Modern iOS devices are fully capable of replacing traditional PC or Mac computers for various use cases. It doesn’t matter what we use them for, we tend to download and save all kinds of files on our iOS devices. Files are usually downloaded from the built-in Safari browser or third-party browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge. Files may also be downloaded from email apps, chat or messenger apps, in-app browsers, etc. Unfortunately, there’s no system-wide indication of where downloads are stored on iPhone or the download status.

If you’ve just downloaded a file on your iPhone but don’t know where it went, don’t worry. In this tutorial, we’re going to show you where downloads on iPhone are saved, how iOS handles downloaded files, and why the Documents app by Readdle is a better app to download, save, and organize your files on iPhone and iPad.

Where are the downloads on iPhone

The latest version of iOS — the operating system software that powers the iPhone — comes with a built-in app called ‘Files’. Think of the Files app as the ‘Finder’ on a Mac, or the Windows Explorer program on a Windows PC. The Files app lets you browse the files stored locally on your iPhone. By default, iOS saves all downloaded files from browsers in a ‘Downloads’ folder that is accessible via the Files app. Here’s how you can find the downloaded files on your iPhone.

  1. Locate the Files app on your home screen. If you don’t see the icon, swipe down on your home screen to reveal the Spotlight search field and type ‘Files’ in it.
  2. Open the Files app and tap on the ‘Browse’ tab at the bottom.
  3. In the list of Locations, choose ‘On My iPhone’. If you have iCloud Drive enabled in Safari settings, tap on that instead.
  4. Scroll and tap on the ‘Downloads’ folder in the list.
  5. To show the most recent downloaded file at the top, tap on the three dots at the top-right corner and then tap on ‘Date’ to sort the files by most recent date.
  6. If you know the file name of the file you’ve just downloaded, you can also use the search field to locate the file.

Where are the downloads on iPad

You can find your downloaded files on iPad exactly as we’ve detailed how to find the downloaded files on iPhone above.

On iPad, Apple includes the Files app that works in exactly the same way as it does on iPhone. If you follow the six steps detailed in the section above, you can figure out how to view and open downloaded files on your iPad.

What is the best way to download files on iPhone and iPad

Although Apple makes it very easy to download and save files on iPhone and iPad using the Safari browser, it becomes a little complicated when it comes to opening these downloaded files. As advanced as your iOS devices are, they do not natively support opening many popular file formats. You need to download and install compatible apps from the App Store to open these files. Thankfully, there’s a better way to download, save, organize and open files on your iPhone and iPad: Documents.

With Documents, you can download, save, organize and open all your files in one place. It natively supports an extensive list of file formats, meaning you don’t need multiple apps just to open your files. Everything can be done using Documents. Here’s how you can download and save files on your iPhone and iPad using the downloads manager in Documents.

  1. Get Documents app for Free from the App Store.
  2. Tap on the Browser icon at the bottom.
  3. Search for or type the URL of any website you want to download files from.
  4. Tap to start downloading your desired files.
  5. Tap on the Download Manager icon at the bottom to see the progress.
  6. Documents will ask you where you want your downloaded files to be saved. It uses the Inbox folder by default, but you can choose your own.

Documents by Readdle is a must-have app on your iOS device. Get Documents for Free from the App Store.


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