The 5 Best File Syncing Apps

Keep your information backed up and current across multiple devices

A file syncing app is a service or program that offers a convenient way to synchronize your files across multiple devices automatically. Anywhere you're logged in to the file syncing app, the same files are available for you to open, edit, copy, stream, and so on, just as if you were on the device on which you initially uploaded the file.

File syncing apps have plenty of uses, and the apps covered here work well for most needs. For example, Dropbox stores your files online so that you can access them anywhere, while Resilio Sync skips servers altogether and syncs via a peer-to-peer connection.

Most of these apps are free, but some require a monthly subscription, especially if you want online storage.

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Access Your Synced Files Anywhere: Dropbox

Dropbox in Windows 8
What We Like
  • Thirty days of undo history.

  • Files are encrypted on the Dropbox website.

  • Accessible via website or app.

  • Free account includes 2 GB of storage.

What We Don't Like
  • Data must be stored online before syncing to other devices.

  • Paid plans are costly.

Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud storage services for a good reason. Anything you put into your Dropbox folder on your computer or using the Dropbox app is backed up online and available for download to any other device that's logged in to the same account.

Dropbox is a file sync utility that's easy to use because the folder in which you store files on your device is replicated to all the computers and mobile devices signed in to your account.

Dropbox is free for the first 2 GB of data. You can buy more storage with the individual Plus plan or Family plan, both of which offer 2 TB of storage, or the Professional plan that offers 3 TB of storage.

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A File Syncing Tool With Tons of Options: GoodSync

The GoodSync file syncing app

What We Like
  • Supports folders from a variety of locations.

  • Many customizable options.

  • Each device can browse files on the other connected devices.

  • Also works as a one-way sync, backup service.

What We Don't Like
  • Can get confusing with all the available settings.

  • Business versions are high-priced.

  • Free version has several restrictions.

If you're looking for a file syncing program with the most options and greatest flexibility, you can't go wrong with GoodSync. Tons of options can be customized, and it works seamlessly between desktop and mobile devices.

Like most file sync apps, GoodSync keeps two folders in sync with each other. However, you can take it a step further and connect the program to your phone to back up your photos and videos automatically or to send files from your computer to your phone on a schedule.

Unlike most file sync software programs, GoodSync lets you connect to a variety of locations in addition to your computer folders, like FTP servers and cloud storage services. If you don't use an online service, GoodSync works like a P2P file sync program—no data is stored online.

The free version of GoodSync has some limitations—a maximum number of files that you can sync for any single job and a maximum number of jobs you can make in any one account.

You can buy GoodSync to get more features beyond the free version.

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Sync With Online File Storage Accounts: SyncBack

SyncBackPro in Windows 10
What We Like
  • It's free if you don't need the extra features.

  • Lots of advanced customizations.

  • Can be used to back up, sync, or mirror files and folders.

  • Sync with various folders: FTP, Backblaze, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and SugarSync,

What We Don't Like
  • macOS and Linux users can only use SyncBack Touch among the SyncBack options.

  • SyncBack Touch is required if you want to sync to another computer on your network.

  • Not available for iOS devices.

SyncBack is a syncing application that you install on computers you want to back up and synchronize. Several versions of this program are available, each with different features, including SyncBackFreeSyncBack LiteSyncBackSE, and SyncBackPro.

All versions of SyncBack let you sync select files and folders, back up to FTP, compress files, and set other basic options. However, SyncBack Lite also supports copying locked files; SyncBackSE works for business use and includes a USB app, incremental backups, and file versioning; and SyncBackPro with SyncBack Touch is a multi-platform solution for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. SyncBack doesn't work with iOS.

You can sync your files within your same network, such as another drive on your computer or a shared folder on a different computer. You can also sync your files to an online account like Dropbox or Google Drive. To sync to another computer that's not in your network, you have to buy SyncBack Touch.

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P2P Sync Any Folder With Any Other Computer: Resilio Sync

Resilio Sync in Windows 8

What We Like
  • Your files are not stored online.

  • You choose which folders to sync.

  • Each folder can have its own permissions: read-only or read and write.

  • No user account is needed; data is synced by special links or codes.

What We Don't Like
  • Can't access your files from a web browser because they aren't stored online.

  • Resilio is promoting its Connect software more than Sync.

Resilio Sync (previously called BitTorrent Sync) is a peer-to-peer synchronization program.

Unlike Dropbox, where you put every file you want to sync into the Dropbox folder, Resilio has you pick folders on your computer that will be synced to your other devices. For example, select your iTunes folder to share your music between your different computers.

When you accept a folder share from another computer, you pick which folder on your computer is used to download the files. From there, any changes you make are reflected back to the other computer's original folder.

Some features, such as selective syncing to sync only certain files from a folder, are available only if you upgrade out of the free version of Resilio.

Development may have slowed down with the 2020 release. Resilio is promoting its Connect product heavily.

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Best Free Open Source Application: FreeFileSync

FreeFileSync on Unix
What We Like
  • It's free and cross-platform.

  • Real-time sync monitors two folders constantly for changes.

  • Works with MTP, FTP, Google Drive, and more.

  • Supports versioning.

What We Don't Like
  • Interface is cluttered.

  • Challenging for beginners.

Fans of open source software will welcome FreeFileSync. Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux computers, this free file-syncing software contains no ads or artificial limits to how many files you can sync.

FreeFileSync is useful for individuals and businesses for comparing multiple folders and synchronizing folders. It provides a robust backup solution. Choose to sync folders in real time, sync on a schedule, or run the sync program at startup.

Setup and scheduling are easy to handle, although some users may find the cluttered interface a little overwhelming at first.

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