How to Access Shared Windows Folders on iPhone & iPad Using SMB

Nov 23
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With iPadOS 13, Apple updated the Files app to allow connections to SMB file servers, including shared Windows folders, on a network. This removes the need to download and install any third-party apps. Users can easily create, edit and delete files in the shared folders as if they are locally accessible. Here is how you can connect and use shared Windows Folders from your iPhone or iPad.

Access Shared Windows Folders on iPad & iPhone

Before you begin, note the below:

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  • You should have the latest version of iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 on your iPhone or iPad. While this guide focused on the iPad, it works in the same way on an iPhone.
  • You would also need to have shared folders available either from a Windows PC, Mac or NAS (network attached storage). These servers can be located locally or over the Internet.
  • Obtain the server address, user name, and password. The server address might be in the form of an IP address, for example, 192.168.1.1 over a local network or 64.233.160.0 over the Internet. It can also be in the form of a domain such as exampleurl.com/server.

Once you have all the information, follow the next steps:

  1. Open the Files app n your iPhone or iPad and tap on the three dots button on the top left. Tap on Connect to Server in the menu.iPadOS Files Connect to Server
  2. Put in the server address and tap Connect.iPadOS Files Connect to Server 1
  3. You will be given the option to connect as a guest user or a registered user. Based on how the security permissions and accounts are set up on your file server, select the right option and enter the username and password if required. Tap next once done.Registered User
  4. That's it. You will now be connected to the shared folder. The folder will show under a new 'shared' heading in the left sidebar. You can browse through your folders as you would with local iPad files or iCloud Drive files.Shared Folder
  5. Files app supports features like copy, move, delete, duplication and file renaming for shared folders. Whether you are accessing shared Windows folders, Mac folders, or Linux file servers, the same file management functions are supported. You might not be able to open certain files if you don't have a supported app on your iPad or iPhone to open them. Shared Folder menu
  6. You can also create new folders by long pressing in an empty space in the app. The app will also give you the option to scan documents and save them directly to the shared folder on the file server.Shared Folder - New Folder
  7. Tapping on Info will show details like Folder name, location and creation dates, however, Files app does not show the folder size.Shared Folder Info

Once you are done using your file server, you can tap the eject button next to the file server address under Shared in the left sidebar. This will disconnect you from the file server. You can easily reconnect by going to the Connect to Server option, as the Files app will have saved the details under 'Recent Servers' list. You can remove your recent servers, if you don't want them to show here.

Do you connect to your file servers often from your iPhone or iPad? Let us know your experience and workflow in the comments below.

Check out our other guides for iPadOS and iOS 13:

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