Get Seamless, Free Document Access On Your iPhone or iPad [iOS Tips]

Get Seamless, Free Document Access On Your iPhone or iPad [iOS Tips]

I use several different Macs during a given day, from a trusty Macbook Air to my Mac Mini to an iMac at my office job. I also use an iPhone and an iPad for various personal and business activities. It helps to have access to all the documents I need to deal with during a given day, regardless of what device I’m using, or what environment I’m in.

iCloud is a great idea, and OS X Mountain Lion and iOS 6 will continue to take the service forward. Today, however, I’d like to show you how I use two similar products to achieve a seamless document experience on my iOS devices. For me, Dropbox and Google Drive represent the best in class iOS apps to interface with my documents for home and work.

First up, I use Dropbox to store almost everything. Head over to the Drobpox website and sign up for an account – it’s fast and easy. It’s also free for up to 2 Gb, with extra space earned from referrals. Download Dropbox to your Mac, and launch the installer. Once installed, you’ll see a folder on your Mac that you can then drag any file to. It will upload the file to the Dropbox servers, and it will only be able to be seen by you or people you share that folder with.

On the iPhone or iPad, download Dropbox for iOS from the App Store. Once it has downloaded and installed there, launch the app with a tap, and fill in your email and password credentials. Once you do so, the Dropbox app will show you the same files you’ve put into the Dropbox folder on your Mac.

I use Google Drive on my Mac and iOS device for a similar reason, but haven’t quite migrated all my files to it. I mainly use Google Drive to view all my Google docs, built up over the last couple of years, and then open them for editing in Pages iOS, Evernote iOS, and even Dropbox iOS. Yes, the two services work well together.

To install Google Drive on your Mac, head to the Google Drive download page and it will install a folder, similar to Dropbox, on your Mac. You can also access Google Drive from within your Gmail, as a link at the top of the web interface.

Grab Google Drive from the App Store as well, and launch it on your iPhone or iPad. You’ll see the entire list of docs and other files you’ve placed in there on your Mac, just like Dropbox, as well as files you’ve shared with others.

So, as you can see, both Dropbox and Google Drive allow you pretty easy access to all the documents you might need, whether you’re on your Mac or iOS device of choice. If you open a file for editing from Dropbox or Google Drive on one device and make changes, you’ll see those changes reflected in the file on any other device with the same Dropbox or Google Drive account logged in.

Got an iOS tip of your own? Need help troubleshooting your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad? (sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)or leave a comment below.

  • MacHead84

    The Google Drive app really needs to be more than a doc viewer….it should allow for doc editing as well. I can edited my Google Drive documents thru the Google Search app but not the Google Drive app which is odd.

  • bjmporg

    The best for me has been Sugarsync. A big comparison chart is available here: http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/1080740/bigchart-7.jpeg
    Unlike dropbox or google drive, you can sync any folder and backup any folder. you can upload by email too. Sugarsync allows to sync multiple computers and can sync folders between multiple computers.
    Sugarsync gives 5gb, extra 0.5gb for using the link below, 2gb for inviting 20 friends,625mb for completing some simple steps and additional 250mb if you download and complete simple tasks on your smartphone app.Then there is the option of500mb per successful referral, 10gb if they take up a paid account.
    I got 8.375gb (5+0.5+2+0.625+0.250) within minutes. Get it by clicking this link: http://bit.ly/KbjOKH.

  • Nicolas Cilloniz

    how can you edit a document in dropbox and sync it again on your iOS device?

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in iOS, Tips & Tricks | Tagged: , , , |