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These four file sharing apps offer speed, security and more

Liane Cassavoy | Nov. 5, 2014
From your phone or your browser, you can make files accessible to multiple devices, colleagues or family members. Check out these apps for their special talents in sharing or security--but watch out for those subscription fees.

Gone are the days when you relied on one computer to get all of your work done. Also gone? The days when you shared information with people on paper. Today, it's all digital. Whether you need to get information synced across multiple devices or simply want to share files with friends and family, there's an app that can help.

Send Anywhere
Send Anywhere is designed to add a bit of security to file sharing. This free app lets you share files directly, device to device, without relying on a cloud service for storage. Send Anywhere works on almost any device you can think of, with apps available for Android, Chrome, iOS, Mac (beta), Windows 8, Windows Phone, and the Web. A Linux version is in the works, too.

To use Send Anywhere, you simply select the files you want to send, add them to your sending list, and select the device with which you'd like to share them. You'll receive a 6-digit key, which you then enter on the receiving device, and the files will automatically be downloaded.

If a device is nearby, Send Anywhere is supposed to recognize it for you, giving you the option to send files to it with just a click of a button--no code required. This feature didn't work reliably in my testing, likely due to the permissions on the iOS device I used for testing, but that wasn't a deal-breaker for me.

Send Anywhere boosts security by allowing recipients to view the files you've sent for only 10 minutes; after that, they disappear. I can see how this would be useful for some types of files, but I was using Send Anywhere to share files I wanted to keep on another device, so I didn't like the fact that they disappeared from the app so quickly. You can get around this by saving the file to your device as soon as it's received--then you'll have it even when it's gone from Send Anywhere's list.

iFiles bills itself as a file manager, viewer, editor and more. Part of that 'more' includes sharing features that aren't as streamlined as those offered by Send Anywhere, but will likely prove very useful nonetheless.

iFiles is, at its heart, a file manager for your iOS device. It creates a system of folders to which you can easily add files so they're all collected in one place. Desktop computer users who have bemoaned the lack of folder-based storage system on iOS will appreciate this feature alone.

To justify its $3.99 price tag, however, iFiles has to do more--and it does. Its sharing features allow you to transfer files directly from your desktop computer using a secure Web link. Enter it in your browser and you can access the same iFiles folder system you'll see on your portable device. From your computer, you can easily send files to folders on iFiles, or transfer files over to your PC. The transfer process can be slow, and the Web version doesn't have the same document viewer features that you'll find on the iOS app, which allows you to view photos, documents, PDFs, and more within the app.


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