How To Manage Files Between an iPad and PC

This is how I manage files between my iPad and PC using a few free tools that take a few minutes to set up. Mostly I author documents (PDFs, spreadsheets, Office documents etc) on my PC and then view them on my mobile devices, though there are documents that I edit on the fly when I’m out and about – predominantly HTML, text and rich text with embedded media such as audio memos and photos.
The way I wanted my set up was:
  • Two-way sync using either WiFi or using as little of my data plan as possible.
  • Support any document that I want to read or can reasonably edit on the iPad
  • Have a backup of everything in the cloud

So for the free stuff: GoodReader, and DropBox. These will get you a long way, the caveat being that you only get 2GB of data free with dropbox, but unless you have honking great documents, that’s still enough to get started. I’ve been using it for over a year and I’m at 2.5GB which is still free. (You can get extra free storage from them when you refer a few friends who use it – I think I’ve got 5GB free right now. In fact you can get an extra 250MB free if you use the link above.) GoodReader is $4.99, which is practically free, and if you can’t afford $5 for managing all your data, then you’re probably not going to spend the 47 seconds required to read this far.

How much will it cost you if you have more files than you can get free? DropBox allows 50GB of file storage for just under $100 a year. So for $100 a year you get backup, file sync and file portability.
Do you need GoodReader? Not really – the only reason I have it is so that I can sync on WiFi if I don’t want to waste any of my data plan. So that five bucks I spent saves me more than than in data usage charges. It integrates directly into DropBox, so all you do on your iPad is select which DropBox folders you want to synchronize and then you can hit one button and take all your files with you. It also performs a two way sync for the files you modify on the iPad though I don’t change much.

Where to start:

Install DropBox (free!) on your PC and figure out which files you want to sync.  Then install DropBox on your iPad (free!). Now you have access to all your synced files on your iPad when it’s connected. If you need access without a cellular data signal, install GoodReader on your iPad and tell it to sync files from your DropBox account. It’s as easy as that.


GoodReader Can Read My DropBox

4 thoughts on “How To Manage Files Between an iPad and PC”

    1. You can get by with just these for sure. I just add Carbonite so that I have unlimited file storage and access. If GoodReader and DropBox are my trusty wingmen, Carbonite is my ground staff waiting in bunkers around the globe.

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  2. Pingback: Managing iPad Files with Your PC

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