IT for Donuts: use your iPad to view Dropbox files offline

By: John McGarvey

Date: 25 July 2014

IT for Donuts is our regular Friday feature where we explain a tech term or answer a question about business IT.

This week, we take a look at how to use your iPad to view Dropbox files offline.

What is Dropbox?

Dropbox is one of the world's most popular cloud storage services. Once you've signed up (the basic package is free), you get a special Dropbox folder on your computer. Anything you save here will be automatically backed up on the internet.

Dropbox is good for three things:

  • Backing up your data. It's not a foolproof backup system, but when you save files to your Dropbox you can be confident it's creating an online backup for you.
  • Accessing files on the move. When you sign in to Dropbox from other devices — like a tablet or smart phone — you can see all your files, so it's very convenient.
  • Sharing files with other people. You can give other people access to particular folders within your Dropbox, so it's a good place to store shared fles.

Using Dropbox for iPad offline

If you're like me, once you start using Dropbox, you'll come to rely on it. If you have an iPad, you'll probably install the Dropbox app so you can see your files there too.

When your iPad is connected to the internet, this works fine. You go into the app, select a file, and Dropbox opens it.

But when your iPad isn't connected to the internet, you won't be able to view any of your files. If you're rushing to a meeting and had hoped to read a document on the train (like me, last week), this can be irritating.

It's easy to make files available offline on Dropbox for iPad. We've put together this video to show you how. Just remember, you need to be connected to the internet when you follow these steps:

Dropbox offline — step-by-step

Don't fancy watching the video? No problem — here are step-by-step instructions. We've assumed you already have Dropbox set up on your iPad:

  1. Open the Dropbox app
  2. Navigate to the file you want to make available offline
  3. Tap the star icon at the top right of the screen
  4. That's it. Just make sure you give Dropbox time to download the file before you go offline.

You should be able to access every file you've favourited at any time, no matter whether you have an internet connection or not.

Related information about Dropbox:

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