Managing files on your iPhone can be a pain. iOS includes file viewers for most common file types, and with a few 3rd party apps you can easily edit many common office documents and other files you might receive in emails. You can even view or download any file in your Dropbox or SpiderOak accounts with their respective iPhone apps. The problem is, every app manages its own files, and there’s no built-in file explorer to let you save files and access them from any app.
Enter Berokyo. Berokyo is a powerful app that lets you manage files and organize them into folders, right on your iPhone or iPad. You can import files from many apps, then open files saved in Berokyo in other apps. It’s also fully integrated with Dropbox, so if you store most of your files in the cloud you’ll be able to use them from your iPhone easier than ever. In essence, it is the closest thing you can get to Finder or Explorer in iOS. Let’s dive in and see how Berokyo can make your mobile computing life easier in iOS.
Setting Up Berokyo
Berokyo uses a unique bookshelf interface to help you manage files and folders from Dropbox, iTunes, or files already stored on your device. When you first launch the app, you’ll need to add a new bookshelf to start organizing files.
Tap the button on the bottom, then choose to create a new synced contacts, documents, or Dropbox bookshelf, or create a new empty bookshelf that simply stores files in Berokyo. The Contacts bookshelf will show all of your contacts from your iOS Contacts app, while the Documents bookshelf lets you import files directly from iTunes on your computer.
The Dropbox shelf, as you would expect, lets you see all of the files and folders from your Dropbox account. You’ll need to first signin with your Dropbox account, and seconds later you’ll see all of your Dropbox folders and files appear in Berokyo shelves.
All folders use the same default icons you’d see in OS X’s Finder; shared folders show 3 pereson silhouettes, the public folder shows a globe, and Music and Pictures folders show a music note and a camera, respectively. You can now browse your Dropbox, open files, and upload any file you have saved in Berokyo, and can even view files and folders you’ve already opened when you’re offline.
If you added a Documents shelf, then you’ll be able to add files and browse those stored on the shelf right from your Mac or PC in iTunes. Make sure to add the Documents shelf, then the next time you sync your iPhone with iTunes you’ll see a Berokyo listing in the File Sharing section of your iTunes sync settings. Now you can copy any file back and forth between your device and your computer without worrying about what iOS app you need to sync it with. Once it’s in Berokyo, you can open the file in any compatible app on your device!
Right on your iPhone, you can add files to Berokyo from any app that can send files to another app. This worked great with images, common office files, PDFs and ePub files, and more in our tests. Next time you get an email attachment, or want to move a file out of Documents to Go, Evernote, or other apps, you can select Berokyo as the app to open the file. Then, Berokyo will ask you to select where you want to store the file, and it will be saved for you to open anytime later in any app.
Putting Berokyo to Work
Now that you’ve got your files stored in bookshelves in Berokyo, it’s time to put them to work. You can quickly find any file or folder you want from the search bar on the top, and the files and folders that don’t fit your search will disappear, rearranging to show only those that include your query. The only problem is, search only works in the folder you have open, so you can’t search through your entire Dropbox for file stored in folders.
If you need to get to files in folders, double-tap on the folder to open it. Then, tap on individual files to open, view, or email them. You can also see some quick info about files, including its size and the last time it was modified, just as you could in the file explorer on your computer. Or, if you need to switch to another bookshelf, just swipe left or right. This way, no matter if your files are saved in Dropbox or stored in the Documents shelf, you’ll always be able to access them and open them in your favorite app.
You can also customize your Berokyo interface. Tap the color palette icon on the bottom to select from a variety of textures and colors for your bookshelves, including everything from cork to brushed metal. You can also remove files from your device, hide file names, or edit existing files and folders from the other options on the bottom toolbar.
Upload Files to Dropbox Easier Than Ever
One of my favorite features in Berokyo is that you can upload multiple files, pictures, or videos to Dropbox at once. Just tap the plus button to add a new Bookshelf or folder, or tap Add Items to import the files you want. Now, you can select to add photos and videos from your photo roll, or select Documents to add files from your Documents shelf.
Tap each of the files that you want to upload to your Dropbox shelf, and you’ll see a small notification letting you know that the photo or file has been added. Once you’re done, you can go back to your shelf to see your files being uploaded to your Dropbox. You’ll see a blue progress bar as the file is uploaded, then the standard Dropbox check mark will show files that are safely stored online. This is much easier than uploading photos individually through the Dropbox app, and plus, with the Documents folder, you can now add any other file to Dropbox that you exported from an email attachment or another app. Suddenly, your files aren’t trapped in iOS any more!
Tweak Your Settings
Not only does Berokyo let you use your files like you want, it also lets you use the app itself as you want. Simply tap the gear icon on the top to customize tons of things about the app’s interface. You can customize the spacing between files and folders, choose to display file extensions, open folders with one tap, tweak the folder open animation, and more. Between the color customizations and the settings you can tweak here, you can make Berokyo work exactly like you want.
In short, we’re very impressed with Berokyo. It makes managing files and using them in any app you need actually possible without jailbreaking your iPhone. Plus, it’s a universal app, and is even more useful on iPad with its larger screen and greater potential for productivity.
I’ve begun using Berokyo as my default way to use Dropbox from iOS on the go, and it’s worked great all the way. If you’ve been frustrated with the limited ability to move files around in iOS, be sure to give Berokyo a try. It just might be what you’ve been waiting for!