We recently took a look at the best ways to increase your smartphone’s internal storage, helping you to get the most out of the space available on your device. One of our suggestions was to use cloud storage to keep files online, something which can vastly increase the storage capacity available to you. Here we take a closer look at cloud storage and offer some advice on the best solutions for online file hoarding.
Get as much space as possible
With many different firms offering cloud storage options there is a lot of space going for free and there’s nothing to stop you signing up for all of it. Listing every single cloud storage service that exists would take some time (and quite a bit of space on these pages) but were you to sign up for free accounts with Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, SkyDrive and SugarSync you would have a total of 24GB of space available to you.
While the amount of storage space offered by each varies, Microsoft’s SkyDrive beats the rest of those mentioned with an impressive 7GB of free space. All of these services also offer extra space on a subscription basis and many run regular free offers that allow you to expand on what was originally provisioned on sign-up. Dropbox has recently been offering free space to users of Samsung and HTC handsets, with the service’s app coming pre-installed on many of these devices.
Check whether your platform is supported
This is a very important thing to consider when choosing which cloud storage provider you are going to opt for. For example, Windows Phone users would be wise to steer clear of Dropbox, which isn’t currently supported by the platform except for a few unofficial apps which allow you to view files kept in the cloud.
Major platforms such as iOS and Android seem to be almost universally supported and the apps that exist for each of them are generally very easy to use. However, anyone using an older OS such as Symbian or any of the BlackBerry iterations would be well advised to check their app store before committing themselves.
While considering this, it’s also worth looking at the desktop and browser-based interface that each platform has. Many services will automatically download the files they hold to a computer and whilst this keeps them safely stored offline, it may not be the perfect solution for everybody.
Dropbox in particular works very well via a browser, something which is useful for those who use shared computers and want access to individual files without having to download them all.
Is there an auto-upload option?
The main use for auto-upload functions on smartphones seems to be saving your photos to the cloud – freeing up plenty of space on your device by removing seldom viewed images without forcing you to delete what could be treasured pictures.
Again, the presence of such functionality is something that you’ll need to check before committing yourself as it varies from service to service and from platform to platform. iOS users have access to iCloud which may not be an ideal option for cloud-storage due to the way it doesn’t allow certain types of files to be uploaded but is great for backing up your photos to keep them safe.
Beyond this, users of BlackBerry 10 can auto-upload files to Box but not Dropbox, even though both services otherwise sync with the OS. Since most cloud-storage is offered for free it can be worth downloading an app and testing how it works for you before committing yourself to it.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
Backing important files up to the cloud is a good idea, meaning that photos, music and media are safe should your handset be lost or damaged. However, problems can occur with cloud-storage services themselves, as happened with Google Drive last month.
Although a rare occurrence, something like this could prove disastrous if you have important work documents stored online. It may be worth backing up all the cloud files that you have on one service to another just in case, using one as your main service and another as a kind of double back-up. Since so much free space is available, you can afford to duplicate plenty of files before running out of room.