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Best file sharing apps in 2021

Workers in office at open plan desks
(Image credit: Unsplash)

As a result of the pandemic, remote working or hybrid working are prevalent worldwide, and the best file sharing apps allow for cooperation and efficient workflows between offices and home offices. With so many people globally working from home, utilizing software like the best cloud storage or file sharing apps helps to improve collaboration and business operations.

File-sharing is critical now in a world where friends and colleagues can be spread far and wide, and the software chosen will have a profound effect on both workflow and efficiency. Data is the lifeblood of business, so resilience to leaks or malicious attacks are also very important,

We’ve rounded up the best file sharing apps available, with a particular focus on security and safety, to help you choose the right provider.

The best file sharing apps available

Dropbox's app in use

A sleek design and robust security has helped make Dropbox a very popular file-sharing option (Image credit: Dropbox)

The breakthrough cloud platform is incredibly reliable

Specifications
Free tier: 2GB
Security specialty: 256-bit encryption
Operating systems: iOS, Android, Linux, macOS, Windows
Reasons to buy
+Good selection of price levels+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Limited storage on free tier 

Dropbox was one of the earliest file-sharing platforms to become a household name, and it has had time to hone its offering. Several pricing plans under both its Individual and Business tranches means you can find the right setup to suit your needs. If you’re not entirely sure, they also offer a free 30-day trial.

In terms of security, there are a couple of concerns. Firstly, Dropbox has a huge market share, and so—along with its rivals—is naturally an obvious target for malicious attacks. And secondly, the firm has reserved the right to decrypt any file that is stored on its servers, as well as disclose that information to a third party.

Thankfully, Dropbox has recently beefed up its security measures. At rest, files are protected with 256-bit encryption, and during transfers they are encased in a SSL/TSL tunnel. If you are not looking for a specialist option, but one that is still thoroughly reliable, Dropbox is a solid way to go. Read our Dropbox review to find out more.

Download Dropbox from the App Store
Download Dropbox from Google Play

Google Drive's mobile app in use

Google offers a generous 15GB of space to non-paying users (Image credit: Google)

Affordable and almost as good as Onedrive

Specifications
Free tier: 15GB
Security specialty: Extensive backup options
Operating systems: iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Linux
Reasons to buy
+Generous free plan+Third-party integrations
Reasons to avoid
-Few password protection options-Backup not available on Linux

Google Drive offers nearly all of the same functionality as Microsoft OneDrive, but its free plan goes further in providing an impressive 15GB of free storage, which may be plenty for smaller enterprises. And like OneDrive, it allows you to share, create, and edit files with ease. 

Google is a huge multinational firm with top-level security capabilities, so your data is in good hands during transfers. However, privacy could be a concern, and they will probably collect some of your online activity for advertising reasons. It is also an oversight that the service offers no password protection options when sharing a file. Read our Google Drive review to learn more about the platform.

Download Google Drive from the App Store
Download Google Drive from Google Play

Box's mobile app in use

Box can be integrated with third party apps such as Slack and Google Workspace (Image credit: Box)

Less intuitive but possibly more secure than Dropbox

Specifications
Free tier: 10GB
Security specialty: Two-factor authentication
Operating systems: iOS, Android, macOS, Windows
Reasons to buy
+Rapid uploading+Large free storage
Reasons to avoid
-Confusing design choices

Box has been Dropbox’s biggest rival for some time. Previously, the former was geared towards businesses and the latter SMEs and individuals, but no longer. Both now aim to capture every part of the file-sharing market, and Box’s offering is impressive. 

It has four pricing plans to choose from, but its free tier has significantly more space than Dropbox’s. Like its rival, it can be integrated with Google Workspace and Slack. It also offers a useful Keysafe feature, allowing admins to easily manage encryption keys. 

In terms of usability—often a concern for Box—a recent upgrade improved things, but the platform could be streamlined further as some convoluted aspects remain. Our Box review covers the cloud storage platform in more detail.

Download Box from the App Store
Download Box from Google Play

OneDrive's mobile app in use

OneDrive offers file sharing and cloud sync elements  (Image credit: Microsoft)

The best all-rounder for teams

Specifications
Free tier: 5GB
Security specialty: Individually encrypted files
Operating systems: iOS, Android, macOS, Windows
Reasons to buy
+Great for collaboration+Huge functionality+App is easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-Limited syncing capacity-Low free storage options

Microsoft OneDrive is packed with features, incredibly usable, and beautifully designed. In some ways it surpasses expectations. Desktop users, for example, are able to access files that they didn’t specifically decide to upload—an incredibly handy feature that shows how much time Microsoft has spent getting OneDrive right. 

In terms of security, OneDrive has never been the focus of any concerns or controversy, unlike many of its rivals, which speaks to the software’s reliability. Individual users can also individually encrypt their files locally on a hard drive, adding an additional layer of protection. Read our Microsoft OneDrive review to find out more about the service's features.

