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Whether you’re looking for a NAS for your home or office, check out this list of the best NAS storage devices.
If you’re looking for a data storage and backup solution other than a cloud server, you could go for NAS storage devices. It lets you create a personal cloud for data storage and backup. As you can connect to the device using your home network, the data can be accessed seamlessly.
Choosing the right NAS storage for your needs could be difficult. To help you, here is the list of the best NAS storage devices available in the market. Here, you’ll find Windows and macOS-supported NAS that can be used for personal and professional purposes.What Is NAS Storage?
NAS stands for network-attached storage. It’s a data storage device that you need to connect and access using a network in place of a direct connection to a computer. NAS devices have an operating system and a processor to run applications and allow files to be accessed by authorized network users and clients.
Since these devices are flexible and scalable, you can add additional storage here if needed. You can also consider it a private cloud facility for your office which is faster, cost-effective, and provides you with complete control.
Data stored in a NAS device can be seamlessly accessed. Hence, multiple users can collaborate and promptly respond to any query. It functions like a private cloud where team members can use a network connection to access the files and work from anywhere.Best All-Purpose NAS Storage WD PR4100 Network Attached Storage
WD PR4100 Network Attached Storage is an efficient NAS server in the market. It functions as a centralized storage where you can store and organize your media files and, thus, enables your team to have an improved workflow. If you’re looking for a NAS server with Plex support, this is the right one for you.
Intel Pentium Quad-Core Processor (1.6GHz)
4 GB DDR3L Memory for powerful performance
AES 256-bit encryption
Password protection for the comprehensive security
My Cloud OS 3, which is super-fast and easy to set up
Price: $1,299.99 (check the current price on Amazon)Synology NAS DiskStation DS220+
Synology NAS DiskStation DS220+ is a robust NAS storage device with enhanced performance capability. As you use it, you will experience a quicker data response time and a 15% performance boost on average in computing-intensive operations and photo indexing.
Dual 1GbE LAN ports for network failover
Compatible only with SATA devices
2 GB DDR4 memory that can be expanded up to 6 GB
Intel dual-core processor
AES-NI hardware encryption engine
Sequential throughput: 225 MB/s read and 192 MB/s sequential write
RAID 1 disk mirroring to protect against accidental disk failure
Compatible with different OS and devices for data access, sharing, and synchronization
Price: $299.99 (check the current price on Amazon)WD 8TB My Cloud EX2
The WD 8TB My Cloud EX2 is one of the best NAS storage for Mac. You can use this high-performance storage to store, share, stream, and sync data from anywhere. This device is also equipped with a high-performance processor for lag-free media streaming. You can also depend on this NAS device for smooth multitasking.
1.3 GHz dual-core Processor
1 GB of DDR3 Memory
Centralized network storage for access from any place
Seamless file and folder sharing with any linked computer
Automatic file synchronization across the devices
Price: $339.99 (check the current price on Amazon)
Also read: How to Map a Network Drive on a MacBuffalo LinkStation 210 4TB
The Buffalo LinkStation 210 4TB is another best NAS storage for home. The storage server supports Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. It comes with a hard drive and doesn’t need you to have a computer for set up. Just connect it to your router, and the NAS device is instantly ready for all your devices simultaneously.
Store your media files without any monthly charges
Purpose-built storage with a focus on data security
SSL encryption for safe file transfers
A closed system to protect against vulnerabilities of 3rd-party apps
Comes with PC backup software for automatic data backup
Easy-to-access central storage location
Allow individual access to specific folders for data privacy
Share storage space or public files with collaborators
Price: $164.99 (check the current price on Amazon)WD 4TB My Cloud Home Personal
The WD 4TB My Cloud Home Personal is the perfect choice for anyone who is looking for a personal home cloud.
Quick and easy setup straight from your mobile device
Auto backup for photos and videos taken on a phone
Data backup support for all PC and Mac files
Price: $169.99 (check the current price on Amazon)Buffalo LinkStation 720 4TB
Buffalo LinkStation 720 4TB is one of the best storage for Mac that also works on PC, Android, and iOS. It also supports instant connection that doesn’t need you to use a computer for set up.
2.5GbE for double transfer speed
Support data sync with OneDrive, Azure, and Dropbox for a hybrid cloud solution
Cost-effective, flexible, and scalable NAS device
Secure file sharing with family and friends
Comes with a closed system that reduces vulnerabilities
SSL encryption for file transfers
Price: $279.99 (check the current price on Amazon)TerraMaster F2-221 NAS Storage Plex (Diskless)
TerraMaster F2-221 Diskless Storage is a NAS server with Plex support. It comes with Apollo 2.0GHz dual-core CPU and 2 GB RAM that you can expand up to 4 GB.
Dual 1GbE LAN ports
AES hardware encryption engine
Advanced Btrfs file system
Ultra-quiet fan for intelligent temperature control
Real-time hardware transcoding for two simultaneous 4K video streaming
Aluminum-alloy shell for heat dissipation
Supports 2.5″ SATA SSD and SATA HDD, along with 3.5″ SATA HDD
Price: $259.99 (check the current price on AmazonQNAP TS-233-US 2 Bay (Diskless)
QNAP Diskless TS-233-US 2 Bay lets you build a private cloud and multimedia center for your personal use. Features like built-in NPU for AI-powered face recognition make it one of the best NAS storage for home.
ARM quad-core 2.0GHz processor
2 GB DDR4 RAM
QNAP’s Storage Snapshot technology to protect you against ransomware
Data backup applications included for Windows and Mac
MyQNAPCloudfor secure access to your files from anywhere
Centralized multimedia management to browse, organize, and share files
Price: $199 (check the current price on Amazon)Asustor Drivestor 2 AS1102T (Diskless)
Asustor Drivestor 2 AS1102T is another big name in the diskless NAS storage market. This device is equipped with Data Master (ADM) 4.0 OS that ensures a significant improvement in performance, security, and compatibility. It also comes with a 3-year warranty, so you don’t have to worry while using this product.
