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Automatically syncing Instagram and iPhone photos to your Mac

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The recent Dropbox update on iOS (version 1.5.1) includes a new feature that automatically uploads all photos and videos taken with your iPhone or iPad to Dropbox. Various camera apps and social network apps like Facebook’s Camera app and Google+ have started offering automatic sync to their respective photo albums, but I want my pictures to sync to my computer, not to an online service. Apple’s iCloud service also offers Photo Stream sync of your last 1,000 pictures, but this works best if you’re an iPhoto or Aperture user.

Dropbox Photos and Video Sync

When I upgraded to Dropbox 1.5.1, the app stopped responding altogether, so I had to remove it from my iPhone and re-download it. Once I did that, the first-use wizard connected my account and asked me whether I wanted to automatically sync photos and video to Dropbox. If you have gigabytes of media on your iPhone, be sure to tell the app to only sync new media; otherwise, you may find yourself trying to upload a lot of data over Wi-Fi—or worse, over your mobile carrier’s data plan.

Once you’re set up, you’ll find a new folder called “Camera Uploads” in your Dropbox folder. Initial tests worked very well. Bringing the Dropbox app to the foreground will start the sync process, and when I launched the app and left it running in the background, it continued to upload (once I had kicked it off by launching it); to avoid uploading huge amounts of data over your mobile data plan (if you’re not on an unlimited data plan), you may want to keep Dropbox closed.

Syncing Instagram to DropBox

I also like to sync my Instagram feed to a folder on my computer. To do this, I use a free web service called Instadrop.

Instadrop connects with your Instagram account and automatically pushes new pictures to a Dropbox folder. It works very well—so well, in fact, that it continued to work even after I forgot how I had set it up originally. If you want to stop syncing, you can revoke access to Instadrop by going to Dropbox->Your Account->Manage Applications.

Once you revoke access to Instadrop, the Dropbox sync will stop.

Dropbox security

Remember that any app you authorize to talk to Dropbox will have access to every file you have hosted on the service. I don’t like this, so I use a second Dropbox account for my mobile apps and share folders to my main Dropbox account. I also use an encrypted sparse bundle within Dropbox to store all of my sensitive information. Since Dropbox and most other cloud-based file storage services are insecure by design, you need to protect your sensitive data yourself.

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Jun 16, 2012 21:33:30
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