Download OneDrive from the App Store
Download OneDrive from GooglePlay

iCloud Drive's web interface

iCloud Drive offers an attractive and simple design (Image credit: iCloud)

Apple’s platform has an attractive design and impressive functionality

Specifications
Free tier: 1GB
Security specialty: Keychain passwords
Operating systems: iOS, macOS
Reasons to buy
+5GB free with every Apple device+Beautiful design
Reasons to avoid
-No Android compatibility-Limited free plan

iCloud is an attractive file-sharing option, and likely the best fit if you are already deeply integrated in the Apple ecosystem. Although the free tier offers very little space, those with an iPhone, Mac, or iPad are given 5GB for free. 

Aside from the 2017 phishing attack, which appears to be a one-off, Apple has steered clear of security problems with iCloud. It should therefore be a safe choice for sharing files easily over iOS and macOS. If you want to find out more, read our iCloud review.

Download iCloud Drive on the App Store

SpiderOak's webpage discussing its service and app

You can try One Backup for free for 21 days to see if it’s the right fit for your operation (Image credit: SpiderOak)

A slow but secure file sharer

Specifications
Free tier: N/A
Security specialty: No knowledge encryption
Operating systems: iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Linux, Fedora
Reasons to buy
+Excellent security+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Slow performance-Basic design

Like CertainSafe, SpiderOak has massively prioritized security, leading to weaknesses in other areas. The design, whilst handily integrated with SpiderOak’s other products, has few of the additional features some teams may require, such as synced, real-time document editing. 

It is also a relatively expensive way to go—after the free 21-day trial, the cheapest tier is $69 for 150GB of space for a year. One benefit, however, is that you can add unlimited devices to a user. Learn more in our SpiderOak review.

Download SpiderOak Groups from the App Store
Download SpiderOak Groups from Google Play

WeTransfer's homepage

WeTransfer has become one the most popular file-sharers in recent years due to its ease-of-use (Image credit: WeTransfer)

The perfect platform for lower risk transfers

Specifications
Free tier: 2GB
Security specialty: All uploads encrypted
Operating systems: iOS, Android, Linux
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly simple+No registration needed
Reasons to avoid
-Partial encryption

WeTransfer is a hugely popular filer sharer and for good reason. It’s easy to use and doesn’t require registration. Further, it is secure—all uploads are encrypted, as is the link that is sent to recipients. One caveat is its partial encryption, which means that third parties could theoretically intercept emails and gain access to files, so it’s not ideal for the most sensitive data. Check out our WeTransfer review to learn more about the service and what we made of it.

Download WeTransfer on the App Store

pCloud's mobile app demonstrated

pCloud’s flat fee option can be very cost-effective if utilized long-term (Image credit: pCloud)

Affordable and secure but not for collaborators

Specifications
Free tier: 10GB
Security specialty: TLS/SSL encryption
Operating systems: iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Linux
Reasons to buy
+Good prices+Unlimited file sizes+Additional encryption available
Reasons to avoid
-No editing capabilities

pCloud provides a generous 10GB of free storage as standard, and its premium plans are similarly generous. For one-off payments of $229 or $458 you can get 500GB or 2TB respectively, which is fantastic value if you utilize the service long-term. 

In terms of security, pCloud is impressive. It covers most bases with 256-bit and TLS/SSL protection, but another layer of encryption is available for $5 a month. Sadly, its editing and collaboration capabilities don’t compare to much of the competition. Find out more in our full pCloud review.

Download pCloud from the App Store
Download pCloud from Google Play

CertainSafe's pricing plans

CertainSafe has an odd pricing structure but impressive security features (Image credit: CertainSafe)

9. CertainSafe

Security is the number one priority

Specifications
Security specialty: Multi-step passwords
Operating systems: Anything with a browser
Reasons to buy
+30-day free trial+Incredibly secure+In-browser app
Reasons to avoid
-Unattractive design -Pricing

CertainSafe’s many security features are its main strength. Upon arrival to the browser app, there are several stages before entry is granted, including personalized user questions and image verification. While its encryption system is very hardy, it means that if you lose your password and security answers, your data is lost too.

This total focus on security does lead to some other downsides. For example, it has a strange pricing system that provides 100GB per user, but if you need more storage you must buy another account. However, for those only looking to transfer worry-free, it’s in the name—CertainSafe will keep your data bubble wrapped.

Sign up for CertainSafe here

Send Anywhere's mobile app demonstrated

Simple, secure file-sending is Send Anywhere’s forte (Image credit: SendAnywhere)

10. Send Anywhere

The file-sharer app on a tight budget

Specifications
Free tier: 50GB (transfer only)
Security specialty: QR code scanning
Operating systems: iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Linux
Reasons to buy
+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-Adverts-Files deleted after a period-No ongoing file management

Send Anywhere is entirely free and comes with 256-bit encryption as standard, keeping your files safe in transit. Additionally, the maker of the app has insisted that they never look at the contents of any transfer. 

Whilst Send Anywhere has ads on its free version, and is mainly designed for sharing and not storing data, it could be the ideal if you are simply looking to send files quickly. Having a smaller user base, it’s also arguably less likely to be targeted by malicious parties. 

Download Send Anywhere from the App Store
Download Send Anywhere from Google Play