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Box for iOS review: Secure cloud storage with an intuitive interface

Though it's been around for quite some time, the latest version of this app gives you a completely redesigned UI for managing, viewing, and editing your documents securely in the cloud.

Jason_Parker.jpg
Jason Parker
Jason_Parker.jpg

Jason Parker

Senior Editor / Reviews - Software

Jason Parker has been at CNET for nearly 15 years. He is the senior editor in charge of iOS software and has become an expert reviewer of the software that runs on each new Apple device. He now spends most of his time covering Apple iOS releases and third-party apps.

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4 min read

Box is a free file-sharing and storage cloud app akin to Dropbox, offering several useful features and a clean interface that's incredibly easy to navigate. At the time of this review, Box is bumping up the storage to 50GB of free space for iOS users, so if you're looking for a cloud storage app, now is the time to grab Box.

Box
8.5

Box for iOS

The Good

<b>Box</b> gives you 50 free gigabytes of space to store just about any type of document, and adds excellent viewing features along with group sharing and multiple levels of security.

The Bad

You can't create groups for sharing (collaborative or otherwise) from within the app.

The Bottom Line

Though it doesn't have every feature that we'd like, Box is an excellent choice for viewing, editing, and sharing your files securely in the cloud.

Though the app has been available for a few years now, the latest version of Box is a complete redesign of the interface for iOS devices, making all the most common actions easy to get to. The interface is so simple that it's almost completely self-explanatory. But when you first open the app, you still get a rundown of the main functions and minor interface elements to get you up to speed quickly.

Managing your files
Files you have stored on Box show up in a list on the main page. Here you'll be able to swipe to browse to a file, or use a search box at the top to zero in on a specific file immediately. You also can create folders to organize your documents any way you like.

With a redesigned UI and new features, Box is a great cloud storage option (pictures)

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To manage and move individual documents, you can touch the file name to open up the preview page, then use buttons at the bottom to open the file in a supported app, make a comment about it you can share, send the file via e-mail or Messages, or use other common file actions like move or copy to clipboard.

Alternately, you can manage your files directly from the main list. Simply swipe the file name to the left and you'll bring up buttons for sharing with others, downloading the file for offline viewing, changing the name of the file, or deleting it.

Working with your content
Box not only lets you store and share files; you also can browse and edit your content. The app will store just about any type of file, letting you view and browse photos, listen to audio files, watch videos, and also read through multipage documents. With images you can browse a grid or look at individual photos and swipe to move on to the next one. You can share single or multiple photos with others, and use the buttons across the bottom to open in another app, comment on it, and other common file actions.

Audio and video files play within the app, giving you all the same sharing and commenting options.

Box handles multipage PDF files extremely well. Thumbnails of the pages are laid out across the bottom of the screen, and you can touch and drag on the thumbnail bar to quickly skip to specific pages. But you also can touch and swipe to turn the pages individually, with a smooth page-turning animation. It's really a neat way to skip around or browse through PDFs. If you don't like the animations or prefer simple swipe browsing, you can always turn off the animations in the settings.

Sharing and security
The main focus of Box is to be your place to store files, but also to be able to share them with individuals or groups securely. Great for a collaborative working environment, you can set up groups and share a project folder, for example, that only the collaborators can see. When sharing files, you can then choose to share with only collaborators or allow public access to the file. The only drawback is that you cannot create groups of collaborators from within the app, so you'll need to set it up at the Box Web site beforehand.

To keep your files more secure, you can password protect both folders and individual files that require a pin to unlock. The app also has options for locking up files automatically when you quit the app, so you don't need to worry about someone picking up your phone and viewing important documents. Even though you might have just been viewing the document, if a person tries to look at it, they will be met with a pin entry screen.

Conclusion
Box is a great cloud storage app that has cool features for browsing and editing documents and gives you a secure way to share your work with an individual or a group. The app is smart in the way it lets you view different types of files, giving you the ideal experience when working with photos, videos, text files, Powerpoint presentations, and even multipage PDFs. Also, the interface couldn't be easier to understand.

Though Box keeps some of the important features exclusive to the Web site, it's the perfect companion for viewing and sharing documents and making quick edits on the go. The current offer of 50 free gigabytes is a generous amount of space that's better than what you get with Dropbox or Google Drive, making this free app a must download if you're looking for a new cloud storage app.

Box
8.5

Box for iOS

Score Breakdown

Setup 8Features 8Interface 9Performance 10