Syncing your data between your mobile and desktop device can sometimes be a hassle—especially when you need to share outside the boundaries of the standard services (such as Google Drive). That's why so many new services have popped up over the years; some that work well and some are questionable.
Recently I came across one particular service wherein my relationship started like this:
- Well that looks promising.
- Oh, that won't work.
- Wait, I can make it work!
The service in question is Resilio Sync. Resilio Sync allows you to sync any folder on your desktop to all your devices. It's available as a personal (free) plan or a business (not free) plan. Check out the price/feature matrix to learn about what each plan offers.
I want to walk you through the installation and configuration of a personal setup. Once you've kicked the tires, you can then decide if a business plan is right for you and your staff. I will be demonstrating on the Linux/Android combination. Do note that the Linux alternative does not have an actual desktop GUI (instead it uses a web-based GUI). If you're installing on either Windows or MacOS, there will be an official GUI tool that features full desktop integration.
Let's install Resilio and see how it works.
To install Resilio Sync on a Ubuntu derivative, we need to first add the necessary repository. To do this, open up a terminal window and issue the following command:
sudo echo "deb http://linux-packages.resilio.com/resilio-sync/deb resilio-sync non-free" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/resilio-sync.list
Now we must add the necessary public key with the command:
sudo wget -qO - https://linux-packages.resilio.com/resilio-sync/key.asc | sudo apt-key add -
Install Resilio Sync with the following commands:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install resilio-sync
Finally, start and enable resilio-sync to start at boot with the commands:
sudo systemctl start resilio-sync sudo systemctl enable resilio-sync
The resilio-sync service is now running.
The web interface
On the machine you just installed resilio-sync, point a browser to http://localhost:8888/gui. You will then be prompted to create a user for the web interface (Figure A). This user is not the same user as your sync identity—it is only used to manage the web interface.
The next window will ask you to choose a name to show when you send/receive folders (Figure B). Add a name there and accept the two EULA by checking their respective boxes.
You will now be presented with the resilio-sync web gui. The next thing you must do is create a folder that will be synced with your mobile device. To do this, click the + button in the top left corner and select the type of folder you want to create (Figure C).
Obviously, the free plan only allows you to create certain types of folders, so let's create an Encrypted folder. Click that option and then, when prompted, navigate to the directory you want to house the new folder. Once in the proper location, click New Folder, give that folder a name, and press Enter on your keyboard.
That's it; your new folder is ready. We now move onto the mobile device.
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The first thing you must do is install the Resilio mobile app. To do this, follow these steps:
- Open up the Google Play Store on your Android device
- Search for Resilio Sync
- Locate and tap the entry by Resilio Inc.
- Tap Install
Once installed, open up the app and walk through the welcome screens. At the end of the welcome, you will be asked to create a username. Enter the same username here that you did when setting up Resilio Sync on the desktop (not the web gui user, by the sync user). Decide if you want to be able to use mobile data for sync and tap DONE (Figure D).
You will then be required to give Resilio Sync permission to access photos, media, and files on your device. Tap ALLOW to enable this.
At this point, you don't have any folders syncing between your devices. Here's what you have to do to fix that.
- Go back to the web GUI (or, in the case of Windows/MacOS, the desktop GUI)
- Hover your cursor over the folder you want to add and then click the associated share button (it will appear on the right side of the screen) to reveal that folder's QR code
- Make sure to select if you want the share to be read-only or read/write
- Open the mobile app and tap the hamburger menu in the top left corner
- Tap My devices
- Tap the + button in the upper right corner
- If prompted, tap ALLOW to give Resilio Sync access to the camera
- Point the camera to the QR code on your desktop client
That's it, the folder has been added and will automatically start syncing. Repeat the above steps for all the folders you want to sync between desktop and mobile devices.
Tap the back button (to exit from the devices screen) and you should see all of the folders you just added. Navigate into those folders and, depending on the type of access you allowed from the web/desktop GUI, you can either read or read and edit those files from your mobile device.
That's all there is to creating sync pairs between desktop and mobile with Resilio. This is a very simple cloud solution that can extend your options for having access to your data at all times. Kick the tires of the home plan for a while and decide if a business plan is the right next step.
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Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.