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DeskConnect: Share files, URLs, and more between OS X and iOS

Dan Miller | March 17, 2014
Seven or so years since the introduction of iOS, getting stuff from your iPhone or iPad to your Mac--and vice versa--is still a pain.

Sharing data works just as easily the other way: Open the iOS app on your iPhone or iPad, and you can choose to send a photo (selected from any album in Photos), a document from a compatible app (DeskConnect installs an Open in DeskConnect option in the iOS Share sheet), or send the contents of the iOS clipboard. Sending a URL from your iOS browser is a bit more complicated, as it requires the installation and configuration of a special bookmarklet; in my testing, once that little hurdle was crossed, sharing worked well.

After you've sent something from an iOS device, it should show up in the Mac app's Recent list in the systemwide menu. When you choose a file, photo, or clipboard from that list, a preview of the item opens in DeskConnect's built-in file viewer. From there, you can opt to send the item to a specific app or save it to a particular destination. Choose a URL from the menu, and that URL opens in your default browser. If you press the Control key before clicking on something in the Recent submenu, you'll copy the item to the clipboard instead; press Command when choosing a transferred file, and it'll be revealed in the Finder.

When I say that DeskConnect does a good job "by and large," it means that I have run into a couple of small glitches. As I mentioned, the need to set up a special bookmarklet on your iOS device in order to share URLs isn't particularly elegant — and if you sync bookmarks between Mac and iOS already, that bookmarklet will (uselessly) show up in Safari on your Mac, too. Also, as it's presently designed, the DeskConnect Mac app stores received files in a subfolder buried several layers deep in your ~/Library folder; data is automatically deleted after 30 days. It would be nice if you could configure the app to save things somewhere else — say, Downloads or on your desktop.

Finally, DeskConnect's FAQ says its system is secure: "Your content is encrypted en route to and from our servers. Our servers are under top security, and we have several features in development which will further strengthen the security of our users' data." But those assurances may not be enough for the security-minded.

Otherwise, in everyday use, DeskConnect works for me. It's fast and relatively seamless. If you have multiple devices and wish you could send stuff back and forth between them without a lot of hassle, DeskConnect is worth checking out.


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