Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tech Time::: Dropbox

Last week in my post about password management apps, I mentioned an app/service called Dropbox...Get it. Seriously! Get it!  

Photos: Screenshots of my iPhone, taken and arranged by me

I have been a bit of a prophet of Dropbox again in recent weeks, with two coworkers losing all or many of their photos on their phones. The first lost hers due to her phone just suddenly dying, and having never backed it up at all, lost photos she took of her son's wedding and some pretty spectacular shots from Maui. She cried for a week!  I felt so bad for her and I spent a day at work trying to help recover all those images before her replacement phone was available, just in the off-chance maybe we were missing some dark recess of the memory they might possibly be stored in.  The other accidentally dropped hers in the pool and hers had not been synced in at least a month, and to her recollection, had never been backed up through iCloud, so when she got her replacement not all of her images were backed up and she was super disappointed as well. 

I was actually a latecomer to this camera upload feature, actually learning about the it from my super-smart friend Nicky, and thanks to her, I have been able to save my own camera roll at least once, plus that of several others!  I had been using Dropbox for several years as a file transfer and storage option for my business and occasionally to move and store files between work and home.  So learning about this feature was just icing, the best kind of icing ever. 

So, this is me pushing it again, loud and proud:  Don't rely on your Photostream, syncing and iCloud to backup your photos on your iPhone, or just your memory card or whatever else you use on your Android.  It won't always work, even if you're regularly and actively setting it to do so, and if you rely on just a memory card, what happens when the phone is stolen or if you drop it in the Ocean?   And if what you do now does work fairly well, why not double down on backing it up just in case?  

Photos: Screenshots from my computer arranged by me

You can either sign up online or you can download the app to your phone (iOS device, Android, Kindle or Blackberry) and sign up through the app.  You can also download a desktop version to your computer (mac or pc). Once all downloaded and logged in, this app/service will allow you to connect your camera roll on your smartphone to your Dropbox account and every time you launch the Dropbox app (I do it every other day or so), it will start uploading your images and videos to your Dropbox account, usually into a folder called 'Camera Uploads.'   You will also be given an option to use cellular data for the uploading, or restrict it to wifi-only, but videos will only go up via wifi.   

If you ever accidently delete one off your phone, you can simply go into your Dropbox Camera Uploads folder in your app, find the photo you are looking for, push the little arrow in the bottom corner to save it to your camera roll, and presto! it's back on your phone again.

This app and its service is fantastic, and it's FREE!  If you want, you can pay for even more space for a pretty reasonable rate, but most folks don't need more than a free account and the more you use it, and more referrals you get, the more space you earn.  Personally, I have a paid one as I use mine to transfer files between my computer and my various print vendors and that alone was worth the upgrade.

Are you a Dropbox fanatic? Or do you prefer a similar service? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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  1. Live by Dropbox and hoping to see competitor Copy grow in similar fashion. It too has an auto upload like Dropbox if you need more free space.


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