File management and iOS apps

Ever since iTunes, Apple has been on a path to move away from the desktop metaphor they pioneered.

It used to be the case that to find a file/document/app, you would start with the Finder and find your thing. 

But iTunes changed all of that. Don’t look for a song in the Finder. Find your data in the app. It all starts with the App.

(It’s probably one of the reasons I don’t use iTunes or iPhoto anymore. I use Lightroom so i can keep the file system i want for my photos and videos. )

Apple accelerated this change in iOS. In iOS the file system is completely hidden from the user. For example, text documents live in your various apps like Simplenote or Evernote. 

Some third party app developers give users the option when creating content. They keep your content in their app by default but also send it to things like the Camera Roll (apple’s photo app).

As an example, in the preferences, Foursquare allows users to also save photos taken in their app to the Camera Roll as well. Twitter does this by default. (Instagram used to have this feature but I can’t find it anymore)

Unfortunately I’m seeing more and more apps keep their content within the walls of their app. For example, Camera+ is one of the coolest photo apps on iOS. But the reason I won’t use it, is because it saves all photos within their own app. The only way to get them out is the slowly, export them one by one to the camera roll. (Update: @kirklove in the Tumblr notes below, pointed out that Camera+ gives the users a choice)

My new favorite iOS app is VSCO Cam. It’s easy and super fast. I also love their high quality, beautiful grainy-film like filters (been enjoying their filters in Lightroom). But again, photos are locked up in their app. Getting them out to the camera roll is really painful. 

Maybe we all needed to move on past the desktop metaphor.

I’m okay starting with the app first and then find your content & data second.

But I miss the days when a .jpg was a .jpg and available to all.