I want to transfer files, currently music but possibly other stuff as well, from Windows to my phone without using iTunes. Is there an easy way to do it? I could do it over wi-fi, assuming files would put everything in the right place, because most if not all of it is on a NAS. But I wonder if there's something that's faster, e.g. plugging into a USB port or the like.
I don't want to use iTunes because the last time I used it for Windows it was pretty horrible, in terms of accessibility, but also because I just want to transfer stuff. I don't need iTunes trying to become my sole media player or whatever. I also find its library incredibly clunky to navigate and deal with. There's got to be another way at this point.
You have a few options. The files app can connect to SMB shares on your local network. If you get the Lightning to USB 3 Camera adapter, you can connect USB flash drives and hard drives to your phone and transfer files to the internal storage. You'll have to provide external power to hard drives, because even with a power cable connected to the adapter, it doesn't provide enough power. You can use cloud services like Google Drive to transfer files.
What am I doing with the files? That is, suppose I point files at a share, and I've got MP3 files or epub or whatever. I know when they get on the device, I can play them with Music or bring them into Books. But do they need to go anywhere special? Or do I do something in the Files app to tell them, these go to Music, these go to Books, or whatever?
Also I assume I can copy entire folders? I sure hope so or it's gonna make bringing music over pretty tedious. I've looked at the files app and I've played stuff off of a network share, so I know it can be accessed. But I'm not really sure about what app played stuff or the relationship between whatever Files is accessing and the rest of the apps on the phone. I assume Music deals with all the audio stuff, for instance, but I don't have any idea of where it's getting its stuff from.
I haven't really played with network shares, but you should be able to copy files and folders anywhere, whether that be to an external USB device, the internal storage of your phone, or a cloud service like iCloud Drive.
Due to sandboxing, all content has to first be stored in the files app. From there, you can share it to other apps or open the files directly if they're supported. From my limited experience, you can play mp3, wav, and m4a files directly. If you want to play more obscure audio and video files, download VLC and import files there. As far as I know, you can't send anything to the Music app, as it's primarily intended to play Apple Music, content you've synced from iTunes/Mac Finder, or stuff you've purchased from the iTunes store. The Books app can load PDF and EPUB files. Keep in mind that the system makes copies due to the sandboxing, so you'll have to delete the duplicate file from the files app after you share it to another app.
What do we like for a music player, VLC?
I was kind of hoping for something that would do typical music player stuff, pick albums/artists, randomize, stuff like that, rather than playing everything out of files. What do we like for that? I see there's a version of Foobar for iOS but also that the play screen is inaccessible, which seems like a bit of a problem. I tried looking through the music category in apps but a lot of it seems to be various kinds of radio or streaming. I'm looking for a decent offline solution.
If you are through with One-drive integration on your Windows PC, just paste the files into one-drive folder. Find them on iphone using the One Drive app for IOS. The files then can be saved to the native IOS Files as well.
Hope that's what you are looking for.