Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

There are a number of ways I use my Dropbox with OS X apps, or iOS devices.

Some of them include:

  • Recipe tracking: I keep a 'recipes' folder inside Together's dropbox-synced-library, so from my Mac I can drag recipe web pages to the folder keeping them as PDF's, and view them on my iPad while I cook. It also works with text-recipes I've created inside Together.
  • iCal sync: I have The Hit List synced with iCal and keep its library to Dropbox, so iCal's library is being synced to all computers, along with all other apps relying on it (Alarms app)
  • PDF to iBooks: The easiest way to send a PDF to your iBooks..

I can't wait to read about yours clever/unique/nifty ways you're using Dropbox on your Mac / iOS devices.

Rules

  • One answer per post
  • Please search before answering. Duplicate answers will be deleted.
  • Please keep the answers relative to OSX/iOS. No general Dropbox uses!
  • It would be nice if you provide a bold title to your answer. That way it would be easier to parse/search them.
share|improve this question
    
First of all, nice l33t rep. Secondly, if you want this question to stay open, you should accentuate the Mac-side of it (and maybe add some one use per answer rule -like on the other CW questions-). Right now it's just a broad and subjective question. And even then, I'm not sure it'll stay. –  Loïc Wolff Apr 12 '11 at 14:34
    
I thought it would be nice for a community-wiki like this. I've already flagged it and asked to made it a wiki (this is the way it goes, isn't it?) –  nuc Apr 12 '11 at 14:39
    
I agree, and that's the way to do it. But it's not Mac-specific enough. It could be ask as is on SuperUser, hence no value asking it here. But if you specify Mac-only uses, then it might have a chance here. And while you're adding the Apple-solution only rule, add some rules about 1 solution per answer and to look for already added answers (use the other community wiki question for inspiration). –  Loïc Wolff Apr 12 '11 at 14:50
    
Done. Good question –  Nathan Greenstein Apr 12 '11 at 14:55
    
@loic-wolff I think I've got it this time :) –  nuc Apr 12 '11 at 15:13
add comment

19 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Manage Torrent Downloads

I have my BitTorrent client (Transmission) set up to watch a shared Dropbox directory for incoming .torrent files, so I can start a new torrent download from anywhere I happen to be. (GoodReader for iOS has some great file management capabilities, including uploading to Dropbox.)

share|improve this answer
    
Yeh, this is a great use. Combined with the web interface it really makes Transmission quite a powerful tool. –  boehj Apr 14 '11 at 7:54
    
If you've got the Transmission web interface running, why not just open the .torrent file there? You can just paste in a .torrent link. –  Slomojo Jun 5 '11 at 2:48
    
wish I could use this with fonera or maybe tonido. –  Cawas Nov 16 '11 at 1:06
    
This, but with usenet. Easy to add one to Dropbox from my iPhone or while at work and have my home server pick it up and start downloading. –  Mr Rabbit Oct 30 '13 at 18:49
add comment

1Password sync

Syncing 1Password's stored keychain across my Macs. I use 1Password for managing passwords and, more importantly, auto-generating random passwords so that I never use the same password twice. Dropbox makes this much easier.

1Password's secure keychain file lives on my Dropbox, and each time a password is added or updated it's automatically sync'd across all my computers.

share|improve this answer
1  
1Password + Dropbox changed my life. –  sh-beta Nov 11 '11 at 21:17
add comment

Syncing of .profile, .bash_aliases, .fonts and such like

I use a Mac at home and Linux at work, and quite often i am working from home.

I have a ~/login_config/ folder with a couple of files that I either softlink or source during .profile or .bashrc.

My Mac .profile contains source ~/Dropbox/login_config/bash_aliases, my Linux box has a softlink ~/.bash_aliases -> ~/Dropbox/login_config/bash_aliases (and .bashrc on Ubuntu usually sources .bash_aliases automatically)

I use a lot of aliases for ssh destinations for the machines I administer in the cloud and I can switch between work and home with all the same shortcuts, and never have them go out of sync.

This approach can be extended to other shared resources, for example fonts and as a previous poster said, vim is another good one.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Fast way to copy a photo taken on my iPhone to my MacBook Pro.

