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Dear Aunt TUAW: Transferring iWork files from iPad without iTunes


Dearest Aunt TUAW,

Is there a way to transfer files from apps like Keynote and Pages to a computer that does not have iTunes installed?

Yours truly,

Nephew Jack

Read on for Auntie's answer.

Dear Jack,

Auntie is busy attending to her bunions, but I thought I'd drop by and handle some of her email backlog. You have three options for sharing files from iWork, but only two of them will work without having iTunes installed on the target computer. The most no-nonsense way of sharing files from iWork on the iPad is the same as it's been since Apple shocked everyone and banished the floppy drive from the iMac. "How will I get my files off of this thing?" people asked in 1998. Then, as now, the simplest way is to email the file.

In all of the iPad's iWork apps, there's an icon that looks like this:

In Keynote, this is located on the My Presentations screen; in Pages, My Documents; and in Numbers, My Spreadsheets. Simply tap that icon to bring up several file sharing options. Since you're sharing with a computer that doesn't have iTunes, the first option is the one you'll want -- as long as the file is smaller than, say, 10 MB. Tap "Share via Mail," then email the file to an address that you'll be able to access from the iTunes-less computer.

What if we're talking about a really huge file that's too big to go over email, though? That's when you'll want to use the second option: "Share via" Your file will upload to, and you'll be able to share a link with others that will enable them to download the file. If you're not already signed up with, it's easy to do so. I wasn't signed up before I started typing this out, but I am now, and it didn't cost me a thing.

I initially thought there'd be other ways of sharing iWork files, like using the awesome third-party Dropbox, or an app like Air Sharing that enables wireless file transfer. Cousin Mike R. set me straight on that one, though; it turns out that you can open files from Dropbox using iWork, but there's currently no way to save files to Dropbox or Air Sharing from iWork on the iPad.

Auntie and I have heard whispers that a full-fledged file sharing solution will be offered for both the iPad and iPhone as of iPhone OS 4.0. Unfortunately, just like sharing from iWork, this new solution will require iTunes. I miss the old days when you could mount an iPod as a straightforward external hard drive in the Finder and drag and drop files onto it that way. Alas, it's one more feature that the increasingly misnamed iTunes will be gobbling up in the near future.

Love & Kisses,

Cousin Chris

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