Content of the material
- Dropbox Plus
- How Does Dropbox Work With Smart Sync?
- Mobile offline mode
- Dropbox Works Automatically and Invisibly
- Price, Storage Allotment, and Upload Limits
- Dropbox features and plans
- Use Dropbox to Restore Files
- Really want to know why Google Drive is better?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Dropbox?
- What are the pros of Dropbox?
- What are the cons of Dropbox?
- What are the best Dropbox alternatives?
- What is Dropbox Business?
- Is Dropbox HIPAA compliant?
- Get larger free Dropbox storage with CBackup
- Dropbox what happens if I stop paying?
- Cheap Cloud Storage Alternatives for Students
- Free Cloud Storage for Students
- Inexpensive Cloud Storage for Students
- Dropbox Professional
Keep your desktop clearDropbox Plus gives you 2TB of online storage space, plus access to Dropbox Sync to access online files from your desktop.
How Does Dropbox Work With Smart Sync?
Another big difference between the free and paid Dropbox plans is that the latter unlocks “Smart Sync” (read our what is Dropbox Smart Sync? piece).
To briefly explain, Smart Sync allows you to mark files you create on your desktop as “online only.” You can access and edit them anytime you use your computer, but they won’t be stored locally unless you choose to download them.
Without the Smart Sync feature, users don’t have the option to store files solely in the cloud. If you have plenty of internal storage space, this likely won’t be an issue. For those who constantly max out their local storage space, paying more to access the Smart Sync feature will be money well spent.
Mobile offline mode
The mobile version of Dropbox is set to let you see the files you have synced to the cloud, but those files are not automatically downloaded to your phone. However, you can always click the three-dotted menu icon either next to a file in a list (or once inside a file) to toggle the switch that will grant you access when you are offline. This functionality can be found across all versions of Dropbox.
When you hover over a file in your Dropbox web interface, you’ll also see an additional menu option called “Open With.” This allows you to open your document on a variety of platforms thanks to certain third-party integrations with Dropbox.
You can open documents with a desktop editor like Pages or Word, online programs like Google Docs or Microsoft Word Online or you can send it with Gmail. You can also use programs including HelloSign, Adobe Sign or DocuSign to send your document for a signature or HelloFax to send it as a fax. These features are available at all levels of Dropbox, including the free version.
One option that’s reserved exclusively for Professional-level subscribers is Dropbox Showcase. This feature is a bit like getting an instant webpage that you can share with clients or collaborators. It has a simple drag-and-drop interface that lets you add your logo plus photos, videos and animations in an eye-pleasing format. Files can be uploaded from Dropbox or your own device.
Dropbox Works Automatically and Invisibly
To use Dropbox, you simply put files in the Dropbox folder and leave them there. Everything else is automatic. Like most other file-syncing and storage services, Dropbox automatically syncs your files everywhere, so they’re available on any internet-connected machine where you’ve installed Dropbox or that has a web browser. Files you save at home automatically show up on your office computer. Photos you upload from the Dropbox iPhone app show up on your laptop at home, and so forth.
There is an option to store your files in the cloud without also storing them on your computer’s local hard drive, although it’s only available to paying subscribers, not free users. The advantage of using this option, called Smart Sync, is to offload files so that they aren’t taking up space locally. When you use Smart Sync, your computer only downloads files when you need to open and work on them.
Other competing services have a similar feature. In OneDrive, it’s called Files On Demand, and it works for all account types. Google Drive’s desktop application can do the same for both individuals and Google Workspace users.
Price, Storage Allotment, and Upload Limits
This review focuses on Dropbox for personal use. For the corporate audience, PCMag has a separate review of Dropbox for Business.
All the Dropbox apps are free to download, and there are plenty of them, but storage is limited if you don’t pay. The free Basic account provides a meager 2GB. You can earn more space through referrals—an additional 500MB for every friend who joins, up to 16GB—and by completing other actions that Dropbox suggests. Free users may send up to three documents for e-signature per month. Other areas of the service have stricter limitations for free users, however, such as a 100MB size limit per file transfer and no ability to search the content of PDFs uploaded by the Dropbox mobile app scanner.When viewing local files that are also saved to Dropbox, icons indicate files that are synced (green with checkmark) and in the process of syncing (blue with two circular arrows).