Sometimes I need to move a photo I have just taken with the phone to my laptop, and using Dropbox I can just upload it to a folder in my account, without the need to connect the phone to iTunes and import the image with iPhoto.

share|improve this answer
    
I actually use Picbox for doing that, though it's still not as perfect as I wish (instant sync the second I take the photo). –  Cawas Apr 16 '11 at 20:33
    
With the iCloud update this is unnecessary. –  Graeme Hutchison Nov 22 '11 at 20:18
    
PhotStream is a cool feature, but it syncs all the photos, not just the one I want to sync. For this Dropbox is still useful. –  Davide Gualano Nov 23 '11 at 9:41
add comment

Setting up new environment

I keep copies of my dotfiles and scripts in there, so I can easily customise my command line environment on a new Mac. Very handy for freelancers who have to work in-office from time-to-time.

share|improve this answer
    
At what kinds of places do you work on-site that provide (or even allow!) a Mac? I'm jealous! –  JRobert Jun 5 '11 at 13:31
add comment

Simple file transfer from my MBP to Windows computer

Or if I know one of my family members need something that I got, I simply put it there, and open Dropbox on their computer to grab the file. Much better than mailing to yourself.

[from Matias answer]

share|improve this answer
add comment

Dropbox saves me from having to use Windows for Web development.

For me, Dropbox makes it possible to do Web development on my Mac.

I use it to sync my work with a PC so that I can test on Internet Explorer. That way, I can switch to the PC, give Dropbox a sec to sync my work, and then open my files. That saves me having to FTP everything all the time.

share|improve this answer
    
Why not just share the web deployment folder with Windows? I don't see this as a reason to use DropBox. –  Slomojo Jun 5 '11 at 2:51
    
@slomojo I'm not always testing with a PC on my local network, so some sort of cloud-based sharing is better. –  Nathan Greenstein Jun 5 '11 at 3:03
    
then really you should be deploying to a test server, than mucking about with a shonky DropBox solution. - You can just have a script run to do your FTP / SFTP / Rsync or whatever, I don't really understand the "Saves me having to FTP", since you still (I assume) manually throw the files at DropBox. –  Slomojo Jun 5 '11 at 4:28
    
@slomojo No, I don't manually throw the files at Dropbox, because that kind of defeats the purpose of Dropbox. So, yes, it does save me a lot of work. Really, it would be much more work to "muck about" with an FTP script than to let Dropbox do its thing. I don't have to muck about with that at all. –  Nathan Greenstein Jun 5 '11 at 14:19
    
thought about version control at all, it would do this all much better. Seems to me you couldn't manage too many sites in this DropBox manner. –  Slomojo Jun 5 '11 at 22:43
add comment

I was sent this link recently on how to host your Git repository in Dropbox. Most people here likely have shell accounts and/or VPNs, but the author describes this as a way to get at your repo while behind a corporate firewall.

share|improve this answer
1  
I am hosting my SVN repo in Dropbox and works well, too! –  Michal M Sep 20 '11 at 18:24
add comment

Folder Actions

You could attach a folder action to a dropbox folder to run an Applescript on whatever you put in there. I'm contemplating setting one up to run ImgOptim on any images I add, then moving them to a destination folder. Other examples could be running a shell script to convert markdown to html for quick-and-dirty site updates.

share|improve this answer
add comment

iTunes Watched Folders

Similarly, iTunes can automatically add content from a watched folder, which is useful for people with an Apple TV and media server that aren't near each other.

share|improve this answer
    
Transmission monitoring already existed as an answer. Could you please describe more the iTunes watched folder function? –  nuc Apr 13 '11 at 10:18
    
Is this referring to Automatically Add to iTunes because I don't understand how this relates to Dropbox. –  styfle Jun 6 '11 at 4:14
    
You can symlink your "Add to iTunes" folder to a folder in Dropbox. That way you can drop stuff into the folder remotely can be added to iTunes on another machine that shares your Dropbox account. –  Andrew W Sep 8 '11 at 19:55
add comment

Synchronization

I used to use it as a poor man's synchronization tool for Safari, symlinking the ~/Library/Safari/Bookmarks.plist to a Dropbox folder. It basically works but it's not failsafe --you should run Safari on one computer only when you're confident that Safari is not running on the other.

