Dropbox 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.
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.
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.
Via the Dropbox settings you can enable a passcode lock for your Dropbox, report a problem, or clear your cache, among other things.
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.
Saving, Sharing & Sending Files
Dropbox integrates as a sharing option with several apps. For example you can use your Android file manager to send files to your Dropbox, as demonstrated below using File Station.
After choosing Dropbox from the sharing options, you can select a folder to send it to.
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 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 for some suggestions.
MakeUseOf has previously covered Dropbox, including a manual by Matt:
- 5 Ways To Send Files To Your Dropbox Without Using Dropbox
- Make Your Dropbox Portable With DropboxPortableAHK [Windows]
- Transfer Web Files Directly To Your Dropbox Folder With URL Droplet
- How To Get More Free Dropbox Storage With Your School Email Address [News]
If you are interested in cloud computing in general, you should also look at these articles:
- How Does Cloud Computing Work? [Technology Explained]
- How To Permanently Store Your Data In “The Cloud”
- 3 Ways To Escape Cloud Storage Solutions If You Don’t Trust Them
How do you currently share and sync files between your Android device and your computer?