How to Sync Your Files Across Multiple Devices

Nancy Messieh 20-06-2010

This post was originally about Dazzboard, an early file synchronizer from 2009 that never quite panned out. We’ve updated the article with better, modern methods of cross-device file synchronization.


If you want to keep your files synced across multiple devices, the easiest way is to use a cloud storage service. But picking the right cloud storage host can be a challenging task — which is why we’re going to break it down for you right now. Here’s all you need to know in one neat cheat sheet.

Storage Capacity

  • Dropbox offers 2 GB of free storage.
    You can upgrade your personal account to 1 TB for $8.25/mo. Dropbox also offers user ways to earn additional storage for free.
  • Google Drive offers 15 GB of free storage.
    However, this space also goes towards your other Google services, including Gmail and Google Docs. You can bump this up to 100 GB to $1.99/mo or 1 TB for $9.99/mo.
  • OneDrive offers 5 GB of free storage.
    You can upgrade to 5 TB for $9.99/mo, 1 TB for $6.99/mo, or 50 GB for $1.99/mo.

Winner: Google Drive is the obvious winner here for free accounts, even if some of that space goes toward other Google services. Paying users are better off with OneDrive.

Platform Availability

All three hosts are accessible on the web, as well as in desktop and mobile apps.

  • Dropbox
    Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Mobile, and Xbox
  • Google Drive
    Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
  • OneDrive
    Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows Mobile, and Xbox

Winner: If it’s just based on the number of platforms, Dropbox is the winner. If you use Linux on a regular basis, Dropbox is your only hope. Otherwise, there aren’t any practical differences.

File Syncing

  • Dropbox
    Allows you to selectively sync your files. All files are available in cloud storage, but you can choose specific files or folders to sync to various devices.
  • Google Drive
    Allows you to choose which folders on your computer are synced to Google Drive and which Google Drive folders are synced to your computer.
  • OneDrive
    Allows you to selectively sync your files.

Winner: Google Drive gives users the most control over how you can sync your files.


File Sharing

You can share files one of two ways in all three services. You can share files or folders via email, allowing you to easily revoke access on a person by person basis. If you use a shareable link and want to revoke access, you’ll have to re-send a shareable link to people you still want to share the files with. These options are available on all three platforms.

  • Dropbox
    Allows you share password-protected files. You can choose whether other users can manage folder settings.
  • Google Drive
    Allows you to prevent users from sharing the files or folders  or changing access settings. You can also disable options to download, print, and copy for commenters and viewers.
  • OneDrive
    Allows you to set an expiration date for shareable links. If you use OneDrive in a company setting, you can create shareable links just with those in your company. It also automatically creates a folder where you can view all your files shared with the public.

Winner: OneDrive has the most robust sharing features and offers the most control.

If you’re still undecided, a more in-depth comparison Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. OneDrive: Which Cloud Storage Is Best for You? Have you changed the way you think about cloud storage? The popular options of Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive have been joined by others. We help you answer which cloud storage service should you use. Read More of the three leading cloud storage services can help you narrow down which one is right for you.

Which of these three platforms do you prefer: Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive? Let us know in the comments. 

Related topics: Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive.

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  1. Hoi
    February 4, 2017 at 6:06 am

    It dont work