I’ve been a Dropbox user for about six months now, and it’s been pretty useful. I use it primarily to transfer files between my own computer and my computer science department lab account. It also comes in handy to share a quick picture online: dragging and dropping the file into my public dropbox folder is easier than opening a browser and uploading the picture to a hosting service. Still, it’s only been useful in a minor way so far, and hasn’t really done anything I couldn’t have done already with a little more effort.
That has changed. Enter the Dropbox iPhone app [iTunes link]. This app solves a problem I’ve been having, namely storing PDFs on my iPod Touch. A few of my professors upload their class readings online as PDFs, and before now I’d had no way of storing several PDFs on my iPod for offline viewing. The Dropbox app lets you not only access files in your Dropbox folder, but lets you download your “favorites” for faster (offline) viewing. This essentially gives my iPod the eReader functionality I’ve been wanting since I got it. I’ve tried other apps, like Stanza, for uploading PDFs, but I had too much trouble syncing. Stanza must be synced over a local wifi network, and my school’s network doesn’t seem to allow it. Syncing to the Dropbox app couldn’t be easier; it’s just click and drag.
The other problem the Dropbox app solves is transferring photos quickly and easily from the iPod Touch to my computer. Syncing my iPod with my Mac is a pain sometimes; half the time the computer refuses to recognize the iPod at all, and the other half of the time, it thinks it’s a camera and doesn’t open iTunes. Now I can upload photos from my iPod to my Dropbox account, and from there I can save them on my computer in less time than it takes iTunes to realize my iPod has been plugged in. Admittedly, this would be a more useful feature if I had an iPhone instead of an iPod Touch, but this feature did allow me to upload the screenshots I took quite speedily.
Unfortunately, the Dropbox app only lets you upload photos. It would be fantastic if it could upload notes as text files. If it had just this one extra feature, I’d probably pay about $5 for the app. However, the best part is that I don’t have to. It’s free!
Click to expand thumbnails of the app in action.