Exploring Google Docs and Sheets on iOS

Google released standalone apps for its documents and spreadsheet tools for iPhone and iPad users. Here's what you need to know to get started.

Dan Graziano Associate Editor / How To
Dan Graziano is an associate editor for CNET. His work has appeared on BGR, Fox News, Fox Business, and Yahoo News, among other publications. When he isn't tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos, he can be found enjoying the sights and sounds of New York City.
Dan Graziano
2 min read

Watch this: Password protect Google Drive, Docs, and Sheets on iOS

Google this week released standalone apps for its Docs and Sheets services (with Slides coming soon) for Android and iOS. The apps, which were both previously bundled into the company's Google Drive app, come not long after Microsoft brought its Office productivity suite to the iPhone and iPad. Google notes that the standalone apps are intended to make it easier for you to quickly find, edit, and create new documents and spreadsheets.

Both apps are essentially the same as the in-app editors in Google Drive, which will now be retired. A lot has changed since we first checked out Google's services (at least on the iOS version). When the company brought its productivity suite to iPhone and iPad users, the app was extremely limited. You were unable to actually edit any content in the app, or even create or delete new documents. All that has changed, however, in the past few years.

Creating new documents

New documents or spreadsheets can be created by tapping the plus icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. The button located next to the plus icon will change the display of your files from list to grid, while on the left-hand side you will find a navigation panel that contains the settings menu and options for viewing starred documents, those saved to your device, and even quick access to the Google Drive app.

Sharing and starring

Clicking the information icon on a file will give you the ability to rename a document, share it, delete it, print it, and favorite it. You will also be able to view the dates the file was created and modified, and see who has access to it.


Files can even be viewed and edited without an Internet connection. By default, Docs and Sheets are saved to your device. If your smartphone or tablet is running low on storage or you would like to change this option, click the information button on the file and switch the "Keep on your device" tab to off. To access offline documents and spreadsheets, you must select the "On device" option in the left-hand navigation panel.

Screenshot by Dan Graziano/CNET


Perhaps the most useful features is the ability to add a passcode to the apps. This can be done by clicking on the Settings menu, selecting Passcode Lock, and entering a four-digit code.

You will be prompted to download the new Google Docs and Sheets apps when attempting to edit or create new documents or spreadsheets in the Google Drive app. The apps are available now in the Google Play store and Apple's App Store.