I’ve been writing a lot lately about web-based apps, including ones that you can use to automate social tasks (ifttt) or just save time and batch your updates (Buffer). Each of these apps can help save you time while still allowing you to participate in social media. One of the apps I haven’t talked about yet is an app I use every single day. Dropbox is a free app that allows you to sync files (through the cloud) and access them anywhere you can connect to the internet. In today’s world, work no longer lives 100% at the office and personal matters no longer live 100% at home. That’s where Dropbox comes into play.
You can easily access all of your files at Dropbox.com, through their intuitive web interface but one of Dropbox‘s strengths is installing it to your computer. A quick install and you can either create a new Dropbox folder on your computer that Dropbox will always keep synced or you can specify which folders you want to be synced anywhere on your computer. For example, you can sync your My Documents folder to ensure that all of your docs are synced.
I have created a separate Dropbox folder to keep my important files synced and within that folder, I’ve created a folder of portable applications, so I can access programs I use frequently on any computer where I have Dropbox installed, like my desktop computer at home (that’s little more than a glorified home server now) or my laptop, wherever I bring it.
You can also create shared folders with Dropbox. So, when my whole family is in town, I’ll take a bunch of pictures, then share that folder with everyone so they can download the pictures to their own computer. They can also upload their own pictures to the folder so we can have a private space that allows us to exchange files that might be too big (or too numerous) for email.
In addition to private folder sharing, you can also post files up that can be publicly downloaded. Do you have a whitepaper you want to post on your website? Store it in Dropbox and share the link for people to download.
Dropbox is a free download available for iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad – click here to download the iOS app) as well as Android devices (click here to download the Android app from the Google Play Store), so in addition to being able to access your files on your computer and via the web interface, you can also have your most important files wherever you are by accessing the Dropbox app via your mobile device. Another nice feature about the Dropbox mobile apps is that you can set it up to automatically upload any photos or videos you take directly to a folder in Dropbox. Doing so makes sure you have all your photos and videos conveniently synced across multiple platforms. You also get free additional storage space by signing up for Instant Upload.
If you’re interested in trying out Dropbox, be sure to sign up through this link. It’s a referral link and it means that once you create an account and install it on your computer, we’ll both get an extra 500MB of free storage space.
You can create a Dropbox account for free and get 2GB of space, but you can quickly add more free storage to that by sharing links via Twitter and Facebook or by downloading the mobile app and hooking up Instant Upload. You can actually get up to 16GB of storage space for free through various referral links. If you need more storage, you can upgrade to their Pro 50 account (50 GB – $10/mo) or Pro 100 (100 GB – $20/mo) accounts. If you’re looking to use Dropbox for your office, they even have corporate plans available as well. Find out more about the various plans they offer here.
Note: I’ve used referral links to Dropbox throughout this post. If you sign up and install the desktop app to your computer through this link, we both get 500MB extra