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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.

iFiles also lets you share files directly with other mobile devices over Bluetooth, and it allows you to send files via email from within the app. In addition, it connects with a host of cloud services, including Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and more.

If you're looking for a service that offers fast file transfers, iFiles isn't the best option for you. But if you need a full-featured file manager with some handy file sharing features, this app is worth a look.

4Shared serves as a cloud-based storage drive for your digital content. But it's a storage service with a strong focus on sharing, and one that includes the ability to make those files available for public search, should you so desire.

To use 4Shared, you simply sign up for an account and you're good to go. The free version limits you to 15GB of space, with a maximum file size of 2048 MB. Opting for the $10-per-month Premium version ups both of those limits to 100GB, and removes the ads that support the free version. The ads aren't terribly intrusive, and they are small, but the ones I saw were often moving and flashing just enough to annoy me.

If you can move past that flaw, you'll find that 4Shared offers some great tools for sharing your files with colleagues, friends, and family members. Like iFiles, 4Shared creates a folder system for you--which you can customize to fit your needs -- and lets you upload the files you'd like to share. You can set permissions for each folder, allowing its content to be shared or remain private. You also can set passwords and determine whether users see all of the files or only certain ones. You friends don't have to be 4Shared users to view your content, though they will be strongly encouraged to sign up as they navigate the site. Once they register, they can download the files you've shared.

This makes 4Shared an easy way to get your own content on multiple devices. The free Android and iOS apps let you view files on your mobile devices, and allow you to play audio and video back within the apps. In fact, 4Shared really shines when sharing audio and video content, as it lets you play those files back in the Web-based version, too, and includes a link you can use to embed the files on Web sites you operate.

I was intrigued as soon as I heard the name RapidShare. After suffering through slow file transfers on some of the services I tested, I thought this one, for sure, would be different. And, from the start, I realized that it is. First off, it's prohibitively expensive, with the most inexpensive account, the 300GB Standard Plus, costing 49.99 Euros -- that's almost $63 at the current exchange rate. And that's for one month's access. Yes, RapidShare charges you almost $63 a month.


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