Realtek Quad-Core CPU of 1.4 GHz
1 GB DDR4 for more efficiency
2.5-Gigabit Ethernet for double speed
Hardware decoding for smooth media playback
Price: $187.95 (check the current price on Amazon)Synology NAS DiskStation DS220j (Diskless)
DiskStation Manager (DSM) for intuitive operation flow
A flat learning curve
On-the-go effortless access to cloud files
Compatible with SATA HDD (2.5-inch and 3.5-inch disk holder)
Multimedia content streaming facility with integrated server
Support for Windows, macOS, Linux, and mobile devices
Price: $189.99 (check the current price on Amazon)Best NAS Storage: Final Words
If you don’t want o go into the hassle of subscribing to a private cloud server facility, you can opt for the best NAS storage for home and office use. These help you securely store and back up your system files without having to upload them to a third-party cloud server.
Here, you can have full control over your data and allow others to access and stream them using a network connection. If you’re looking for the best NAS storage for Mac or Windows, check out this curated list above.
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Best Photo Storage Apps for Android and iPhone 7 Best Apps For Your Photo Storage Needs (2023) 1. Google Photos
Google Photos offers the highest free cloud storage space among all other apps available for cloud storage. It has an inbuilt duplicate photo finder that eliminates exact duplicates from being uploaded on the drive. Google Photos offers data safety and security as it never shares any information with third parties.
Auto-Sync with device storage
Print photos directly from the application
Inbuilt photo organizer to categorize in multiple albums
Inbuilt photo editing tool to add filters and highlights
Facial recognition to group similar faces
Highlights ‘Memories of the year’
For iOS2. Microsoft OneDrive
Better image recognition feature
Organize photos with different tags and albums
Look back on memories from the same date and month in past years
Sync multiple devices to the same OneDrive account
Search photos with tags, places, or the date
You might want to read: How Does P2P (Peer to Peer) File Sharing Works?3. Dropbox
Dropbox offers 2GB of FREE storage space to store photos, videos, and other file types. It has become popular with its file-sharing options and folder categories. You can store and sync photos from different devices and keep them secured in different albums. You get an option to directly share a photo or an album with any contact or collaborate your work on any project with your photo albums.
Use file recovery and version history
Share large photos and albums with anyone
Use 2-factor authentication to safeguard your albums
Apply digital watermarks to personalize your photos
Automatically upload, save or search photos
For iOS4. Google Drive
Google Drive is one of the best cloud storages for photos, videos, documents, and more that is widely used on almost all devices. The service to store albums works in collaboration with Google Photos storage and other Google utilities. It comes pre-installed as a bundle pack on most Android devices and can be downloaded and installed on iOS, Windows, and MacOS devices.
Share, transfer, upload, or download photos and files across devices
Give permissions to shared folders and access files anywhere from any device
Access your gallery in online or offline mode
Best data safety and security features
For iOS5. Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Creative Cloud is an intuitive app to edit and save photos, videos, and documents on cloud storage. It offers special editing features and FREE 2GB cloud storage space to store and share your photos. You can quickly perform basic edits before sharing your pictures from the portal. You can quickly remove backgrounds from images, auto-crop, auto-tone, auto-white balance, and straighten your photos.
FREE 2GB complimentary storage space
Intuitive editing options to edit and personalize your photo albums
Sync Camera rolls and other photo albums on the app
Inbuilt tutorial to bring out your creativity
For iOS6. Amazon Photos
Amazon Photos is the new cloud space to sync and store photos from your Android or iOS. You can store up to 5GB of photo albums for FREE and access them anytime, anywhere. If you have an Amazon Prime subscription, you get FREE print delivery and unlimited storage space for lifetime memories. You get easy access to showcase your photo albums on a large screen (TV) as well. Cool, right?
Best photo storage app to view images on large devices
Auto-save option to save and access your photos using Alexa
Keep a backup of your photo albums safely with Auto-Save settings
Relive memories and share photos privately or in a group
Search photos by date, location, and keywords
For iOS7. pCloud
pCloud is the next photo storage app on our list to store up to 10GB of photos for FREE. It is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems. You can store photos, music, and videos and create your favorite albums or playlists. You can add encryption to your private photos and multimedia using a password and safeguard your memories from unauthorized access.
Preview your files across all the linked devices
Select where and how you wish to store your files
Automatically backup and upload photos from your smartphone gallery
Share albums with passwords or expiration dates for enhanced security
Get offline access to your photos and data from your device
Bonus Tools = Best Free Photo Storage Websites/Tools
As promised, we’re sharing most popular photo hosting sites that offer free storage:
Photobucket = Free subscription for 250 photos.
Shutterfly = Unlimited free storage.
500 px = Free subscription for up to 2000 images.
Imugr = Unlimited free storage.Final Words
This article has the best photo storage app that you can use on Android or iOS devices in 2023. These apps have been the greatest alternative to Google photo storage. We have compared and researched the best apps and listed this rundown for our users. These apps are lightweight on your device and allow FREE storage space to safely keep your photos and albums.
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5 Paper Shredders For Home Use Under $100
We all have the right to protect our personal information. Even in this digital age, paper shredders are more important than ever. They could turn into your first line of defense in doing your best to keep printed information confidential and some great paper shredders for home are extremely cheap. Paper shredders will come in every shape, size, or price point this year, but finding the perfect one always depends on your budget. We aren’t here to encourage you on spending your maximum budget in a blink of an eye, but quite the opposite. The best paper shredders for home to shred any evidence of a paper trail could even cost under $100. You just need to know where to look. Note: Deals are subject to change. Keep in mind that the price tag often varies. We recommend going on the vendor’s website to check the price. Some of the products may be out of stock by the time you’ve made your purchasing decision. So, hurry up and hit the buy button.
