I am looking for a way to transfer large files to the iPad without using iTunes or pushing to and pulling from a remote server.

I run an Ubuntu laptop as my only OS at the moment and want to be able to transfer movies to my iPad. I currently transfer most of my files by way of the dropbox app which works well for small files but is quite slow for larger files and eats up my bandwidth. Ideally I'd like to be able to transfer over a cable or through WiFi.

Thanks for any tips.

  • I believe the newer versions of ubuntu have AFC support baked into the OS. Pretty cool! - askubuntu.com/a/704677/21224
    – bmike
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 22:24

13 Answers 13


Look at the iOS app GoodReader. GoodReader is a $5 app that allows you to transfer files from Windows, Mac OS X & Linux via WiFi to your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch. You can then open the files in other apps based on the filetype.

  • 1
    Goodreader? What's that? A book, a magazine, a website or an application?
    – user2763
    Commented Jan 27, 2011 at 19:58
  • Goodreader worked for getting the files onto my iPad though I was unable to play them, not sure if that is simply the file itself or how Goodreader deals with them as the "Open with" capability seems to be reserved for third party apps, i.e. I can't open with Videos or iPod.
    – Stephen L
    Commented Jan 28, 2011 at 17:48
  • goodreader is an app
    – fnord_ix
    Commented Feb 8, 2011 at 9:52

Simply install VLC app from the app store and use its wifi transfer feature (in the sidebar of vlc app) to transfer videos(in all formats recognizable by vlc) into your vlc library....

UPDATE: This method not only works for audio/video formats but pretty much all file formats. Ofcourse, VLC won't show these files but one could access them using any decent File manager app such as Document.

  • 1
    Forgot to mention: Its a free-app ! Also, I have tried transferring videos on both windows and linux ...both works great !
    – anshu957
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 17:41
  • 1
    This took literally 10 seconds to do. An addition: once VLC is up, enable the "Sharing via WiFi" functionality and type in the URL provided into your computer's browser. It's an internal website where you can drag and drop files from. Important to note that this will only work if both the computer and the iPad are in the same wireless (or wired) network. Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 19:02
  • the VLC trick is really neat, and should be useful for video or audio files, but as a more generic transfer mechanism, it's fairly limited because other apps (say a PDF viewer) won't be able to see the VLC files...
    – anarcat
    Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 17:31
  • @anarcat I'm not sure what you mean, but one can just drag and drop other formats as well and it works just fine. I was able to transfer pdfs using VLC app.
    – anshu957
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 20:40
  • sure, and presumably the file is within the VLC app, but it's not visible from other apps, as far as I can tell. and VLC doesn't display them either, at least that's my experience with this mechanism.
    – anarcat
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 20:34

For me on Ubuntu 18 all I had to do was install libimobiledevice-utils with

sudo apt-get install libimobiledevice-utils

and then reconnected the iPad, I can now browse my dam file and grab em just like normal folders thats just wonderful!!!

  • Okay. I installed this package. What next? How do I copy my files from Ubuntu 18.04 to my iPad? Commented Aug 18, 2020 at 3:36
  • This answer shows how to mount iPad and then can be accessible from nautilus. But still I'm not able to find the exact folders to copy videos to be played in VLC or KM player Commented Aug 18, 2020 at 3:57

Yes! You can transfer files to / from the iPad from Ubuntu via USB.

  1. You can always transfer files via SSH / a Samba share / etc.

  2. However that would be over Wifi, which is nowhere near as fast as USB connectivity.

  3. Via USB you can only access /var/root/Media on the ipad. Useful to put movies onto it - you will need to find a way to make these visible within iPad - I think you need to create some playlist?

    • I use FileBrowser on the iPad and since my iPad is jailbroken, I ssh in and mv the transferred files from /var/root/Media to /var/mobile/Applications/[app-ID]/.data/Movies/. It is then visible within FileBrowser and Movies can be played there.


Install additional PPA repository

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pmcenery/ppa
sudo apt-get update

Install libimobiledevice-utils

sudo apt-get install libimobiledevice-utils

Plug in the iPad / iPod / iPhone. It is visible as a removable drive!

  • 3
    To clarify: 1. you don't need jailbroken iPad 2. you don't need the ppa. The package is in universe on Ubuntu 11.10 3. Any app that accepts arbitrary files such as Smart Disk Free is enough (just connect ipad to the computer using the standard Dock Connector to USB Cable and drag and drop files)
    – jfs
    Commented Apr 2, 2012 at 18:04

Since iOS 13, you are able to access SMB shares with the Files app. Just set up your share in the Linux system (I recommend usershares), create the user on samba (while samba allows you to have the same Linux user, it requires that you use samba specific utilities to set up the password) and use "Connect to Server" within Files on your iOS device.


Not sure if this will work for everybody, but I can get movies (mp4, didn't try any other format) onto the ipad through the 'Documents' app from the app store. When I connect the iPad to my comp with usb it brings up a folder called "Documents on YOUR NAME's iPad". In this I can open the Document app's folder and just drag and drop. The files appear in the app then....magic!

  1. Install Zip & RAR File Extractor in your iPad
  2. Create a zip folder in your Linux machine of the files which you want to transfer.
  3. Open the Zip extractor app on your iPad, then go to Wi-Fi Transfer. It will show a web address. Write that address into your Linux web browser. There is an option of "Upload files", just click and upload the zip file and then transfer.
  4. Open iPad files, go to "On My iPad" and then go to the "Zip Extractor folder". You can see that the file has been transferred. Touch on that zip file, and you will see the file has been extracted.
  • Hi, welcome to "Ask Different". This is a really clear and helpful answer. Thank you! Commented Jul 19, 2020 at 6:48

I used to transfer by uploading to dropbox and downloading files on the dropbox app on my ipad.

There is another way which doesn't need internet which is using the app called "wireless drive". With this basically you connect your ipad with your laptop by creating wifi hotspot and transfer the files. But my ipad is unable to connect the wifi created by my new laptop. (wifi connection problem for unknown reason) ..... what do I do? I dont have internet right now.

You do following (after installing the app):

  1. just connect ipad to laptop using usb cable.
  2. You see "documents on the ipad" as a usb drive (as the external-pen drive)
  3. open the documents on the ipad > you see different apps you have on the ipad
  4. You will see "wireless drive" in the list, open it by double-clicking.
  5. You will see folder "documents", open it.
  6. You will see folder is empty, if it's used for the first time. Just simply copy whatever you want to copy to your ipad in this folder and that's it!!

Now, just open the "wireless drive" app on your ipad, and you see the files you have transferred. Tap on any of the document, you will be asked which app to be used to open/run the file, select appropriate app and you can use the file on your ipad.


Download Folder Lock for your iPad and enjoy its WiFi File Transfer feature. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/apple-store/id372925917?pt=329691&ct=fa&mt=8


Install Phone Drive Free from the app store. You don't need to jailbreak your idevice.
Phone Drive Free will tell you the device address. Enter this into your web browser. The browser will give you an interface to drag n drop your files.


I just connected my iPad 2021 to Ubuntu 22.04 and I got access to Clips, GarageBand and several other folders. As soon as I copied files to GarageBand I could see them on the iPad.


FileBrowser is very good for transferring files.

  • This doesn’t address the question and is nothing but a link to a paid app.
    – Allan
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 14:37

Install Apache on your Linux machine:

sudo apt install apache2

And copy your files to /var/www/html. Remove /var/www/html/index.html so you can browse the directory. Then just point the web browser on your iPad to your Linux machine.

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