How the Dropbox Mobile App Works

Features of the Dropbox Mobile App

Here's some iPad Dropbox sharing in action.
Here's some iPad Dropbox sharing in action.
Image courtesy Dropbox

Does the Dropbox app sound like the perfect way to sort out your disordered filing system? If so, it's easy to give it a test drive. The Dropbox service and its associated apps are free to use. The company offers 2 gigabytes (GB) of space to anyone who signs up, though you'll need a paid account if you want to store data in the heftier 50-GB or 100-GB range. Paid business accounts start at 1 terabyte (TB) in size. On top of this, referrals earn you additional storage space.

So the first thing you'll need to do is download the Dropbox app to your phone. That's right; you don't even need to sign up for a Web account first. You can do everything through the app itself -- and "everything" consists of filling out the usual array of sign-up forms: first name, last name, e-mail and password. Agree to the terms of service, and you're on your way.

Next, you'll need to install Dropbox on your other devices as well -- especially the PC, Mac or Linux computer that hosts the files you plan to share. You'll be somewhat limited in what you can share from your phone. On iPhone, for example, you can only upload photos and videos. When it comes to accessing synced files, however, you're not so limited. Open documents, watch videos and play all the music you want, provided they're sitting pretty in your Dropbox folders.

And that's pretty much all there is to it. The app provides a doorway through which to access shared documents, documents that you'd otherwise have to sync to the phone itself or send via e-mail or another cloud-sharing application.