- Business, Technology

Mini-hack: Apple taught me a life without a file management application (like Windows Explorer)

iOS has not yet had a file browser on par with Windows Explorer. Android will hide the default application inside many layers of Settings. That couldn’t stop hundreds of millions of users – why?

Windows generation

Desktop on the computer is extremely indiscriminate, including dozens of files scattered. It’s been a long time since I opened the Documents folder. I don’t know where the game is installed on the hard drive. About 5 years ago, I would look at my computer and feel very surprised.

I grew up in a generation known to Windows first, the generation considered Windows as its entire digital space. Living with Windows, what anyone has to do is learn how to manage files and folders. For example, there will be a “Work” folder for work, divided into projects. Compressed music is extracted to each folder. The image file also arranges photos to vacations, photos of class meetings, etc.

Therefore, when iOS (or originally called iPhone OS) was born without a File browser, I felt extremely puzzled. Until iOS 11, Apple launched the File application, but it was not a “traditional” file browser like Windows Explorer or File Manager on Android. Apple still does not allow users to browse folders on memory.

In those 11 years, iOS users still live well. Why?

Any file, application

The first answer lies in the high level of iOS. For example, users of this operating system will understand that all photos will go into Photos application. Inside the Photos, iOS application allows browsing in many “dimensions”, such as time, place, person. Users can also create albums to place images at their own discretion, next to the default albums like Favorites (favorites). The entire image file management process is essentially focused on the Photo application. Users do not need to care about where the image is located on memory / hard disk, but just manage it in a way that really means to them (time, location …).

Likewise, every music sync into iPhone also goes to the Music app. Inside this application, you can manage by Artists, Albums, Genres … The fastest and most convenient way of arranging is to create playlists. You don’t have to care where your music file is located on the iPhone’s memory.

The same principle applies to both 3rd party PDF download and ePub applications that automatically go into the Kindle application, just need to be managed on Kindle. The Outlook application can allow users to read Docx files as well and if needed, open Words using a “link” button. The principle is, users do not need to care where the file is, but just care about the application.

Cloud helps

The rise of “cloud-based” services makes the file management applications on individual devices redundant. This is still true, even with Windows. Listening to music with Spotify, you can forget about downloading (pirated music) and then put it into a folder. Play the game on Steam, you don’t need to back up the saved games, just know that somewhere Steam has helped you.

The same is true for Microsoft Office itself: you can create the documents you need in the cloud. If you need to send, you just need to use a button in Words / Excel / PowerPoint (File / Share). Compared to the traditional “download, edit and send” method, sharing documents to the cloud has two huge benefits: 1, many people can work on the same document instead of the cost of joining and 2, file management, keep files safe by Microsoft (or IT department). You don’t need to worry about damaged hard drives, worry about copying unsafe USB drives – in short, forget all the worries of traditional file management.

In particular, you do not need to worry about a fake exe file into docx to spread malicious code.

And that’s not to mention email. Why do you need to manage Word, Excel and so on … if all these files will be received / sent via email. I have a messy desktop so: if someone wants to receive the file directly (instead of via the OneDrive / Google Docs link), I will download the file, then attach and send it to them. My desktop is messy, because I don’t need to care what files are in it. When I need to access information, I will search for OneDrive, find my old email.

No need for concern

The principle here is only 1 – and that is the principle of iOS: each application has its own “space”, whether on the cloud or on the machine. Using file management applications on personal computers is actually an extra step, because Music applications do not need to care about files for Photos and Steam applications, regardless of JPEG and Google Docs files, it is not necessary to know Spotify doing.

Creating a file management application can also cause users to be overly concerned about unnecessary things, for example, why bother with folders when your photos are automatically coming to the operating system? Sort by factors like Time and Location? Do you put all your photos into one folder, the Photo app has automatically found your vacation photos last summer too.

In fact, during the past 12 years, iOS users don’t have a Windows Explorer-level application. Although there is a file management application, Google also hid itself so that users have to find themselves in Settings to turn it on. All file management tasks can be done in each application, or in the browser. In an office environment, that management was even made for me by others: opening the application, selecting files on the company’s Office 365 that I was able to work. Take the backup and arrange what to do when I was able to spend that time for more meaningful things, like … writing this article for example.

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