Apple Files adds read-only NTFS support along with multi-selection and a progress indicator

Apple’s Files app now lets you access NTFS-formatted media, select multiple items with a trackpad and stare at a new progress indicator when copying or moving files in iPadOS 15.


  • Apple’s Files app now reads NTFS-formatted volumes.
  • You cannot, however, write data to NTFS-formatted media. 
  • You can now select multiple files with a trackpad or mouse.
  • A new indicator shows you progress when copying files.
  • These changes require the iPadOS 15 update.

Apple's WWDC21 slide highlighting some of the best iOS 15 features

Apple Files can now read NTFS-formatted media

NTFS is now supported by Apple’s iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 software, with a catch.

While you can now read Windows-formatted NTFS drives that appear in the Files app on your iPhone and iPad, you cannot write to NTFS volumes. Write support would have been much appreciated, especially for quick and easy data transfer like your photos between devices.

How to scan documents directly from the Apple Files app

This is the first time Apple’s mobile platform has gained support for NTFS-formatted media. With it, customers now have feature parity in terms of NTFS support across iOS, iPadOS and macOS. On the Mac, the NTFS file format has enjoyed read-only support for years.

Similar to NTFS support in the iOS Files app, macOS can read from NTFS-formatted drives but can’t write to them without third-party software.

Say hello to a new progress indicator

A file progress indicator is one of those “quality of life” improvements that you don’t know you need until you start copying or moving large files between different places. In iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, you now get a proper progress indicator when performing such file operations.

To reveal more information about the file operations that are currently in progress, hit that indicator icon in the toolbar area (it resembles a pie). Doing so shall reveal additional hidden details such as time remaining, the amount of data remaining, data transferred so far, etc.

This is where you can cancel and in-progress file operations as well.

Multi-item selections with a trackpad

Apple also addressed another pain point by adding the ability to select multiple files by performing a click-and-drag gesture with a mouse or trackpad attached to your iPad. Before iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, you could either select one file at a time or choose the Select button to add multiple files to your selection.

And lastly, you get a new view option labeled “Groups” which will arrange your files and folders in visually distinct sections according to file kind.

When can I use the new Apple Files features?

All the new features for the Files app described in this article are delivered as part of the upcoming iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 updates. The Cupertino tech giant kicked off developer testing of iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and other updates following the June 7 WWDC21 keynote.

Public beta testers will be able to test-drive prerelease software in July.

As for the general public, Apple will be launching iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and other OS updates this fall, most likely before future new devices land on store shelves. After installing the updates on your devices, you’ll be able to take advantage of all the new features in the Files app.

For further information about the Files app, read a support document on Apple’s website.