How-To Geek

Supercharge Your Dropbox Account with Space Upgrades, Apps, and More


Dropbox is a great way to store files in the cloud and access them easily from devices big and small. Today we’re taking a look at how you can supercharge your Dropbox experience with free space upgrades, app integration, and more.

What Is Dropbox and Why Should I Care About Supercharging Anything?

Dropbox, for the unfamiliar, is a cloud-based storage service. You install an application on your computer or mobile device and the files on that device—within your Dropbox directory—are synchronized to the remote storage on the Dropbox server as well as with other devices that are linked to your Dropbox account. With Dropbox, for example, you can save a Word document you’re editing at home and then open that document from your Dropbox when you get to the office. You’ll need a Dropbox account to follow along with our tips, so you might as well visit Dropbox’s site, check out the intro video, and grab a free account.

You might already be a Dropbox user and not sure why you should bother with all this fancy supercharging business. If all you do with a Dropbox account is sign up, save some files, and forget about them, sure you’ve got a nice cloud storage arrangement with syncing (if you use it on more than one machine) but you’re missing out on a ton of functionality. Read on as we highlight ways you can, for free or very cheaply, vastly enhance your Dropbox experience.

Score Free Dropbox Space


The basic Dropbox account is free and comes with only 2GB of storage space. That’s not awful if you’re only syncing some documents between computers, but it starts to feel real cramped real fast if you start adding bigger files. You could upgrade your Dropbox account ($99 a year for 1TB) but you can easily score up to 16GB of extra space with referrals and additional space beyond that 16GB of referrals with other techniques. So how can you score this sweet, sweet, free storage? Let’s take a look.

Refer friends (up to 16GB). This was the original way to score more space and still the way to score the largest amount of free space. Go to this page and either invite your Gmail contacts on the left or enter names or emails of people you want to invite to use Dropbox on the right. Every time one of your friends signs up, you each get 500MB of extra space on your accounts. You can also click “Copy Link” Everybody wins in the game of Dropbox Referral.

Note: As much as we’d love to help you and your quest to gain referrals, please refrain from spamming our forum with your referral link. Thanks!


Link your Dropbox account to your social media accounts (up to 512MB). If you go through all the steps on Dropbox’s free space page here, you can score up to 512MB. It takes a few minutes tops and you get half a GB of storage for free. Incredibly simple things like following @Dropbox on Twitter scores you free space.

Access Dropbox From Your Mobile Devices

As mobile devices increase in power the types of files they can handle also increases. Don’t overlook the utility of accessing Dropbox from your Android phone, iPhone, iPad, and other mobile devices.

Use the default mobile interface. The easiest way to do so is to simple visit the Dropbox mobile portal located at You don’t have to be logged in on your mobile device to test it out, take the updated mobile interface for a spin right at your desk.

Install the Dropbox app for your mobile platform. While visiting the mobile portal is the fastest way to access your files, installing the official app for your platform is a better long term solution (and allows for syncing of files on the actual mobile device). Check out the official Dropbox apps for Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone.


Play your music anywhere. There are apps for iOS (such as Cloudbeats) and Android (such as Beat) that allow you to play music files on your Dropbox account from anywhere.

Use mobile apps that sync to Dropbox. Numerous applications include Dropbox support. Search the app store of your respective mobile device with the keyword “dropbox” to turn up applications that will sync/backup to Dropbox.

Tips and Tricks for Desktop Machines


Syncing your documents and MP3s across your devices is a great trick and all, but you can do so much more with Dropbox. Rather than limit yourself to simple file syncing, try out some of the following tips.

Keep copies of your favorite portable apps in Dropbox (all platforms). A rather handy trick, and one that I use all the time, is storing your favorite portable apps in Dropbox. By doing so, your favorite portable browser, text editor, and more, will always be available and in-sync across your computers.

Run Dropbox as a portable app (Windows). You can, courtesy of DropboxPortableAHK, run Dropbox as a portable application with additional features such as selective sync and multiple accounts.

