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What is Dropbox and how to use it?
Cloud storage is an essential service that everyone needs. It’s a great way to back up, save, and share important documents and photos and quickly and easily access files across devices. Some services even make collaboration easy with built-in productivity tools and third-party integration. Dropbox is one of the more popular cloud storage services around and is an excellent option for anyone considering signing up for one. What is Dropbox, and how do you use it? Here’s everything you need to know.
Read more: The best cloud storage services for Android
Dropbox is a cloud storage service that lets you store and sync your files across multiple devices. Any files you upload can be accessed on other devices using the Dropbox app or website. Using its productivity tools, you can also create and share download links and collaborate with others directly through the app.
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What is Dropbox, and how does it work?
Dropbox was founded by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi in 2007. With more than 700 million users, Dropbox has seen a steady growth of around a hundred million users yearly since 2018 and has more than doubled its paid subscriber numbers since 2015.
The cloud storage service lets you store and sync your files across devices without using internal storage. Once you upload a file on Dropbox, you can access it on any device with the Dropbox app or via the website. The service has evolved over the years to include more third-party integration and productivity tools to easily share files and collaborate with others using Dropbox’s built-in features.
How much does Dropbox cost?
Dropbox gives you 2GB of free storage when you create an account. You can upgrade that to a 2TB Plus plan for $9.99 a month ($119.88 billed annually) or a 3TB Professional plan for $16.58 monthly ($198.96 annually). While these plans are for individual users, you can also subscribe to a 2TB Family plan with up to 6 users for $16.99 per month ($203.88 annually). The difference in the price isn’t just about how much storage you get, with the higher-tier plan coming with useful extra features that we’ll talk about later.
The same plans are more expensive without an annual subscription. 2TB and 3TB of storage will cost $11.99 and $19.99 a month, respectively, while the family plan is also $19.99 per month.
Dropbox also has plans for teams and businesses that offer much more than just storage. The Standard annual team plan costs $15 per user per month with 5TB of shared storage. You can also get the Advanced team plan for $24/user/month, which adds valuable extras like security monitoring, ransomware detection and recovery, and more. You will have to contact Dropbox directly to sign up for the Enterprise teams plan with even more security solutions.
Like the individual plans, you can sign up for a team plan without an annual subscription. In this case, the monthly charge goes up to $18/user/month for Standard and $30/user/month for the Advanced plan.
How to use Dropbox
How to create a Dropbox account
Go to dropbox.com and click on Sign up at the top right corner. You can also create an account using the Dropbox app. Download the app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store and tap the blue Sign up button.
You can use any email address to create an account or link your Dropbox with a Google account. You can also log in using your Apple ID using the mobile app or the Sign in page on the website. With a new account, you’ll have the option to try the 2TB Plus plan for 30 days for free.
How to upload files to Dropbox
To upload files from your computer, click the blue Upload button and select your files. Dropbox will automatically create some folders by default, but you can add your own. Click on Create and select Folder or Shared folder.
On the mobile app, tap on the blue + icon to upload files from your phone, create folders, scan documents, or take a photo. Any file, photo, or document you upload will automatically sync and be available on other devices.
If you want to use Dropbox to back up files from your computer, it’s faster if you download the desktop app. This creates a system folder that you can drag and drop files into.
How to share a Dropbox file
Select the file or folder you want to send. Select Copy link and send that to someone to give view-only access to the file. To allow someone to edit the file, click the share button and choose Can edit from the options. Add their email address and click on Share.
On the mobile app, tap on the three vertical dots icon next to the file or folder and select Share. You can also create a link and share it using the phone’s messaging or email apps.
The free Basic plan lets you upload, sync, and share files, and you’ll have 2GB of cloud storage. You can also create and share Word or Google Doc documents, Excel spreadsheets, and Powerpoint presentations directly in the app. You can set it up to automatically backup select files and folders on the desktop. And on mobile, you can use Dropbox as your cloud backup for photos.
But if you’re using Dropbox for collaboration and productivity, you will need to sign up for a premium plan.
Premium subscriptions add access features like Dropbox Paper, a separate app that offers seamless collaboration and lets you create and share your work in a single space. While you can share files with a free account with other Dropbox users, a paid plan adds Dropbox Transfer to securely send large files to anyone that doesn’t have an account.
All subscription plans come with file recovery, the option to restore older versions of files and folders, and integrated cloud content so you can work on Microsoft Office or Google Drive documents right in Dropbox. You will also get text search and the option to allow web previews and comments. Business plans add features like file locking (to lock files from unwanted editing), branded content sharing, and built-in watermarking.
Dropbox was co-founded by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi in 2007 and raised its funding from various venture capital firms and individual investors. The company went public in 2018.
Dropbox has faced a few security issues over the years. A massive data breach in 2012 led to the lead of the usernames and passwords of more than 68 million users. This led to the inclusion of additional security features like 2-factor authentication. Dropbox uses the highest encryption protocols to store your files.
You can only enable HIPAA compliance with the Standard and Advanced Business plans for teams. You will not be able to do so with any individual plans.