Saving files to and from an iPad

We get asked about how to manage files on iPads all the time.  There are no easy answers to getting data on and off an iPad especially when you are in a school with many iPads shared out.

The problem is less so when you have a 1:1 deployment because the user is able to manage their data through the use of personal cloud storage.

In our experience there are a number of possible options we recommend or that we see in action.

  1. For photos & videos there is a simple option of plugging the iPad directly into a computer (Mac or PC), then the iPad behaves like a normal digital camera allowing you to export photos & videos.  * This will not allow you to copy any other data off.
  2. You might have some luck with an iTunes sync – but this is rarely possible in a school environment with shared devices.
  3. Dropbox is by far the most popular service we have seen used.  Schools can create a single account (Free or Paid for more storage).  Naturally you need to set this up on each iPad, but users will be able to move data to and from dropbox.
    We would then recommend that you use the dropbox account as a transferring space, as opposed to using the account for long term storage. In this way a teacher could access the dropbox account and move data to school network on a PC etc.
  4. FileBrowser app is the next most popular.  Its a little bit fiddly to set up the first time (though we can help deploy config file to automate the setup). Users can then access the school network (where permissions on the server allow), and copy data to and from apps.
  5. Other cloud storage etc…

It is important to realise that every app can potentially work differently.  If the app you are working on has an export (-export to open in another app) option then its likely you will be able to get data off the iPad.  If the app doesn’t support this method you may be locked into the export function that the app developer has made available (which could even be paid/subscription based) – not very helpful for a school.

Another interesting idea; obviously there may be a time you need to evidence a students work but no export function may be available, what you could do is to take a screen grab and export that image using any method mentioned for photo export.  To take a screen grab on any iPad/iPhone etc all you need to do is hold the home button and press the power switch. The screen will flash and you will know a screen grab is in the camera roll.

The video demonstration below demonstrates setting up an iPad with FileBrowser and accessing a school network.
We go a few steps further, by demonstrating a Cisco AnyConnect / Rav3 connection which is an optional step but allows a London based school using LGFL services to connect to the school network from a remote location (i.e. Home). The use of Cisco AnyConnect is not necessary when inside the school.
Also, we demonstrate a configuration link that automatically sets up the network connection saving the user typing in ip addresses etc.

The video has not gone into further detail of using it with an app (perhaps another video will follow!) – The developers of FileBrowser have made lots of video tutorials

Here is a link to FileBrowser
If its of interest: Cisco Any Connect

If you need further help we have consultancy services we can offer in London and UK wide.