Sync any folder to Dropbox (Windows/Mac). Although you can easily move your Dropbox folder (look in the Dropbox application preferences to do so) what if you want to sync a folder outside of Dropbox? Mac users can check out MacDropAny to sync any folder. Windows users can check out either SyncToCloud or Boxifier.

For more add-ons, including web browser add-ons and applications for Windows, Mac, and Linux, make sure to check out the add-ons page on the unofficial Dropbox Wiki.

Visit Dropbox’s official blog for more information about the many ways you can get the most out of Dropbox on the many platforms it supports.

Dropbox has amassed quite a following with quite an array of add-ons and applications. What’s your favorite Dropbox tip, trick, or app? Sound off in the forum to share the wealth with your fellow readers.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/25/11

Comments (32)

  1. Dafoo

    How bout some Windows Phone alternative, rather than Windows Mobile?

  2. kim

    Dude i just made a dropbox and the max Refer friends is 8GB Only!!!! is there another way to 16GB?

  3. gilteon

    @kim, as the article mentions, connecting an .EDU email address doubles the referral bonus and the max total referral bonus. To get the full 16GB bonus, you’ll need a .EDU email address.

  4. wolfencj

    @gilteon, is there an easy way to get a .edu email address?

  5. Tom leaves a copy of each played file in Public folder! you can easily fill your dropbox with duplicates!

  6. ben

    I just wish they would make their .edu requirement a bit lighter… University of Alberta uses…. sad face.

  7. Mack

    How do you link an .edu address to the account. I can’t find anyway to do it under the account settings.

  8. Will


    They have been known to add other domains that are associated with qualified institutions. I’d email them and ask if yours would qualify.

  9. Will


    while logged in, visit

  10. ben

    OH EM GEE!

    Thanks Will! It worked! And to think all I had to do was just ask… :)

  11. gilteon

    @Mack, go to your Dropbox Home on the website, click the ‘Account’ button in the upper right, go to the ‘Account Settings’ tab, and click the ‘(change)’ button next to your current email address. The URL for the account settings page is:

    @wolfencj, the only ways I know of are to either be a student or an employee at a school of some kind (usually college or university in my experience [my highschool didn’t have an .edu when I was there]).

  12. vivianx


  13. the orangebox

    dropbox sux, sugarsync is much better for my friends and my file sharing needs

  14. Exitstageleft

    I don’t use dropbox because they keep their own crypto keys. They don’t ensure true data privacy. “Dropbox employees are prohibited from viewing the content of files you store in your Dropbox account, and are only permitted to view file metadata (e.g., file names and locations). Like most online services, we have a small number of employees who must be able to access user data for the reasons stated in our privacy policy (e.g., when legally required to do so)” They are “prohibited”. Right..??..

    SpiderOak, on the otherhand, can’t see your data because they don’t have the keys to enable that.

  15. Ryan

    @wolfencj very easy way, go to college… It comes with lots of other great benefits as well. My personal favorite is the $1 I save at the movies but free bus rides are also nice. You can really offset the cost of attendance by taking the bus to the movies on a regular basis.

  16. Roshnal

    I personally prefer SpiderOak and Ubuntu One than Dropbox. Although Ubuntu One is still fresh, it looks promising and the Web UI is really great. DropBox is a bit too much for my needs. Anyway its just my opinion.

  17. cpx


    If Dropbox won’t use their own crypto key it will lose it’s one of the most important features. That’s how it works – for example, you add a file, let it be movie, to your dropbox. It is uploaded and the hash of the file is stored on Dropbox sever. When other user puts the movie that is exactly is your in his own dropbox that movie isn’t being uploaded (remember, files are exactly the same), it is instead linked to 2 accounts – yours and other users.

    Simple and elegant way to reduce used space, isn’t it? If every user had his own key the hases of the same file would be different, thus requiring more HDD space.