If all you need is a standard paper shredder, AmazonBasics is what you’re looking for. It seems like a toy when compared to industrial shredders, but it’s perfectly suited for home or light office daily use.
This cross-cut shredder can tackle six pages at a time and is also perfectly capable of cutting credit cards, albeit only one at a time.
Shreds paper down to a dimension of 7/32 by 1-27/32 inches
Shred papers measuring up to 8.7 inches
Can be removed effortlessly when it’s time to empty the bin
One-year warranty provided by Amazon
Low price point
Doesn’t cut too quickly
Can’t run for very long: 2 minute continuous run time with 30 minute cool down timeCheck price
Bonsaii DocShred C156-D isn’t here to impress. If you take the shredder for what it is, however, it is perfectly capable to do a great job. It can shred 12 sheets of paper (A4 size 75g/m ²) at a time into 1/5 by 1 25/32 inches (5x45mm).
Takes paper, but also CD/DVDs, credit cards and staples
Shredded paper drops into the generous 5.5-gallon wastebasket
Basket window to see when it is full
Overheating light issues
Not very reliable as a CD/DVD shredderCheck price
The AmazonBasics range of shredders to help keep your identity secure also includes the 6-Sheet High-Security Home shredder. It’s an excellent choice for your family home, coming in a fairly compact size and with some interesting key-features.
Micro-cut, shreds paper into smaller pieces than other affordable units – 5/32 by 15/32 inches
Destroys credit cards too
Compact design which means you can easily keep it into a corner of the room
Auto shut-off provides thermal protection
Reasonably priced for any household
1-year Limited Warranty
Only 3-minute continuous run time with 30-minute cool down time
Overheating issuesCheck price
A capable and versatile home shredder such as this one cannot disappoint buyers. Aurora AU820MA is perfect for home use since it doesn’t take up too much floor space or is too noisy.
Users are generally happy with the quality of the cutting and the overload jam auto-stop prevents serious paper jams.
Only runs for up to 5 minutes
Also shreds CDs and credit cards
Security level P-4, which means small cross-cut paper shreds
LED indicator lights for Power, Overheat, Overload, and Misaligned status
Not so modern design
Inconvenient slot to put the paper inCheck price
This 12-Sheet AmazonBasics shredder is capable of shredding papers, credit cards, CDs, DVDs and more. It can shred up to 12 sheets at a single pass, which is decent given the price range we’re talking about.
It also comes with a 6.7-gallon pullout wastebasket, offering extra storage space with easy disposal, yet this doesn’t change its extended cool-down period.
Can shred paper into tiny pieces (5/32 by 15/32 inches) at a rate of 6 feet per minute
AmazonBasics 1-year warranty
Can only run for 8 minutes at a time; then, it requires a 45-minute cool-down timeCheck price Final thoughts on best paper shredders for home use
What do you think of these affordable paper shredders? All of your money might go into paying rent or school tuition fees, but there’s always some cash left over for the occasional splurge.
Some of you might be on their second shredder or third one. You’ve got your background knowledge and this handy list, so what are you waiting for?
Still experiencing issues?
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We all have the right to protect our personal information. Even in this digital age, paper shredders are more important than ever. They could turn into your first line of defense in doing your best to keep printed information confidential and some great paper shredders for home are extremely cheap. Paper shredders will come in every shape, size, or price point this year, but finding the perfect one always depends on your budget. We aren’t here to encourage you on spending your maximum budget in a blink of an eye, but quite the opposite. The best paper shredders for home to shred any evidence of a paper trail could even cost under $100. You just need to know where to look.Deals are subject to change. Keep in mind that the price tag often varies. We recommend going on the vendor’s website to check the price. Some of the products may be out of stock by the time you’ve made your purchasing decision. So, hurry up and hit the buy button.
Are you tired of deleting and replacing files on your iPhone or iPad every time due to low storage? It’s time to move to a cloud solution.
Cloud storage comes in handy as a remote repository to store personal information off your device to keep it lighter and faster. These include photos, videos, app data, and more. Even without your phone, data stored on the cloud is safer and more accessible, retrievable, and shareable from anywhere around the world.
While Apple offers iCloud, pairing this with another cloud storage app from the App Store means more cloud storage space. Read on to explore the 9 best cloud storage apps for iPhone and iPad out there for the job.
1. iCloud+ – Editor’s choice
For those who want extra storage but don’t want to move outside the Apple ecosystem, there’s iCloud+. Knowing that the free 5GB base storage of iCloud gets exhausted in no time, Apple introduced iCloud+, a subscription-based cloud storage plan.
To start using extra storage, you need to upgrade your iCloud plan to iCloud+. One of its unique features is it lets you share storage space with family members. Hence, you all can keep your files in sync in one location and access them anytime, anywhere.
The plans are also cheap. iCloud+ subscription starts with as low as $0.99 monthly for as high as 50GB storage. And if that’s not enough, you can opt for higher plans. These include $2.99 monthly for 200GB and $9.99 monthly for 2TB. To understand iCloud+ better, you can look at how iCloud+ works.
While iCloud is highly recommended for Apple users, it isn’t exclusive to it. Android and Windows users can create an Apple ID and buy iCLoud storage. However, it won’t work as seamlessly.
Built-in storage plan
No need to install any extra app
Syncing is fast and automated
Share storage with family members
It reverts to the 5GB storage when the subscription ends
Price: Free (Subscription starts at $0.99)
2. Dropbox – Best for file organization
Dropbox offers a set of tools for storing and organizing your files in the cloud. The app is easy to use and has a sleek user interface with a great experience. Indeed, if you want to gain control of your files, I recommend using Dropbox.
To get started, you need to create a Dropbox account. There’re two plans: 2TB and 3TB, which it bills monthly or yearly, depending on your preference. And these also fall under different purpose preferences.