For those who need more than the free account offers, Dropbox has two more account options for individuals. The Personal Plus account costs $11.99 per month or $119.88 per year, and it comes with 2TB of storage. Plus also adds offline file access, remote device wipe, Smart Sync (like OneDrive’s Files on Demand), and support for file transfers of up to 2GB in size. Then there’s the Personal Family account, which costs $19.99 per month or $203.88 per year. It’s similar to Personal Plus, with 2TB of space, but you can share the space among a total of six people.
Dropbox features and plans
Dropbox offers different plans for different use cases. Some plans offer more features than others. If you are someone who just needs a place to back up your files, you’ll be glad to learn that Dropbox offers a free plan that comes with 2GB of storage and syncs across multiple devices.
If you are a professional, you’ll want to go with Dropbox’s Plus plan which includes up to 2TB of storage, sync across unlimited devices, 30-day file recovery, and much more for just $9.99 per month. Dropbox also offers plans for teams that come with many additional features such as single sign-on, tiered admin roles, and phone support during business hours.
Dropbox Business starts at $12.50 per user per month and is geared towards companies and enterprises. The Dropbox Business Standard plan offers more storage (5TB) and comes with advanced collaboration and team features.
Dropbox also offers tools such as Dropbox Paper to help you easily work with other people online on important documents.
Use Dropbox to Restore Files
If you accidentally delete a file or folder, fear not: you have 30 days to recover it (120 days on Professional plans). Here’s what you can do to recover your files.
- Locate Deleted Files
On the left-hand side of the home screen in the web application, you will find “deleted files.” Select it to move forward.
- Select the File You Want to Restore
Select the file you would like to restore and press “restore” on the right-hand side of the screen.
If you would rather delete the file completely, select “delete permanently,” located underneath the “restore” button.
Another cool thing is the ability to watch all my videos straight from drive. I have lots of educational courses and video clips I use for making videos, and its cool to be able to watch them from my Mac and phone without having to download them. Dropbox lets you do this too but Google supports a few more formats than Dropbox and gives you the nice YouTube player.
Really want to know why Google Drive is better?
Check out this bonus content: [ninja-popup ID=4620]25 Google Drive Tips you’ve Probably Never Heard of[/ninja-popup]
As part of the new iteration of Dropbox, a feature called “Paper” is now included—and comes with the free version of the software as well as all other subscription levels. It can be accessed in the left-hand column of the home screen online or through the menu on the mobile app.
Paper is basically a workspace where multiple people can collaborate and add text, images, music and other files. To get started, either click on the “Show templates” button on the main Paper screen and choose a Brainstorming, Meeting Notes, or project plan, or create your own template.
Next, choose which members you want to add to the document by clicking the blue “Invite” button at the top of the screen. You can add files using a selection from the black menu bar that pops up when you click in any field in the template. From this menu, you can choose to add images; media files from apps including YouTube, Pinterest, Spotify, Trello and more; files from Dropbox; tables; timelines; to-do lists and more.
Once you’ve created a Paper document, you can publish it by clicking the link at the top of the page.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Dropbox?
Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud storage providers and file-sharing services on the market, where you can save and share files, as well as access documents, photos, videos, and other materials in the cloud from any device.
What are the pros of Dropbox?
Its ease of use and the ability to access files anytime, anywhere are two of Dropbox’s biggest strengths. It also integrates with Microsoft Office Online. Another advantage is the fast and smart file syncing. Last but not least, Dropbox attracts customers with its history feature which provides access to previous file versions.
What are the cons of Dropbox?
The lack of end-to-end encryption is Dropbox’s biggest weakness. Also, the Pro version is expensive, the free version is limited (only 2GB of storage space), and there’s no folder upload or collaboration. Finally, Dropbox could be more privacy-focused.
What are the best Dropbox alternatives?
The best paid alternatives to Dropbox are Sync.com and pCloud.com. These are also the best encrypted Dropbox competitors. The best free file-sharing site like Dropbox is Google Drive.
