This is a sponsored article and was made possible by iMobie. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author, who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored.
There was a time not long ago that your options for file transfer as an iOS user were either nothing or iTunes. There were some other options but they were at best shady and untrustworthy or just poorly designed and programmed. But things have changed gradually and now there are a healthy number of decent and stable options available to users wanting a bit of choice to live outside the somewhat restrictive Apple ecosystem.
Among these new shiny options we have AnyTrans from iMobie for both Windows and Mac, a sort of Swiss army knife app for iOS which does it all.
Transfer Anything Anytime
AnyTrans is adept at transferring files to and from your iOS device and your desktop, and that means media files, personal data and photos. Media of course means movies and all the subsets of that (like time-lapse, slow-mo, etc.) and of course your music and all other audio like ringtones and voice memos. Personal data means contacts, messages, voice mail, etc., and apps. Photos is of course self explanatory.
Installing the software is easy: just run the installer. I tested it on Windows, and the installer planted a link on my desktop and even gave me the option to run the software automatically.
The interface is quite unique. The shortcuts float like balloons on the main screen – they even move around slightly which is rather cute, and the buttons expand a little as you hover over them to indicate your choice is ready to select.
Considering the basic and formal nature of most apps of this kind, this is actually quite a fun way to interact with the software.
As you can see it’s pretty self explanatory and all the main features are there ready to go including merge device, clone device and a recently added feature called Fast Drive which lets you use your iPhone like a USB drive.
Along with the main balloon buttons, there is a row of smaller buttons on the top left which allow access to the iCloud section, backups and direct access to the iTunes library. The two buttons on the right toggle between the shortcut view and a more detailed category view.
The category view allows you access to all your files on the connected iOS device, and you can drill down with the category buttons to the item you are looking for. You can also change themes from dark to light to seasonal, like the new Christmas theme.
As well as the surgical precision of transferring and sending individual files to and from the iOS device, you also have the option to merge two iOS devices. Say for example you got a new phone as a gift over the holidays and still have your old phone. It sometimes happens that you use two phones at the same time, or perhaps you want to see if you can start fresh with a new phone instead of just cloning the old one onto it.
But perhaps you change your mind and want to keep some elements of the new phone but bring forward some elements of your old phone. Normally the procedure is to restore the backup of your old phone onto your new phone, replacing all that’s there. With AnyTrans you can connect the two phones to the computer at the same time and merge them, with one phone being the recipient of files from both. You choose what you want to merge, and the software takes care of the rest.
AnyTrans is a good-looking and simple-to-use utility for iOS file transfer and management. It’s very cool how you can just attach an iOS device to the computer, and the software just exposes the contents to you, with no authorization or pairing or anything. It does this in an interface which breaks all the content down into easy-to-drill-down categories and makes it easy for you to find anything and keep it, copy it or get rid of it.
What this means is that AnyTrans gives you precise control over your data, and unlike iTunes or iCloud, it’s both two way and piece by piece, item by item as well as all at once. No need to restore the whole device to get one at one piece of data. You just find it and send it wherever you wish. That’s powerful.
Phil South has been writing about tech subjects for over 30 years. Starting out with Your Sinclair magazine in the 80s, and then MacUser and Computer Shopper. He later moved to a career in media, doing web design, video and animation for clients as diverse as Disney Channel UK, Microsoft Developer Network and the UK Government's Central Office of Information and Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council. He's designed user interfaces for groundbreaking music software, been the technical editor on film making and visual effects books for Elsevier, and helped create the MTE YouTube Channel. He lives and works in South Wales, UK.