  18. Hatryst

    You can also get free space by using my referral link to sign up for Dropbox :D

  19. JHH

    I don’t store any sensitive data on Dropbox due to the security concerns mentioned in Exitstageleft’s first post; however, as he points out in his next post, that’s the model that allows the service to offer free/low-cost online storage. So I use it to store non-sensitive data and tools that I use on client sites. It works great.

  20. Emily

    I often want to share cool articles like this, what’s the best way to do so? Many other sites have “Social Networking” or “Email This” share buttons at the bottom of articles… should I just copy/paste the permalink and email/post to friends?

    How about a H-T-G “What You Said: How you share H-T-G articles” :)

  21. Dave Haynes

    @Roshnal, DropBox is a bit too much for your needs? I’m not sure how much less it could be. I don’t use the web interface at all, though.

  22. Forensic Penguin2

    I use both dropbox and Ubuntu One. I prefer Ubuntu One, but Dropbox syncs faster. I don’t put anything there that is sensitive, unless it is encrypted.

  23. UniUbuntu

    Another desktop PC tip is to use to sync Dropbox to Google Docs. That way your Google and Dropbox stuff stays in synch.

  24. Irishgreen

    Can I down load my “iTunes account to dropbox.???I have my iTunes acct.on my PC but I can’t get my iPod syn from my laptop to iTunes …can only syn & update from one PC/or laptop

  25. A

    hmm… I usually just use Windows Live Mesh. It works for my needs.

  26. Emily Sullivan

    @A, Windows Live Mesh only works if you have Windows 7 on all of your PC’s.

  27. Ziggurat Vertigo

    SpiderOak is secure! Because they say so! Sorry, but no, I don’t believe anyone when it comes to critical data. Truecrypt file containers for everything important. I don’t care of they read my My Little Pony/Star Trek crossover fan-fiction, but my banking stuff is for me.

    Dropbox is the best, period. I played with SpiderOak and was appalled by how slow it was, how infrequently it updated anything, and its relative clunkiness. There are others out there I won’t even try because I use a Mac, a Windows machine, and Linux machines every single day and I need something cross platform or I don’t bother. Dropbox doesn’t just meet my requirements, it’s the best I’ve tried.

  28. Eddie

    Thanks got my edu upgrade

  29. Dr. Beverly Kurtin

    In addition to Dropbox (I use their application to synch with my Color Nook) I also use Amazon’s cloud. It offers 5 gigs to start with and for a mere $20 you can up your storage capability to 20 gigs; that’s a lot easier than begging others to go to Dropbox, but I do that, too.

    The main issue with me is that you can only upload ONE document at a time and videos can take quite a bit of time. But that is mostly a restriction that your carrier puts on your uploading.

    I use CLEAR. It can get a bit slow at time but it has a 99.999% up time. The only time it gets bad is when there us a really severe storm between you and the tower you are accessing. The reason I dropped cable that had much faster speeds is because it would constantly go down a a few seconds…and in those few seconds, of course you lost access to the net.

    It’s 4G system is nice, the only thing I do on a regular basis is to clean out the junk that gets accumulated, so I do a quick cleanup and everything zips along fast enough to keep me on their systen.

  30. James

    I simply contacted Dropbox Help and gave them the domain of my school email and their website for proof and they upgraded me to an educational account.

  31. Scaht

    No matter which solution you use, if you put anything sensitive into the cloud, it better be encrypted. As someone pointed out earlier, TrueCrypt is a great [FREE!] way to do this.

  32. Ratsttam

    Who cares about the keys on dropbox? I made a truecrypt file, and can mount that on any computer that’s synced to dropbox. While they may be able to see the file, it’s encrypted to no end with MY keys. So I always have a backup, and synched version of my truecrypt file. If you don’t know what it is, I highly recommend checking it out. It’s great for securing sections of your PC’s hdd, thumb drives, etc.

More Articles You Might Like

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!