Dropbox isn’t designed to thrill. It comes under that bracket of apps unenticingly labelled “productivity”. But unlike so many apps that claim to do wonders for your day-to-day life, Dropbox is truly useful – we’d argue strongly in favour of the adjective indispensible – and has more to offer than first meets the eye.
With your free app (a registration is needed, but again costs nothing), you’ll get 2GB of free cloud storage that works between any devices with the Dropbox software installed. You drop files in your Dropbox folder and they magically appear in all the others, pending an efficient background upload completing. Log on to your mum’s antediluvian laptop and you can still access files via the browser. It threatens to consign USB sticks the bin containing 3.5in floppy disks and CD-ROMs.
Of course, you’re up the proverbial river without the appropriate rowing apparatus when there’s no data signal, but such is the way of modern digital living. Assuming you’re connected to the internet, Dropbox is a simple, but very effective, wonder.
The extra benefits of Dropbox really come into their own in its app form, though. Unlike, say, Google Docs (which also offers 2GB of any-file-format storage), Dropbox will display many formats your iPhone doesn’t understand natively. Microsoft Word, PDFs and all manner of picture encodings (though not all) are displayed neatly, formatted correctly, on your 3.5in screen.
Here’s the bonus, though: you want to open an attachment from an email in a format your iPhone doesn’t understand. Screwed, right? Wrong. Dropbox’s deep integration will give you an option to open the file through the Dropbox app. Genius.
So, boring it may be, but Dropbox has saved most of its users’ bacon at some point. And until the rest of cloudland wakes up and smells its delicious coffee, it’s ahead of the game.
Essential for anyone who thought USB sticks were the best thing since sliced bread a few years back