Apple CEO Tim Cook

Microsoft, Box, Dropbox Line Up to Offer iOS 11 Files Access

4 minute read
David Roe avatar

It must be great to be Apple CEO Tim Cook. No sooner had he announced details of the upcoming release of iOS 11 at the Apple developers conference taking place this week in San Jose, Calif., than some of the biggest vendors in the productivity space were lining up to get a slice of the action.

Although the iOS 11 release isn't expected until the fall, Microsoft, Box and Dropbox already came forward with announced integrations.

iOS 11 Files

Last year’s iOS news focused on app upgrades as well as third-party integrations in Messages and Maps app. This year is all about productivity on iPads and iPhones.

It includes upgrades like synchronized conversations across iCloud, iOS and macOS, improvements to Apple Pay that simplify payments to stores and individuals, while Siri can now translate from English to Chinese, French, German, Italian or Spanish.

However, in the workplace context, the new Files app for iPad generated the greatest interest. The Files app allows users to find, open and edit cloud files on iCloud Drive and third-party apps like Box, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, as well as Google Drive and Adobe Creative Cloud.

Box Reacts

We still have few details on what functionality Files will offer, but already, Redwood City, Calif.-based Box co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie announced Box content will be available using Files on any iOS device. 

“Box is delivering a seamless integration with the new Files app to enhance the file management experience across iOS and make it incredibly easy for customers to access their Box content from any iOS device,” he wrote in a blog post about the release.

He noted Files will go some of the way to solving the dilemma enterprises face with their increasingly mobile workforce, who work using different devices and platforms from different locations, making file access a major challenge.

In any given organization, Levie added, users have to access files from Office 365 and G Suite for productivity and collaboration, Salesforce for customer relationship management, Workday for human capital management, Oracle for enterprise resource planning, ServiceNow for service management.

“To make organizations successful, these technologies must work together seamlessly,” he wrote.

Dropbox Files

San Francisco-based Dropbox is also offering iOS users access to the files they have stored there. While iOS users will gain access their Dropbox files, Todd Jackson, VP Product at Dropbox, said there will be more to it than that.

It will extend file capabilities system-wide. You’ll be able to access files in your Dropbox account from third-party apps just as if they were stored on your iPhone or iPad. This integration will work with Dropbox-specific features for teams, like commenting and viewer info, letting you collaborate on files from any app that supports file browsing, wrote Jackson in a blog post about the release.

Learning Opportunities

For Dropbox this is another step forward in its drive to gain traction in the enterprises and is the latest in a series of integration agreements it has inked with Adobe, Facebook and Microsoft.

Microsoft OneDrive

For Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft, the choice to integrate OneDrive with Files is obvious. While much of its productivity and collaboration functionality is already available on iOS devices, this will make access easier still.

Existing OneDrive iOS support includes OneDrive for iMessage, the Share extension, and Apple Pencil and split-screen support on iPad.

With Files, enterprise will now gain access to SharePoint documents.

OneDrive integration with the Files app will make it easier for you to access your content from any Apple device and will provide a better file management experience on iOS for your personal and work OneDrive and SharePoint sites,” according to a OneDrive team blog.

No timing was given for the availability of these new capabilities, but the company promised more details following the release of iOS 11. 

Developers can currently download a preview of iOS 11 through, with a public beta scheduled for later this month.

The final version will be generally available in the fall.

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