This File is Too Big To Download: How To Use iTunes File Sharing

One convenient feature that Apple has included on iOS is the ability to move large files quickly between computers and mobile devices. If you have a 30-page Keynote Presentation on your Mac that you want to bring to the board meeting on your iPad, you don’t have to try to mail it to yourself, or save it in the cloud (although you can) or use a remote desktop application to find it. You can easily download the file to your iPad using the File Sharing feature in iTunes.

This method of moving files will save time and might be the only way to access certain files for certain apps. If you don’t already know how to use the File Sharing feature on your iPad, read our how-to guide below.

The first thing you will need to do is plug your iPad into your computer. Using the USB/30-pin connector cord, connect your iPad to your desktop or laptop. Once you’ve backed up and synced the device, you can add files to it. At the top of your iTunes screen, tap the “Apps” tab. This will bring you to your device’s app page. Here, you can manually add or remove any apps you like or add and remove files on your iPad and computer.

To find the File Sharing section, scroll down below the section that shows your device’s apps. There should be a section called “File Sharing” listed. If not, you probably don’t have any apps on your device capable of file sharing. Some examples of file sharing compatible apps include, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, PaperDesk, GoodReader, Kindle, etc.

On the right side of the screen, you will see the apps on your device that are capable of file sharing. On the left side, you will see a box where the files go. If you already have documents saved, they will be listed here. For example, if you wrote an essay in Pages and saved it, it will appear in the left-hand box.

If you want to transfer files from your desktop or laptop computer to your iPad, the first thing you want to do is make sure you have the correct app selected. You can’t necessarily add sound loops to a PDF reader. Once you’ve selected the correct app in your iTunes File Sharing, you’ll need to find the document on your computer. Open the correct folder on your computer and select the file you want to move by left-clicking once. Then, drag it into the document box in iTunes. Click on the “Add” button at the bottom of the document box. If the file is compatible with the app it will begin downloading. For example, if you are adding a spreadsheet to Numbers, it will transfer to your iPad. Once you’ve finished downloading all the files you want, tap the sync button a the very bottom-right of your iTunes screen and all changes will be saved.

To move a file from your iPad to you computer, select the app that the file is in from iTunes File Sharing. You will see the list of documents that are saved in the app in the left-hand document box. Find the file you want to move and select it by left-clicking once. Then, drag the file to a folder or window on your computer. Click the “Save To…” button at the bottom of the document box. To determine what application to use to open your file, check the end script. For example, if it is a .doc file, you can open it with Pages or Word. If it is a .wav file, you can open it with iMovie or Quicktime.

Now you know how to share files between your iPad and your computer. Sometimes, this is the most efficient way to transfer large files. Sometimes it is the only way to transfer files between your iPad and computer. For example, there are a lot of different music sampling apps that only let you add samples to your iPad through File Sharing. Now, you won’t get frustrated trying to figure out how to get your mini movie onto your computer. 

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About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik