A few months ago, I wrote a round-up article detailing several utilities to help you make the most out of Dropbox on your Android. At the time the article was written, the only synchronization application I mentioned was Titanium Media Sync, which allowed continuous sync from the device to Dropbox folders, but unfortunately was limited to one-shot sync in the opposite direction. All similar utilities were limited by the same pitfall.
Today, things are different. Enter Dropsync, a client that finally brings a decent solution to this problem.
What Is DropSync?
Dropsync is a full two-way sync solution between your microSD card folders and your online Dropbox folders. It resembles in functionality the official Dropbox applications for desktop computers, in that it seamlessly compares the linked folders and fills in the gaps, by uploading the files from your phone if they aren’t yet on Dropbox, and downloading the files that are online but not yet local. This functionality is unfortunately still missing from the official Dropbox Android application.
Dropsync exists in two flavors: a free ad-supported version that only allows you to sync one folder back and forth, and a paid ad-free version that permits multiple folder sync (even all of your Dropbox content if you so wish) as well as instant uploads, and limiting of file upload size. Both versions come with a rather minimalist UI, with just one screen to show you the last attempted sync and the state of your Dropbox account in terms of quota used, free and linked to your device.
The Simple Setup
When Dropsync is launched for the first time, your are directed to your Dropbox account to sign in and allow it access. This way of tapping into the Dropbox API allows you to keep your privacy and not give your usernames or passwords to Dropsync.
After the application is permitted access to your Dropbox, you can proceed to add Synced Folders. This process is incredibly easy. First you are directed through your SD card to choose the local folder, then through your Dropbox account to pick the cloud folder you want to link to it. Once this is done, you will see the link added to your Synced Folders menu, and you can enable/disable each one separately thanks to the checkbox next to it.
Dropsync also allows you to tinker with many other settings:
- skipping hidden files
- stopping upload from the device if the file size is higher than a certain limit (from 1.5MB to 200MB, or unlimited if you prefer)
- autosyncing in the background, with a choice of several time intervals (from 15 minutes to 24 hours)
- changing the delay between attempts if the synchronization fails for any reason
- enabling instant upload to continue monitoring new files and upload them immediately to your Dropbox account
- setting the power source required for the synchronization to occur: you can limit it to charging via USB or AC power, or also allow it on battery power while being able to specify a minimum battery level to attempt the sync
- choosing the internet connection required – wifi only or wifi and mobile – and forbidding it when roaming
- selecting the notification status to use while a synchronization is occurring and when it has ended.
As you see, the amount of settings available in this application is quite exhaustive, and there’s nothing I could think of that’s missing from it. It takes less than a minute to go through these to adjust them to your preferences. Plus, if automatic synchronization does not interest you, there is a manual sync trigger that you can use only when needed.
How Good Is It, Really?
One of the awesome aspects of Dropsync is that it’s a set-it-and-forget-it application. I have never had to open it again, except to add a new Synced Folder. Aside from that, it works silently in the background and it’s almost magical when you open your computer to find your files already there, or when you check your file manager on your phone to find that file you wanted to send waiting for you. Dropsync also works well with deleted files, which is something I didn’t expect of it. Delete a file from your phone, or your online Dropbox account, and it will be deleted from the counterpart. It’s great that Dropsync understands that this file has to be gone, not re-sync’ed to where you first had it and removed it.
Dropsync is amazing for several use case situations; here is an example of the three I am employing:
- keep photos and screenshots in sync between your phone and your computer
- easily transfer and access the installation file APK of some beta android applications or non-market applications
- synchronize a settings file for an application that is shared across several devices.
We have had to wait for years for Dropbox to release an official application for Android that handles synchronization and it looks like we’ll have to wait some more. Until then, Dropsync is a wonderful lightweight utility that works seamlessly in the background, offers a multitude of setting options, and allows you to completely synchronize your folders between your phone and your Dropbox account. It’s a highly recommended application, and you can start with the free version to test it, and then, if the need arises, get the paid version.