Amazon Cloud Drive for iOS is Flawed, But a Step in the Right Direction

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Amazon’s cloud drive service has been around a long time, and apps to give users the ability to access at least some of their stored data aren’t new. But just this month, the iOS market got its own version of Amazon Cloud Drive, a comprehensive app that lets users remotely access all of their Cloud Drive data – including documents, spreadsheets, presentations, photos, videos and music files.

Amazon Cloud Drive

Amazon Cloud Drive

The Amazon Cloud Drive app ramps up the productivity stakes in a Dropbox-like fashion not possible with previously released standalone apps like Amazon Photos and Prime Music – which, as indicated by their very names, are limited to only certain types of media. Amazon Cloud Drive gives you mobile access to the whole enchilada.

Where design is concerned, the Amazon Cloud Drive app is no-frills and that’s probably just the way you need it to be for productivity purposes. Upon launch and initial sign-in to your Amazon account, the app displays a series of folders sectioned out by file type. From here you can view, share and manage all of your stored content. The interface is an obvious attempt to compete with Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive and the aforementioned Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Drive is a decent effort to mobilize the functionality of its existing desktop app already available for Mac and PC. But a handful of limitations that reared their heads in testing show it’s got a ways to go yet before it begins to worry the competition.

For one, you can access all of your cloud-stored files but there’s no way to edit them. Documents are displayed in the app’s simple built-in reader, but if spot some glaring error you’d rather edit you’ll have to wait until you’re within reach of a desktop to correct it. There’s also no search function, leaving you to hunt down the desired file in caveman-style fashion.

File management is also extremely limited. There’s a “Manage Storage” option found in Settings that displays a pie chart showing how much cloud space you’ve got left and breaking everything down by file type. The only problem is, if you see something you no longer want using up your valuable cloud space, you can’t delete it.

You can access video and music files, but if you’re planning on using this app in lieu of a mobile streaming app you’ll be better off switching over to Prime Music. You can play your media files from Cloud Drive, however there’s no way to create a playlist for continuous music playback and media files have to be launched individually.

The ability to share files remotely is the app’s one big redeeming quality. You can do this by creating a public link that can be sent via message or social media, or you can send files as attachments in email. This may not be a functionality that will set your world on fire, but it is a step in the right direction that shows Amazon is taking proactive steps to enable users of its cloud service higher levels of mobile productivity. Given time and plenty of user feedback, we fully expect to see this app go through some serious evolution.

Amazon Cloud Drive requires iOS 8.1 or later and is available as a free download from iTunes. It’s compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

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