How to Create New Folders in Files App for iOS

Oct 22, 2017 - 12 Comments

Make a new folder in Files for iOS

The Files app for iOS provides access to iCloud Drive and every file or folder contained within it, whether for individual apps or things you have uploaded yourself to iCloud Drive. If you want to better organize your files in the iOS Files app, you can easily create new folders in Files app.

The Files app on iOS behaves the same on iPhone and iPad, but it may look slightly different to accommodate the different screen sizes. For the demonstration screenshots here, we’re using an iPad, but the behavior to create a new folder in Files app is the same for an iPhone too.

How to Make a New Folder in iOS Files on iPhone or iPad

  1. Open the “Files” app in iOS
  2. From the Locations section, choose “iCloud Drive” *
  3. Once in iCloud Drive, navigate to where you want to create your new folder (it can be in the iCloud Drive directory, or a sub directory)
  4. Click the little folder icon with a (+) plus button on it to create a new folder
  5. Make a new folder in Files for iOS

  6. Give the new folder a name, then click the “Done” button in the corner
  7. Name and create the new folder in iOS Files app

  8. Repeat to create additional new folders if desired

New folder created in Files app for iOS

You can create as many new folders as you want this way.

You may find this particularly useful if you want to create a folder for particular files, pictures, or data, and if it’s accessed frequently, then you can add the folder to the Favorites list in iOS Files app for quicker access.

* You can only create new folders in the “iCloud Drive” section of Files app. Curiously, you can not create new folders directly to the “On My iPad” or “On My iPhone” location of Files app, nor can you drag and drop a new folder or file into the On My Device location of Files app. Instead, only apps in iOS can save files to those directories or create new folders in those local directories. That may change in a future version of iOS or a new version of Files app, however, who knows.

Creating New Folders in Files App for iOS with a Keystroke

For iOS users who sync a Bluetooth keyboard to iPad, or who use a Smart Keyboard on iPad Pro, you can create new folders in Files app with a simple keystroke too.

The command key shortcut for making new folders in Files app for iOS is: Command+Shift+N

If that new folder keystroke looks familiar, it’s probably because the same keystroke will create a new folder in the Finder of Mac OS too.

Remember, the Files app only exists in iOS 11 or later, so if you don’t have the Files app it is because you are on an older version of system software. Previously, the Files app was called iCloud Drive, but now the Files app contains both iCloud Drive access and local file access to local items created by apps installed on the iPhone or iPad.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Louie says:

    Too bad we can’t create folders anywhere other than the icloud drive, as stated in the last paragraph. It makes the ‘on my ipad/iphone’ storage location pretty much useless. Especially considering that files uploaded to icloud drive are still stored locally on the device from which they were first uploaded.

    • Louie says:

      By the way, the paragraph about the limitation for creating folders is inaccurate. They forgot to mention that in addition to icloud drive, the files app also allows to create folders in any other location except for ‘on my ipad/iphone’. This includes 3rd party file managers such as Dropbox or Google drive that may be included in the list of available storage locations.

    • Wout says:

      On my iPhone there’s the Numbers folder from the Numbers app, and I can create new folders under it. So you could use it as a root folder for your file system. Bit of an ugly work around, and not sure if this is super useful.

    • Barry says:

      We were able to copy and create new folders automatically made by other programs, which is good I guess, however, I find it utterly preposterous that apple decide to have such a greedy system considering how much you pay for these devices

  2. Brian says:

    Still not wanting people to save locally but rather have to access via the net which is totally useless if you don’t have a cell signal or WiFi.Wish engineers could see past their codes and egos.

  3. ACGarland says:

    Yep—these developers are too cloud-centric. They seem to think everyone is constantly connected. They still can’t get it figured out that many of us want to operate autonomously from the cloud and need to be able to “detach” at a moment’s notice knowing our latest mods on any device are on all devices and that if we edit while offline the changes will auto-magically sync when the cloud reappears. Having to manually copy stuff to “on my iPad” and remember to copy back, etc. just won’t cut it. Files is basically a dumbed-down, greatly inferior version of dropbox (who seem to understand the need and are getting close to seamlessness offline use). Why has it taken so many years to provide this basic need? How many versions of Garage Band later before we business users who want to get real work done get basic functionality like this? Disappointing…

  4. oneofthedamons says:

    ‘…you can not create new folders directly to the “On My iPad” or “On My iPhone” location of Files app…’

    Thus making it utterly useless to me.

    • Chris says:

      Exactly. It’s a maddeningly obtuse functionality, makes me suspicious that they are pushing iCloud subscriptions. Whoever designed this and the photos app in iOS needs a lesson in user interface best practices 101.

  5. Expobill says:

    Remember, these are not our devices and computers anymore, apple proved this by this file system method and our computers not playing our own music (unless we reinstall the albums that iTunes cannot find).
    Adobe is worse, at times they will not let me use my CS4 unless I reboot my apple computer. They are worse then a communist regime!

  6. Cory says:

    How many of you have tried the Workflow app? Apple apparently acquired this app and is integrating it into Siri and using it to add functionality to her. Depending on your skill level, you could possibly simplify this process within Workflow and make a repeatable shortcut.

    I’m trying my hand at making some custom Workflows to streamline file downloads with automatic organization. Save a little bit of time having to go into cloud services and rearranging the downloads into respective folders.

    Any thoughts or experience with this?

  7. Sadaf says:

    I have a problem. I can’t bring “on my iphone” to file locations and use it. what should I do?

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