What is Dropbox Business?
Dropbox Business starts at $12.50 per user per month and is geared towards companies and enterprises. It offers more storage space (5TB) and comes with advanced collaboration and team features.
Is Dropbox HIPAA compliant? No, Dropbox isn’t HIPAA compliant out-of-the-box. However, Dropbox Business users can ask Dropbox to help their organization meet the requirements of HIPAA/HITECH. Learn more about HIPAA-compliant cloud storage here.
Get larger free Dropbox storage with CBackup
"Dropbox what happens to my files if I stop paying storage fee"? If you are unwilling to pay for cloud storage service and you are really in need of a large number of storage for your large size of files, documents, videos, etc, there is another choice for you. Since most cloud storage services only provide users with limited storage space, it is highly recommended to try CBackup.
CBackup allows you to get more Dropbox free storage. You can combine your multiple Dropbox basic accounts together or you can try to merge all the free storage of different cloud drives into a larger space. In this way, you are likely to enjoy unlimited free storage all the time. With CBackup, you can also enjoy multiple benefits as follows:
◆You can backup or sync local files to CBackup Cloud or third-party cloud storage, namely Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive.
◆Enjoy free cloud storage of 10 GB in CBackup Cloud, and get more cloud storage at low cost.
◆It supports cloud to cloud backup and sync, which is extremely convenient if you have multiple cloud storage service accounts.
◆You can set up an schedule backup task in mode of one time only/Daily/Weekly/Monthly, and all the backup tasks will be done automatically.
1. Please create a CBackup account and sign in to CBackup desktop app.
2. Click My Storage and then Add Cloud, select Dropbox and click Add.
✎Tip: By doing so, please authorize CBackup to access your Dropbox files. Repeat it to add other Dropbox accounts or Google Drive, OneDrive accounts as long as you have.
3. Click My Storage > + > New Combined Cloud in turn.
4. Rename the combined cloud if you want and tick all the cloud drives you added before, and tab Next.
5. To adjust the order of the cloud drives, click the up and down triangle icon, and click OK. Then your cloud storage will keep increasing constantly.
✎Tip: If you wanna backup your files into New Combined Cloud, you can create New Task and select Cloud Files as backup source and Combined Cloud as its destination. Finally, just click Start Backup to start your backup task.
✎Note: It’s also feasible to backup your Dropbox folders into New Combined Cloud as well and you can achieve it by simply selecting cloud files as your backup sources and repeat the last two steps above.
As mentioned above, I got 10x more storage with Google for the same price, a massive 1TB. My main computer has a 500GB SSD and a 750GB HDD drive, for a total of 1.25 TB, but neither Google Drive or Dropbox let you split your folder across drives, so I was basically restricted to a maximum of 500GB on my main drive. This number is false however since Operating System and Application files take up a bunch of space that I don’t need to back up. So really I have about 350GB capacity on my PC that I can sync with Google Drive. My second computer, a Macbook Air has even less storage space, 128GB total, so I can barely fit any of my files on that computer. And Google Drive gave me 1TB!
My point is I now have more space than I know what to do with (actually thats a lie, I’ve been using Google Drive to replace my 3 external hard drives, something I will cover in a future post – Post now live – check it out here). But it feels great to no longer have to pick and choose which files I want to back up and which ones I don’t, another step towards reducing decision fatigue, yay!
Dropbox what happens if I stop paying?
As one of the most popular online cloud storage services, Dropbox provides its users with 2GB of free storage space for the cloud files and if users want to get more storage space, they have to pay for it. But what happens if I stop paying for Dropbox? Will all my Dropbox files remain?
Actually, the truth is that nothing will happen to your files when your subscription expires in most situations. However, here are some points you have to pay attention to:
Normally, your account will be immediately downgraded to a Dropbox Basic account.
If you stop paying for Family subscription and you had a Plus subscription previously, you'll be downgraded to 2TB of space.
Your files will not be deleted or removed from the account after canceling the subscription and they'll remain accessible through the Dropbox website.
Dropbox will keep deleted versions of your files for 30 days in case you change your mind oneday.
