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FileMagnet

Review - FileMagnet

by , 4:00 PM EDT, August 27th, 2008

Do you ever email documents (.PDF, .JPG, .DOC, .XLS, .PPT, or whatever) to yourself on your iPhone (or iPod touch) so they'll be handy whenever you need them? Or did you ever wish you could copy files (.PDF, .JPG, .DOC, .XLS, .PPT, or whatever) from your Mac to your iPhone (or iPod touch) so they'll be handy whenever you need them? If you answered, "yes" to either question you'll love FileMagnet from Magnetism Studios.

Before FileMagnet I occasionally emailed myself a file that I thought I might need when I was out and about. But using the folders in the iPhone/iPod touch Mail application as a repository for documents is awkward at best. And the Mail application's inability to work in landscape mode makes it less than ideal for viewing documents.

Fortunately, FileMagnet addresses those issues and more, making it easy to organize, transfer, and view many types of documents on your iPhone or iPod touch. What types? PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, HTML, text, rich text, images, iPhone-compatible (MP4) movie files, sounds, and Safari WebArchive files. (And, in case you're wondering, yes I did try all of those file formats and, yes they did all worked as expected.)

Here's how the FileMagnet system works. . . First, you need to download the free FileMagnet Uploader applicationand then launch it. (Sorry Windows users -- it's a Mac-only application at this time.)

Next, drag the files (or folders full of files) you want to copy to your iPhone or iPod touch onto the upper part of the FileMagnet Uploader window.

Finally, launch the FileMagnet application on your iPhone or iPod touch.

That's all there is to it. Assuming your iPhone or iPod touch and your Mac are on the same Wi-Fi network, the application on your Mac and the application on your iPhone/iPod touch will find each other and in a few moments, any and all of the files and folders you dragged into the top of the FileMagnet Uploader window will be copied to your iPhone/iPod touch.

And here's what the iPhone application looks like after the files and folders are transferred:

The files can be zoomed and/or rotated, so almost any file can be viewed comfortably. Here are a couple of examples. First, here's a PDF of the manual for my Nikon Coolpix P1 camera:

And here are text (top) and PDF (bottom) versions of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn:

All file formats seem to open at least as quickly as they would in Mail (as message attachments), and probably even a bit faster. And the ability to organize files into folders and even subfolders makes it easy to find the file you need when you need it. Furthermore, you can use FileMagnet to use your iPhone/iPod touch as a portable hard disk as long as you are moving files among Macs with AirPort cards.

The only hiccup I've encountered so far is that the FileMagnet application on my iPhone choked on a 12MB PDF file. That said, I give it credit for offering a clear error message (something like, "this application is about to run out of memory") before it died. And, for what it's worth, the same huge PDF file wouldn't even open when I emailed it to my iPhone.

Another possible issue is that both Mac and iPhone/iPod touch need to be on the same Wi-Fi network -- you can't sync via USB even if you want to. On the other hand, as long as your Mac has an AirPort card (as most Macs do), you can create an Ad-Hoc wireless network that will work for this purpose when no other Wi-Fi network is available.

The Bottom Line

When I first heard about FileMagnet I didn't understand the need for it, nor did I understand why it is garnering rave reviews at the iTunes Application Store. Now I'm completely sold on it -- FileMagnet is a terrific and affordable utility that makes copying, managing, and viewing files on your iPhone/iPod touch a breeze for Mac users with Wi-Fi networks.


Product: FileMagnet

Company: Magnetism Studios

List Price: US$4.99

5 out of 5 stars

Pros: Easy to use, fast, convenient, reasonably priced, works much better than emailing files to your iPhone/iPod touch.
Cons: Requires Wi-Fi network to sync, can't sync via USB, may have trouble with very large files.

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