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Overview
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GoodReader User Manual

Introduction

 
 

GoodReader is a file viewer with many powerful features, most of which address PDF and TXT viewing.

GoodReader is a very complex application. It incorporates a lot of non-obvious features and solutions. We strongly encourage you to read this manual, otherwise it will be hard for you to enjoy the full power of GoodReader.

Here you will find a brief description of GoodReader's features with links to more detailed manuals.

File types to view in GoodReader

PDF Annotations, Highlights and Markups

Transferring files to/from GoodReader

"Downloads" folder

Automatic Synchronization

Tips for folder navigation

Managing files/folders, sending e-mail

Password protection

Data Protection (File Encryption)

Buttons on the main screen

Video out (VGA out) adapter

Wireless printing (AirPrint)

Disabling device auto-lock when reading

Integration with other apps

Known limitations

Help us help you


File types to view in GoodReader

There are two types of viewing engines - the ones that we've written ourselves, and the built-in device's standard viewing engine. Our own engines provide great flexibility and many additional features not found in the built-in engine (for example, opening very large files). The built-in engine, the same as found in Safari and Mail apps, is very powerful and knows many file formats, but has many limitations and no additional features.

Files of very big size (our own viewing engine):

And as a free bonus - files of normal size (iOS standard viewing engine):

  • all file formats supported by Safari engine: Microsoft Office files - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, HTML files and Safari webarchives
  • iWork'08/09 files - Pages, Numbers, Keynote
  • .ai files saved with PDF Compatible option
  • audio files (natively supported by iOS)
  • video files (natively supported by iOS)

 


PDF Annotations, Highlights and Markups

Annotate your PDF files and save your comments and drawings directly into a PDF file to share with others.

 


Transferring files to/from GoodReader

  • USB File Transfer (computer-to-device)
  • WiFi File Transfer (computer-to-device)
  • Web Downloads (Internet-to-device)
  • Using inter-app Document Interchange (a.k.a. Open In... functionality) to exchange files between apps (including Apple's Mail app to transfer E-Mail attachments to GoodReader). Works both ways - GoodReader can open files stored in other apps, and other apps can open files stored in GoodReader. Apple's Document Interchange works only with apps that explicitly support this feature.
  • Accessing E-Mail servers via IMAP or POP3 protocol to download mail attachments
  • Accessing WebDAV Servers for both downloading and uploading files. Plus you can connect to any iPhone/iPod/iPad on your local WiFi network that has a file sharing and management application that supports WebDAV connections. You can also sync files and folders.
  • Accessing Dropbox via its proprietary protocol for both downloading and uploading files. You can also sync files and folders.
  • Accessing OneDrive via its proprietary protocol for both downloading and uploading files. You can also sync files and folders.
  • Accessing Google Drive via its proprietary protocol for both downloading and uploading files. You can also sync files and folders.
  • Accessing SugarSync via its proprietary protocol for both downloading and uploading files. You can also sync files and folders.
  • Accessing FTP servers for both downloading and uploading files (FTP protocol is insecure, use SFTP access for confidential documents). You can also sync files and folders.
  • Accessing SFTP servers for both downloading and uploading files. You can also sync files and folders.
  • Accessing AFP servers (shared Mac folders, Apple Time Capsule, etc.) for both downloading and uploading files. You can also sync files and folders.
  • Accessing SMB servers (shared Windows folders, various NAS drives, etc.) for both downloading and uploading files. You can also sync files and folders.
  • Importing/exporting pictures from device Photo Album. Importing of recorded videos.

 


"Downloads" folder

Files inside this folder will not be backed up to iTunes or iCloud. Use this folder for files that can be easily redownloaded. By putting such files into this folder, you will keep your backup size and time reasonable, plus you will save your wireless traffic, if you're doing wireless backups. However, if a file is of a considerable value to you, and you'd like it to be backed up either to iTunes or to iCloud, move this file out of this folder. Otherwise this file will be lost in case if you ever need to restore your device form a backup. Please note that sometimes during major iOS upgrades your device will be restored automatically, as a part of iOS upgrading process. In this case all files inside the Downloads folder will also be lost. So choose location for your files wisely, using Downloads folder only for those files that can be easily restored or redownloaded.

Please note that if you're using iOS version prior to 5.0.1, this folder may be backed up, eating up your backup disk space.

 


Automatic Synchronization

GoodReader can automatically sync individual files and entire folders to their remote versions hosted on online servers of the following types: Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, SugarSync and also any WebDAV, AFP, SMB, FTP or SFTP server. Please see our manual on this.

