diskaidicon120Have you ever wanted to get a picture off your iPhone quickly?  Or save that precious voicemail from your cute little niece or nephew?  Or get a picture off your iCloud photo stream?  I often do, and I have been frustrated by the tools Apple provides.  iTunes is great for many things, but not really great for accessing all the files on your phone.  iPhoto is terrible, and Image Capture, while better, is just OK.  So I was pleasantly surprised at the scope of features and ease of use when I tried DiskAid by DigiDNA.

DiskAid is desktop software for Windows or Mac that connects to your iPhone or iPad and gives you easy tools to transfer files to and from your mobile devices and your computer.  You can also access the files directly on your mobile device.  For example, this morning I loaded a picture from my phone directly into Photoshop on my computer  after manipulating it I used 'Save As' to save the edited version onto my computer.  Then I listened to old voicemails through my computer speakers.  Then I copied pictures from my phone to a folder on my computer using simple drag and drop from DiskAid to Finder on my Mac.

The program can access your mobile device either by plugging it into a USB port on your computer or via wifi, provided the mobile device and computer are on the same wifi network.

diskaid_musiccopyDiskaid has a handy screen for copying music into iTunes or a folder on your computer. But you can also simply drag and drop songs from Diskaid into Finder on your Mac or Windows Explorer on your Windows computer.

An added bonus is that DiskAid can access your iCloud photo stream.  The other day I wanted to show a cute picture of cupcakes that look like Muppets to a friend, but I couldn't find it on my iPad.  I knew it was on iCloud, but truth be told, iCloud is not the most accessible cloud in the cyberverse.  Literally within a few moments of using DiskAid for the first time I was able to view all the pictures in my cloud and sure enough... there were the Muppet cupcakes!

Accessing music gives you an iTunes-like screen with ordered access to every tune on your phone.  It allows direct export to itunes or the ability to save a song to a folder on your computer.  Or you can double click a tune to play it.

Or press the space bar.  DiskAid has a 'Quick Look' feature similar to that in Finder.  Highlight any file of any kind and the Quick look window pops up to show or play the file.  Very convenient for seeing a bigger picture than the little icon version when you want to confirm it is actually the picture you wanted to copy.

diskaid_voicemailQuick Look is also quick listen for songs or voice mail messages

The program doesn't stop with the obvious.  You can access text messages, contacts, your call history, music, apps, notes, videos... everything on your iPhone is accessible.  I noticed that 'deleted voicemail' messages were accessible.  And each type of file has its own export options.  For example, you can export your text messages to PDF, CSV or text and even export attachments.  You even have access to the data saved by individual apps.

The program isn't perfect.  When accessing nested folders it is easy to get into a folder by clicking its icon.  But the only way I can find to go back to the containing folder is via a Path drop-down, or by using browser-like 'Back' button.  Either an 'Up' icon or a hot-key combination would be nice additions, especially when so much of this program is so well designed for convenient access to your files.  But that is a minor quibble.

I plugged an iPhone and an iPad in, and the program showed both -- no muss, no fuss.  When I did that the first time it gave me the option to enable wifi access, which I did, and now DiskAid accesses my iPad even when it is charging on the other side of the room.

diskaid_textsView or save text messages

You can find other programs that do some of what DiskAid can do, but the convenience of having total access to your mobile device files all in one place is a huge benefit as far as I'm concerned.  The fact that the interface is so easy to understand and use is an added bonus.  Within moments of loading the program I was using several of its features to access just about everything on my phone.  I can imagine that I might use it as a quick and dirty way to back up my phone files as well as accessing individual files for whatever reason.

When you have this kind of access you want to be careful not to delete a file that an app needs to run, or data that it has saved.  Sometimes too much access means that people who know enough to be dangerous have the access to... well, be dangerous.  But for most people the convenient access to their pictures, music and other data files is worth the risk, and you would have to purposely delete a file using more than one click (right click, pick delete) to actually do damage.

DiskAid supports iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, the original iPad, 2, New iPad, iPod Touch (2nd generation) and up.  All must be running iOS 4 or newer.  The iPod Classic and all generations of the iPod Nano are also supported.  On the PC side Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, XP, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard are supported, running iTunes 10 or newer.

Within an hour of installing the program I removed the Image Capture shortcut from my desktop and replaced it with DiskAid.  From now on I'll be using it exclusively for transferring pictures from my phone, and occasionally use it for the many other things it accesses.  One doesn't want to completely lose one's cute Muppet cupcake picture, after all.