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I have a directory under the Documents folder (let's call it My Vacation), and iCloud Drive is enabled.

I'm regularly adding files to this directory on my Mac. (PDFs, tickets, etc.)

How can I mark this directory as "available offline" on my iPad, so that I don't have to tap every single file before I leave to make sure they've all been downloaded to the iPad? (I will be without internet nearly all the trip.)

I'd be equally happy keeping all my iCloud Drive contents on my iPad, but there doesn't seem to be a "Keep All Files" vs. "Optimize Storage" option on iOS.

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  • What happens if you turn off your network access and then try to open a file that you haven't opened recently? – fsb Jun 25 '19 at 16:27
  • @fsb I get a popup that says something to the effect of, "You're Offline - Please check your connection and try again." – Craig Otis Jun 25 '19 at 18:06
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I do not think there is an "Keep Offline" feature on iCloud. I generally hit the download icon next to the files that I would need before I travel. But on iOS13 there is a new pin feature for folders that would keep the folder for offline access.

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    Where can this pin feature be found? Did this feature made it past the iOS 13 betas and into one of the future public releases? – Nimesh Neema Mar 5 '20 at 10:50
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    I think @Vinny means the Download button aftering a long tap for each folder in Files. – taper Mar 31 '20 at 9:26
  • There is no Download option I can see on iPad unfortunately, even after a long press on a folder – Aditya M P Dec 13 '20 at 0:02
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One hack I’ve found, that will work one time only (it won’t keep the folder updated offline constantly like you want) - so you’ll need to do this just before you leave for the vacation / beach (places that Apple doesn’t seem to think exist, which is why they don’t have this stupidly simple feature on the Files app):

Long-press a folder on your iPad in Files and hit Compress. The device has no choice but to download everything in order to zip it up - then when you need, uncompress 🙂 yes this will occupy lots of space and you’ll have to keep track of which zip files you want to delete later on - but you have Apple’s poor UX decision making on Files (and Books) to thank for this.

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    Heck of a workaround. I’m just using the Mac to copy to USB storage and taking that with me. Works great for iOS and iPadOS to access files on a hard drive or other USB storage. – bmike Dec 13 '20 at 0:15
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Until there’s a “download this folder” function, I copy that folder to a USB drive on the Mac. Files.app can read off USB drives in case the code didn’t sync the file to the iPad before you lose network access.

It’s not as cool as a switch to download the files like music can with a playlist or song or album, but it’s fast and reliable and inexpensive.

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