This can be applied to almost any application... just use it with care.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Syncing of vim settings and plugins

I use it for my vim runtime folders, including my vimrc, so that all my machines have the same vim implementation. When I make vimrc changes, or add plugins, etc., they're automatically available on other machines. This is quite useful because I use a Windows PC at work, and a MacBook Air at home, and they automatically stay in sync.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Calibre Library Sync

I use it to store my Calibre Library. That way I can add books from my laptop or my desktop and share those books if I want to.

share|improve this answer
add comment

For me, the biggest downside of the 50/100GB accounts on Dropbox has been the requirement to have the content stored locally instead of remote-only (see MobileMe iDisk, etc.). So when DropDAV came about, it was huge. Basically, it allows Dropbox to be accessed via the WebDAV protocol. That allows me to do anything from accessing all the content via a FTP client like Transmit without having to download 50GB+ first, to saving content directly to Dropbox from my iPhone/iPad in apps that don't support the API (ie. Apple iWork suite).

share|improve this answer
add comment

For me, DropBox has let me use my iPad (along with iWork for the iPad) as a laptop replacement. With the addition of DropDav, Dropbox is essentially a grafted on file structure the user can interact with.

DropDav lets you use your DropBox via WebDav, which means documents I create on the iPad, which I've found to be particularly good at periods of intense, focused writing, can be saved directly there and are waiting for me when I get home.

Considering I work on a laptop, a desktop, and my iPad, I find this to be a massively preferable solution to most other things I've tried.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I created a service using Automator that executes a shell script to compress my current XCode project folder. Each time it executes the compressed file gets written over and then accessing dropbox online, I can use the versions feature create a timeline of saved changes.

This has advantages for my workflow - Instead of restoring individual files one at a time. I will just take my project back to a point in time when I knew everything was working properly. Dropbox will save every version for 30 days and gives me more granular control above time machine.

share|improve this answer
    
Interesting idea, but why just don't use git instead? –  nuc Oct 22 '13 at 7:34
    
Great suggestion - and for me it just comes down to not being familiar with git yet. –  Doug Oct 22 '13 at 16:10
1  
You could start with something like that: codeschool.com/courses/try-git –  nuc Oct 22 '13 at 17:44
add comment

Tunebox Organizes and Streams Your Dropbox Music Files to iOS:

Tunebox is an App that makes your Dropbox a viable place for cloud music storage. It's a simple music player, where you can search through your artists, albums, and songs, then play albums. You can also download and save MP3s for offline play.

You don't get a ton of options like you would with most alternative music players, but it does the job for simple music playback well, even when you're on 3G/4G.

Please note however it is however a paid-for application ($4.99 US iTunes Store).

share|improve this answer
add comment

Collaborative Text Editing

When helping my girlfriend and/or a trusted friend, I simply give them my Dropbox detail, and we can edit the same document and save it, back and forth - Much like screen sharing, just with documents.

share|improve this answer
6  
Note that this is better done with Google Docs. With the method you mentioned, if both of you have the same text file open and one of you edits it, the other will not see the updated version and may overwrite the former's work when saved. –  jon2512chua Apr 14 '11 at 10:03
1  
Why the downvote ("not a useful answer")? Though there may be better ways in your particular situation, that doesn't make it un-useful in someone else's. The poster stipulated "trusted friend" - that could include working at different times; with live coordination via, e.g., Skype or IM, or another agreed-upon means of avoiding walking on one-another's work. +1. –  JRobert Jun 5 '11 at 13:41
3  
Did you know that you can actually share folders in Dropbox? No need to give them dropbox details (I assume you mean username/password), let them create their own dropbox account and share a folder with them. It works nicely and it even gives you some additional space for free. –  Peter Štibraný Jun 5 '11 at 18:19
add comment

Sound Effects Library

I use part of my Dropbox space for my (not very big) SFX library. It's great because I can send someone a link with a sound effect and they can access it on Dropbox.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.