One of the striking features of Dropbox is that you can scan documents into PDF or PNG using your phone’s camera and store them easily in the cloud.
Further, the app also lets you arrange your files into folders. And the fact that you can share links to specific folders and files and invite friends to a folder means you can decide to expose only a portion of your files to other people. This is handy for viewing photo albums virtually.
Besides, you can easily upload photos and videos from your iPhone camera roll. And there’s a search icon at the top for locating folders and files quickly.
Easily access your folders and files
Organize files for easy access
Features file scanner
Upload existing photos and videos easily
Easy to use and navigate
Retrieve files anytime, anywhere
Share specific folders and invite friends into a folder
Large storage space
Limited flexibility of storage plans
Anyone with access to your phone can access your files
Price: Free (Subscription starts at $11.99)
3. Google Drive – Best for productivity
If you have a Google account, you have Google Drive as well. It’s one of Google’s plethora of products and offers a dedicated workspace for productivity. It allows you to access your files and make changes to them easily in real-time. Besides, folder creation is easy; you can further separate files shared with you.
While you can store photos, videos, documents, and apps on Google Drive, one of its strong points is its document management capability. Essentially, it’s a recommended option for editing documents collaboratively.
One other good thing about Google Drive is it inherits your Gmail storage space. Hence, it gives you 15GB of free cloud storage. You can buy more once you exhaust that, though.
Google Drive, however, offers cheap and flexible plans. With as low as $1.99, you can buy storage space as high as 100GB. The storage plan range is also extensive, and you can buy as high as 20TB of cloud space. In addition to syncing files and folders from your phone, you can sync from your PC or Mac as well.
However, Google Drive doesn’t support automatic syncing of Google Photos anymore. Google decoupled these since July 2023. Thus, your Google Photos sync to a separate Cloud space. Nonetheless, you can still keep your photos in Google Drive by manually uploading them.
Free storage space is large
Manage documents and files collaboratively
Offers versatile productivity features
Easily sync to and retrieve files from the cloud
Flexible and cheap storage plans
Offers enterprise solutions
Arrange files smartly in folders
Prone to password hacking
Price: Free (Subscription starts at $11.9)
4. pCloud – Most secure cloud storage
Want to encrypt some of your files in the cloud? Use pCloud.
Of course, like other cloud services, pCloud lets you store your files in the cloud, arrange them in folders, and even share them with others. But the encryption feature is one of its most striking attributes. So it’s worth mentioning from the start. At least, you’d know quickly that this isn’t just another cloud service.
Indeed, pCloud comes with users in mind, as it features tools for managing and monitoring your storage space in the cloud. It also comes with free storage of 10GB. There’re many unique features of pCloud that this space might not contain.
However, our in-depth review of pCloud will tell you more about it.
Encrypt files and make them more secure
Enjoy 10GB of free storage space
Recover deleted files up to 15 days
Features document scanning
Offers specific folder sharing
Rapidly sync files
Beautiful user interface
The encryption service is expensive
Price: Free (Subscription starts at $4.99)
5. OneDrive – Best for Microsoft fans
Although OneDrive offers 5GB free storage, with an upgrade to the $1.99 monthly 100GB OneDrive plan or higher Microsoft 365 plans, you’ll have access to higher storage up to 25TB, depending on the purpose.
The sync speed of OneDrive is also impressive. When you open it for the first time, it prompts you to sign in to your Microsoft account or create one if you never had. Once logged in, it automatically syncs all your documents from Microsoft Office home on the web.
When you turn on its Camera upload feature, OneDrive syncs your photos and videos automatically. It’s also easy to manage and create folders, organize files and share them with OneDrive.
You can also scan documents and save them to OneDrive as PDFs. The scanning isn’t as clean as expected when tested, though. If you deleted a file or folder, it dumps them in the Recycle bin. So you can retrieve them if you change your mind.
Recycle bin temporarily holds deleted files or folders
Allows easy editing of Microsoft documents
Scan documents easily
Flexible pricing and storage
Bedtime syncing chunks file storage and makes it faster
Can be strict with its file naming conventions
Price: Free (Subscription starts at $1.99)
6. Box – Cloud storage app with to-do section
Box is more than a cloud storage app. It has all it takes to be an independent tool for productivity. The app comes with free 10GB storage space and has tools for managing and sharing files securely in the cloud. It has paid plans, but it limits this to 100GB.
Box also has a to-do section for planning and managing schedules. And it’s easy to share files with others, and you can jot instructions with its note-taking feature. This one also offers enterprise-level security. So you need not worry while sharing files and folders.
You might also want to try its e-signing capability for signing documents digitally. Another notable feature is you can record and share audio files. Indeed, it’s an excellent tool for working collaboratively in a remote setting.
In addition to scanning documents into PDFs, it lets you edit photos before uploading them to the cloud. When scanning documents or uploading photos, there’s an option for adjusting picture quality.
You can also save the GPS data of pictures. This is optional, though. But it’s handy for keeping track of where you took a picture. Ultimately, Box lets you choose to either save copies of the photos you took with the camera to your local directory or keep them in the cloud only.
Versatile tools for productivity
Control what goes to your cloud storage
Excellent tool for collaboration
Limited storage space
Subscription isn’t flexible
Price: Free (Yearly subscription starts at $79.99)
7. SugarSync – Best free cloud storage
SugarSync is a free and easy-to-use cloud storage app. It comes with 5GB storage space, of course, with no options for expansion. Hence, once you exhaust your storage, you need to free up space or find an alternative.
To prevent syncing multiple files and cluttering your storage: there’s a protocol for checking and preventing duplicates in a destination folder. So you’re not likely to have many copies of a file in the cloud. You can also upload files on the Wi-Fi network or mobile data.
You also have access to its camera sync option to automatically store photos and videos to the cloud after recording or taking pictures. Do you have confidential files like office docs, photos, or videos? You can keep these in the protected folder, so only you can access them.
