Android iPhone and iPad

How To Sync Any Files To Your Smartphone Or Tablet Without The Cloud

Justin Pot 28-11-2014

Sync any folder on your computer directly to your Android device — not a cloud you need to download from later. BitTorrent Sync‘s mobile app makes this easy.


Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive OneDrive vs Google Drive - Which Is Best for Office Productivity? As the push towards web apps has evolved, we're now met with two powerful cloud solutions -- SkyDrive and Google Drive. These two options offer all the tools needed for file synchronization and office productivity.... Read More , iCloud: all services designed to keep your various devices in sync — and all of them store your data on their server instead of your mobile device. Whether you’re tired of storage restrictions, concerned about where your data is being stored, or just want all of your files to work offline, BitTorrent Sync offers a direct wireless sync between your computer and your mobile device.

Sure, there are hacks that let you sync your entire Dropbox with Android Truly Sync Your Android Device With Dropbox Via Dropsync [Android 2.0+] Dropbox is my preferred syncing service, which works wonders on computers. However on mobile devices, especially Android devices, it leaves a lot to be desired, mainly because of the lack of support for two-way syncing... Read More , but with BitTorrent Sync, the process is easy: just set up the app and your files will sync whenever both your computer and your mobile device are on. Concerned about bandwidth? There’s a WiFi-only setting. Let’s go over how this works.

Download It

BitTorrent Sync is available for Android, Windows Phone, iPhone and iPad, and Amazon Fire devices.

Download the mobile app, install it, and you’re good to go.

Get To Your Files Directly

Start up Sync and you’ll see the folders you’ve set up.


How To Sync Any Files To Your Smartphone Or Tablet Without The Cloud bittorrent sync main

Note that, by default, your files will not sync; instead, you can download them from your other devices on-demand. To change this you need only enable Auto-sync:

How To Sync Any Files To Your Smartphone Or Tablet Without The Cloud bittorent sync autosync

You can browse your files easily within the app itself.


How To Sync Any Files To Your Smartphone Or Tablet Without The Cloud bittorrent sync browsing files

The checkbox at right means the files are already synced — you can open them from here. If you’re on Android, you’ll also be able to browse your files using your device’s file manager.

This is an easy way to get files from your computer onto your phone, and vice-versa. There’s even a “Camera Upload” option if you want every photo you take on your mobile device to sync to your desktop computer.

But before you can do any of this, you need to set up a sync. This was once the hard part of using BitTorrent Sync, but the process has gotten easier.


Setting Up A Folder To Sync

A few years ago we pointed out how BitTorrent Sync makes it easy to sync files between computers From Pirate Darling To Dropbox Alternative: BitTorrent Sync Lets You Keep Your Files Synchronized Across Machines Cloud-based file sync services are easy to use and work well, but your privacy may or may not be your first priority. Not to mention the fact that these services always come with a storage... Read More . You can read that article for an overview, but basically you need to pick a folder to sync and copy a long string of numbers — called a secret — for use on the other computer.

Don’t worry: it’s easier than all that now. Go ahead and download BitTorrent Sync for your desktop computer. Set up a folder to sync, then click the “Share” button. You’ll see the option for a QR code:

How To Sync Any Files To Your Smartphone Or Tablet Without The Cloud bittorrent sync android qr code

Now, with the app on your mobile device, you can scan the code with your favorite QR code scanner app.


How To Sync Any Files To Your Smartphone Or Tablet Without The Cloud bittorrent sync scan code

Just like that, you’ve set up your sync. Do this for every folder you want, but be careful: your mobile device only has so much space. Don’t fill it up!

What Will You Sync To Your Phone?

It’s nice to have the flexibility to sync whatever you want to your phone, but what are the potential uses? Well, you could:

  • Sync your most important work documents, so that you always have them with you.
  • Sync your ebook or comic book collection, so that you can access it on the go.
  • Sync your entire music collection to your phone or tablet (if you’ve got enough space!).

Personally, I’m using this to get all of my favourite podcasts onto my tablet. What about you? Let me know what you’d like to sync between your devices in the comments below.

Oh, and if you’d like an always-on device to sync to when your computer’s not on, you could install BitTorrent Sync to a NAS — there’s a version for most vendors. If that sounds too pricey, we’ve shown you how to build your own cloud storage service Build Your Own Cloud Storage with Raspberry Pi and BitTorrent Sync Don't believe the hype: the Cloud is far from secure. But have no fear - now you can roll out your own private, unlimited, and secure cloud storage platform. Read More by setting up a Raspberry Pi with Bittorrent Sync. Give it a shot!

Related topics: Cloud Storage, File Management, File Sharing.

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  1. Amanda
    May 25, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    My husband and I are not always with each other so I want to make it to where if he sees something that he thinks I would like to see he can take a picture and as soon as he takes it I can see it on my tablet at home or work?and doing this without having to click the picture and add it manually to a folder that I can see just snapthe pic and I can see it?do you know how this is possible?

  2. Syed Naimath
    December 2, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Well, I'm an avid reader, so would love to access all of them on my phone. This looks like an worth-trying alternative to the current Dropbox.

    Thanks, Justin. :-)

    • Justin Pot
      December 2, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      I've had my books in Dropbox for a long time, but you don't have always-on access to your library. Let me know how this works out for you.

  3. Todd Richardson
    December 2, 2014 at 6:12 am

    I want to go the other way: Phone to Computer. Can I do that with Bot Torrent as well?

    • Justin Pot
      December 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Yep! This works both ways. Enjoy!

  4. Mohamed
    November 29, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Just wondering why this app require camera and microphone access to do file sync?

    • Marcus
      November 30, 2014 at 10:22 am

      I dont know why microphone... but camera read QR-code.

  5. WinDork
    November 28, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    In what way does smartphone synching mandate the use of cloud? I am confused.

    • Justin Pot
      November 29, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      Most of the services out there people are familiar with mandate the cloud – Dropbox, OneDrive, etc. Perhaps I should have specified "wirelessly" in the headline, though.