Today, I want to share with you a handy little Mac app I’ve been using, called CloudMounter. What CloudMounter does, is to bring all of your cloud storage services together into one place, making them easily accessible via Finder, as if they were hard drives plugged into your Mac.
For some people, CloudMounter is about inexpensively extending the storage space of a Mac, which typically has a small internal hard drive. For others, it will be the convenience and ease of being able to access and manipulate data in all of their cloud storage services using the familiar Finder app. Yet another powerful usage case involves taking advantage of CloudMounter’s ability to encrypt all of your data before its sent to a cloud storage service like Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, so you can be sure that nobody else (including Microsoft or Google!) is going to read it.
My usage cases for CloudMounter tend to be the first two.
Let me explain.
Like many people, I have several cloud storage services that I’ve signed up to over time. Along with the storage capacity, these services include:
Dropbox – 7GB
OneDrive – 205GB
Google – 15GB
As you can see, for some of the services (like Google), I have the minimum free storage allowance, while for others, like Dropbox, I picked up bonus storage, via various means. (For example, organisations occasionally partner with companies like Microsoft and others to offer bonus storage to people that buy their product or service. In this manner, I picked up 200GB of free OneDrive storage for two years by buying a Seagate hard drive.)
If I aggregate all of my storage allowances, I have access to almost 300GB of free cloud storage.
But there’s a problem.
The storage capacity is split between several different services, and to access them, I have to either download and configure each of their individual apps onto my hard drive, or access the service via the web. Many of these services have quite clunky apps or web interfaces which make them undesirable to use on a regular basis.
Using CloudMounter, you access all of these cloud services on your Mac, using the familiar Finder app.
It means that an action like copying a file (or folder) from Dropbox to Google Drive is easy. You simply use the same technique (copy and paste, or drag and drop) from one folder to another, in Finder. There’s no need to download and then upload the file via a web interface, or some other method. And you can perform most of the other actions with a file you might normally do in Finder. For example, you can preview the file (with the same speed as you would with a regular file on your hard drive using Finder); create, rename or delete files or folders; view the file or folder properties, and so on. Again, you work with the files in the cloud as if they were actually on your Mac hard drive. Of note, if you have a large task to perform, for example transferring several gigabytes of files from one cloud service to another, that happens in the background. (You see the files moved from one folder to another in Finder, and CloudMounter works in the background. How fast these files are transferred depends upon the speed of your Internet connection.)
The main shortcoming of CloudMounter, as I see it, is that the speed of data transfer is limited to that of your Internet connection. Generally, this isn’t going to be an issue. Also, for the traveler, high-speed Internet access is almost ubiquitous, even in many developing countries. Granted, there are some scenarios (for example, some of the free Wi-Fi services in places like libraries, hostels, train stations etc.) can be very slow. You need to factor this into account when you consider what you might want to access, and therefore where you are best to store it.
The other shortcoming of the service is that there is no app for iOS or Android, although according to the developer, these are coming.
Overall, CloudMounter is a really convenient service for anybody using a Mac, and particularly for travelers. It means that you can store a lot of data in the cloud that you may want to access remotely as you travel. And therefore, those files don’t need to take up valuable space on your hard drive or smartphone. Also, you can keep personal or sensitive files in the cloud (including in an encrypted form) that you might not want on your hard drive, for example, because they may be inspected as you pass through immigration when you travel to another country.
You can download a free trial of CloudMounter here. It is well worth a look.