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Review: SugarSync

September 3, 2008
Overview With this app’s impressively up-to-date backups, SugarSync (a web-based, file back-up solution) offers access to its online accounts, allowing users to view and open current collections of personal files from a handheld device.


This app is pretty straightforward in that it allows users to access their previously backed up files through their SugarSync accounts. The catch? A SugarSync account costs money (after a 45-day trial account expires). Accessing backed-up files on the iPhone is very easy and involves simply launching SugarSync, logging into a previously registered account and browsing through selected files and folders (Note: files are not all sent to your iPhone, but can be downloaded individually; SugarSync is not a full-on, push back-up solution for your iPhone). While most file types can be viewed, none can be edited, making the app more of a monitoring solution than anything else. If you need to quickly view the contents of a recent document that you saved on your computer but didn’t email to yourself, SugarSync allows you to pull up that file, view it and even email it to anyone you’d like.

It accomplishes this up-to-date set of backed-up files through its desktop software. After creating a trial account (because you’re a cheapskate like me) and then downloading the SugarSync Manager, users can select up to 10 GB of files and folders to be backed up (paid accounts allow for up to 250 GB of storage space). The first sync may take more than a day, depending on what is stored on the site, but after all of your current files are uploaded, the app syncs your selected folders quickly and automatically. In fact, while writing this review and saving it in a word document, the file was immediately backed up through SugarSync and appeared in my iPhone without me having to do anything at all. This is because SugarSync’s desktop client launches upon starting up your computer and functions in the background, so when a file is saved into a folder that is being backed up on SugarSync, it will immediately update your online backup. In addition to offering an option for browsing selected folders on each of the computers that are set to sync with your account, SugarSync also provides a “Recent Documents” folder that is automatically updated with your most recently edited files, a “Magic Briefcase” folder that automatically replicates files across all of your computers, and a “Web Archive” folder that can be set in your desktop client to keep archived copies of specific files or folders, regardless if they are edited or deleted on your computer.


While SugarSync is impressive in its ability to keep an automatic and up-to-date backup of selected files and folders, this app seems to simply be a tool for accessing a paid web service. It can be useful, as described above, in situations where you’d like to access a recently saved file while away from your computer. While the only previous option may have required a phone call to a friend and a stressful plot that involves him breaking into your home, logging into your computer, tracking down the file and then emailing it, SugarSync may be the solution that saves your day, allowing you to simply launch the app on your phone and send the desired file to your email account. SugarSync does allow you to access and view most files, but it can’t display images over 1 MB in size, or open PowerPoint files larger than 5 MB and it does not allow you to view videos at all. While there are other ways for viewing files of varying types and sizes on your iPhone or iPod Touch, this app doesn’t seem to do very much on its own and should at least have that capability.

An option to edit files would also add value, but let’s face it, this app is free. Although it doesn’t do very much on its own, it’s a vital addition to any paid SugarSync account that will make your life easier.


If you already have a paid SugarSync account, this is an excellent and free addition to your iPhone that will make your life easier. If you have no idea what SugarSync is and are not willing to pay for the web-based service, this app will be useless. My advice: try the free trial service and see if it’s right for you.

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