Quickly Send Files to an iPhone or iPad – Mac Kung Fu, 2nd Edition

Tip 89Quickly Send Files to an iPhone or iPad

Getting things like pictures and music files from your computer to an iPhone and iPad can be a struggle. However, if all you want to do is quickly transfer something like an image, office document, or song, then you can use the Messages app to—essentially—send the file to yourself.

You can then open the file on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch by looking within the Messages app.

What You Can Do with Files Once Transferred

What you can do with the file on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad varies, as follows:

  • Image or video files: Once these files are received on the iPhone or iPad, you’ll be able to add the image or video files into your camera roll. Just open the file for viewing by tapping it, and then select the icon at the top right or bottom left.

  • Office documents: If you send a word processor document, spreadsheet, or presentation file, you’ll be able to view it by tapping it and, if you have a compatible app installed (like Pages, Numbers or Keynote), import it into that app’s iCloud filestore for editing. Just click the icon at the top right of the display.

  • PDF files: These can be viewed by tapping them and imported into the iBooks app for later viewing, if you have iBooks (free within the App Store) or any other PDF reader installed.

  • Alas, if you send a music file like an MP3, all you can do is listen to it in a preview application. You won’t be able to import it into your iPhone’s or iPad’s music collection.

How to Transfer Files

First make sure that the iPhone or iPad you want to transfer the file to is logged in with the same Apple ID as your Mac. Then open Messages on your Mac and start a new conversation, but type your own iMessage contact details into the To field, essentially starting a conversation with yourself. Following this, drag and drop the file you want to transfer onto the Messages text field and hit Return to send the message. The file will then be sent to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. In fact, it will also appear as a new message within Messages on all these devices and will also appear as a new message on the Mac used to send it! However, this can be ignored.


Figure 16. Delving into iCloud’s Time Machine file history