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How to browse and administer iOS files using Path Finder 10

Cocoatech has updated its macOS Path Finder file management app to include several new features. One new capability in version 10 is browsing and administering files on an iOS device using a Mac.

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Although Finder isn’t the only file management application available to macOS users, its comprehensive capabilities and elegant integration make it tough justifying purchasing an alternative. But Cocoatech’s Path Finder 10 makes it easier, especially for novice users, to access hidden files while also servicing other needs. The program supports viewing low-level file hex information and more using a variety of modules—as shown in Figure A—that can be loaded directly within the app.

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Figure A

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Cocoatech’s Path Finder supports loading a variety of helpful modules that drastically expand the file management application’s capabilities.

The $36 program also permits viewing two file management windows simultaneously, thereby simplifying file copying and transfers. To enable the dual-pane browser within Path Finder, as shown in Figure B, open the program, select View from the Path Finder menu bar and select Dual Browser, for which a few options exist. You can choose to position the dual browser horizontally or vertically, and you can even swap the windows using the provided Swap Panes option.

Figure B

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Path Finder’s dual-pane browser makes it easier to drag-and-drop files between windows.

Another Path Finder 10 feature macOS users will find helpful is the program’s ability to assist browsing and administering iOS files. With Path Finder loaded on a Mac, users can connect iOS devices via a USB-to-Lightning cable, then browse the iOS device’s file system within Path Finder, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

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Path Finder permits browsing and administering files on an iOS device using a Mac.

Using Path Finder’s simple, user-friendly interface, it’s easier for users to display and access hidden iOS files, too, than having to resort to Terminal commands. From within Path Finder, you need only click View from the menu bar and select Show Invisible Files. Once specific files and directories have been located on the connected iOS device, Path Finder users can delete files, which bypasses placing the deleted information in the Trash.

To delete files on an iOS device using Path Finder, connect the device, open Path Finder, then navigate to the iOS directory containing the file or files you wish to copy, move or delete. Once the file or files are located and highlighted, click Commands from the Path Finder menu bar, then select the corresponding action: Copy To, Move To or Delete.

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Users can also copy and transfer files between the iOS device and the Mac, sort files and quickly find the largest files on the iOS device using the Size Browser and search files options. Traditional right-click copy-and-paste and drag-and-drop actions permit copying and moving files between Path Finder and the Mac.

More accomplished users confident in their actions can also rename iOS files, although Cocoatech warns against performing such actions unless you are sure you know what you are doing. Renaming the wrong files could result in an inoperable iOS device.

The same warning applies to moving and deleting files. Although a tool or application permits doing so, only perform such actions when you’re confident you’re proceeding as intended, and you understand the ramifications of any changes you make.

During my tests, I found I could also perform the same functions as in iOS on an iPad Mini 4, too. Browsing, copying, dragging-and-dropping, moving and deleting files proved straightforward using Path Finder. The program also made quick work toggling hidden files on and off, too, on the iPad. While not officially supported within the Cocoatech literature, the ability to use Path Finder to navigate and clean an iPad certainly adds to its value.

A helpful $36 utility

While Apple’s integrated Finder permits performing many of the same functions, Path Finder simplifies the process, while also adding the ability to load various modules that enable accessing Terminal commands directly from within the file management app. Loading the Hex module, as mentioned earlier, and other modules that assist viewing permissions and active processes are but a few examples. Mac users who enjoy poking around under the hood will find Path Finder 10’s capabilities well worth exploring.

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