I started writing with the goal of sharing five great uses for Dropbox, but the list just kept growing.
As I researched ideas and tested them out, I decided against cutting the list, because there were just too many useful tips that might save someone a fistful of time and effort.
I’ve also split back-up into several categories which I think are particularly useful.
Here are 17 tips that I think can make your life easier, save you money and help you run your business more efficiently.
1. Sync your iTunes music library across multiple devices
Problem: Using multiple devices often leads to being out without your favourite playlists. I use a different iPhone when I go running, and the only time I think to update the music library is when I’m standing on the road, ready to go.
By changing your Music Library folder to a Dropbox folder, you quickly sync music across devices. , making them accessible without having to manually download them.
Note: Limited by your Dropbox storage space. Try only syncing “on the go” playlists, or upgrading to a paid Dropbox account if you want more space.
2. Use Dropbox as Your Documents Folder on your Local Drive
Your Documents often holds some of your most often used and most important files. It can be easy to miss in a backup as well. Set this to be a Dropbox folder and not only can you access it from anywhere, it’s backed up too.
3. Document collaboration
Sharing documents can get messy if you lose track of document versions or who is using what.
Free extension http://notifybox.com/ enables you to use Dropbox as a document management solution.
4. Online image galleries
Create a gallery for sharing, quickly. Just copy and paste a bunch of pics and add everyone. I find the Dropbox folder system easier than most image upload scripts. It’s as easy as copy and paste, and can save you time and frustration if you do this often or have a lot of images.
5. Integrate with Project Management Software
We use TeamWorkPM to manage our teams and clients. Dropbox integrates with this online platform, so you can attach documents directly to tasks, assign roles and track completion. I can’t tell you how much easier it is to read the task and have the file stored right there!
6. Backup important files from your Local computer
This may sound obvious, but if saves you from losing one crucial document, it will have been worth including!
Use Dropbox to backup your most important files on your local drive. This can include financials, passwords and other sensitive information essential to your business/personal life. Dropbox encrypts everything, so it remains safe online. This is really useful if your home computer dies or is stolen. It’s also easy to access them out of home.
7. Backup your iPhone Contacts
The ‘Contacts Backup to Dropbox’ app is just one way of backing up all your contacts to Dropbox.
iCloud does this already, but this app comes in handy when you need to switch iCloud accounts or upgrade your iOS.
This is great if you are away, lose your phone and need to access your contacts online. You can also download them by wifi to add them to your replacement phone.
8. Backup travel documents
Add itineraries, copies of tickets, passports, licenses and visas for safe keeping in case you lose something whilst away. Also makes it easy to share this with a contact back home for their reference and/or safe-keeping.
9. Backup your website
Use a Dropbox folder as the location of your WordPress website or blog. We use the BackUpBuddy plugin for our client sites, so it happens automatically, and on schedule.
10. Easy access and back up of Instagram pics
I often use my Instagram pics in blog entries. It can be fiddly downloading them from Instagram to your local computer.
So I set up a ‘recipe’ on IFTTT.com to automatically add all my new Instagram photos to a Dropbox folder.
You can also choose to save images by #hashtag or by user.
11. Access old versions or deleted files
“Dropbox is like a time machine”
If you want to recover a previous document version, or even a deleted file, Dropbox automaticaly keeps the last 30 days. You can extend this with PackRat, which is available in the Pro version.
To find an old version, click the file’s version history (under More) and choose Previous Versions.
12. Refer to increase your space
With all these ideas, you’ll be using up your storage space!
Free accounts start with 2GB space. You can expand this to 16GB by referring friends and colleagues.
If you need more, you’ll need to think about upgrading to a Pro version.
13. Host large files for your website
You can save your website hosting bills by using Dropbox as a storage place for large files eg. videos. All you need to do is embed the file on your site, and traffic will be routed via Dropbox, saving your data usage.
This is also useful for zipped files.
14. Store your photos
I had 4,000+ photos on my iPhone when I set out the write this article. You can imagine my phone was getting a bit slow as a result. When I came across this tip, I set up my camera roll to sync and it was done before I hit publish.
Install the Dropbox app on your iPhone and allow it to automatically add all your photos to Dropbox.
It’s easier to access them across different devices, and frees up space on your iPhone.
15. Theft recovery
You can increase your chances of receovering a stolen machine, or tracking unauthorised usage by using a keylogger and screenshot application. Together, these will log activity on the stolen device and save screenshots into a Dropbox folder. You can even hook up your web cam, enabling you to photograph your theif!
LifeHacker recommends this screen capture tool
and tells you how to set it up here
16. Sync password apps
If you use 1Password, RoboForm or LastPass, you appreciate the convenience of having all your passwords in one place. Unfortunately this is no help if you need to use your partner’s computer.
Use Dropbox to sync your application on multiple devices.
17. Print documents to your home computer from any computer
This is great when you spend time browsing, checking email and researching away from your printer. Follow this guide by Lifehacker to Use Dropbox to Print Remotely to your Home Printer
If you found this useful, please like or share the article with your networks.
And if you use Dropbox in other smart ways that you’d like to share, please add them in comments.