It also has storage usage stats for viewing what space you’ve left. On SugarSync, there’s a filter that helps you separate files you’ve shared with others from those they’ve shared with you.
Suitable for getting extra storage quickly
Protect selected files
Prevents duplicate data from syncing to a destination folder
Offers little storage
No option for expansion
8. Mega – End-to-end encrypted storage
If you prioritize security above storage, Mega comes in handy. It uses end-to-end encryption to sync your files to the cloud. This means the platform doesn’t know anything about your files or access protocols.
There’s 20GB of free storage with an opportunity to get 5GB extra, depending on your participation in a program it calls the Mega Achievement. Nonetheless, you can go for storage as high as 16TB monthly if you don’t mind the cost.
Unfortunately and surprisingly, due to end-to-end encryption, Mega doesn’t allow you to change your password or request a new one even if you forget. So you want to paste and keep your password in a safe place where you can’t lose it to avoid losing your files.
Further, the app features a rubbish bin to keep deleted files temporarily. Another unique feature of Mega is it lets you sync your contacts to the cloud. This isn’t nearly the same as Google’s contact syncing, though. Moreover, you need to send an invitation to your contacts. And they must accept to join Mega before it syncs them to the platform.
Hence, in addition to secure file sharing, you also enjoy an end-to-end encrypted chat platform with other contacts on your device. While syncing photos and videos from the camera, it provides an option for including a location tag.
Moreover, you can also select what comes into your storage space and what doesn’t. And if you want to scan a document, Mega doesn’t pale behind other cloud apps that offer the same feature.
Secure than most storage apps
Recover deleted files easily
Comes with 20GB of free storage
Supports end-to-end encryption
Losing or forgetting your password means losing your files
Price: Free (Subscription starts at $4.00)
9. Icedrive – Simplest interface
Icedrive has a responsive interface that makes you want to store your files in the cloud. It gives you free 10GB storage space when you first register, and you can get up to 5TB storage space with its premium plans.
Like other cloud storage apps, Icedrive lets you sync your files, including photos, videos, and documents, to the cloud and arrange them into folders. But this one also has an encrypted directory to securely stash files you don’t want any third party to access. This comes with the premium plan, though.
It’s also platform-agnostic, and you can share documents across several devices, including PC, Mac, and Android. There’s a manual method for syncing files. Or you can do that automatically with its camera syncing feature, which is available in Settings and supports selective upload.
File syncing can be a bit slow, though, but comes through in the end. And it also helps to convert HEIC photos to jpeg. This helps cut upload time significantly.
Easy to navigate
Supports selective syncing
Access shared files from any device
Features an inbuilt image converter
Flexible storage plans
File syncing can be slow
Encryption is only available in premium
Price: Free (Subscription starts at $3.99)
Most of these apps support Android as well. The functioning and interface are also often the same. So feel free to grab one, regardless of your device type.
Idowu is an avid tech writer and a software surfer who loves covering knowledge gaps in consumer software, including anything related to iPhones. Well, when he’s not reading and learning new things, you’ll find Idowu losing gallantly on a solid chessboard or virtually on Lichess.
Skype is the quintessential video and voice chatting app—and you can use it on both Android and iOS. While the Android version of Skype does support video calling, it’s not available on all devices.Step 1: Install Skype
Skype is a free app for both Android and iOS devices. You can find the Skype iOS app in the App Store, while the Skype Android app is in the Android Market.
Supported iOS devices include: iPhone (3G, 3GS, and 4), iPod Touch (3rd and 4th generations), and iPad (1 and 2). Skype requires iOS 4.0 or later. If you have an iPod Touch 3rd generation or an iPhone 3G, you will be able to receive only video.
If you have an Android device, you may see two versions of Skype—one called “Skype for Android,” and one called “Skype Mobile for Verizon.”* If you have a Verizon Android device, you may download the Skype Mobile for Verizon app (otherwise, download the Skype for Android app). Skype Mobile for Verizon does not allow you to place domestic calls, but you can still place international calls over a 3G or Wi-Fi connection. Skype for Android, on the other hand, lets you place domestic and international calls over a 3G or Wi-Fi connection.
*For this article, I used Skype for Android, not the Verizon version. When I tested Skype for Android on a Droid X running Android 2.1, there was no video chat option.Step 2: Set up Skype
You will then be prompted to sync your Skype contacts with your phonebook contacts. You can choose to sync all contacts, add phonebook contacts to your Skype list, or sync no contacts. If you add phonebook contacts to your Skype list, you’ll be able to easily call your phonebook contacts directly from the Skype app.
You can also access the Settings menu, where you can set up notifications, IM options, and whether Skype starts automatically when you turn on your phone.
Once you’ve signed in using your Skype login details, you will be taken directly to your contact list. Initially, you’ll have only your previously saved Skype contacts in your contact list. To see contacts from your phone, tap the “Contacts” button in the top left corner. In the main Contacts menu you can find contacts from your iPhone, but you cannot import them to your Skype contact list.
The iPhone version of Skype has four tabs: Contacts, Messages, Call, and My Info. The Messages tab lets you send instant messages to people on your Skype contact list, while the My Info tab lets you set up your profile, buy Skype credit, and set up voicemail.Step 3: Make a Call
You can make two types of calls using Skype: Skype-to-Skype calls and Skype-to-Phone calls. The first, Skype-to-Skype calls, are free (though you may be charged if you are on a limited data plan), while the second, Skype-to-Phone calls, are billed at a low rate (for example, it’s $0.019/minute—1.9 cents per minute—for calls to the United States).
Open up your Skype contact list. If you have an Android device, go to your Contacts list, tap the icon next to where it says “All contacts,” and choose “Skype.” If you have an iOS device, open up your Contacts list, tap the button in the upper left corner that says “Contacts,” and, from the next screen, choose “Skype Contacts.”
