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iOS file provider extension for accessing external storage comes to macOS 10.15



Earlier this week, 9to5Mac's Guilherme Rambo leaked some of the goodies that come to the Apple developer at WWDC 2019, and today I want to zero in on another small but important aspect of IOS that MacOS 10.15 will support to make apps better , more appealing to users.

"On the Mac, the apps can offer file vendor extensions, and improve the way some applications like Dropbox can integrate with the Finder," he wrote.

Before we get to the bottom It is here a small backgrounder on extensions.

IOS and macOS support app extensions to let users access the functionality of their favorite tapes through the operating system, in places such as Share menus and other applications such as Photos.

Services listed under Places, with IOS file extensions

Apple offers more than a dozen supported extensions across iOS devices, and today we are interested in file and document vendor extensions.

Document provider extension is what allows apps to interact with documents on your iOS device in a safe and convenient way. If you have ever used the document roller in an app, such as Pages or Keynote, all of the sources you see in the Places section may appear there because they include the extension of the document provider.

File vendor extensions do a similar thing, but for remote storage like Dropbox, Google Drive etc. In a nutshell, users directly upload and download documents into a compatible app. This is what lets Dropbox and other services appear as one source in the File app.

On MacOS, the FinderSync extension is an interface between Finder and external storage

On macOS, there is nothing like File or Document Vendor extension. Instead, there is a FinderSync extension that was designed to allow client-retaining clients to plug into the Finder.

If you've ever used Dropbox for Mac, you've probably noticed that it detects local folders as a way to tell you the status of files that are remotely synchronized. It also allows an app to implement contextual menus to allow users to manage their synchronized content directly, for example, when you right-click a synchronized Dropbox file on your Mac to access the Copy Dropbox Link option.

MacOS 10.15 lets apps with cloud storage like Dropbox integrate with the system more closely than this

That's all fine and dandy, but iOS 13 and MacOS 15.15 are about reducing the gap between desktop and mobile with Project Marzipan, Apples new framework that brings many iOS features to macOS to help programmers write on platform platforms.

Having said that, Apple is wise to include iOS file providers for Mac. As Rambo stated, this will definitely improve the way apps like Dropbox integrate with the Finder.

In summary, Apple developers currently use two different extensions for the same – one on iOS (file and document vendor extensions) and others on macOS (FinderSync extension). Thanks to MacOS 10.15, programmers will write a front end for their external storage service once and it will only work across the iPhone, iPad and Mac.

Last but not least, the end user will benefit tremendously from this streamline by having a consistent user interface at their disposal when they feel they have access to their favorite remote storage services, be it on their iPhone, iPad or Mac.

How do you feel about the iOS file types coming to your Mac?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.


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