Getting started with Carousel for Dropbox

Dropbox’s photo app for iOS and Android makes it easy to browse and share photos on your phone or stored on Dropbox.

Dropbox released its Carousel photo app on Wednesday; it promises to be "a gallery for all the photos and videos from your life." The app is available for iPhone and for Android. I took the Carousel iPhone app for a spin to show you how it works and what it can do.

When you first launch Carousel, it will recognize you if you already have the Dropbox app installed (and are logged in). You will need to check a box to allow Carousel to back up your photos, which means each time you snap a photo on your phone, a full-resolution copy of it will get sent to your Dropbox account. This functionality is not new; the Dropbox app has had a Camera Upload option that does the same thing. What Carousel does it provide an attractive interface that makes it easier to browse and share photos and videos.

Carousel main view
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

After checking the box to allow Carousel to back up your photos, you'll come to Carousel's main screen, which displays thumbnails of all of the photos and videos on your phone and any you have stored in the Camera Uploads folder in Dropbox. The app orders your photos and videos by date, grouping them into sets. You can swipe up and down on your thumbnails to browse chronologically, and there is a small timeline at the bottom on which you can swipe sideways to travel through time more quickly.

Each set of photos has a share button, which selects all of the photos and videos in a group to make them easy to share. And if you took a particularly large number of photos on a given day, Carousel will display some of them along with a blurry thumbnail with a number that tells you how many more photos there are in the set. Tap on the blurry thumbnail to see the rest of the photos in the set. The app also breaks up the monotony of the thumbnail grid by occasionally displaying a large thumbnail.

Carousel share
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Tap on a thumbnail to expand it, and tap on an expanded photo to return to the main Carousel view of your thumbnails. When a photo is expanded, you can swipe sideways to go to the previous or next photo. You can swipe up to share the photo and swipe down to hide it. When you go to share a photo or a video or group of photos and videos, you can send it via email or text. Your recipient(s) will need the Carousel app, however, to view your photos.

You can hide photos from appearing in Carousel by swiping down. By tapping the settings button in the upper-right corner of the app you can view your hidden photos and videos. From here, you can delete any photos and videos from Carousel and, thus, Dropbox.

You can also save photos and video from Carousel to your phone. When you are at the sharing screen, tap the triple-dot button to the right of the To: field for a variety of options, including save photo, copy link, open in, and share via Facebook or Twitter.

Carousel upgrade
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Carousel is a free app, but it's clear that Dropbox is hoping that once you start using it, you'll quickly reach the maximum of your allotted free space, including the 3GB of extra free space you get for using Carousel if you hadn't already cashed in that 3GB of space for previously agreeing to use the Camera Upload feature of the Dropbox app. I've used only slightly more than half of my 7.25GB of free space and Carousel is already telling me I don't have enough space. Dropbox Pro nets you 100GB of space for $99.99 a year.

 

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