Then choose the Skype contact you want to call, and tap “Call.” You also have the option to send them an instant message, or, if you’re on an iOS device, to start a video call.
To Make a Skype-to-Phone Call
You will be billed by Skype for all Skype-to-phone calls that you make using Skype’s mobile apps. Calls are billed per minute.Let’s Skype!
As I noted earlier, Skype is the app everyone thinks of when they think of Internet calling. Skype is a great app for cheap data-connection or Wi-Fi calling, but it’s not ideal if you want to make free Skype-to-Skype video calls.
For one thing, Skype video calling is available only on iOS devices (and on some devices—such as the iPod Touch 3rd generation and the iPhone 3G—you will only be able to receive video) and certain Android devices. Still, Skype is easy to use, nearly everyone seems to have it, and it’s available on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Symbian, and a number of connected TVs. Plus, you can make cheap phone calls to real phone numbers—excellent if you routinely have to make international calls.
Controlling smart home devices with your iPhone or iPad is far from a new concept, but in iOS 10, Apple is lending much more focus to home automation. It’s all thanks to the new built-in Home app that ships with iOS 10 and watchOS 3.
Resident Apple HomeKit enthusiast, Zac Hall, already wrote a thorough walkthrough of the new Home app during the initial iOS 10 beta period, but now that iOS 10 and watchOS 3 are shipping, it’s only right to give it another in-depth visit with a corresponding walkthrough.What is the Home app?
The new Home app is a centralized hub for managing Apple HomeKit-enabled devices. These are devices that have been specifically certified by Apple to work seamlessly. As you’ll learn, the set up process and day-to-day device interaction has much improved with the release of iOS 10.
Previously, users had to rely on third-party HomeKit apps in order to achieve similar functionality. A good example of this is the recently updated Home – Smart Home Automation app from Mattias Hochgatterer.
These apps work, and in some cases do things better than the stock Home app, but it’s difficult to compete with the level of native integration baked into a stock iOS app. There’s also something to be said for an app that appears on your Home screen by default; not to mention that it’s free.
With the new Home app in iOS 10, it’s super-easy to set up and manage HomeKit-enabled devices. The app features integration with Control Center, 3D Touch quick actions, and as you’d expect from anything HomeKit related, support for Siri. Home app settings are synced via iCloud, so any iCloud-enabled iOS device running iOS 10 — an iPod touch, iPhone, or an iPad — can be used to control your Home.iOS 10 Home app video walkthrough
Subscribe to 9to5Mac’s YouTube channel for more iOS 10 videosYou’ll need at least one HomeKit-enabled product
The $69.99 Philips Hue Starter kit is a great first HomeKit accessory
Before you can begin using the Home app, you’ll need at least one HomeKit-certified product. Before today, I didn’t own any HomeKit-enabled products, but I went out and bought a Philips Hue Starter Kit for this tutorial. The Philips Hue Starter Kit costs $69.99, and comes with a Hue bridge and two white bulbs.Other HomeKit-enabled accessories you might want to consider The HomeKit hierarchy
There is a basic hierarchy when it comes to using the Home app. Keeping this hierarchy in mind will make it much easier to understand how the app functions.
Home → Rooms → Accessories → (Groups, Scenes & Automation)
To use the Home app, you must have at least one home, one room, and one accessory. Groups, scenes, and automation are optional, but they allow for broader control over your home.Using the Home app
Once you’ve acquired your first HomeKit device, launch the Home app, and you’ll be greeted with a “Welcome Home” splash screen that explains some of the things that are possible with the Home app. Tap the Get Started button to proceed.
The initial accessory setup process in the Home app is fairly straightforward
By default, you’ll see a new “My Home” screen that allows you to start building your connected home by adding locks, lights, thermostats, etc. You can customize the name of your Home, change its background wallpaper, and much more.
Before you get into customization, however, you should add your first HomeKit-enabled accessory. Tap the Add Accessory button, and the Home app will scan your Home network in an effort to find any HomeKit-enabled devices. Make sure that your iPhone is connected to your local network, and that your HomeKit-enabled device is as well.
Using the 8-digit setup code to get started
In my case, the Philips Hue bridge showed up under the list of available accessories. Once you tap the accessory, you’ll be prompted to enter the 8-digit setup code that appears on the device’s packaging or the accessory itself. The Home app features a handy camera frame that allows you to capture the HomeKit code without needing to manually type it in.
After the HomeKit code is successfully submitted, the Home app will pair with the HomeKit-enabled device. Once the pairing is completed, you’ll be taken to the Add Accessory page to finish up the pairing process.
With some standalone products, there may be a 1:1 relationship between the Home app and the product itself. However, since the Philips Hue includes the Hue bridge along with the lights, there is an extra layer of complexity added to the mix, which we’ll discuss in a bit.
The Add Accessory page allows you to identify the accessory by means of the Identify Accessory button. Tapping this button will cause the Hue bridge’s push-link button to flash as a means of identification. Other HomeKit-enabled products will have different ways to go about identification, but the basic premise remains the same.
You can rename your HomeKit accessories, by tapping in the name box and adding a name of your choice. Along with name customization, you can set a particular location for the accessory. The location (or Room) is designated area of your house. A few location suggestions, such as Bedroom, Dining Room, and Living Room, are provided by default, but users can add their own locations by tapping the Create New button.
You’ll need to rely on Philips’ Hue app to complete the bridge setup
The Include in Favorites option at the bottom of the Add Accessory page lets you designate a device as a preferred accessory. Favorites appear in Control Center and in the Home tab for quick and easy access. Since the Hue bridge isn’t something that we’ll need to interface with on a regular basis, I’m keeping the Include in Favorites switch disabled.Pairing Philips Hue lights inside the Philips Hue app
In some cases, you’ll need to rely on the manufactures app for initial setup, firmware updates, etc. That’s the case with the Philips Hue Starter Pack. After connecting to the bridge, you’ll need to launch the Philips Hue app to pair the lights with the bridge.
