Skip to main content

These files are not for you, NSA! BitTorrent Sync lets you transfer photos securely

bittorrent sync app review

Chances are, if you need an app to sync the photos and videos from your phone to your computer, you’ve already found a few options to get the job done. It’s a pretty common need and there are about 18,000 different services that do it. But none do it like BitTorrent Sync does. The app has been available on Android devices for a little over a month now, but made its iOS debut recently, making it all the more valuable by expanding the amount of devices you can sync files across. The advantage of BitTorrent Sync is the added level of security, though it’ll take a little extra work.

BitTorrentSync2If you’re familiar with BitTorrent Sync for Android devices, you’ll pretty much get the gist of the iPhone version of the app. If you’re new to this game all together, though, then allow us to fill you in. BitTorrent Sync allows you to sync your photos, videos, and files across multiple devices, and can back up your entire collection of multimedia from a mobile device to a computer. Both options are labeled and clearly visible right when you open the app, and performing either action will provide you with instructions during the process.

When you sync your files with your computer, a secret key is generated and you’ll be required to enter it on the desktop version of BitTorrent Sync to activate the action. When performing a sync across other devices, you can use the same key method or you can simply scan an on-screen QR code with the camera of your device. Both the key and the QR code are part of the biggest selling points for BitTorrent Sync: Security and encryption.

We probably don’t need to explain to you why privacy is such a hot-button issue at the moment, but BitTorrent Sync slides in comfortably to fill the need for an extra level of privacy that many consumers are starting to push for. When performing these syncs, your files are encrypted and transferred via peer-to-peer networks rather than being stored on a server somewhere. This not only offers you some more assurance that no eyes other than your own are looking at your files, but it also eliminates any size limit issues. If you have the space free on your hard drive, you can perform the sync.

There is a slight difference between the Android version and the iOS version of BitTorrent Sync. When performing a sync on iOS, you can’t close the app or your sync will stop. This has to do with restrictions on apps running in the background and it essentially means you’re stuck waiting for the sync to complete before you can freely explore other areas of your device. It’s an inconvenience, there’s no question about it, but it’s also a small one if you’re looking for a safe and secure method of file transfers.

The limitations when performing a sync may drive you a little crazy, but you should still give BitTorrent Sync a shot if you’d prefer to be of sound mind knowing your files are safe. Using the peer-to-peer system provided acceptable transfer speeds, so unless you’re moving a whole bunch of files, you aren’t going to feel locked out while waiting. The secret keys aren’t necessarily the most convenient way to transfer files, but that can be overcome thanks to the QR code system. All in all, BitTorrent Sync is a solid, safe alternative to the other device syncing solutions out there, and will provide you with extra security – something that we all could use when it comes to our personal media and file collections.

You can download BitTorrent Sync for free for iOS from the iTunes App Store. Download it for all platforms here.

Editors' Recommendations

Your Pixel 7 is about to get a whole lot less buggy — here’s why
Two Google Pixel 7 Pro smartphones.

Google is rolling out a new Android 13 update that fixes 46 bugs and performance issues for the Pixel 7. The fixes range from squashing smaller bugs to larger, systemwide updates that do things like optimize battery life and overall performance, making this one of the most substantial Pixel 7 updates to date. While the update, Android 13 QPR2, provides a lot of fixes for the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro specifically, it also cleans up performance for the entire Pixel 6 line as well.

There are plenty of small fixes in the update. However, the bigger ones seem like they're going to noticeably improve the user experience for all Pixel 7 owners on just about every front.

Read more
I created the perfect iPhone home screen — and you can too
iPhone 14 Pro with custom home screen icons and widgets

With iOS 14, Apple began to open the floodgates for software customization on the iPhone. For the first time, you could add widgets to the home screen and even change app icons to custom ones without the need for a jailbreak. And iOS 16 gave us some more customization options in the form of the lock screen, although the interface for that is su-par, to say the least.

While I see a lot of people still use a stock grid layout on their home screen, I took some time when iOS 14 first came out to customize my iOS experience. I enjoy that it’s not just a boring grid of stock icons — having custom icons and widgets really mix things up a bit and gives me a more informative home screen.

Read more
I used two of the year’s oddest tech gadgets so you don’t have to
The open Nokia 5710 XpressAudio and Huawei Watch Buds

If you’re intent on not keeping your true wireless earbuds in a normal charging case, and want to hide them inside a different gadget, now is your time. The Huawei Watch Buds is a smartwatch with a pair of true wireless headphones inside, and the Nokia 5710 XpressAudio is a 4G phone that stores a pair of earbuds in the back.

It’s a bizarre niche that I’m surprised contains two products. I’ve used them, so it's my duty to report that both are a bit silly — and I don’t want to use any more of them, thank you very much. However, for the few people out there thinking they want to buy one, this is what they're like. For everyone else, you get to marvel at two of the oddest tech products seen in a while.
Phone or smartwatch?

Read more