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Ten Tips for Making the Most Out of Dropbox

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While iCloud offers a wide range of benefits, the current drawback is that users can't easily share data stored within their iCloud account with other people. Dropbox, a cloud-based file sharing service, largely overcomes these problems. In this article, Jason R. Rich provides 10 strategies for using Dropbox more effectively, so you can easily share information with other people and sync files between devices.
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For iPhone or iPad users, Apple automatically grants you access to iCloud, which has been integrated into the iOS 6 operating system. While iCloud offers a wide range of benefits, the current drawback is that users can't easily share data stored within their iCloud account with other people. It's also difficult to share information with non-Apple computers or devices.

A growing number of third-party iPhone or iPad apps are now compatible with Dropbox, an independent, cloud-based file sharing service that anyone can use for free. Currently, Dropbox has more than 100 million registered users, and more than one billion new files are uploaded to Dropbox every day.

This article will help you discover 10 strategies for using Dropbox more effectively, so you can easily share information with other people, plus sync documents, data, folders, photos, and files between all of your computers and mobile devices.

#1. Sharing with Others

One of the biggest benefits to using Dropbox is that you can keep your account secure and private, and only share your information with your own computers or mobile devices that are linked to your Dropbox account.

However, you can also opt to share specific folders or files with other people. To do this, transfer the content you want to share into your Dropbox account's Public folder. Each file that's placed within this folder automatically receives its own unique website address. You can then share that URL with others, which grants them access to specific folders or files, even if the people you want to share with do not currently use Dropbox.

If you have a newer Dropbox account that does not have a pre-created Public folder, you can still share specific folders or files with others. To do this, select the content you want to share and then tap the Share button within the Dropbox app. Based on the type of content, you will be given the option to share it via email, text message, Facebook message (private), Facebook post (public), or Tweet. Tap the Copy Link To Clipboard option to store the unique URL for that file and then share it with someone else by manually pasting the link into an email or by sharing it with them in another way.

#2. Upload Photos to Your Dropbox Automatically

When you sign in to your Dropbox account for the first time, you'll be given the opportunity to turn on the Save Your Photos To Dropbox option. Just tap the Enable button, and all photos taken and saved within the Camera Roll folder on your iOS device will automatically be uploaded to the Camera Upload folder within your Dropbox account. This feature is somewhat similar to iCloud's Photo Stream. Specific images can also be shared with others via Dropbox.

After you enable this option, choose to connect to Dropbox via Wi-Fi Only or Wi-Fi + Cell. Only choose the Wi-Fi + Cell option if you have an unlimited wireless data plan—otherwise you could quickly use up your monthly wireless data allocation.

To view the images stored within your Dropbox account from your iOS mobile device, launch the Dropbox app, sign in, and then tap on the Photo button that's displayed near the bottom of the screen. A thumbnail for each image will be displayed, which you can tap on to view an image. Tap one of the three icons displayed near the bottom of the screen to Share the image, add it to your Favorites list, Save the image to your Photo Library, Copy the image to your device's clipboard, or Print the image.

#3. Create Dropbox Folders

From the main Dropbox screen on your iPhone or iPad, tap the + icon and then tap the Create Folder button in order to create a new folder within your online, cloud-based account. By default, a Camera Uploads and Photos folder will be included within your account. However, to keep your files well organized, create a series of additional folders with easily identifiable names.

#4. Keep Them Organized

To delete or move folders, just tap the check mark icon (displayed next to the + icon) Then tap the folder you want to work with and choose either the Delete or Move buttons. If you tap on the Move button, you can make your folder a subfolder.

#5. Customize Your Dropbox Settings

Tap the gear-shaped Settings icon that's displayed near the bottom of the screen to access the Settings menu and customize some of the app's functions. For example, it's possible to see how much online storage space remains available within your Dropbox account, upgrade your account so it offers additional online storage space (for a fee), adjust the Camera upload settings, add a Passcode Lock to your Dropbox app, or unlink your iOS mobile device from your Dropbox account.

#6. Protect Your Privacy Using Passcode Lock

You can use Passcode Lock to prevent unauthorized people from picking up your iPhone or iPad and accessing your Dropbox data. Once you do this, you'll be prompted to manually enter your passcode each time you launch the app.

Set up the Passcode Lock feature by tapping the Settings icon within the app and then tap the Passcode Lock option. Create and enter a four-digit numeric passcode when promoted and then re-enter it for confirmation purposes. From the Passcode menu screen, you can then turn off the Passcode feature that's now been activated or change your passcode.

By turning on the virtual switch that's associated with the Require Immediately option, you will be promoted to re-enter your passcode each time you switch between the Dropbox app and another app, or you re-launch the app. By turning on the virtual switch associated with the Erase Data option, if someone fails to enter the correct passcode after 10 tries, all Dropbox-related data that's stored on the iOS mobile device will be deleted automatically for security purposes.

#7. Star Your Favorite Files

Every file stored within your Dropbox has its own unique filename. Searching by favorites can make it easier to find the data you're looking for. In order to add an item to your Favorites, simply tap on the star-shaped Favorites icon. This also allows your file to be stored on your iOS mobile device (and all other computers or devices linked to your Dropbox account) for easy offline access.

#8. Sort Dropbox Content for Easy Viewing

As you're looking at the contents of your Dropbox account from your iPhone or iPad, tap the open box-shaped icon to view the folders and/or files stored online. Flick your finger downward on this list to display a Search field, from which you can quickly locate a folder, file, document, or folder using a keyword search.

Displayed to the left of the Search field is a Sort button. Tap it to arrange the folders and files either alphabetically (A-Z), or chronologically (from Newest to Oldest).

#9. Discover Other iPhone or iPad Apps that Support Dropbox

An ever-growing selection of third-party apps available for the iPhone and iPad currently support Dropbox. Thus, the data files created by these apps can be backed up, achieved, shared with others, or shared with your own computers and mobile devices from directly within the third-party apps. The official Dropbox app is not required.

#10. Upgrade Your Free Dropbox Account

To set up a free Dropbox account and begin using it within minutes, visit www.dropbox.com or tap the I'm New To Dropbox option when you first launch the official Dropbox app (which is available from the App Store).

Your free Dropbox account includes 2GB of online storage space. For a flat fee of $99.99 per year, you can upgrade to a Dropbox Pro 100 account. This includes 100GB of online storage space. Upgrading an account can be done from directly within the Settings menu of the Dropbox app on your iOS mobile device. Additional upgrade plans, which include 200GB or 500GB of online storage space, are available if you access your account by visiting www.dropbox.com using any web browser.

By referring friends to Dropbox, you can earn 500MB of additional free online storage space per referral. This can also be done from the www.dropbox.com website.

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