When you launch the Hue app for the first time, it’ll search for the new bridge. Once it’s found, tap the Set up button to proceed with setup. You’ll need to press the push-link button on the Hue bridge in order to connect. Once the bridge connects, tap the Accept button to finish the bridge setup with the Hue app.
You’ll need to use the Hue app to finish the bridge setup and connect to your lights
Now it’s time to pair the lights. On the Light setup page, tap the ‘+’ button in the bottom right-hand corner to add a new light. To find new lights, make sure that the lights are connected to a lamp and powered on. Tap the Search button to begin searching for connected lights.Since I already had three Philips Hue color lights from an old Hue setup, the Light setup page showed a total of five lights.
You can always use the device manufacturer’s app to further customize the experience, but since this post is primarily about setting up and using the stock Home app, that’s all we’ll need to use the Hue app for.Back to the Home app
Once the lights are paired with the Hue bridge, you can head back to the Home app, where you’ll see each light listed on the Home tab.
All of my Philips Hue lights recognized by the Home appCustomizing the Home tab
Tap the Compass button in the upper left-hand corner of the Home tab to enter edit mode. Here you can rename your home, see available Home Hubs, invite others to control accessories in your home, change home wallpaper, add notes that all shared users can see, and remove the home.
You can edit all sorts of elements that relate to each Home you have configured
If you frequent more than one home featuring HomeKit-enabled devices, you can additional homes by tapping the Add Home button in the upper left-hand corner. This allows you to control HomeKit devices in multiple locations via the Home app.Adding a new accessory to a home
To add a new accessory to a home, tap the ‘+’ button in the upper right-hand corner while on the Home tab, and then tap Add Accessory. When adding a new accessory, you’ll need to step back through the initial setup process.
You can add a new accessory from the Home tabCustomizing the Rooms tab
Once an accessory is configured, a room is added by default. Like the Home tab, the Rooms tab can be customized, and like homes, multiple rooms can be added. A room should correspond to an actual place in your house or on your property. For example, if I have a Philips Hue light installed in my office, it would be wise for me to create a separate room called Office.
Customizing and creating new rooms is an integral part of the Home app experience
Once on the Rooms tab, tap the List button in the upper left-hand corner to edit the current room. There, you can edit the room name and change room wallpaper. It’s a good idea to take a picture of the room so that it can be quickly identified as you’re swiping through rooms in the Home app.
While most people probably won’t be adding multiple homes, almost everyone will have two or more rooms. To add an additional room, tap the Add Room button in the upper-left hand corner. Once a new room is added, you can swipe between rooms while on the Rooms tab.Adding a new accessory to a room
To add a new accessory to a room, tap the ‘+’ button in the upper right-hand corner, followed by Add Accessory. From there, it’s just a matter of going back through the initial setup process as covered in the beginning of this tutorial.
You can also add a new accessory from the Rooms tabCustomizing accessories
To get the most out of the Home app, it’s important to organize your accessories in a way that makes sense. In most cases, you’ll want to create separate rooms for each physical room or location on your property that contains a HomeKit-enabled device. You’ll also want to make sure to give your accessory a name that makes it easy to identify.
The Home app lets you customize accessory names, icons, and more
To customize an accessory, long-press on an accessory tile and tap the Details button at the bottom of the screen. From the accessory customization screen, you can choose a new icon, rename your accessory, set its location, include in favorites, and include it in the status page on the main Home tab.
The customize accessory page is also where you can go to Group an accessory with other HomeKit-enabled devices. Once an accessory is grouped, it is treated as a singular device.Controlling accessories
While the Home app has lots of depth, its most important feature involves directly controlling the HomeKit-enabled accessories that you configure. The Home app features a lot of rich ways to go about controlling accessories in a very intuitive and fun way.
Accessories can be controlled in one or more of the following ways:
The Home app on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple Watch
The Home section of Control Center on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
3D Touch Quick Actions on the Home app icon for 3D Touch-enabled devices
Siri on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch or Apple TV
Automation via the Home app (requires always-on iPad or Apple TV)…via the Home app
The most basic way to control an accessory is via the Home app itself. For example, if I wanted to toggle a light on or off, a simple tap on an accessory tile will do the job. For more fine-grained control, a long-press on the tile will reveal additional options. In the case of Philips Hue lighting, a long-press will reveal a dimmer interface that allows you to dim or brighten any given light.
Dimming a Philips Hue light
For accessories that support enhanced functionality, you’ll find additional options after long-pressing. For example, with my Hue colored lights, I see a Color button that allows me to customize the color of the Hue lights directly from the Home app interface.
HomeKit accessories can also be controlled via the Apple Watch app on watchOS 3. The Home app comes with an Apple Watch complication, but the complication is just a shortcut to the Home app itself. Still, it might be a good idea to set up a complication or at least add the Home app to the Dock since you’ll experience faster load times by doing so.…via Control Center
A tap on an accessory tile will let users quickly toggle an accessory on or off without launching the Home app. A long-press on an accessory tile within Control Center provides extended functionality, such as the ability to dim a light or change its color.
Along with accessing favorite accessories established in the Home app, the Home section of Control Center lets users selects favorite scenes. You can toggle between favorite accessories and favorite Scenes by tapping the Scenes/Accessories button in the upper right-hand corner of the Home section of Control Center.…via 3D Touch Quick Actions …via Siri
Siri is one of the best ways to control HomeKit-enabled devices, because it can be performed from a variety of devices and from anywhere on the interface. Siri control works on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch and 4th-generation Apple TV.
Using Siri to turn off a light
Just say something like “Turn on my desk light” to control your devices via Siri. You can even get more specific by asking Siri to turn your office light purple or to turn your porch light brightness down to 50%. Siri is, by far, the most flexible way of going about controlling your HomeKit devices, because it is smart enough to recognize individual HomeKit accessories, rooms, and scenes.