If you are over your downgraded storage quota, Dropbox will stop syncing your files completely.
Cheap Cloud Storage Alternatives for Students
If you want another option for your cloud storage beyond Dropbox, there are some free and inexpensive pay options you can consider.
Free Cloud Storage for Students
Beyond the free version of Dropbox we discussed earlier, there are a few other free cloud storage options that will work for students who don’t have significant data storage needs.
For those students who are members of Amazon Prime, you will be able to store an unlimited number of photos on Amazon Drive for free, as well as up to 5 GB of video files for free. This can be a handy option for the student who already has a Prime subscription and is looking to back up photos and videos from a smartphone.
Those students who own some sort of Apple device, including a iPhone or iPad, automatically receive 5 GB of free space in iCloud.
If you don’t have an Apple device, you can still receive 1 GB of free storage, but there are far better options on our list for free data storage for non-Apple device owners.
Although Box has more of a client base of businesses, rather than individuals, it does have a decent free storage tier that students could choose to use, offering 10 GB of storage.
Unfortunately, if you want to later upgrade to a paid version of Box, there are no options in the under-$5 per month category with Box.
Among students looking for free storage and other items, Google Drive is going to be the best option on the market for the majority of use cases.
With Google Drive, you’ll have the option of obtaining up to 15 GB of free storage, along with access to productivity apps like Docs and Sheets. Gmail can be part of the same account too.
All of the apps you use under your Google account will count toward your 15 GB limit. So if you receive a lot of huge email file attachments, those count against the storage limit along with your Google Drive files.
With MediaFire, students receive 10 GB of storage for free, and the service synchronizes nicely with social media and email clients. However, you will have to see ads with the free version.
You’ll only receive 5 GB of free storage with OneDrive, which is disappointing compared to some of the other options on our list.
However, if you have purchased a subscription to Microsoft 365 apps as a student (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), you’ll receive quite a bit of storage for free within OneDrive, so this is a good deal for students who are already using Microsoft 365.
If you don’t mind going outside the United States for your cloud storage provider, Swiss-based pCloud offers a free version that starts at 10 GB and is expandable to 20 GB of storage with friend referrals and other tasks.
One of the advantages of pCloud is that you can easily play stored media files, such as video and audio, through the pCloud app, which may be appealing to students.
With Sync, students will receive 5 GB of storage for free. Should you refer friends or complete other tasks, you have the option of increasing this to 20 GB of free storage over time.
Inexpensive Cloud Storage for Students
There are multiple storage options that cost less than $5 per month, but there are none from Dropbox. The cheapest option from Dropbox is the Plus tier, which costs about $12 per month for 2 TB of storage, which is a good amount of storage for the student who needs to store large files, such as video, presentations, and photographs.
However, we understand that money is tight for students, so the Plus tier may be too expensive. But if you can swing just a few dollars a month, you will gain access to quite a bit more storage than what the free versions deliver, as listed here.
For those who want to purchase storage, Apple offers one of the cheapest options at about $1 per month for 50 GB. It also has a $3 per month tier for 200 GB. There are some limitations on these pay tiers for those who do not own an Apple device or who do not subscribe to an Apple service.
Google One is the pay subscription storage tier for Google Drive. If you want more than the 15 GB of free storage in Drive, you can upgrade to a Google One account.
Google One has 100 GB of storage in Google Drive for almost $2 per month and 200 GB of storage in Google Drive for almost $3 per month. As with the free version of Google Drive, you’ll gain access to a number of Google tools with your Google One subscription.
Among cloud storage options for those willing to pay a few dollars a month, MediaFire has one of the largest storage subscriptions, offering 1 TB of storage for about $4 per month if paid annually and $5 per month when paying by the month.
If you are not a Microsoft 365 subscriber, but you want more storage than you receive for free with OneDrive, you can purchase 100 GB of storage for about $2 per month with OneDrive.
With Sync, you can pay about $5 per month for 200 GB of storage per year. However, there is no option to pay month to month with this subscription; you have to pay for the full year in advance.
More space for more stuffDropbox Professional package gives 3TB of space, full-text search, Smart Syncing, and 180 days to recover deleted files.