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How to find downloaded files on an iPhone or iPad

When you download something, does it disappear into a black hole?
By

Published onSeptember 7, 2022

When you download something on a desktop computer, it’s easy to find. Simply, open up the hard drive folders and look for what you just downloaded. But on iOS devices, it gets a bit more difficult. Different file types get saved to different places and different apps. Here’s a quick rundown on where you can find downloaded files on an iPhone or iPad.

Read more: 7 reasons why you can’t download apps on your iPhone

QUICK ANSWER

When you download files to your iPhone or iPad, documents are usually saved to the Files app. Music will be in the Downloaded section of the Music app. Photos will be in the Photos app, and apps will be in your App Library (or on your front screen, depending on your settings.)


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to find downloaded files on an iPhone or iPad

files app on iphone screen downloaded files

If you downloaded a document (PDF, Word document, text file, etc.) onto your iPhone, then it will most likely be lurking in the Files app. If you previously deleted the app, you can get it again in the App Store.

For this example, I will download a free public domain e-book on my Chrome browser. So after downloading it, go to the Files app, and the Browse tab. Since the download was made on my iPhone, tap On my iPhone. If you are on your iPad, it would say On my iPad.

ios files app on my iphone downloaded files

Since the download was done in the Chrome browser, tap the Chrome folder.

ios files app folders downloaded files

The e-book that I downloaded is now there.

ios files app epub downloaded

If you long-press on the file thumbnail, you will get various options. You can move the file to another Files app folder, duplicate it, compress it, rename it, or open it (via the Share menu.) The default program for ePub files on iOS devices is the Books app.

If there is no suitable app for the file type you have downloaded, you will first have to install something from the App Store. Or leave it in iCloud to be viewed on your Mac later (if you have a Mac, obviously.)

ios files app menu options downloaded files

How to find downloaded music on an iPhone or iPad

ios music app on iphone screen

If you downloaded music from the iTunes Store or imported MP3 files into the Music app, you can find them all in the Downloaded section of the Music app. In the Music app, tap the Library tab at the bottom.

ios music app library tab

The very first category on the next screen is Downloaded. Tap that to see your downloaded audio files.

ios music app downloaded files tab

Your downloaded audio files are sub-categorized into genres such as Artists, Albums, Songs, and so forth. You can look for a specific file by going through one of these folders, or by looking at the Recently Downloaded section at the bottom.

ios music app downloaded files

How to find downloaded photos on an iPhone or iPad

It’s easy to find all images downloaded to your iPhone or iPad — they all end up in the Photos app. Even screenshots and images downloaded from websites. The only exception would be if you selected Save to Files when you saved the image. In that case, it will be in the Files app.

ios photos app recents downloaded files

In the Photos app, go to the Albums tab and select Recents. Your images will be the last ones there. Or scroll down to Media Types, and filter your media by type. Your downloaded images will also be in the Imports section.

ios photos app imports downloaded files

How to find downloaded apps on an iPhone or iPad

This is probably the easiest one of all. When you download and install an app, it appears either on your iPhone or iPad screen or in the App Library. It all depends on your device settings. To get to the App Library, swipe left on the main screen. Your recently installed app will be in the Recently Added folder at the top.


Read more: How to transfer your data to a new iPhone