In this installment of my quest, I rethink how I will get to my files from my iPad or my iPod Touch.
Since I wouldn't be able to get to my files by connecting to the off-site service using my iPad or iPod Touch, it finally dawned on me, “What if I could just leave my laptop running and access the files from the iPad by going to my laptop instead of an off-site server?” I would still use the off-site server to backup my laptop. But I would get to my files on the laptop rather than get to the backups that are stored on the off-site server.
One of the podcasts I enjoy listening to is The Nerdist. I was listening to one of their podcasts which was being sponsored by GoToMyPC. I thought, that might be a solution. GoToMyPC is a product of Citrix, which has been producing networking products for years.
What about GoToMyPC?
I got the App from the App store. Then I went to the website because you also have to load software on your Mac (or PC). You have to establish an account with GoToMyPC. You get a 30-day free trial, but you have to give them your credit card information up front. The cheapest plan for one user and one computer costs $9.95 per month or $99.00 per year. (See their pricing plans here: GoToMyPC Pricing Plans
The installation didn’t go smoothly because the installation window was hidden behind the browser window. I had three installation windows open on my desktop and was seeing the same panels a second time before I realized what was going on. After I figured that out and finished the installation of GoToMyPC on my MacBook Pro, I was ready to try it out.
You have two passwords to create and remember. One gets you into your account with GoToMyPC. They other gets you connected to your Mac from your iPad.
So with GoToMyPC running on your Mac, which is indicated by an icon in the Menu Bar at the top of your screen, you start up the GoToMyPC on the iPad. You first enter the password that you previously set up for your GoToMyPC account. Then you enter the second password that you set up to be used to connect to your Mac. You are immediately presented with a help panel which shows how to use a mouse icon that appears on top of the screen. After dismissing the panel, you see the same thing you would see on your Mac if you were sitting right in front of it.
You move the mouse icon around on the screen along with its associated pointer, and click on things just as you would if you were moving the pointer around on the screen on the Mac. The response time is relatively slow because, after all, you are going out on the web and then back. When I was sitting right beside the computer working on the iPad, the delay was something like one to five seconds. So you have to be patient as the cursor moves over a menu item, for example, because you experience a delay before the menu item is highlighted.
I have chosen to have the Dock hidden on the right edge of my screen on my Mac. I couldn’t figure out how to get the Doc to show up on the iPad. So I had to unhide it on my Mac so it was always visible.
If you are using Spaces or Mission Control, you will see the Space that was active when you started up GoToMyPC. To navigate to another Space, you can drag a window while working on your iPad to the other Space, and that will take you there. The problem is that the delay factor means that you could have jumped two Spaces before you iPad screen shows that you have jumped one, so you could end up in a Space other than the one you were heading for.
I also ended up with the menu for Mail at the top of the screen, when I was actually working on another application called Bean. The drop down menu was for Bean, not for Mail. But the top Menu was for Mail. (See screenshots). I was able to get back to normal operation by switching to Mail and then back to Bean.
So before leaving my Mac sitting open when I leave to go off-site with my iPad, I would need to just leave the Finder open. I would want to close everything else. That way I will avoid conflicts between running applications when working on my iPad, and I won’t have to deal with Spaces.
Maybe I've found the solution
So the bottom line is, you do not go to a file on your Mac or an off-site server and get it to your iPad and work with it in an iPad App. Rather you go to a file on your Mac, and open it on your Mac and work with it in a program on your Mac, doing all of this while looking at your iPad. You don’t need an App on the iPad which is capable of opening and reading and writing to a file stored on your Mac. Rather, working from your iPad, you open the file which is stored on your Mac and work with it in the program that you would ordinarily use to work on the file on your Mac.
GoToMyPC on the iPad has a drop-down menu at the top of the screen which allows you to close the App on your iPad, use arrow keys overlaid on the screen, use the iPad keyboard customized to provide the other Apple keys such as Control, Alt, Option, Escape, etc., set your preferences, and help.
This seemed to maybe be the solution I was looking for to be able to backup my files to an off-site server and be able to work with my files while I was away from my laptop but still had my iPad with me.