Although modern mobile phones usually come along with more and more internal storage space (despite the trend of removing SD card slots), it's always handy to have an online storage application on our Android device. Not because we're worried about running out of free space to be able to install new applications or filling our disk space with photos, videos and other rubbish sent to us by WhatsApp, but because it's important to have a backup on the cloud of all files just in case something bad were to happen to our smartphone or tablet.
The official mobile app of the online storage service par excellence.
There are dozens of these services out there: Google Drive, One Drive, Mega, My Cloud, Cloud Me, SugarSync, etc., but one of the most popular ones, on both Android and other platforms and operating systems, is definitely Dropbox, the application of the Californian company founded in 2007 by two MIT students, Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi. But why is it so popular? That's hard to say, but it's possibly due to a combination of simplicity, low cost, security and the fact that it was one of the first services of this nature to appear.
How does it work and how to use Dropbox for Android
Its app for Android devices is very easy to use. Simply download the APK to your smartphone, install the application and login if you're already registered on the service. You'll immediately have access to all your folders and files uploaded previously to your account, probably from the web application or the Windows or Mac desktop client, if it's the first time you use the mobile version.
How to upload new files and then share them? It's as easy as following these steps:
- Step 1: Press the blue round button with the + symbol in the bottom right-hand corner of the interface.
- Step 2: Choose the option Upload Files or Upload Photos or Videos, depending on the type of file you're going to store on the cloud.
- Step 3: Browse through the folders of your smartphone through the built-in explorer until you find the file in question.
- Step 4: Choose the file and press the blue button labeled Upload.
- Step 5: A Push notification will tell you when the upload has been completed.
- Step 6: To share the uploaded file go to its online folder, expand the drop-down menu and choose the Share option.
- Step 7: Create a Read-Only access link and send it by email to the person you want to share it with.
Dropbox or Google Drive? Which one's better?
When we talk about an online storage service we can't avoid comparing it to the current king of cloud storage platforms: Google and its Google Drive application.
The truth is that, at first sight, it looks like the platform developed at Mountain View to save files on online servers is much better than the service we're talking about today: more free space (2 vs 15 GB), the possibility to allow several users to edit the same document at once or its integration with Gmail and other Google services.
Google Drive is a complicated rival for Dropbox.
Therefore, it's hard to find advantages of using this service instead of GDrive, but if you don't want the storage of your important files and documents to depend exclusively on Google and its privacy policies, you might prefer the service with the iconic blue box. Furthermore, the space available in the free version of Google Drive can't be expanded without paying, whilst in the case of Dropbox you can. By spamming your friends you could equal the storage capacity of both systems as we've explained below.
Dropbox prices. How much does it cost?
This online storage service comes along with different plans and different prices depending on the amount of free space we require to host or files on the cloud.
- Basic account: it's the free version of the service that offers you 2 GB of space, expandable to 16 GB by means of inviting your friends, with 500 extra MB per invitations.
- Pro account: it's the paid version that offers us 1 TB of space for the affordable price €9.99 per month or €99.99 per year.
- Business account: it's the version conceived for companies and organizations. Its price varies depending on their size and number of people that require access.
What's new in the latest version
- Dropbox Plus now includes tools to organize our digital life.