 


Tips for folder navigation

  • tap on a path control at the top of the screen to quickly jump to any of enclosing parent folders
  • swipe file or folder name to delete this file/folder (be careful - this can't be undone)
  • sort your files by name, date and size. Use ascending or descending sort order. On iPads the Sort button is located at the top of the main screen, on iPhones it is accessible through the Manage Files control panel.
  • use Manage Files control panel to bring up additional menu for managing files and sending e-mail
  • use Find Files feature in one of four modes: find by a name, recently read, recently added, starred
  • iPad: choose between the list view or the icon view with larger previews
  • iPad: hide the entire tool area to the right of the file list, to leave more screen space for files
  • file or folder name shown in black means that you have opened this file/folder, shown in blue means that it is unread
  • mark your files/folders with a star and one of seven color tags to visually distinguish them
  • protect individual files and folders with a password

 


Managing files/folders, sending e-mail

There is a powerful set of features accessible by opening the Manage Files control panel in file list view. You can send files to other apps that support Apple's Document Interchange. You can create new folders and rename/copy/move/delete existing files and folders. You can compress multiple files and folders into .zip archives, and you can uncompress .zip and .rar archives. You can also send files via e-mail from GoodReader. You can mark files as read/unread, set/remove a password protection for individual files/folders, set/remove a star and a color tag for a file or folder, flatten PDF files with annotations, import/export pictures from/to Photo Album and create new PDF and TXT files for further editing. You can also create a special URL link for integration with other apps. Read more here.

 


Password protection

There are several ways to protect your sensitive data:

  • by setting a password check at GoodReader's startup. Open Application Settings page, Security Settings section for this (see Buttons on the main screen section below on how to open Application Settings page). This feature uses iOS's Data Protection API, which actually encrypts your files, keeping your data confidential, even if your device gets lost or stolen. However, there are special procedures to perform, and also there are some limitations. Please be absolutely sure to read the Data Protection manual if you want to actually encrypt your files.
  • by setting password protection for individual files and folders. This feature uses iOS's Data Protection API, which actually encrypts your files, keeping your data confidential, even if your device gets lost or stolen. However, there are special procedures to perform, and also there are some limitations. Please be absolutely sure to read the Data Protection manual if you want to actually encrypt your files.
  • by setting an opening password for PDF files during their creation (consult your PDF creation software manual for this)
  • if you want to encrypt your files with iOS's Data Protection, but don't want to set up any passwords within GoodReader, turn the "Data Protection for all files" switch on in app settings, Security section. Please be absolutely sure to read the Data Protection manual if you want to actually encrypt your files.

You can combine all these methods for extra security, if you don't mind entering three or four different passwords just to open a single file.

You can force GoodReader to ask you for passwords every time the app is activated (or launched). Otherwise, passwords will be asked only if you deactivated the app less than 10 minutes ago. To change this preference, please use the Ask very often switch in app settings, Security section.

Be careful not to forget your startup and protected files passwords, because no way of retrieving or resetting these passwords is provided. However, if you have forgotten your passwords, the only way to reset them is to delete and reinstall the app, which will also erase all your files and settings.

If you're really concerned about security, you may also want to encrypt your iTunes Backup files.

 


Data Protection (File Encryption)

GoodReader takes advantage of iOS's Data Protection API. This API encrypts files, to make sure that your data will be secure, even if your device gets lost or stolen. While this feature is designed to be as transparent and effortless as possible, there are some procedures that need to be performed to enforce data encryption. Also, some limitations apply, so please be sure to read the following section, if you want to use this feature.

Data Protection provides a fairly strong level of data security. If you use it properly, it will continue to protect your files even if an attacker jailbreaks your device and uses various hacking techniques to access encrypted files. You can also use Apple's Remote Wipe feature to erase all data remotely from a lost or stolen device.

Data Protection works in conjunction with the passcode that you use to unlock your device. If you don't lock your device with a passcode, your files will NOT be encrypted. However, locking a device with a passcode doesn't automatically mean that your files will be encrypted. The following conditions must also be met (we have divided them into two categories - Apple's prerequisites and GoodReader's usage rules).

