With so many new apps being “invented” that allow files and documents from software running on a PC, Mac, or network to be accessed and used with the iPad, the need to easily and wirelessly transfer files and documents between a computer, network, smartphone, and iPad has become increasingly prevalent.
The iTunes sync method for transferring or syncing data between a computer and iPad is certainly viable, however, making that direct cable connection isn’t always possible. One solution that’s being adopted by a growing number of app developers is the use of an online cloud-based file sharing service, such as iCloud or Dropbox, to wirelessly import and export files from the iPad.
These services enable you to transfer a document or file to a remote service and then pull that file from the server using another device. This makes it easy to share documents, data, and files with others or to wirelessly transfer content between your own devices.
Currently, in addition to iCloud, there are many different cloud-based file-sharing services that iPad users can subscribe to. In fact, many large companies have established their own, secure, online file-sharing solutions. In terms of those that work with the iPad, some are free and others have a monthly or annual usage fee associated based on the amount of online storage space that’s utilized.
All of Apple’s iWork apps, including Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, have taken advantage of cloud-based services such as iCloud or iWork.com for wireless file and document transfers.
Meanwhile, many third-party app developers have created iPad apps that utilize the popular, easy-to-use, and low-cost Dropbox cloud-based file-sharing service for moving files between the iPad and other computers or devices.
Setting up a Dropbox account is initially free (for up to 2GB of online storage space). However, premium accounts that offer much more online storage space are available for a fee.
Dropbox offers free PC and Mac software for securely transferring files from a computer to the password-protected and encrypted online-based service. A free proprietary app for the iPad (see Figure 10.1) is also available that allows the tablet to send and receive files utilizing the Dropbox service as long as a 3G or Wi-Fi Internet connection is available.
Figure 10.1. The Dropbox app for iPad gives your tablet direct access to the popular Dropbox online (cloud-based) file-sharing service.
More and more iPad apps are becoming compatible with Dropbox, as well as Apple’s own iCloud service. Using this type of service to wirelessly transfer and share files, documents, and data is convenient and simple.
To get started using the Dropbox app, download it from the App Store and set up a free account the first time you use it. Or you can download the free Dropbox software for your PC or Mac from www.Dropbox.com and set up your account using the software.