Where Do Downloaded Files Go on iPhone? (Let’s Find Them)

More and more it seems like we are using our iPhones for pretty much everything, including using them to download files from the internet like a desktop.

Although we can download many types of files straight onto an iPhone, it can be quite difficult to find these files anywhere on the iOS software. So where do downloaded files go on the iPhone?

Files that are downloaded to an iPhone, including PDF, PNG, JPG, and DOC formats can be found in the Downloads folder of the Files application by going to Files > Downloads. If photos and music are not found in the Downloads folder, they may instead be found in the Photos and Music applications.

Where to find downloaded files on iPhone iOS iPad OS

Understanding exactly where these downloaded files go depending on what destination they were sent to can be quite tricky to grasp. But don’t fret yet, as I explain more about where these pesky files may indeed have ended up on your iPhone.

Where to Find Downloaded Files on iPhone

More than likely any file that was downloaded to our iPhones, especially when it was through the Safari web browser, ends up in an application called Files.

Files is a pre-installed application within iPhone iOS that ties in with Apple’s iCloud backup service.

What’s cool about this app is that it allows us to access files from any Apple device that’s connected to the same Apple ID anywhere. Thanks, Apple ecosystem!

Now that we understand what Files is and that downloaded files on iPhone most likely end up there, let’s talk about how we can access this area from our phones to find the files themselves.

From the Home Screen, tap Files (or search for it by pulling down on the Home Screen), then tap Browse on the bottom of the Files screen, then tap Downloads under Favorites.

From the Downloads screen you should be able to find any file that you downloaded from your browser, whether it was a PDF, JPEG photo, DOC Word document, or an XLS Excel spreadsheet.

Quick Note Here: For some iPhone users, Downloads doesn’t seem to show up under the Favorites bar within the Browse screen of Files. If that’s the case, try searching through On My iPhone under the Locations bar and/or iCloud Drive to find the Downloads folder.

In some rare instances, files downloaded to our iPhones may not end up automatically in the Downloads folder as intended, and instead, may end up in one of the iOS native apps. Let’s dive in more on this scenario.

Also Read: Need to Delete Game Data on iPhone? (Here’s How to Do It)

Where to Find Downloaded Photos on iPhone

Photos can become quite a tricky file as they are downloaded to an iPhone from our browser (or another iPhone user) because they can either end up in the Files app, as explained above, or within the Photos app itself.

To see if any downloaded photo did indeed end up in the Photos app instead of files, from the Home Screen, tap Photos, then tap Search along the bottom of the screen, then type “Safari”.

Any photos that were downloaded from Safari, and not found in the Downloads folder, should be found in this search in the Photos app.

Not to confuse things anymore, but you can also copy photos in the downloaded folder to the Photos app so that you can find a duplicate in there as well.

Just tap and hold any photo within the folder, then tap Share, then Save Image. You now have a copy of the photo in your Photos app!

Where to Find Downloaded Music on iPhone

This is another file format that usually ends up in another spot on our iPhones because of the way it’s downloaded to its playable source. Many times that source will usually be the Music app.

So if you cannot find a downloaded music file in the Files app (also as explained above), then check to see if it may have found its way onto the beat-bumping app that is Apple Music or Spotify.

To see if the downloaded music file made it’s way there, from the Home Screen, tap Music (Spotify, or other dedicated music app), then tap Library or similar to find the music in question.

Like the Files to Photos example above, you can also copy music that was downloaded to the Files app to your dedicated Music app.

Just tap and hold on the music file in the Files app, then tap Download Now. After it downloads, you should be able to open it in any of the iPhone music apps.

Where to Find Downloaded Apps on iPhone

Apps that were downloaded from a web browser like Safari or through the iPhone App Store will always be found either on the Home Screen or in the App Library.

If you cannot find the icon of any certain downloaded app within the Home Screens, keep swiping to the right until you reach the App Library screen.

Once you reach the App Library screen, look for the icon of the app that was downloaded, or Search the app name in the App Library search bar at the top of the screen.

Quick Tip: In the event that there’s so many apps on the iPhone already that it’s hard to find the downloaded app (trust me, it’s happened to me too), simply tap on the App Library search bar at the top of the screen to view a sorted alphabetical list of all your apps.

Related: How to Make Folders on iPhone in 5 Easy Steps (With Pictures)

John Hammer

Hi i'm John Hammer, Founder and Author of Gizbuyer Guide. Ever since the original Xbox, PlayStation, and iPhone I've purchased and worked on all kinds of consumer tech products, gaming gadgets and operating system softwares. To this day my curiosity has never left, and my aim is to guide and share my knowledge on technology as I continue to experience the latest of the consumer electronics industry.

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