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iPhone App Review: cloudsyncr

iPhone App Review: cloudsyncr

June 12th, 2011 by

Let’s face it: most of us just don’t really hook our iPhones up to a computer anymore, and with the upcoming iCloud service launching this fall we’ll have even less of a reason to. I know that I rarely backup my phone unless it’s absolutely critical (read: when it’s time to update the firmware), and for the most part I simply don’t care. My music is on my computer anyway, all the apps I care about have their own cloud sync solution, and all of my personal data are belong to Google (calendar, contacts, email).

That leaves photos, which are the Achilles Heel of my critical iPhone infrastructure. I use my device’s camera constantly since, as they say, the best camera for the job is the one you have with you. I’m constantly afraid of losing my pictures and videos, but never get off my lazy bum to do anything about it.

Chili Technologies LLC has cooked up a delightful little app called cloudsyncr to answer that need. It makes backing up your photos and videos simple, to either your Dropbox or Amazon S3 account, plus you can also easily caption and share photos through Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr. The best feature about the app I’m going to save for further down, so you’ll just have to keep reading.

How It Works

Every time you launch the app it will scan your device’s photos folder and then display them all as thumbnails, similar to the way the iPhone’s Photo app works in the first place. I’m sure you can figure out the rest of this app out without even looking at it: set up your sync service, select the items you want to sync, and watch the little progress bars fill up until the process is done. Sure there are settings: you can choose whether you want the app to only sync while connected via WiFi, choose which folder to sync photos to, have the app create a subfolder in your sync account and store the photos by date. You can even snap a photo with the app itself: it has the complete toolset including flash control, flipping the camera view (front- or rear-facing), etc.

This app however has one killer feature that I can’t for the life of me figure out why Apple hasn’t included to begin with: Coverflow for your photos. Turn the phone to landscape mode while viewing photos and you can swipe through them just like in iTunes. I know it sounds stupid to love it so much, but I just do.

Pros And Cons

cloudsyncr fills a need that I have always had on my phone: how to back up photos without going through the hassle (and the infamously time-consuming process) of doing the full device backup and sync. It may take a while to get the photos synced initially (and unless you’ve paid for the upgrade you may need to move them out of your Dropbox account once you’ve uploaded them), but once you do you can just do an occasional sweep of the latest and greatest to be sure that your most sacred memories aren’t forgotten. The only thing I’d like to see added is a Picasa backup option. The Dropbox and Amazon options are good, but Picasa is a great cloud service and is where my photos often wind up living anyway.

The Coverflow feature though is hands down my favorite. I normally don’t fall for gew-gaws and eye candy, but this one feature is what makes me wish I could simply replace the iPhone’s existing Photos app for cloudsyncr. Why in the world this isn’t included in the OS out of the box is beyond me.


Some of the function of this app may soon be rendered moot once iCloud launches, but I’m not sure that iCloud will also grant you the option of syncing to Dropbox and Amazon. This is a free app with a purchase option to remove the ads, so if you’re someone who’s been looking for a way to get photos clear of your iPhone’s physical limitations, cloundsyncr is a beautiful functional app that’s available now.

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