Microsoft OneDrive for Apple iPad and iPhone gets smarter

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Microsoft has improved the layout of OneDrive app for iPad and iPhone and added a bunch of new features which will make sharing and moving files from the cloud storage solution to other Office 365 apps and Apple’s Files app a lot more seamless. With Apple projecting the iPad Pro tablets as a full-blown productivity device and bigger screen available on the iPhone X, these features could help Microsoft get more traction among cloud storage users.

The OneDrive interface for iOS has been revamped from the ground up. It uses screen space smartly, showing the folders and files in a single list with their detailed metadata in the next column. This makes looking for a file a lot easier. The earlier interface showed folders as tiles in multiple columns, giving it a cluttered look.

The other limitation of using OneDrive on iPad and iPhones thus far was that many of the file formats such as 3D objects and DICOM images are not available on iOS and iPad. Microsoft has added a preview feature in OneDrive which provides a full page view of over 130 file formats on these devices.

Microsoft is extending the real time authoring feature, which allows Office 365 users to work on Word, Excel and PowerPoint files simultaneously, to iOS users. This means iPad and iPhone users can collaborate on a file saved on OneDrive or SharePoint and see who all are active on it in real time.

Apple iPad users will now be able to move files within One Drive from one folder to another to organise them as they want by simply dragging and dropping them. The drag and drop feature has been available to desktop users but is being rolled out on mobile devices for the first time. It is more convenient and is faster than copying and pasting files. The feature will also work if you want to move a file between OneDrive and SharePoint, iMessage, Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

The new OneDrive also adds native support for Apple’s Files app. This means iPad and iPhone users can access, edit and save files to OneDrive or SharePoint from any apps which support Files app integration. They can also tag their favourite OneDrive folder from the Files app.

Last but not the least is the universal link support for shared files. It allows users to open a shared file straight into the Word, Excel or PowerPoint apps on their iPhones and iPads. Earlier users were re-directed to a browser page for re-authentication. This was frustrating and wasted time over an unnecessary exercise. If the shared files is not supported by iOS or the app to run it is not available yet, users can still catch a preview of it.livemint