Top iPhone file browsers reviewed

Many folks seek to access their iPhone app contents and documents with a simple file manager in the same way a computer browser goes through files on the PC.

There are a number of computer applications which provide easy access to iPhone documents and act like iPhone file explorers. This article reviews some of the most popular such utilities

Browse iPhone documents and files without iTunes

CopyTrans Apps is a free Beta PC software which allows you to essentially use your iPhone or iPad as a USB drive. Browsing for app documents is easy due to the simple interface.

With CopyTrans Apps, you can add and remove, as well as edit documents on the iPhone or iPad. iphone apps in main program window

The program provides an accessible way to display, modify or add files on your iPhone as if the iPhone were a true flash drive. Here’s how it’s done: Turn your iPhone into a USB flash drive iphone as a usb drive

CopyTrans Apps is a little more than an iPhone app and file browser as it allows you to back up and restore iPhone apps along with app documents and preferences. The backups remain offline on your PC and can be restored to any iOS device.

Supports: iOS 7; Windows PCs

Pros: The simple interface allow to browse and modify iPhone app files and documents with ease. Ability to backup and restore apps to the iPhone is a plus.

Cons: The program is still in Beta

Price: Free Beta version

Download link:

Transfer documents to iPhone via iTunes

iTunes is the default iPhone apps manager program for your computer. Although, in my view, far from perfect, iTunes can be used to browse a limited amount of app documents.

In this example, I can see the word documents stored within the native Pages app on my iPhone. I can quickly add or save documents to the app. add or remove documents to ios pages via itunes

I can also browse and add documents to third-party app I installed earlier on my iPhone called “Documents”. iTunes displays the documents stored within the app which consist of one Excel spreadsheet and one text document. iphone documents browser in itunes

iTunes in itself is not a sufficient iPhone file browser. Its reach is rather limited as you can only browse the documents of a handful of apps. In addition, saving documents to your iPhone or iPad via iTunes requires a sync. iTunes sync is not something you want to resort to especially when your iTunes library is empty and/or you’ve never synced the iPhone before. iTunes sync in such a situation will remove the entire multimedia contents of your iPhone.

System requirements: iPhone 5s/c and earlier, iOS 7 and earlier; Windows and Mac computers

Pros: the native free Apple utility for managing iPhone on a computer

Cons: very limited access to app documents. Bulky sync. Program takes up considerable space on computer.

Price: Free

Other iPhone web browsers to look at

A number of third-party utilities are designed to help you browse iPhone files without requiring the use of iTunes. Here are some of the more popular ones.

iFunBox a fun yet complicated iPhone file manager and browser

iFunBox allowed me to to browse the contents of most of my iPhone apps. Compared to iTunes, it gives you a much wider choice of apps documents to explore. In the picture below, you can see that the program lists the same contents for the Pages app for instance. explore iphone pages app on third-party iphone browser utility

But the wider choice of app data to browse from is evident. For example I could even open the documents contained in WhatsApp. browse iphone apps whatsapp on iphone 5s

Instead of the actual WhatsApp conversations, however, I found a set of files which at first look didn’t make sense and which I could not really open on my computer.

System requirements: iPhone 5 and 5s, iOS 7; Windows and Mac computers

Pros: much wider choice of app data and files to browse on the iPhone than iTunes

Cons: while you can freely browse iPhone app documents on your computer, most of the app files make little or no sense for the average iPhone user. Having said this, advanced iPhone users and people who jailbroke their iOS device might like iFunBox better.

Price: Free

Explore iPhone documents with iExplorer

iExplorer is another independent iPhone file browser. I find its interface a bit less complicated than iFunBox.

The navigation bar on the left lists the parent app folders for each of your iPhone apps. I used the tool to browse through my iPhone Epub and PDFs as well as Podcasts. explore iphone books with iexplorer

Again, I was left with a thumb in the mouth when neither the iPhone PDF, books or podcasts were listed by their name and I had to do some serious file-opening on my computer in order to identify which file is what. independent iphone file browser podcast view

Supports: iOS 7; Windows and Mac computers

Pros: iPhone file browser view is more structured and less complicated than iFunBox. Wide range of apps and app documents visible and able to be browsed through.

Cons: Still not a solution for the inexperienced iPhone user. App files such as iPhone EPUB and PDF files are listed by their code names and not in the way they appear on the device. Seemingly out-of-order file organization.

Price: USD 35 for full version


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