Controlling HomeKit devices using the Apple TV and Siri Remote
You can control many HomeKit devices from a 4th-generation Apple TV as well, except for locks. Locks can only be controlled via an iOS device, presumably due to potential security issues.…via Automation
We’ve yet to touch on Automation in this walkthrough, but this option allows you to automate HomeKit device actions based on specific criteria like location or time. Automation requires a 4th-generation Apple TV, or an iPad running iOS 10 that’s always on and always home. We’ll talk more about Automation near the end of this walkthrough.
Automate your devices by means of specialized criteriaScenes
Scenes are custom actions that generally involve two or more HomeKit-enabled devices in your Home. For example, you can create a scene called “Good Night” that turns off all of the interior lights and turns on the porch light. Scenes are different from groups because each accessory in a scene can still be controlled individually, and you can invoke different actions for each device.How to create a new scene
On the Home or Rooms tab, tap the ‘+’ button in the upper right-hand corner followed by Add Scene. You’ll then be taken to the New Scene page.
Apple includes four suggested scenes to start with:
Users can also create their own custom scenes, with a customized icon and name, by tapping Custom at the bottom of the New Scene page. You can also customize any of the canned suggested scenes.
Scenes are a good way to fire off commands to multiple HomeKit accessories simultaneously
Once you arrive at the New Scene page, you can rename the scene, change its icon, and add or remove accessories from a scene. Accessories added to a scene can be further customized for that particular scene.
Once a scene is set up, shortcuts for it appear in various places, such as in Control Center
Apple includes a handy Test This Scene button near the bottom of the scene details for testing how a scene reacts. If you’re happy with the scene that you create, you can choose to Show in Favorites, which is enabled by default. Scenes added to favorites will appear in Control Center, on the Home tab in the Home app, and in the 3D Touch Quick Action popup.Controlling accessories away from home
You can only interface with HomeKit devices while on your home Wi-Fi network, unless you have a device that acts as an always-on hub. The 4th-generation Apple TV or an iPad running iOS 10 can both work as a hub.
The 4th-generation Apple TV works well as a hub
To use off-network remote access, you’ll need to make sure that your devices are signed in to the same iCloud account. If you desire to use your iPad as a Home Hub, you need to go to Settings → Home on your iPad to ensure that the Home Hub option is enabled. If you’re using an Apple TV as a Home Hub, ensure that you’re signed in with the same iCloud account.
If you don’t own an Apple TV, you can use an iPad as a Home Hub
You can see a list of your Home Hubs by opening the Home app, tapping the Home tab, and tapping the Compass button in the upper left-hand corner. Under the Home Hubs heading, you’ll see a list of available hubs and the current status of each.
Check the status of Home Hubs via the Home appAutomation
My location changes
A time of day occurs
An accessory is controlled
A sensor detects something
To create a new Automated task, tap the Automation tab in the bottom right-hand corner of the Home app, followed by Create new Automation. Select any of the four available automation types on the New Automation page to begin building your automated tasks.
Building an automated task
Once you select your desired automation trigger, you can select the scenes and accessories to automate. You can mix and match scenes with accessories, and further customize those accessories as you build the automated task. Once completed, tap the Done button in the upper right-hand corner, and your automated task will be saved.
Completing the build of an automated task
Using Automation, I made it so that my porch light would turn off at sunrise and on at sunset. I could even change the light’s brightness via the granular brightness controls. Obviously, that’s pretty basic when it comes to automation, but if you have a variety of HomeKit-enabled devices, automation can get significantly more complex.Inviting others to control your Home
If you have a lot of HomeKit-enabled devices, it goes without saying that you’ll probably want to share access with others in your household. Inviting others to control your home can also be useful for guests, house-sitters, etc.
As long as the person has an iOS device running iOS 10 with an iCloud account, they’ll be able to control designated aspects of your Home using their own device. Of course, people can also use the Apple TV’s Siri Remote to control various areas of the home without needing an invite.
To invite people to control your home from an iOS device, tap the Compass button in the upper left-hand corner of the Home app’s Home tab. Under the People heading, tap the Invite button to open the Add People page. Any family members that are found in your contacts will be instantly displayed for quick access. You can also invite people to control your home by using the To: field at the top of the page.
You can invite others to control the HomeKit accessories in your home
Once you have all of the people who you wish to invite added, tap the Send Invite button in the upper right-hand corner to send the invitation. Invited users will receive a push notification alerting them about the invitation.
Invited users will need to accept the invitation
Once an invitation is accepted, the “Invitation Pending” text below the invited user will disappear, and they’ll gain access to accessories in the Home.
By tapping on an invited person’s avatar, you can manage users permissions. User permissions consist of the ability to access the home from a remote location (off network) and to allow editing (adding or removing accessories, scenes, and other people.)
You can easily revoke invites by tapping the Remove Person button at the bottom of the individual people pages.Conclusion
HomeKit has been around for several years now, but I feel like iOS 10 is its first mainstream introduction. Because Apple is placing HomeKit front and center with the new stock Home app, and because there is a nice assortment of HomeKit devices now available, it’s the perfect time to get started with home automation.
The Home app, while not the most intuitive app that Apple has made, is a really good app and handles most of the basic home automation needs. The app has room to grow with regard to it being an end-to-end buck-stops-here solution for HomeKit enabled devices, but it’s a wonderful start. I don’t like the fact that I had to bounce between two apps during the initial setup process of my Philips Hue Starter Kit, but once the initial configuration was finished, the Home app was able to meet nearly all of my needs.
Your experience with the Home app will largely depend on the types of HomeKit devices you use, but it seems as if Apple is serious about making the Home app, and thus HomeKit in general, a significant part of iOS 10.Other iOS 10 how-to guides:
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