Share Files Between Your Computer & Your Android Device With Dropbox

Tina Sieber 21-12-2011

dropbox for androidDropbox is an ingenious file storing and sharing tool. Not only can you upload files to your online Dropbox and share single files or entire folders, you can also install the Dropbox application on your computer, use it like a regular folder, and have all your files and sub-folders synced automatically.


I have previously explored some advantages of Dropbox’s online features How To Recover Lost Files In Dropbox What happens if you accidentally delete a file in Dropbox? Will it be gone forever once the changes are synced? Yes, the file will disappear but it won't be entirely gone just yet. So is... Read More . In this article, I will focus on the Dropbox for Android.

How It Works

The Dropbox app installs with a homescreen shortcut and no widget. The app interface is very basic, but provides access to more key features than you would think. The folder icons reveal the content of a folder or whether it is shared with others or the public.

dropbox for android

Tapping the settings button (highlighted in red below) opens a menu with options to search your files, create a new folder, upload files to your Dropbox, refresh, access the help menu, or change your Dropbox settings.

dropbox android app


Via the Dropbox settings you can enable a passcode lock for your Dropbox, report a problem, or clear your cache, among other things.

dropbox android app

To open, download, share, or delete a file (bottom menu) or folder (top menu), press the file or folder for a few seconds until a menu with the respective options pops up as shown in the two in one screenshot below.

dropbox on android


Saving, Sharing & Sending Files

dropbox on android

After choosing Dropbox from the sharing options, you can select a folder to send it to.

dropbox on android

Things That Do Not Work

The Android app does not allow you to download an entire folder, view or restore previous versions or deleted files, or edit sharing options, as is possible via the web interface. On the other hand, with the exception of downloading folders, none of these options are available through the desktop application either, so the Android app does not present a huge disadvantage. The main difference between the desktop and the Android app is that files are not stored locally on the device. The Android Dropbox app merely acts as a portal to the web interface.


While testing the Android app, I noticed an unusual frequency of error messages. However, when I compared features with the desktop app, I also ran into the same issue, which suggests that Dropbox was having issues in general.

dropbox for android


Dropbox is a must-have app if you want to backup and sync documents between multiple devices. It’s also fantastic for sharing files and folders with friends. Be sure to combine it with the right document viewing apps on your Android. Depending on the types of files you are sharing, you will need an image viewer, a video and audio player, and a document viewer that can handle documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. Check out our 100 Best Android Apps The Best Android Apps on the Google Play Store for 2019 Looking for the best Android apps for your phone or tablet? Here's our comprehensive list of the best apps for Android. Read More for some suggestions.

MakeUseOf has previously covered Dropbox, including a manual by Matt What Is Dropbox? The Unofficial Dropbox User Guide What is Dropbox and how do you use it? Our Dropbox user guide will explain everything you need to know to get started. Read More :


If you are interested in cloud computing in general, you should also look at these articles:

How do you currently share and sync files between your Android device and your computer?

Related topics: Cloud Computing, Cloud Storage, Dropbox.

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  1. Jct0416
    January 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Can you view files sent from another computer/sender on your dropbox for android?

    • Tina
      January 9, 2012 at 9:41 pm


      yes, you will see files that are in your Dropbox. However, you need an internet connection as you will only access the online version of Dropbox through a different interface. You have to manually download files to your Android device. Unfortunately, these downloaded files won't be synced back to your Dropbox.

  2. AdrianMaftei
    December 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Useful tutorial. I haven't use Dropbox until today. It looks like a good product to me.