Make your phone and computer team up to get more done

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Written By RobertMaxfield

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You already split your screen time between your smartphone and your computer. Why not put the two together? There are several ways to use your devices in harmony, increasing the efficiency of both. From syncing data to jumping between apps, here are five ways to make your phone and computer play nice.

1. Sync files through the cloud

iCloud and Dropbox

Syncing files in iCloud and Dropbox on iOS.


If you work on the go, you’ll want access to the same files on both your phone and computer—so sync them up. Lots of apps will do the job for you, but all of them function in more or less the same way. First, choose a service. On your phone, install the mobile version; on your computer, download the desktop client or access the web interface through your browser. Then sign in to your account whenever you want to access your up-to-date files.

The hardest part is probably choosing which service to use. On iOS, the default option is iCloud, and on Android, it’s Google Drive. When you set up your phone, it will prompt you to sign in with your Apple or Google account to configure these services, and once you do, they’ll be compatible with both Windows and macOS machines. That said, you don’t have to stick to the default apps. You can download Google Drive to iOS as well as Android devices. Or eschew both and go for a third-party service like Microsoft OneDrive or the excellent Dropbox. Both work on all the major operating systems: iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows.

If you’re still unsure which will work best for you, do some price comparison. Apple gives you 5GB of iCloud space for free, with paid plans starting at $1 a month for 50GB of storage. Google offers 15GB of free space across all its apps (so your Gmail attachments and Google Drive files will need to share that room), and more will set you back $2 per month for 100GB and up. OneDrive gives you 5GB of free space, with the cheapest upgrade $2 a month for 50GB. Finally, Dropbox offers 2GB to users for free, with extra cloud storage costing you $8.25 per month for 1TB.

2. Bring your browser with you

Firefox sync

Signing in on Firefox for iOS.


You already store a lot of your important stuff—think passwords, bookmarks, searches, and browsing history—in your browser. You can take all this with you by creating a user account and then opting to sync your data.

Once you’ve chosen a browser, download it onto both your phone and your computer. When you launch the app, you’ll see a prompt urging you to sign in with a Google, Firefox, or Microsoft account.

Next, head to the browser settings to adjust the sync options. In the iOS versions, for example, head to an app’s settings and tap the Sign in to Chrome button (Chrome), the Sign in to Sync button (Firefox), or the Sign in with a Microsoft accountbutton (Edge). You follow similar steps in the Android versions. Safari—again, only on iOS—is a little different: Go to the iPhone’s main Settings appe, tap your Apple ID name followed by iCloud, and then turn the Safari toggle switch to On. Once you set up syncing, it will happen automatically in the background.

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