DropBox is an interesting solution to iPod/iPhone/Mac/etc file sharing

Searching for a solution to Apple's stupid iTunes policy on uploading files from iPod or iPhone or iPad brought me to DropBox. I've heard of various geeks saying they use this app and it's cool, so thought to give it a whirl. It's actually useful for the problem at hand, namely image and video sharing between my iPod Touch and my Mac laptop. It's not quite what is wanted, but it's pretty good nonetheless.

The software is free and available at dropbox.com. You can get i-Device apps in the AppStore. They pay for the service by charging a monthly fee for data storage. The first 2GB is free, which is probably just enough to get you hooked, eh?

Installing the DropBox on your Mac enables a special folder in your home directory. The folder contains files that live off in the cloud somewhere. Install the DropBox software on multiple machines (these can be Linux, Windoze or Mac), connect them all to the same DropBox account, and files can be shared between them simply by dropping files into the folder. A file dropped in the folder from one machine appears on the other machines automatically. Cool.

The same holds true when installing the DropBox app on your i-Device.

On the i-Device, a camera icon appears in the bottom bar. Tap that and it asks you about taking a new picture or sharing an existing one. Tap on using an existing picture and the camera roll appears, letting you select a picture or movie to upload to DropBox. Go through the motions and your image gets copied out through DropBox to your other computers. Slick.

It's real close to what I'm looking for ... But not quite.

  • It's only taking care of pictures - what about recorded audio, or notes, ..etc..
  • The file is sent out to the cloud before it lands on the desktop computer - fine for short files, but what about large ones like movies?
  • It insists on compressing the files which might degrade the image quality

I'd rather the software supported direct transfer rather than going out to the cloud. Still, the cloud has its benefits and I'm not about to dismiss this useful software.

The dropbox software tended to crash while compressing and transmitting video files. Crash as in the iPod appeared to be totally locked up and unresponsive with a black screen. It wouldn't respond to being turned on or turned off and I thought the iPod had been bricked. Fortunately I found out how to do a hard reboot of an iPod - hold the Home and On/Off button simultaneously for long enough that the Apple logo appears.