File syncing across devices. What is your experience?

in Mac Software edited January 2014
Today many people have a computer at home, a computer at work, a mobile smartphone, and sometimes a laptop or tablet/iPad too. And there are many files you want to be able to access from whatever device or connection you happen to be on at that particular moment. Like personal documents, or photos and videos, or bookkeeping spreadsheets, or a customer database, etc.

That need was sort of covered by USB sticks, in the last, say 5 years. But USB sticks kept being lost, or stolen, or people simply forgot to bring them, or to update them religiously. Usually a combination of all of the above...

We have all been there, haven't we?

You could also burn those files to DVD and schlepp that around. But that was even more inconvenient, in addition to the above 'problems'.

That all changed with file syncing applications, as you're probably aware of. You install them on your devices, they are easily accessible from the notification bar (right hand side of the menubar) on your Mac, and you copy all the files you need into their folder, and Hey! Presto! all those files are now accessible on all your devices! Edit a file on one of your devices, and it is saved/updated on all your devices at the same time! And no more file copying and version history problems either.

File syncing applications are also very convenient for sending BIG (folders of) files to someone. Stuff you could never send by email. Just copy the public link from your syncing app and email that link to your recipient! Or post it on a forum. Like so:


Basically, file syncing applications are of course virtual USB sticks that can never get lost, stolen, forgotten, or outdated...

They are your own personal 'cloud'! Always up to date.

Currently I know of two such (free) apps/applications. Which also work cross-platform (on Macs, iPhones, iPads, Windows, Android phones and tablets, even Linux)! Ideal for collaboration with others on projects. I use both.

If you know of others I'd appreciate to hear from you about them.

In my experience free DropBox has the most user friendly/simple/convenient User Interface, but it is limited to 2GB. More than enough for some. Free SugarSync, on the other hand, handles 5GB files (a whole DVD!), although with a less Mac-like, a less intuitive User Interface.

The bottleneck in this concept (but not prohibitively), imo, is the upload speeds, which vary per carrier/provider/connection. Very big or many files can take many hours to upload. So I usually do that overnight.

Do you have experience with either of these applications? Or others? And which do you prefer? And why?
Sign In or Register to comment.