I have an iPhone SE with iOS 11 installed. I really love the idea of the Files app for managing downloads and such, however I am running into difficulties:

  1. If I try to save, say, a photograph locally using Save To Files → On My iPhone I can see the On My iPhone option, but cannot select it.

  2. If I try to enable On My iPhone in Files → Locations → Edit there is no On My iPhone option, just iCloud Drive and Recently Deleted.

I am

  • Uninterested in using iCloud, and

  • Uninterested in installing Pages (or some other app).

Given these constraints, is there a method for me to actually save things locally using the Files app?

(I wonder if I misunderstand the intent of Files app: Perhaps local storage is only intended to augment the use of Files with other apps?)

  • 2
    I have the exact same question. According to the iPhone User Guide, you need to download a third-party app that supports Files integration.
    – SilverWolf
    Sep 24, 2017 at 14:28

2 Answers 2


According to the iPhone User Guide, this requires a third-party app with Files integration support. If you don't want to install one, it's actually quite easy to make one yourself.

  • Install Xcode if you don't have it already. You'll need version 9 or above.
  • Sign in using your Apple ID in the preferences. You have to do this in order to run your apps on an actual device.
  • Create a new project and select the "Document Based App" template in the iOS tab. Name it "Files Local Storage" or something.
  • Connect your device using a USB cable.
  • Install it on your device! Select your iPhone out of the list in the toolbar, and click the big "play" button in the top left.

It won't have an icon, unless you go to the trouble of adding one. You'll also need to go into Settings and switch the storage location from "iCloud Drive" to "On My iPhone".

Also, unless you have a Developer ID, which costs $99/yr at the time of writing, you may need to reinstall your app every week or so.

If you don't want to do this, I've heard that Documents by Readdle supports Files integration. I've never tried it, and I'm not absolutely sure that it does.

On the other hand, I have tried GoodReader. It doesn't support Files integration. (update: now it does!) It is also fantastic for file management, and has some good PDF features as well. It can even zip/unzip files and connect to various types of network servers, like SFTP. It's $4.99 (with 4.5 stars and 1,458 reviews) at the time of writing. Please be aware that it does have a built-in web browser.

(I don't have any affiliation with either of these apps.)


It is impossible to save files to "On My iPhone" without downloading some third party app. However, here is the next best thing:

Local Storage is an app that you never have to open if you don't want to. Its sole purpose is to add a Local Storage folder to Apple's native Files app. Unlike a lot of other solutions I've tried, it doesn't add any sort of non-native UI on top of Apple's app, and allows you to save any type of file to its location.

It's also completely free with no ads or gotcha's (and open source, if that matters to you).

I really wish I'd found this app sooner.

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