Sync Your Photos and Files Between Devices Automatically

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BitTorrent Sync iconBitTorrent SyncHow often have you wanted an easy way to just copy your photos or other files from your phone to your desktop PC or Mac? Don't want to mess around with cables or Cloud storage services because it's too hard?

BitTorrent Sync makes it easy. It's available for various devices including PC Windows, Mac and Linux. Apps are available for mobiles including Android and iOS, and these, including the desktop clients are free with no ads. I wasn't able to try the iOS version of the app for this review.

To get started, go to the BitTorrent Sync website. Here you can download and install the desktop application. After installation, run the program and you can select a folder to sync at this time but you can add folders later. Then, install the BitTorrent Sync app on your phone from the link at the end of this review.

Say you want to sync photos from your phone to a computer across your home wireless network. To do this, on your PC, go to 'My Pictures' and create a folder called, for example, 'Phone Photos'. In the BitTorrent Sync desktop software, you add this folder and generate a 'secret', a 20 byte long string of characters. Each is unique and secure, but you can make this key longer if you wish.

After you have selected your folder and generated a secret key, right click the folder in the BitTorrent SyncBTSync folder tab and select 'Connect mobile device'. This will generate a QR code you can scan with your phone.

On your phone, run the Bittorent Sync app and tap 'Add Folder'. Tap 'Choose Folder' and find 'DCIM' in the list. Tap this folder, and inside, select the 'Camera' folder. Most Android devices store photos in this location. Now tap 'Choose Folder'. Next, tap the 'Scan QR Code' button. This is where you face your phones camera at the QR code you generated on your PC screen. You're almost done.

The last thing to do is to set the app to auto-start when your phone turns on. On your PC, BitTorrent Sync can be set to auto-start as well. You can set it to automatically sync whenever a new file is added to the folder on your phone. You do this by tapping the gear button next to the folder name. In this case, whenever you take a new photo, it will be synced to your PC.

The app can sync across your cellular data network, but keep in mind this will add to your data costs. If this setting is disabled, sync will only happen when your phone is in range of your home wireless network. As soon as you walk in your front door, any new photos you have taken will copy across to your PC in minutes with no effort at all. The syncing works both ways. If you move or delete the photo from your PC folder, it will be removed from the phone and photos deleted on your phone will be removed from the PC.

This photos example is just one possible use of BitTorrent Sync, as you could sync your music collection or any other content across devices. It provides a simple way to copy files between mobile devices with the app installed on each one. BitTorrent Sync can back up your devices files. An explanation of how it's done is on this web page Getting Started on Mobile.

The app is light on resources and runs in the background if you have chosen the auto-start option. In the app settings you can set it to go to sleep if there is no activity. There's a power saver setting but I didn't notice any extra battery drain after using the app for several weeks on my phone and tablet.

File transfers are fast and there's no limit on file size, a shortcoming of many Cloud services you may not need to use any more. I'm sure you will think of many other uses for this versatile app and its desktop counterpart. There are other possibilities I haven't mentioned, and these along with other questions are covered on this web page BitTorrent Sync - Frequently Asked Questions.

 

BitTorrent Sync — Free Mobile App of the Week

For Android
Size: 3.96 MB
Download: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bittorrent.sync

For iPhone and iPad
Size: 6.9 MB
Download: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bittorrent-sync/id665156116?mt=8

 

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Comments

This is a very useful utility for me. Our HTPC syncs photos across my phone and my wife phone. All my important laptop files also sync to the HTPC. Since I use it so often, I would like to know more about the security also.

@gtowngal BT Sync isn't on the Amazon app store yet. You can download it direct from here. http://syncapp.bittorrent.com/1.1.70/ The apk is at the bottom of the page. I'd imagine the Kindle Fire would have a setting to allow installation from unknown sources. On Android, you can find this at Settings->Security Unknown Sources. Enabling this allows installation of non app store apps, so you can now install the app on your Kindle Fire.

Thank you; I will give that a try.

You're welcome. Good luck with it.

Will this work with a Kindle Fire HD? Thanks.

@jandbrare When I wrote this review, I decided to give more detail on how it's done than I normally would. I'm glad it's working for you. I like things that are easy, free and useful. This app ticks all those boxes.
@Festeron Thank you for that information. I'm told by the developers that the functionality and documentation is being steadily improved, so hopefully, any concerns will be addressed. It seems a lot of thought went into efficiency, so future developments are definitely worth watching.

Very useful utility! I got hung up when I did not right click on the folder and choose "Connect Device" to get the QR code. Once I did, I photographed it with my phone and Bingo, the files began to transfer to my PC.

Back in May, Steve Gibson dedicated an entire episode of Security now to this tool. You can watch it at the link below. He thought that it was generally very good, but was concerned that the security was not open or even well documented.

I use it to sync large files, because if only a small chunk of the file changes only that chuck get synced, not the entire thing.

http://twit.tv/show/security-now/402