PadSync: a great looking iTunes file sharing alternative

PadSync from ecamm is yet another way to access the documents folders of apps on your iDevice. The interface is very similar to iTunes File Sharing, located in the device view of a synced device. The main advantage is that you don’t need iTunes running to use it.

Maybe not enough apps you use have added iCloud support yet. Or perhaps you want to be able to easily drag and drop movie files into your movie app from your computer without performing a full iTunes sync. The rest of you might need an easy way to drag a document from your iPhone or iPad to your desktop. Let’s take a look at how PadSync can help…

The interface of PadSync is very familiar. Its two-pane table view closely resembles iTunes File Sharing. At the top of the window you will notice a drop down combo box for selecting your device. Below that is a list of apps that you have installed on your iPad. At the bottom are options to empty the trash.

After syncing, tap on an app from the list on the left. In the right pane, a Finder-like interface displays the contents of that app’s Documents folder. Items can be dragged out and dropped in to the folder with real-time syncing on a per-app basis. Items deleted from the list will be removed from the iDevice. Items dropped into the area will be added to the iDevice.

What sets PadSync apart from other USB file managers is offline access. All synced data is fully mirrored to PadSync’s Application Support folder in a hierarchical folder structure by device. You will still be able to copy files to and from the app between syncs and changes will be applied during the next sync. If you browse the folder with Finder, changes are updated within PadSync in real-time. This functionality opens up possibilities for desktop utilities like Hazel and Dropbox. Furthermore, if you delete an app from your device, PadSync keeps the files until deleted. If you reinstall and sync again you will recover all files that were backed up.

Now let’s compare that to iTunes and Diskaid. iTunes will not even let you view app data unless the device is connected via wifi or USB. iTunes may back up document data, but it’s not easily accessible without a backup and recovery app. Diskaid provides more options for accessing data and messages, more so on jailbroken devices. Backups are not done automatically and the interface resembles a file browser more than that of iTunes File Sharing. Diskaid also will not let you work with files when the device is disconnected.

The only advantage that iTunes maintains is the ability to sync over WiFi. Also, iTunes is completely free.

PadSync is Mac only and comes with a 30-day fully functional demo. After that, you can buy it for $19.95. Click the link to download from their website.

What do you think? If you find PadSync useful, let us know.