BDrive iPhone App Review.
I’ve always loved Dropbox and cloud syncing. I think it’s dead easy to use, extremely fast and just about 100% reliable. So when I heard of BDrive and its proposition, I had to give it a try.
BDrive wants to cure our dependency on cloud services when it comes to important data. They propose an alternative route. Instead of syncing anything, or everything, to the cloud, why not have it readily accessible directly from our own computers?
The basic idea is that any file that’s stored locally on my computer, I can easily access from my iPhone, without having to sync anything either directly or through a third party app.
So I’m like great. I’ll give it a shot. How does it work?
How to set up BDrive?
You’ll need two things. The BDrive client app, which is this iPhone app. And the BDrive Server app, which gets installed on your own computer. Right now, there’s only a Windows version, with a promise for a native mac version coming soon.
Once you’ve installed the BDrive server on your PC, you need to expressly tell it which folders and files you want accessible on the client-side. The way you do this is by manually adding them into BDrive server.
Each folder you add gets a unique identifier (a six letter string) and you have the option to set up a password for it. If no password is set up, anyone who has a client app and the unique identifier can connect and access your files.
With those identifiers and the passwords in mind, you can now set up the client app to connect to the server. And this is where the iPhone app comes in.
Upon opening the app, you can add new drives by tapping the “+” button and entering the unique identifier, and password if required. The client app will need to have an internet connection, as does the server itself.
Personally, I couldn’t get it to work. The unique identifier worked, it recognized the folder I had set up on the server, but when trying to connect it kept saying the server wasn’t online. Restarting the server or the client didn’t solve this, so after trying for about 30 minutes to set things up, I gave up.
Thankfully, I could give it a try with the BDrive test server they had set up with the iPhone app. Basically, you’re looking at a list of files and folders that you can access, view and even download right from your iPhone.
What kind of files can I access?
Well, pretty much anything. The client app has viewers for just about all you’d need, from Word, Excel or Powerpoint documents to PDFs, images or video files.
You can move, rename or delete files and folders. You can also create new folders or download existing ones on your iPhone. Anything you do download will show up in your app in the Downloaded tab.
I managed to open without problems doc files, pdfs, jpegs, but encountered problems with the .mov file on the BDrive test server. It failed to open.
What’s wrong with this picture?
As I’ve said in the beginning, I like Dropbox and the idea of the cloud, so take what I’m about to tell you with a grain of salt. Apart from the BDrive app crashing occasionally or the fact that I didn’t manage to set it up with my Windows laptop, BDrive is what you could be using if you hate cloud syncing. With BDrive, you won’t have any more problems with space, since everything is stored locally on your computer.
On the other hand, I think cloud computing is the next step. Entire hard-drives are stored in the cloud. Operating systems power notebooks from the cloud. But even if you disregard that, BDrive imposes a hefty barrier to entry. You need two devices, both hooked up to the internet full-time, both turned on full-time, and you need to manually add everything to the server in order for something to be accessible on the client-side.
I personally don’t leave my computer on 24/7. And there’s no reason to. Dropbox, or any cloud-syncing option, eliminates that. Once something is pushed to the cloud, it’s accessible from any one device capable of reading from there.
Have it already ?
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