on the left side panel for accessing all those services.
Readdle now declares Documents 6 the “hub” for managing all of your files, calling it the “Swiss knife that removes iOS file management woes.”
That same blog post stated that iOS has always been a “no file manager” system, which is true. Apple has never provided a central access point for documents & files on the iPad, similar to what we’re all comfortable with on the computer with Windows Explorer or the macOS Finder.
So all of us using the iPad as a professional tool have always had to use the “Share Sheet” (the button of a box with an arrow pointing up) to “Open In”, or copy, a document from one app to another.
When you want to open a document in another app, you have to go through the entire process again – each app has to have its own copy of a file or document. Many have complained about this workflow, but there are many good security reasons why Apple requires this.
Now because the iPad does not have a centralized file manager like a computer, I typically recommend that legal professionals use a cloud-based storage system that better mimics the way we already work with files on our computers.
Which leads us into the next major announcement that Readdle made in May …
Drag and Drop across Readdle Apps
Instead of waiting for Apple to release a centralized file manager for iOS, Readdle started taking things into their own hands enhance their own productivity apps.
It’s not quite a full file manager, but it brings a feature that we’ve all come to know and use in moving files around on computers by dragging and dropping. Such as, dragging a file from a folder out on to your desktop, for example.
If you are using an iPad that supports “Split View” multitasking then you can now drag and drop files from one Readdle app to another.
For example, I can have Documents 6 open on the left side of my iPad screen, and PDF Expert open on the right side in Split View, and I can now drag a file from Documents over to PDF Expert. I don’t have to touch the Share Sheet menu or anything!
If you think this is too good to be true, there are two main caveats in this amazing feature:
#1: One, it only works with iPads that support Split View, which is the iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 4, and all sizes of the iPad Pros (9.7”, 10.5” and 12.9”). They also must be running iOS 9 or higher.
#2: The second caveat is that this ONLY works between select Readdle apps, so you can’t, say, drag files from the Microsoft Outlook app into the Dropbox app … you still have to use the Share Sheet / Open In menu.
You can only drag and drop files between the following Readdle apps:
So you could scan a document in Scanner Pro and then drag it over to Documents 6 if you wanted to upload it to Dropbox.
OR drag it over to PDF Expert if you wanted to highlight some text.
You could also drag a file from PDF Expert into the Spark app as an e-mail attachment.
What Readdle has done under the hood of iOS is amazing, and gives us all a taste of what could be a reality in iOS.
In fact, about a week after Readdle made these announcements, Apple held their Worldwide Developers Conference and announced iOS 11, which will include a Files app that should be able to do a lot of what Readdle introduced. The Files app appears to be close to what we would like to have as a “centralized file manager” in iOS but we won’t know for sure until iOS 11 is released in the Fall of 2017.
The good news is that Readdle appears to welcome this move from Apple as they stated in the blog post that “The Readdle Team hopes that Apple will introduce their own implementation of inter app drag & drop one day.”
I can’t help but think they may have known about this move by Apple, and just wanted to give us all a little taste of what could be possible.
Regardless, if you haven’t updated your Readdle apps yet, I absolutely recommend that you do so, and think about how this drag n’ drop feature could be useful to your workflow.