How-To Geek

11 Ubuntu One Features You May Not Be Aware Of


While Ubuntu One might seem like a Ubuntu-only file synchronization service, it’s more than that – you can use Ubuntu One on Windows, Android, iOS, and from the web. Ubuntu One offers 5GB of free storage space to everyone.

Ubuntu One includes features for sharing files or folders online, streaming music to your smartphone, synchronizing installed applications across all your devices, and more.

Sync Any Folder

By default, Ubuntu only synchronizes files inside the Ubuntu One folder in your home directory. However, you can right-click any folder, point to the Ubuntu One menu and select Synchronize This Folder to start synchronizing it, too. You can manage your synchronized folders from the Ubuntu One application.


Limit Bandwidth

Ubuntu One uses all available bandwidth for file uploads and downloads by default, but you can restrict its upload and download speeds if you’re on a slower connection. The bandwidth settings are located on the Settings pane in the Ubuntu One window.


Use Ubuntu One on Windows

Ubuntu One doesn’t just run on Linux – Ubuntu also offers a Windows client with full file synchronization support. Ubuntu One is a cross-platform file synchronization service – you can even use it if you’re a Windows user that’s never used Ubuntu.


Share Files

Using the right-click menu in your file manager or the Ubuntu One website, you can share files and folders – publically on the Internet or privately with other Ubuntu One users. We’ve covered using Ubuntu One to share files in the past.

Synchronize Installed Software

Ubuntu One can sync the software you’ve installed from Ubuntu’s Software Center between your computers, so it’s easy to keep track of which software you have installed. We’ve covered syncing software with the Ubuntu Software Center in the past.


Use Mobile Apps

Ubuntu One offers apps for Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. With the app, you can access your Ubuntu One files on the go from your mobile device.


Automatically Upload Photos From Your Smartphone

The mobile app also has the ability to automatically upload photos you take on your smartphone to your personal Ubuntu One cloud, allowing easy access to your photos on all your devices.

Mobile Music Streaming

Ubuntu One also offers a Ubuntu One Music app for Android and iOS. The app allows you to stream your music to your mobile device from wherever you are – you can also cache files on your device for offline listening. This feature costs $3.99 a month and includes 20GB of storage space – you can try it free for the first 30 days. It also works in concert with the Ubuntu One Music Store included with Ubuntu One’s Rhythmbox music player – any music you purchase is instantly delivered to your Ubuntu One account and available in the Ubuntu One Music app.


Sync Contacts

Ubuntu One can synchronize your contacts and store them online. Currently, you can import contacts from Facebook on the Ubuntu One website or add them manually. Previous versions of Ubuntu supported contacts sync with the Evolution email client, but contact sync with Thunderbird appears to be absent in Ubuntu 12.04.


Manage Files in Your Browser

If you don’t have Ubuntu One installed on your computer, you can access and manage your files from the Ubuntu One website. From your browser, you can download files, upload files, or manage your existing files.


Manage Devices

From the Devices tab in the Ubuntu One window or the Devices page on the Ubuntu One website, you can manage the computers and other devices that are linked to your account.


Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 07/9/12

Comments (10)

  1. Paul O' Sullivan

    is there any programs to automatically delete and reupload files so the space isn’t used up?
    possibly with a simple text file storing the file write date and an MD5 to make sure all the computers are in sync and to clear out files once they are on all computers.
    because that would be awesome.

  2. Praveen Sripati

    UbuntuOne might have couple of more features that DropBox, but DropBox should suffice the need for most of the users. One thing nice is that while UbuntuOne offers 5GB for free, DropBox offers only 2GB for free.

  3. dragonbite

    I like Ubuntu One’s select the folder to synchronize feature and definitely have to check out the application sync feature. Unfortunately their web interface is very limiting (no copy? no move?).

    Dropbox needs to do something with all of this competition it is getting. Just 2 GB is really limiting (I have > 10 GB on my SkyDrive alone!) and while getting more space by referring people sounds good (up to 18GB this way!) it is also a pain (I don’t know 36 people who would sign up using my referral code).

    Their “killer feature” is their Sync-over-LAN.

    Sync-over-LAN means if 2 computers are on the same network and files are added/edited/removed on one computer, the other computer will be told to fetch the new file or structure from the first computer instead. So instead of downloading the new file from the cloud site, it runs over the LAN computer-to-computer.

    I love this feature when I set up dropbox on a new Linux install. I leave my fully-sync’d desktop on while connecting my new system to my dropbox account. Instaed of downloading my 1+GB of files from the internet (taking 3-4 hours easily) it pulls it from my desktop in about 20 minutes +/-.

    But the price to get more space with Dropbox is prohibitively large compared to other services. If Google Drive came to Linux, then that would probably overtake both Ubuntu One and Dropbox from a combination of cross-platform/distro (unlike Ubuntu One), 5 GB of space (unlike Dropbox) a manageable browser interface (unlike Ubuntu One) and ability to open files in the browser with Google Docs (unlike either at this point).

  4. cam2644

    Good stuff here- thanks. Ubuntu One has really progressed.I use it as well as Dropbox.

  5. Matthew

    While the features are good, they’re not too different from Dropbox to get me to switch. I’ve got 7.5GB of free space on Dropbox (thanks to social media, Dropquest and referrals), so any file syncing service needs to beat that before I’ll use it.

  6. Carlos

    How come they have a Windows app and not OSX..?

  7. Andrew Heath

    I use Ubuntu and Fedora. I have been trying to install Ubuntu One into Fedora from source for a few weeks and I’m sad that I cannot make it work.

  8. Bob

    When I 1st saw this I thought “Ubuntu Backup Software”

    Can this software be used to backup files to an external HD?
    Does such an Ubuntu application exist?

  9. Anonymous

    Bob, this is certainly possible. Just open up System Settings, click Back-up, set up your first back-up and select Ubuntu One as the destination.

  10. Richard

    This is for Bob and “backup software”.
    rsync and front-end GUI, Back In Time”

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