Keeping your digital stuff synced and accessible across all your devices is super important. Why not use the cloud to your advantage by leveraging different services to keep yourself backed up and in sync no matter where you go? We know you’re on board so we put together a great list of just how to keep our photos, documents, music, notes, videos and computers not only synced and available offline, but backed up across different mediums. Most are free (hooray!), some are freemium (woohoo!) and all of them are ridiculously awesome. Check ’em out!
1. Google Drive (Free): Most of us already use this cloud storage/document editor to create, edit and share everything from documents, spreadsheets and presentations. It can convert Microsoft Office files, in addition to accepting all types of other files. Google Drive syncs with Mac/PC, iOS and Android.
2. One Note (Free): Keeping your notes in the cloud may seem silly, but when an idea strikes, it’s great to have One Note syncing your notes across all your devices and available at your beck and call. Create and edit custom color-coded notebooks, and share them with colleagues and friends. One Note syncs across Mac/PC, iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
3. Google Hangouts (Free): Unless you have matching hardware (we’re looking at you, Apple), it’s a little more difficult to pick up a conversation on another device easily. Thankfully, Google makes this possible with their newly redesigned chat client, Hangouts. In addition to group messaging, it makes fantastic video calls, has SMS support on Android and makes use of fantastic new emojis. On the desktop it allows screen sharing, broadcasting and recording, which is great if you’re demonstrating how to remove scratches from your furniture, or show off your cat. Either way. Google Hangouts syncs across Mac/PC via Chrome, iOS and Android.
4. Google Chrome (Free): Keeping your bookmarks, history, and login credentials accessible across your devices has never been easier than with Google Chrome. It’s a customizable web browser that allows you to install apps, view open tabs from another device and print to anywhere in the world (Google Cloud Print is awesome btw!). We love it because of its great security, speed and simplicity. Google Chrome is available for Mac/PC, iOS and Android.
5. Plex (Freemium): Accessing your personal collection of videos, music and photos is easier than ever using Plex. Essentially, it’s a personal version of Netflix. How it works is you install their media server software on either your Mac or PC to watch your video folders. Using your free login, you can either go on Plex.tv, or use one of their apps (which cost $5 on both iTunes and Google Play Store) to view your collection from anywhere in the world. PlexPass ($30/year or $75/lifetime) offers offline viewing, camera uploading and cloud syncing. It’s fast and allows you to resume on another device, which is great if you’re on the go. You can use Plex on your Mac/PC, iOS, Android and Windows Phone. It also works with Chromecast, Roku, Amazon Fire, Google TV and most Samsung Smart TVs.
6. Google+ Photo Backup (Free): If you’re an avid Google user, chances are you have a Google+ social media account. One of the built in features for mobile devices is called Photo Backup, which is exactly what it sounds like. Once you snap a photo on your device, Google+ will automatically upload it at standard resolution so that your photos are not only backed up, but available to you on any device. Standard resolution (2,048 px) is unlimited and doesn’t count towards your 15 free GB, while full resolution uploads do. Viewable across Mac/PC and available for iOS and Android.
7. BitTorrent Sync (Free): Keeping everything in the cloud can be a little scary… that’s why keeping a local backup is essential. BitTorrent Sync (not a BitTorrent client!) is the baby of BitTorrent, Inc. and keeps your files synced across devices without the cloud. This is purely a syncing service to keep files matched between machines and devices. Once installed, simply choose the folders you want synced and share your “secret” with your mobile device. If you put anything into the folder or use the Camera Backup feature, it’ll automatically sync with your desktop computer, giving you a second copy of your data! It’s great as insurance against a lost device (we’ve all lost tons of photos one way or another). BitSync your stuff on Mac/PC, iOS, Android or Windows Phone.
8. Google Music (Freemium): Having all your tunes available to you is essential in times like these. Google Music makes this possible by giving it away for free if you install a small client on the computer where your music collection lives. Simply install, set the watch folder, and away we go — up to 20,000 of your songs are uploaded to the cloud. You can catch your music on the other side of the cloud by downloading the free app and listening to your collection wherever you want, whenever you want on mobile devices. Google Music also features the ability to store music locally, which is perfect for a subway commute. It has a paid option called All Access ($10/month) that gives you radio and streaming access to over 20 million songs. Not only is the quality great, but it also syncs with your iTunes playlists. Google Music is available with Mac/PC, iOS and Android.
9. CrashPlan (Freemium): In addition to creating two backups that you keep off-site in case your building burns down (everyone does this… right?), it’s good form to allow your friends to backup their stuff to you, and you to them. CrashPlan makes this possible. It’s installed on your computer and allows you to share “Backup Codes” with friends anywhere in the world. Once a code has been shared, the program begins to upload your files to your friend’s machine. Don’t worry, folks, none of your super secret data is accessible to the other person, as it’s all encrypted and protected by a password of your choosing. What makes CrashPlan even better is its paid option ($4/month or $60/year) which gives you unlimited backup to their cloud service, including unlimited document revision history. This means that no matter how many times a file changes, you’ll be able to restore it back to any version you like. You’ll want to install this juggernaut software on your beast(s) within a fortnight. It syncs with Mac/PC and the files are available to download via iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
10. OwnCloud (Free): Ever wish you had unlimited backup with Dropbox? Well, if you don’t mind stuffing your personal computer with hard drives, this is a good free alternative for you. OwnCloud is your personal cloud, hosted by you. Install the small server software on your machine, create folders and users then install special apps that enhance the experience. It’s fantastic for keeping your files accessible from anywhere, and since it’s all on your machine, it’s secure and private. OwnCloud syncs with Mac/PC, iOS and Android.
Do you have a service you use to sync your digital life? Share with us below!