Filesystem in iOS

Discussion in 'iOS 7' started by chris, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. chris

    chris Administrator
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    I noticed a mention regarding request for a filesystem in iOS 7 and wanted to break that out as a separate discussion. I don't see it happening, but I'm interested to know if it's something that people really want?

    For me, I can see the practical uses of having a file system. Look at attaching files to email in iOS. Outside of insert photo, it really doesn't existing with pushing them from a third party app. It would be nice to have a playground for my documents.

    If this were to happen, I'm betting that it would be incredibly restrictive. Having wondered Android filesystems, I can tell you that it's easy to get lost. Apple doesn't want this and neither do most users, at least in my humble opinion.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. psylichon

    psylichon Genius
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    As you mention, there is already access to a filesystem of sorts. You can open attachments from emails if you have an appropriate viewer app that supports "Open In..." but that is such a messy kludge of a system. If Apple wants to take iOS beyond a consuming device into a producing device (more so with the iPad than the iPhone), they need to provide a central repository for user-created and shared files. Clouding is nice, but people want easy access to their files locally, and right now it's a nightmare in iOS.
     
  3. Europa

    Europa Moderator
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    Yes, it is a feature that is wanted, but we won't ever get full file system access from Apple (I'll go in to detail below). We already have partial file system access, so when people request this feature they mean full file system access. Partial access doesn't allow access to the folders that make iFile so useful. This is one area where we have to hope that jailbreaks keep being made because there's no chance that Apple will grant us full access to their mobile OS file system.

    There are several reasons Apple will not allow this:

    1. Piracy. They will directly lose money from App Store sales as a result of opening up the file system.

    2. It's actually pretty easy to mess up the phone and cause it to not boot if you don't know what you're doing. For example, if you change the system font but name it incorrectly, the phone will not boot. There are ways to fix it, but most people would likely end up at the Genius Bar.

    3. Once we have full file system access, the sky is the limit on theming. There are literally no restirictions. This means Apple would be allowing things like video wallpapers that decrease the battery life. Since they would be allowing them, it would be difficult to claim the current battery life when actual usage wasn't as good. More importantly, theming is one area where you can easily render your phone unstable. People who are new to theming are constantly doing this because they don't understand that a theme that was made in 2011 and never updated will not work properly on an iPhone 5. It either won't work at all or it will cause a safe mode crash. Apple would have to make their own version of mobile substrate to protect its users and include directions for fixing safe mode crashes in their tutorials. Stability is very important to them and they would lose that.

    Bottom line: Apple will lose money and there is no way to maintain stability and battery life when full file system access is given to users. There are a lot of jailbreak features we can hope to eventually be added as stock features, but not this one.
     
  4. psylichon

    psylichon Genius
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    I fully realize that's all not going to happen. I'm just asking for a small section of the filesystem to be opened so that I can access all my saved media without jumping between half a dozen apps. I think that would be useful.
     
  5. chris

    chris Administrator
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    That's what I'm thinking. A very restricted, walled garden of a filesystem for your stuff.
     
  6. Europa

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    A half a dozen? Why not just use DropBox? You can copy and paste images or links into email and easily access all types of files from one app.
     
  7. Europa

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    Apps don't all save their media/documents to the same folder. Many save content within the app itself, which is hidden from general users. What you're requesting would be nice for some, but it's not what most people are referring to when they ask for full file system access. It would do me no good. I use DropBox, so I don't have any need for what you and Dave are requesting.
     
  8. psylichon

    psylichon Genius
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    I suppose Dropbox does everything I require. I just don't see the need for a third party cloud service just to have a central repository for my documents. It's not asking for a lot, and I'm not sure why you're so against the idea. It's been around since the beginning of personal computing, and it's a paradigm I don't see the need to break just yet... especially with the current state of capped, limited mobile bandwidth.

    They should! Apple should centralize the file system.
     
  9. psylichon

    psylichon Genius
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    And god forbid I connect the phone to a computer via USB and such a theoretical user data folder actually shows up and allows drag-and-dropping at at least USB 2.0 speeds?... even without iTunes installed? Now, that's just crazy talk, I know...
     
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  10. iphonewarrior

    iphonewarrior Moderator
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    What would be great is if they gave us control over iCloud storage space, not just the current automatic setup which they're currently using. Having say 2gb (if you want more you pay for more, kinda like Dropbox) to start with and you can upload whatever you want from an iDevice and/or computer etc and having access to it on the iDevice and/or computer from anywhere. There have a been USB apps available in Cydia for years which allow the user to partition a small part of their iDevices storage for use as an external USB HD, why Apple haven't implemented this is beyond me, they need to get away from iTunes and start giving the user more control over something they've paid a lot of money for.
     
  11. Europa

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    I'm not against the idea; it just isn't a big deal to me since I use DropBox and I'd need more than a centralized folder in the iOS file system to consider it a feature. I was just saying they are two different things (full file system access and a centralized folder). I think Chris started this thread because a few of us frequently list file system access as one of the main advantages to jailbreaking.

    DropBox has many more advantages than serving as a central repository for your documents. It's great for sharing folders and documents with others; this includes media that is too large for email. Once invited to share a folder, they can edit content and it's pushed to you. It's also one of the fastest ways to move files between computers and mobile devices. And it's free.

    I just tend to request features that we don't have third party apps for because they are higher on my priority list.
     
  12. Napoleon PhoneApart

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    Bomb.jpg
     
  13. psylichon

    psylichon Genius
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    I use my phone as a hard drive to transfer sessions to and from work all the time. I also drop mixes onto it to reference in the car and at home... Saves me a ton on burning CDs. I use Air Sharing to accomplish this and I love it, but it's annoying to set up a wifi network share every time, it has other consequences to your desktop, and it's slow. I'd love to just plug in, drag and drop, and be done with it.
     
  14. Europa

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    I switched from Air Sharing to DropBox a couple years ago. It's much faster. You don't have to connect to the phone via USB or set up a WiFi network. Can you install DropBox or Google Drive on your work PC?
     
  15. iphonewarrior

    iphonewarrior Moderator
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    Box is another suitable alternative which offers a lot of free space. I signed up when they originally started out and managed to get 50gb account.

    The Dropbox api is everywhere and it's built into so many applications, I use my 21gb Dropbox account for work and personal use. If you were to drag and drop a mix into your dropbox folder on your conputer it automatically syncs across devices/platforms. You obviously need an internet connection to gain access to these files.
     
  16. psylichon

    psylichon Genius
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    Guys, I get cloud computing, really! I nearly used up my bandwidth last month using iTunes Match alone. I don't think you understand the kind of bandwidth I'm talking about here. Sessions are many GB in size and I'm using uncompressed WAVs for mix references. AirSharing is slow currently, but downloading from Dropbox would be even slower. Clouding is simply not an option.
     
  17. Europa

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    I don't waste any bandwidth on DropBox since it's all transferred over WiFi and then I hit the star icon to save them locally. AirSharing is perfect for the mixes you're referencing in the car, but why not just use a flash drive to transfer the sessions from the work computer to the home PC? It seems like it would be faster since you would just drag and drop and not need to set up a WiFi network every time.
     
  18. up10ad

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    I think that is exactly what Dave wants, but to use his iPhone instead of a flash drive. After all, it has the flash storage space available. I'd find this very useful as well.
     
  19. iphonewarrior

    iphonewarrior Moderator
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  20. Europa

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    I do understand that. We'd all like that. But the point is that although it works a storage device right now, it's faster and easier to just use a flash drive in his situation. I've used AirSharing and it's not something I would bother with every day when I could just put a flash drive that's the size of a thumbnail on my keychain.
     
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