How to Create New Folders in Files App on iPhone & iPad

Oct 22, 2017 - 21 Comments

Make a new folder in Files for iOS

The Files app for iPhone and iPad 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


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Gary says:

    the Documents folder On My Device is missing it’s icon .. but the Downloads folder isn’t .. why you think that is .. iOS 15

  2. Judy Patootie says:

    This is how I save documents, screenshots and pdfs that I want to store and organize.

    Go to On MY iPad
    —>Acrobat (click to open)
    —> add folder icon in upper left of inside window
    —>name my folder and hit done.
    From my camera roll or whatever, I choose the ‘save up’ icon, or whatever that’s called, and choose the folder I want in Acrobat.
    A long press on any folder will allow you to copy, duplicate, move, rename and delete.
    I have a picture tutorial I made, but don’t see anywhere here to attach.

    I hope this helped SOMEONE, even if it’s not exactly answering the question asked—as this isn’t ‘impossible’.

  3. Ben says:

    Re Hong Kong’s fix –
    Quick test on iPhone iOS 12 – needed to download Pages to get this to work. Following these steps created file ok. But subsequently deleting Pages app also deletes the new Pages folder in Files / On My iPhone.

    A little app that created a ‘Root’ folder in Files would be handy.

    Inadvertently, the small PTV app by Public Transport Victoria (Melbourne) also creates a Folder, that you could utilise as a ‘root’ directory.

  4. John says:

    I find this to be indicative of the big three – Apple, Google and Facebook telling us once again how we can do things. The fact we cant create our own files on our Ipad because we dont want it on icloud should not have been prohibited of this functionality by apple. I am starting to get very tired of apples bullying approach to how we can use technology with our products. I may be only one voice, but eventually voices start to add together and it becomes a movement. Apple you may be serving your shareholders well but as your buying clients we are tired of these shenanigans. It must come to a stop.

  5. From Hong Kong says:

    Hello all above, I found one way to really create folder and then subfolder in “On my ipad in v11”

    First check if your ipad got an apps called Pages. Should be pre-installed. Goto Apps Store to ensure it is updated.

    Then, goto Photo apps. Select any 1 photo. Click share button on top right corner. Then click Save File. Then, on left side, select ‘On My ipad’ instead of iCloud. Then on right side, save this pic into ‘Page’ folder.

    After that, goto File App > On My ipad and there is a new ‘Pages’ folder. You can now create any new folders insider this Page folder and any sub-folders to best organises your files. Clicking mp4 for example it will open up with stock Movie apps by default.

    I hope everyone of you are able to do what you want. Any further help needed please share here and I will try to see if I can help.


  6. Graham says:

    Have just been given my wife’s old iphone se when she had a new contract, but have decided to stick to android as it is so infuriating that you have so many restrictions in using the thing.
    You cannot access files if you do not have a wifi or wireless connection and cannot store files on the machine.
    What is all that memory for if it is unusable?!
    What do they think that we use these devices for, not just for listening to music or playing games!

  7. Atlanta Falcon says:

    Not being able to create folders “on my iPad” is both misleading and infuriating. One of the main reasons I purchased my iPad Pro (with maximum storage, mind you) was to have the ability to save files “in the field”, away from a WiFi connection. I film video from a drone, at very high resolution and frame rate, which creates extremely large files from 5 to 15GB. If I’m camping overnight at a location that I’m filming, having the ability to save, organize, and do rough edits to my footage is a major plus. Instead, we have this stupid iCloud hurdle. Even with a WiFi connection, uploading files in the size range is unnecessary and impractical. This needs to be fixed. Having to use a folder created by GarageBand is just sloppy and annoying.

  8. Sadaf says:

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

  9. 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?

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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…

  13. 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.

    • From Hong Kong says:

      Pls see my reply at the bottom to see if you can do it too. Hope you are able to make max use of your ipad.

  14. 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

      • Barry says:

        *Copy and create folders (in folders) automatically made by other programs

        • Ronny says:

          You are completely correct. It is beyond preposterous. I had Apple before there were fansboys and this iPad pro will be my last Apple device. I just get too angry every time they screw people over in these apparent ways. It’s about user experience. The entire iPad experience is terrible overall because of it. I bet a notepad half the price would have been more functional. I can’t count how many hours I have wasted on horse* like this. It’s not isolated, it permeates the experience. As to your concrete suggestion, yes can be done. Would have been my workaround, but it will not be because you can’t remane them. I think I will just use the numbers folder like someone else suggested then. I also find it amazing that none of these online resources seem to ever really critize some of this non-sense that has been happening with increasing force since Steve Job is no longer wit us.

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