Ever wish you were able to throw your external hard drive up to the clouds and be able to access it on your iPad and iPhone (among other devices)? That’s basically what Dropbox does, and does well. With Dropbox you are able to have all of your pictures, documents, and videos accessible from anywhere, anytime. Even more than that, it provides a Favorites feature which will make your files, photos, and videos available offline. Join us for what will be part review and part guide on how to use Dropbox on iPhone and iPad.
The easiest way to understand the concept behind the app is to liken it to a hard drive on your Computer. Just pretend when you click on My Computer, in addition to your C:/ drive you now have a drive, lets say Z:/ which is for Dropbox. The difference between the C:/ and Z:/ is that the C:/ is a local drive, which means it belongs exclusively to your computer. The Z:/ however is a Cloud drive. This means any computer, iPhone, and iPad can access it simply by downloading the app. Note: Installing the application on a computer will not place a Z:/ Drive, but rather a Dropbox folder in your main User folder.
In order to use Dropbox, you will need to create an account. The account will put a Photos, Public, and Uploads folder in your account to start off with. These are shared by default. Shared folders are accessible on other devices through your account. You can also create additional folders within your account and choose to share them to your devices.
So you have your files, photos, and videos stored in your Dropbox account and your ready to open and use them. Let’s start with Photos. These are simple enough as they will show the photo and allow you to save it to your camera roll, favorite them, or email. Videos work the same way – showing you the video within the app with the ability to star and email. Videos cannot be saved to the iPad or iPhone. Files open as a preview and give options to open elsewhere depending on what apps are installed on the device. Let’s say I want to open an Excel file on my iPad. On my device I am given the options to open in Numbers, PrintCentral, Ignition, and Evernote. If you were to only have 1 or a couple of these installed on your device, you would only get those options.
Uploading to Dropbox
Head over to the Upload section and click + to choose Photos and Videos to place into this folder. These photos and videos will be available to open on other iOS Devices, and ready to be saved to a computer. Videos larger than 180MB will not upload. You can store up to 2GB with your free account, or upgrade to 50GB for $99.99.
With Apple building more and more cloud functionality into their ecosystem, solutions like Dropbox are continuing to struggle to differentiate themselves. Being able to handle cross platform access files, photos, and videos is where the sticking power is. Though, Apple’s iCloud and other cloud functionality works very well within their own line of products as well as the ocassional PC tie in (iCloud panel for PC). For this cross platform functionality and the intuitive easy design, I’d highly recommend this app.