When we were students, pen and paper still ruled even if we used computers to type our essays. As adults, we put our important paper documents into a folder and that folder went into our filing cabinets. Even though our documents are digital now, computer filing operates on that same pen and paper principle.
Technology has marched us all along but there are references to actions of the past that do not resonate for newer generations, including how to file a document on a computer.
Professors began noticing this trend around 2017. Students would be requested to save their files in a certain location, but they had no idea how to designate or follow a file path. They hadn’t needed to before because with iPhones everything comes down to the easy accessibility of the search bar.
We use Search for everything on our iPhones. Need to find an app? Swipe right and search. Looking for that photo from five years ago? Search photos. The digital insurance cards you saved in Documents? Search bar.
The introduction of search on the iPhone meant you no longer had to know where something was stored to locate it; you could find it wherever it happened to be saved.
This method has been equated to storing everything in a bucket or a laundry basket. You just reach in and pull out what you need. The opposite of the traditional computer filing structure that has been used since computers began computing.
But the bucket method isn’t ideal for some kinds of work, especially the STEM fields that deal with hundreds (if not thousands) of similar files that make proper filing a necessity. Professors now find themselves teaching an intro course on file management that they did not anticipate.
With our iPhones being our main form of digital interaction and file sharing, the traditional “file cabinet with folders” method we use on our home computers is becoming as obsolete as the file cabinet itself. Faced with this problem of technology versus tradition, Gen Z will likely design their own ways of designating file locations that will not resemble anything we have used previously.
While I may not be quite ready to abandon my (mostly) labeled and organized file directory, finding files within folders within folders within folders may not be the most efficient system. iPhones have once again changed our lives in an unexpected way, and it will be interesting to see how future generations update these traditional processes.
What do you think? How has saving and searching for files changed for you?
Share this interesting post about Folders vs. Search in the Digital Age by using the Share Buttons below… I really appreciate you helping to spread the word about my Free Daily iPhone Tips!