Share files between iPhone and Mac with DeskConnect
A pair of free apps for iOS and OS X, DeskConnect lets you easily share files between your iPhone and your Mac.
In service to you, dear reader, I take many screenshots on my iPhone, which I then upload to Dropbox before grabbing them on my Mac to annotate and upload to CNET's publishing tool with each How To blog post I write. When I came across new (and free) iOS app DeskConnect earlier today, I had hoped it would offer a more efficient way than Dropbox for transferring screenshots from my iPhone to my Mac. Sadly, it won't replace my current method, but DeskConnect is very useful in a variety of ways for sending a variety of files from your iPhone to your Mac and from your Mac to your iPhone.
DeskConnect is not one app but two. You'll need DeskConnect on your iPhone and DeskConnect on your Mac. Both are free in their respective App Stores and require you to sign up for an account using an e-mail address.
On the Mac, DeskConnect sits in the menu bar. From its drop-down menu, you will see your iPhone listed if you have logged into the iOS app. The app also sees the page you are currently browsing and will offer to send that page to the iOS app. Actually, no files are being transferred to your devices. Instead, they are uploaded to DeskConnect's servers, where they are kept for 30 days. According to a comment the company left on 9to5Mac's coverage of the app, its server is located in the U.S. and your files are encrypted when sent to and from its server.
In preferences for the Mac app, you can check a box so whatever you have copied to your Mac's clipboard will show up as an option in the app to send to your iPhone. You can also just drag a file to the DeskConnect icon in your menu bar, wait for the drop-down menu to appear, and drop it on your iPhone listed there to share the file. The Mac app also knows which app you are viewing, and with some apps, it'll offer to share whatever file or page you have open. With Chrome and Safari (but not Firefox), for example, DeskConnect offers to send the page you are viewing to your iPhone.
On the iPhone side, the files you've sent from your Mac show up in a grid. Tap on a file to view it or long tap to call up a menu with Open, Copy, and Delete buttons.
Above this grid of files are four buttons to send a photo, a URL, a document, or the contents of your iPhone's clipboard. For sending a URL, the app will walk you through creating a bookmarklet that will send links to your Mac. The app also will be listed in other apps as an "Open in..." option, which extends its functionality.
Likewise, on the Mac, DeskConnect integrates itself into OS X's Contacts app. Click on a number and it shows up as an option to "Call via DeskConnect," which will initiate the call as soon as you slide to unlock your iPhone.
Another useful feature is the ability to send directions to your iPhone. If you have mapped out directions on your Mac, DeskConnect will share that page with directions to your iPhone. In settings for the iOS app, you can choose to open directions in the iOS Maps app or Google Maps. While you are there, you can also choose to open URLs in Chrome or Safari.
So, why won't I use DeskConnect instead of Dropbox to move screenshots from my iPhone to my Mac? For the simple reason that DeskConnect forces me to upload files one at a time, while Dropbox lets me upload multiple files at once. For sending directions and documents and contacts, however, it might prove useful.
How do you shuffle files back and forth among your iOS devices and Macs? Please add your comment below.