Apple's side of protection:

  • Since Data Protection relies on a special hardware to encrypt files, it doesn't work on older iOS devices. It does work on the following ones: all iPad models, iPhone models starting with 3GS and newer, iPod touch models starting with 3rd generation and newer.
  • Data Protection is active only if you enable Passcode Lock in main device Settings, General section. If you don't use passcode lock, your files will not be encrypted.
  • The trickiest part of preparing your device to use Data Protection comes to play when your device previously used to work under an older version of iOS. Data Protection requires disk drive of your device to be fully reformatted in a special secure mode. This automatically happens when you fully restore a device to iOS 4.0 or later, but it does NOT happen when you simply upgrade from iOS 3.x to iOS 4.x. During a simple upgrade process your disk drive is left in the older insecure mode. In this case you will have to perform a full restore ("full-erase install") of your device to iOS 4.0 or later. The following paragraph describes how to check if your device is fully prepared for Data Protection or not.
  • To check if your device is fully prepared to encrypt your files, go to main device Settings, General section, and select Passcode Lock. Make sure that Passcode is turned on. If Passcode is on, and your device's disk is properly formatted, you will see the "Data protection is enabled" label at the very bottom of Pascode Lock settings window:

    If you see this label, your device is fully prepared to encrypt files. The rest of setup is done in GoodReader.
  • As an additional security measure, tell iTunes to encrypt your backup files
  • If you represent a company that manages a set of iOS devices via Configuration Profiles, enforce a certain policy on your managed devices: require that Data Protection is enabled, require password length and complexity, require maximum passcode grace period, require encrypted iTunes backups. If a device is compromised, instantly use Remote Wipe.

GoodReader's side of protection:

  • In GoodReader there are three ways to decide which files to protect with the Data Protection - the "Data Protection for all files" switch and two passwords to restrict the access to files - the app startup password and the password for protecting individual files and folders. All three of those are set up in GoodReader app settings, Security section. If either the "Data Protection for all files" switch or the app password are set, then all GoodReader's files will be protected, otherwise only files individually protected with the files and folders password will be put under the Data Protection.
  • It is important to understand that GoodReader itself doesn't encrypt or decrypt your files. It does two things - restricts the access to protected files via GoodReader's own user interface, and asks iOS to encrypt certain files (or all of them, if you've turned the "Data Protection for all files" switch on in app settings or if you're using the app startup password). iOS, in its turn, locks these files within a few seconds after you lock your device with a passcode, and instantly unlocks them when you unlock your device with a passcode. It means that when you unlock your device with a passcode, all your files become decrypted and fully accessible, even if GoodReader app is not being run at the moment, and you haven't entered any of GoodReader's passwords yet. So, if your device is unlocked and you're using GoodReader's passwords to protect files, GoodReader will prevent the access to protected files via its own user interface, but nothing prevents from copying these files via, for example, File Sharing section of iTunes (USB transfer), without knowing GoodReader's passwords. So please be sure to ALWAYS lock your device with a passcode, even if you leave it just for a minute. This will turn the physical hardware-based protection on. And while Auto-Lock option in main device Settings may be of great help with this, it never hurts to manually lock your device every time you leave it.
  • GoodReader must explicitly tell iOS about files it wants to encrypt. This brings up an issue when you transfer files to GoodReader without GoodReader's direct participation, for example, using File Sharing in iTunes, or using some other undocumented technique. GoodReader takes care of everything when it directly participates in transferring process (when using documented WiFi transfer, or downloading files from remote servers via GoodReader's user interface). But if you have transferred files to GoodReader's protected zone using techniques that do not involve direct GoodReader's participation, you must make sure that GoodReader learns about these new files and explicitly asks iOS to encrypt them. You do it by simply launching GoodReader and browsing to a folder where these new files are located. Once GoodReader opens that folder and shows you this folder's list of files, it instantly discovers all new files being shown in a list, and tells the system if these files need to be encrypted or not.
  • Your data protection is only as good as your passcode. If you use "1234", your name, your birthdate or your zodiac sign for a passcode, rest assured - an attacker will crack it in a minute. Choose strong alphanumeric passwords consisting of random characters, not words. Enter your passcode only when nobody's looking. And don't forget to change your passwords periodically.
  • GoodReader can work with files on a locked device under certain circumstances. For instance, it can play audio when locked, or upload/download files for a short period of time (until WiFi module shuts down). However, if you use Data Protection, and a file you're working with is in a protected zone, iOS will physically block the access to this file within several seconds after locking, so don't be surprised if playback of a protected audio file suddenly stops when you lock a Data Protection-enabled device.

