Documents 7 review: Free iOS file manager puts Apple’s Files app to shame
- File manager more complete than the Files application
- One-Click More Button Now Available on iPhone
- Files app integration
- Unable to share advanced features reserved for PDF Expert 7 subscription
- Connections don’t sync between devices
- No support for reading comic files in CBR/CBZ format
Documents 7 is a free iOS application for reading PDF, EPUB, Word and Excel documents, opening ZIP archives, viewing images, downloading and listening to music, watching videos and much more.
It took nearly a decade for Apple to bring proper file management to the iPhone and iPad with the arrival of the Files app in iOS 11. During the same period, an enterprising third-party developer based in Odessa, Ukraine, was busy fine-tuning his own. file manager app, which surpasses Apple’s in almost every way imaginable.
Documents 7 is the latest incarnation of the versatile iOS utility that started out as a smart web app ReaddleDocs, named after the rising startup that created it. The mobile equivalent of macOS Finder, this jack-of-all-trades lets iPhone and iPad owners easily browse, view, and manage files, all from an intuitive user interface that puts shame to Apple files.
While there’s little not to like about the look of previous versions, Documents 7 adds a fresh coat of paint inspired by the company’s recent PDF Expert 7, a robust tool for editing and document annotation. The result is a polished user interface that makes viewing and organizing files a more organic experience, with support for iOS 13’s new dark mode and floating keyboard. iPad users can also now open multiple Documents windows at once, which is great for side-by-side comparisons or dragging and dropping content between them.
Switching from iPad to iPhone is the Plus button, a convenient one-click pop-up in the lower right corner that speeds up creating new folders, text and PDF files, scanning new documents, or importing files from iCloud Drive, Photos, cloud storage providers or network-connected sources. Naturally, there’s also integration with the built-in Files app to seamlessly access content stored there, as well as open files saved in existing locations in Documents 7.
From the start, Documents 7 included a built-in web browser, which now offers a private browsing mode. On the iPhone, browser settings are conveniently located from any open tab. No more going back to app settings just to clear data or change the location of file downloads. There’s even a new option to choose DuckDuckGo, Yandex, Ecosia, or Yahoo as the default search engine instead of Google. (Yay, privacy!)
Although Documents has always been a very capable PDF reader, version 7.0 also introduces an option to turn the application into a full-fledged editor. After upgrading to an annual subscription ($50 per year), Documents 7 unlocks a full range of professional tools, allowing users to edit, convert and reduce the size of PDF files.
If you already own PDF Expert 6, these editing functions are available for free in Documents 7. Unfortunately, three advanced tools recently added to PDF Expert 7 are not shared, so the only way to customize the Favorites toolbar or convert and compress PDF files is to pay another annual subscription. It stinks, but Readdle is offering a discounted upgrade to PDF Expert owners ($10 for the first year). At the moment, this is the only in-app purchase offered, everything else is absolutely free.
At the end of the line
For those disappointed with the built-in Files app, do yourself a favor and install Documents 7, the free file manager worthy of installing on all iOS devices.