Although I have a great App (Desktop Connect) to remote control my computers from anywhere on the internet, what I didn't have was a simple way to connect to my home file server to grab a file. Yes, this could be accomplished with Desktop Connect and even some of my other Apps, but it would require more steps. There are times where I'm out and about and I want to pull down a file from my Mac OS X Server at home and either work with the file on my iDevice or send the file to someone that needs it. This is what led me to search for a more direct way to access AFP, FTP and SMB servers/NAS boxes remotely. 

 

Files Connect does what I need it to do

As you might expect there are a few different apps that do this. Some ranging in price of $20 and others costing less. Files Connect proves that you don't need the most expensive App on the App store to get the job done. I grabbed it and within about 2 minutes I was securely connected to my OS X Server and able to see all my files and folders. Not only could I download files from the server to my iPad or iPhone, but I could easily print them or share them with others. Perfect! Since I have the necessary ports open on my router to be able to access my server from the internet, I now have access to terabytes and terabytes of my files from anywhere I happen to be in the world all in the palm of my hand. 

 

An Added Benefit

Files Connect works in the other direction too. You can turn your iDevice into a file server for others to access your content. I really don't have a need for this, but it's nice to know that it's possible if I need to do it. Files Connect also supports Bonjour, this makes it easy for the App to discover available network resources on your LAN without having to know the specific IP addresses. The App is also rather speedy. It seems as fast if not faster than accessing the same folders using my Mac. I really like the Bookmarks folder to drag commonly accessed nested folders to to speed up access.

It sees your printers too. Not only does it support iOS native printing, but it sees your CUPS printers too.

 

A cool test that worked

As a photographer I store my RAW files in Adobe DNG format. This format isn't natively supported on the iPad therefore there's really no way to preview them natively. However, there are apps that will open and work with DNG files like Photogene. I used Files Connect to download one of my DNGs from my Server and used the Open In command to open it in Photogene for iPad. It worked! Very cool! Files Connect will of course preview the files that are supported natively such as JPG, MOV, PDF, etc. It even has a movie player built-in.

 

The Bottom Line

If you have a file server running SMB, AFP, FTP, SFTP, or webDAV protocols and you want to access those files from your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, then this App is for you. The only thing stopping me from giving this app a 5 star rating is that it did quit a couple of times upon launching. Otherwise it works very well.

 

You can get Files Connect for $7.99 here from the iTunes