Remember this little guy up here?
iFile is perhaps the greatest and most well-known file browser for iOS. iFile lets you visit any directory in your iDevice and lets you edit, add, delete, or move files within your filesystem. It lets you do it right from your iDevice, no SSH or USB browser necessary. This means that you can edit things on the fly without needing a computer to follow you around.
If you don't know by now, the iPhone has a filesystem just like any Mac or PC. iOS's filesystem is just closed off to you until you jailbreak it. The filesystem can be a very fragile part of any iDevice just like any computer and deleting files or editing them irresponsibly has the full potential to lead you to needing to restore your iDevice to factory settings or needing to fix a problem through SSH or USB browser connection. Consequently, it's recommended that you only browse through your filesystems if you know what you are doing. No jailbreak newbie should be caught playing with their filesystem without reading some kind of guide or introduction to what things are.
iFile is an application that lets you browse through these files without a computer, as we explained earlier. It's just like a mobile Finder or a mobile Windows Explorer. It indexes every part of the iOS device so that you can make a search for that file, find it, and do what you need to with it. Things that you might do with this kind of functionality includes modding, deleting files that cause speed problems, or unlocking locked features. Some things you can do with editing files in your filesystem in iOS 5 include enabling FaceTime over 3G, enabling the panorama feature in the Camera application, or even enabling the Android-like correction bar.
iFile was created by a jailbreak developer known as Carsten Heinelt
and he made the application to make iOS file management much easier in the long run. To me, iFile is a very useful application and I use it many times a day for sending developers crash reports, downloading files from Safari using Safari Download Manager or Safari Download Plugin, and even for uploading files with Safari Upload Enabler. iFile is just that missing puzzle piece that can make an iDevice seem like a full-blown computer in the palm of your hand.
When you open iFile for the first time, you are brought to a screen with a directory of ~/ at the top:
From this directory, you have a widespread variety of access points into your iDevice. One of the most useful being Var. From the Var folder, you can move to another useful location; mobile:
Aside from simple directory tracing, you can also search for a file that you are looking for. On an iDevice, settings are saved in files known as '.plist' files and they hold the Boolean variables that tell the iDevice if a feature should be turned on or not. Boolean variables are variables that can hold one of two values; true or false. iFile has feature that lets you search the entire filesystem for individual files, such as '.plist' files so that you can find what you need quickly and edit it to your liking:
From the bottom of the main iFile window, there are some buttons that offer functionality to you. One of them goes hand in hand with searching for files as we just explained above. It's a bookmark function that allows you to save a favorite directory. This can be useful if you plan to visit that directory more than once. In iOS, since settings are often stored in '.plist' files, you might want to bookmark the folder with that '.plist' file to make it easy to get back to it again to edit it more in the future. Or, maybe you would like to bookmark the location of crash reports to make it easy to recover one for a developer who you are testing for. You have the ability to add, delete, and rename the bookmarks as necessary and to your liking. The bookmarks window looks like this:
Aside from that, you can have more than one iFile window open. Since you can copy/cut/paste files in iFile, having two windows open, side by side, can be a useful tool in making navigation easier. You can copy/cut from one window and easily just paste it into another. You have the ability to add as many pages as you want and remove them as well. The multiple window interface looks a lot like cover flow:
Aside from features, iFile also comes packed with a ton of settings:
The settings of iFile include features such as enabling and disabling hidden files, using a trash similarly to Mac OS X, showing or not showing the application names, search orders, colors, DropBox account linking, font size, FTP ports, and much more. iFile has a built in FTP function as well which can be found under the Wi-Fi button on the iFile home window.
iFile is truly a versatile application that makes having a jailbroken iDevice great. Granted you shouldn't jailbreak for
iFile, if you jailbreak, you should always have
iFile. Some people prefer other methods for viewing their files, but my honest opinion is that iFile is the best. It's like having a brand name over a generic brand, it simply completes you. iFile is capable of media playback, '.deb' installation, and text editing as well as file browsing.
$4.00 (Plus a free trial)
Developer: Carsten Heinelt
I talked to Carsten via Twitter and email to learn more about iFile and why he made it:
Anthony: Why did you create an application like iFile? Was there a motivation behind it?
Carsten: When I started iFile, MobileFinder (saurik) did not get developed anymore and I found it interesting to dig into iOS development via my own file manager. This evolved to what you see today over time.
Anthony: What was the hardest part about making iFile?
Carsten: Probably all animations and complicated GUI stuff, E.G. the multi-tabbing, that often don't behave as they should as iOS doesn't do always what it is supposed to do following the documentation. Next largest piece is the WebDAV enhancement which I implemented over a year ago.
Anthony: What can you do with iFile?
Carsten: Everything a file manager should be able to do including mounting USB pen drives and SDCards on an iPad, viewing files, interacting with Dropbox etc. A list of functionality (plus lots of non-mentioned details) can be found at iFile's Home Page.
Anthony: What is your favorite use for iFile?
Carsten: Managing files, I guess, and viewing images as it supports zooming down to pixel level which the Apple Image Viewer does not support. I also use it to check out system files etc.
Carsten was generous to give away FIVE
copies of iFile to the lucky readers of Modmyi.
Follow me @BouchardAnthony
Follow ModMyi @Modmyi
Retweet the link to this article and mention @BouchardAnthony
so that I can see that you have entered the contest. You must do both or you will be disqualified. The tweet must include the following text, "I entered a contest to win iFile a file manager for iPhone!"
This drawing will be done differently than usual. Carsten does not register iFile licenses using Cydia numbers. Instead, he registers users by First and Last name and email address. This means I will have to pick the winners differently. DO NOT POST YOUR CYDIA NUMBER
. I don't need it. Obviously, I'm not going to ask you to post this information publicly. After the winner announcement day, I will DM a random group of people who mentioned me on Twitter. The first five to reply to me will win iFile. So how can you guarantee that you will be eligible to win? Make sure that you are online on Twitter on Sunday, December 11, between 7PM and 8PM Eastern time.
Winners will be announced on Sunday, December 11, between 7PM and 8PM Eastern time (unless something comes up and I end up needing to do it later, then I will let everyone know to be fair). Good luck to all of you that enter!
What do you think about iFile? Share in the comments below!
Sources: Carsten Heinelt