 


Buttons on the main screen

Path Control. Tap on a parent folder to quickly go up in the file hierarchy.
iPad: iPhone:
 
  iPad: sort mode for file lists
 
  iPhone: enters the Manage Files mode
 
  opens the WiFi-transfer page used for WiFi file transfers. For security reasons and to save your battery power, transfer is allowed only when you're on the WiFi-transfer page. This button opens this page. See WiFi File Transfer section for more details.
 
  opens the Application Settings, where you can change various GoodReader settings
 
  opens this Help
 
  iPad: opens the last file you've been reading
 
  iPad: starts the Auto Sync with remote servers
 
  iPhone: Find Files. Use it to find files/folders in one of four modes: find by a name, recently read, recently added, starred.
 
  iPhone: opens the Connect panel, where you control access to remote servers, downloads and auto sync
 
  controls external VGA display output
 
  locks interface autorotations. If you feel that sudden screen autorotations are a little annoying when you're reading in bed, you can temporarily lock the autorotation with this button. This button has any effect only if the hardware rotation lock switch is off.

 


Video out (VGA out) adapter

Apple offers native video mirroring on their newer devices (starting with iPad 2 and iPhone 4S). It's when you simply plug the cable, and everything that you see on a device is instantly mirrored to a video output, without any help from the app. It also works much faster than a video output calculated by apps, because these new devices do it with a special hardware, and apps do not waste processor time to calculate separate images for a video out. If you're using one of Apple's newer devices, you can safely ignore this section. There is no need to press any button, native video mirroring "just works" by default. However, there are certain advantages in using application-provided video output, because it doesn't show user interface menus, only actual file contents, which some people may find useful. To toggle between native video mirroring and app-provided video out, use the Video Out button:

 


Wireless printing (AirPrint)

GoodReader supports AirPrint capabilities of iOS for wireless printing (AirPrint-enabled printer is required). To print a file, open it and use the Actions button:

 


Disabling device auto-lock when reading

Usually your device uses the auto-lock feature (after a certain period of inactivity screen dims and then turns off). You can let GoodReader temporarily disable device auto-lock while reading (it will be restored once you close a file). This option is configured on the Application Settings page. Disabling auto-lock may discharge your battery faster.

 


Integration with other apps

GoodReader fully supports Apple's Document Interchange feature. It works both ways:

  • Files stored in other apps can be copied directly to GoodReader. This includes Apple's Mail app - you can open email attachments by simply selecting GoodReader in the Open In... menu in Apple's Mail app. The same approach also works with any other app that supports Document Interchange.
  • GoodReader also supports Document Interchange from the other end - you can select any file in GoodReader, and ask GoodReader to open this file in any other app that supports Document Interchange for that type of file. This is done on the Manage Files control panel, with the Open In... button.

 

GoodReader also offers integration with other apps via mechanism of custom URL addresses. Other applications that support opening URLs can use a special URL generated by GoodReader to launch GoodReader and to open a file encoded in this generated URL. For example, it could be a to-do app or notebook app. Basically, any app where you can paste an URL generated by GoodReader and later click on that URL to open it.

Integration with other apps can be achieved by using the Link button on the Manage Files control panel. More information here.

 


Known limitations

GoodReader heavily relies on iOS capabilities. Some features that are related to file viewing are limited on iPhone/iPod/iPad. Here are some limitations that we know of:

  • Some PDF eBooks are protected by DRM technology (Digital Rights Management). This is a piece of software embedded into a PDF file, that asks for your user name and password upon file opening and then checks if you have the right to view this particular file. This is different from general PDF password protection, which usually only asks for a password, not your user name. DRM-protected PDFs are not supported, while general password-protected PDF files are supported.
  • PDF's 3D, audio and video content is not supported. PDF layers and fillable forms are also not supported at this time.
  • iOS contains only a subset of certain fonts (Asian, Arabic, special math symbols, etc.), so to display PDFs with those characters correctly, those fonts must be embedded into a PDF file itself. Please read our detailed guide for an explanation on how to fix this issue.
  • MS Office files with password protection are not supported
  • Some Microsoft Office files are shown a little bit incorrectly (converting them to PDFs solves the problem)

 


Help us help you

GoodReader was dramatically improved since its earlier versions. The only thing that made it possible is user feedback. Our customers sent us a lot of problematic files, we studied those files, came to certain conclusions, and finally we were able to write a better code. We can't improve our application if you don't talk to us. We might actually solve the problem if you tell us about it! So we encourage you to send us as much feedback or feature requests as possible. Help us help you!

 

 
 
Copyright © Yuri Selukoff, 2008-2012. All rights reserved.