2 Great Alternatives to iCloud for Mobile Document Accesss

Apple does so many things well. Unfortunately, in our experience, the company has yet to truly master the cloud for mobile document access.

This is the Apple iCloud document syncing promise:

“Your documents are just there, stored in your apps, and ready whenever you need them. And now your apps can store that information in iCloud. Which means you can access your documents — with your latest updates — on whichever device you happen to be using at the time. It all happens automatically, without any effort from you.”

This hasn’t always been the case for us. For instance, documents we created in Pages on an iPad 2 did not show up in the Pages app on our iPhone 4 or within icloud.com/iwork, even after we triple-checked that the iPad was connected to the Internet and iCloud Documents & Data was turned on in the iPad’s settings.

“You can also drag and drop any iWork ’09 or Microsoft Office document from your computer into one of the iWork apps on icloud.com, and it automatically appears on all your iOS devices, ready for you to review, edit, or present,” Apple says. Here again, this hasn’t always worked for us.

We think Apple has a bit more tinkering to do under the iCloud hood. In the meantime, if you need access to your important files from a mobile device, we recommend both Dropbox and SugarSync.

Dropbox gives you 2GB of storage free and automatically syncs your docs between the Dropbox folder you’ve set up on multiple computers. Your files are also stored securely on Dropbox’s web servers. Using the Dropbox app on an iOS, Android, or BlackBerry device, you can easily download a file from your Dropbox account. From there, you can edit the file on your mobile device, provided you have a compatible app, and share it with others.

SugarSync works similarly but syncs files between multiple folders on your computers, as opposed to a single desktop folder (like Dropbox). SugarSync also gives you 5GB of free storage. SugarSync has mobile apps for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Symbian devices, too.

We use Dropbox’s free storage for our critical files and SugarSync for less-important files as well as photos. There's no real reason to do it this way; you could switch and make SugarSync your main cloud storage/sync services. Either way, combined the two of them give you 7GB of free cloud storage and easy access to your files from your mobile device.


Apple, SugarSync, DropBox, IOS, iCloud