The pandemic has forced many mobile professionals to worry too much as they try to get things done outside the office. Do they have a VPN? Can they open that item with an app they already have? Can they connect to their cloud service securely and efficiently?
Readdle’s improved Documents app may just help with those issues.
What is Documents?
Now available for Macs running M1 Apple Silicon processors, Documents is best thought of as the Swiss Army knife for productivity. You can open documents and images, annotate PDFs, open zip files, and even integrate the protection of a built in Virtual Private Network (VPN). You can also browse the web using its built-in browser.
With a familiar-seeming file system, it also lets you access iCloud, Dropbox, One Drive, and Box, as well as WebDAV, FTP, and SMB services from within the app itself. It can handle more than 40 file types, including Mac incompatible .flac, .mkv, .avi, and .rar formats.
In essence, this makes Documents a really useful tool for any mobile professional attempting to get things done securely with as little friction as possible, because it makes it easy to work with project-related documents, all in one app and protected by a VPN.
FileDrop is another handy feature. It takes what’s good about AirDrop and extends it. You can use it to share photos, documents, files, and entire folders to a nearby device running Documents. You can also directly transfer files and folders to devices, Macs and PCs using WiFi Transfer.
Who is Readdle?
Documents is developed by Ukrainian mobile application developer, Readdle. Some may remember it as the developer that — just weeks before Apple introduced its own Files app — rolled out its own usable file system for iOS devices.
The company also makes several other useful apps, including PDF Expert and Spark. It launched its first app in 2008.
Flash forward to 2020, and Apple showcased its Documents app at WWDC as an example of an iOS app running on an M1 Mac. More than 75 million people have installed it at time of writing.
Who is it good for?
I’ve been working with Documents for a week or so, and performance has been robust across my devices. What I like about the application (on Mac and on iOS) is that it packs all its tools in one place, which makes it super-convenient to work with your apps and get things done. Readdle calls its app “the single app where all your files live.”
This certainly seems to be the case, which is why I think Documents may be such a useful tool for enterprise pros, particularly now they can use the same all-in-one solution on their M1 Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
I do have reservations about the VPN component. I’d be much more comfortable if I knew more about the security model involved, where it is hosted, and whether it keeps any kind of usage logs.
That’s not sour grapes: I’m always reluctant to trust free VPN services, as you don’t always know where that traffic goes. And given the value of our data, it makes sense to put any such service through rigorous security analysis.
That’s why pending additional insight into the VPN on offer here, I’d argue that enterprise pros should continue to use the VPN service provided by their employer – and if they aren’t being provided with one they should ask why, as it is an important component in protecting remote enterprise endpoints.
All the same, if you need a universal tool to help you stay productive, Readdle’s Documents is a promising adjunct to your traditional Office 365, project management, and collaboration suites.
The app is available as a free download at the App Store, with a $49.99/year Plus subscription required in order to unlock some of its yummiest features.
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