MacMost Now 330: Sync Files With Dropbox

Dropbox creates a folder on your drive that automatically syncs with a remote server. You can then access these files from your other Macs and iPhone, as well as share them with friends or everyone. It is a good way to keep a set of files in sync if you have more than one Mac.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's take a look at Dropbox.
So every time I do an episode that has something to do with file sharing I have somebody write into me to recommend Dropbox. Dropbox is a great utility that allows you to share files between your Macs and between other people. Let's take a look at exactly what it does. So what Dropbox does after you install it is to create a new folder in your user folder called, Dropbox. You can put files in here and create folders. Do whatever you want. And what Dropbox will do is it will automatically sync all your files and folders and any changes you make to this folder to a copy of your Dropbox folder at the Dropbox website.
Now, here's where it gets interesting. If you have a second Mac and you install Dropbox on it, you can sync the two Macs. Use the same Dropbox. So, you have your first Mac, say your desktop Mac, you put a file in your Dropbox there. It'll automatically sync up to the Dropbox server then sync to your second Mac, say your laptop. So anything that you put in your Dropbox folder on one Mac will instantly appear in the Dropbox folder on the other Mac. And as you make changes, back and forth, they always stay in sync. You also get this menubar item that appears up here. You can click on it to open the Dropbox folder or go to Dropbox preferences.
You can also share files with other people. You can create shared folders inside your Dropbox folder that another Dropbox user can look at. You can invite them to. So you can have, say, a collection of photos, or some documents that you're collaborating on and put them in a shared folder and then you can make changes to them and so could somebody else who also shares that folder.
Another cool thing you can do is you can publicly share a file. You can set it on the web interface to be public and it will give you a URL. You can email that URL to somebody and it's a great way to email somebody, say, a hundred megabyte video file without having to send the file as an attachment in an email.
While Dropbox is not a substitute for Time Machine for backing up. It is very useful for backing things up while traveling. If you're traveling with your MacBook and don't have access to your Time Machine drive at home. You can put things in your Dropbox folder. Know that they'll be synced up to the cloud whenever you're connected and if something happens to the original files on your MacBook then you've got copies of them on your Dropbox folder and you can access them from your other Macs when you get home.
Now, Dropbox is free if you use two gigabytes or less. You can also get some pro plans for fifty gigabytes or a hundred gigabytes at 10 or 20 dollars per month, respectively.
You can also access your files outside of your Mac. If there's a computer that doesn't have Dropbox installed, you can simply log on to the website and view and download the files there. There's also a free iPhone app that gives you access to your files and will even let you view most file formats. Things like PDFs and images right on your iPhone.
I should also mention that Dropbox is not the only player in this space. It's main competitor is probably iDisk, which is part of MobileMe. So if you already have MobileMe, you may want to use iDisk instead. Also, there are some other third parties. For instance, there's drop.io, sugarsync.com, and zumodrive.com. There's probably several others out there as well.
But since the basic two gigabyte plan for Dropbox is free, might as well download it and give it a try. You'll probably find it useful, especially if you have more than one Mac. Till next time this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 7 Responses to “MacMost Now 330: Sync Files With Dropbox”

    George Brickner
    12/11/09 @ 11:44 am

    It’s also worth mentioning that Dropbox is available for Windows and Linux.

    I have two Macs (iMac and MacBook) and use Dropbox to sync files between them.

    Both Macs also have Bootcamp partitions so I can boot Windows 7. I also use Dropbox to sync the Win 7 side with the Mac side.

    I have Mobile Me but I’m letting it expire.

    Ken Smith
    12/12/09 @ 2:29 pm

    Just to add to what George said, besides syncing between multiple macs (which I do), its can really be a great tool for a mac user forced to use a windows machine at work. No more getting out the flash drive or emailing back and forth between home and office. I also let my MobileMe expire as between dropbox and gmail, there is really little need, especially at $99 a year. Also, If you get others to join dropbox, you can earn an additional 3GB of storage space for yourself…

    Daniel
    12/18/09 @ 2:03 am

    Hi Gary!
    Forgot to pass on a “Thank you” from my son, for Dropbox!
    He thinks it’s so cool. Also, he wants to point out if you go through all the steps in the “getting started” page at Dropbox they raise your Free account to 250MB of extra storage for a total of 2.5 GB.
    My son is one of your newest followers. :-)

    Don churchill
    3/30/11 @ 1:04 pm

    I was wondering if you new a way to just talk to correctly to your iPhone to text an e-mail I already tried Vligo and it works pretty good when you just want to start a text, there is no way to go to the program once you’re inside of somebody else’s text a sent you in you want to reply you cannot get back in to Vlingo and lets you start all over again let me know if you have an idea how to appreciate thank don

      3/30/11 @ 1:21 pm

      Try Dragon Dictate for iPhone. You still have to switch between apps, though.

    don churchill
    3/30/11 @ 1:07 pm

    I just wanted to let you know who ventured doing a fantastic job one thing I noticed you switch from one part of your video to another, the volume changes up to now just in case you know don

      3/30/11 @ 1:20 pm

      It is because I am using a different microphone when I record the iPad screen. The quality changes.

Comments Closed.