There’s one feature I’ve been missing on my iPhone for months now: the ability to easily access all the files on my Mac. Ok, it may sound weird from me to say that I need file access to my desktop computer but, truth be told, you don’t know how many times I’ve wished to stream my movies from the Mac while I’m in bed, or just open a document while I’m out. Sure, there’s Dropbox. But you know, it’s not that I can put *everything* on Dropbox, or I’ll have a cloud computer and I’ll be 3 years ahead from you. I desperately needed a good solution to access my Mac from my iPhone. And please don’t tell me about those apps out in the App Store, because they just suck. Plain and simple.
Then, when I was about to lost my hope, I watched a video. It was a new app, called “Here, File File!”. Ok, what a weird name I first thought, as the video was loading. The video started. 30 seconds, my jaw dropped.
Here I am, talking about this great piece of software Here, File File! is.
HFF is an application that lets you access your Mac HDD from the iPhone. Not a single directory, the entire home folder. It can work over a local wifi connection and remotely, when you’re away from your Mac (Edge and 3G connection). It comes with a dedicated Mac app that handles the entire “ports scanning” process. And this is just to sum up a little bit, as the app opens hundreds of possibilities for you iPhone users that just like me needed something like this.
First, go download the app in the App Store. Then, head over herefilefile.com and download the Mac counterpart which will work as a “server” app to let you access your computer. Fire up the iPhone application, open the Mac utility and pair your iPhone with your Mac. The pairing process works with with a username / password system: it retrieves your username from your Mac OS X installation, but you can assign a different password in the server app anyway. I’m currently testing HFF over a local wifi connection, as my sucky Vodafone Station router is having some problems in forwarding the necessary ports. If you like me will have problems in streaming HFF over the web, go to the FAQ page and read the instructions. The fact that this application allows you to access your Mac while on the go it’s absolutely noteworthy nevertheless.
Once you’ve successfully set up your Mac, it’s time to have some fun and browse files on the iPhone. As you can see from the screenshots, HFF knows which Mac you’re on and uses a custom icon for you: a MacBook Pro lying over a wooden shelf, and there’s even my current wallpaper there! That is awesome, you eye candy nerds out there are gonna love this. Now, connect to the computer and here you go: files.
This is the main window of the application, it basically lists the folders you have in your home directory and your mounted volumes. This means you can - say - access just the /yourusernames/Pictures folders or even enter the entire Mac HDD and be brave enough to view system files on your iPhone. Ok, maybe you don’t want to do that, so let’s just focus on media: pictures, videos, text documents. You can open them and view without any restriction: it works for pictures, it works for movies (QuickTime is launched), it works for documents. Sure, you can’t edit them or perform whatever action you can do on your Mac but - remember - this is meant for viewing files. So, as far as viewing is concerned, Here File File is just perfect. You can move the preview around with your fingers, see details like date and size, favorite and email files.
Stuff you fave goes into the Favorites tab in the main screen (useful for things you want to open on a regular interval), but I’d like to focus more on the email function.You can either attach the file (as you can already do on your iPhone) or create an obfuscated link to the physical file on your machine, which will expire after 48 hours. This always happens for files larger than 3MB in size. Also, pay attention to the people you’ll send links to - you don’t want to post them on Twitter. Keep it private.
Then, there’s search. And by search, I mean Spotlight. You can search for any file on your Mac just as you do with ⌘ + Space, and you can even apply filters like “only images”.
That said, I’ve been beta testing HFF since the first build and I’m trying to keep this review as objective as possible, but guys - this app is great. I was skeptical at the beginning, and the devs demonstrated that it was possible after all. Has HFF improved my workflow? Definitely. Let’s say I’m watching a video and I have to go outside to smoke a cigarette: I open HFF, go to the movie, start watching again.I can give you dozens of examples. Not to talk about the “over the web” connection: as soon as I’ll manage to get it going, I’ll be able to watch Lost while on the bus (nerd’s dream) and view spreadsheets at the cinema (hard worker’s dream). Also, I should mention the user interface design of HFF, which is beautiful: from the app’s icon (designed by Sebastiaan de With) to the shelves and the darkiish look of the lists, everything is refined, smoking hot and appealing. Thumbs up.
Here, File File! is one of the best apps for iPhone I’ve recently discovered and you know - I review tons of apps every month. But this is one is special: it’s unique, it promised something great and yeah, the guys delivered just what they promised: browse and open the files on your Mac from your iPhone anywhere. At $6.99 in the App Store it doesn’t exactly come cheap, but the app it’s totally worth the money. If you think you’re gonna need this, go for it.
They say there are some pieces of software that change your workflow forever. Pastebot did, Arq did, Notational Velocity did.
Here, File File is now one of them.