Access Your Backups from Anywhere with SpiderOak for iPhone

Online backup is a popular business these days. Dropbox, Backblaze, Carbonite; the options go on and on. If you’re in the market for a backup solution, SpiderOak is a strong competitor with a simple pricing structure and great support for accessing your files on the go.

In May of last year, we reviewed the SpiderOak Mac client on Mac.AppStorm, today we’ll take a look at the accompanying iPhone app. We’ll start off by briefly explaining the service and then we’ll jump into the features found in the app.

What Is SpiderOak?

SpiderOak is a service that provides users with online file backup and access. Their integrated solution is everywhere you need it to be: Mac, Windows, Linux, iPhone, iPad, etc.


SpiderOak for Mac

Instead of having a single dedicated folder for backup as with Dropbox, SpiderOak allows you to individually select any file and/or folder from your hard drive to add to your backup. These files can then be kept in sync across computers and accessed from anywhere you have an Internet connection.


The best part of SpiderOak is that you can try it right now completely free. Every SpiderOak user gets 2GB of “lifetime” online storage free and has no obligation to ever upgrade that amount. Once you fill this up, it’ll cost $10/month per 100GB of storage. Start with 100GB and simply upgrade every time you get to the point where you need 100 more.

SpiderOak for iPhone

Once you have SpiderOak setup on your Mac or PC, it’s time to check out the iPhone app. Like the desktop version, SpiderOak for iPhone is a free download, so if you’re happy with a 2GB account, you can backup your data and access it from any Mac or iPhone all without paying a cent. Even if you already use Dropbox like I do, it’s hard to pass up the opportunity for even more free online storage for anything important not housed in your Dropbox folder!

Upon opening the iPhone app, all you need to do to get started is sign into your SpiderOak account. From here there are a few options for managing the downloads SpiderOak is allowed to make to your iPhone.


SpiderOak for iPhone

Keep in mind that simply signing in won’t necessarily download anything to your iPhone, so you don’t have to worry about filling it up. At this point you’re simply accessing data stored in the cloud.

Accessing Your Files

On your computer, you tell SpiderOak which files and folders you want to backup. These files are then uploaded to the web for backup and access. Once that upload is complete, the files will appear in your iPhone app.

When you load up the app, you’ll see your backups separated by machine. Below you can see that I backed up files from my MacBook. After I tap on my computer from the list, SpiderOak shows me the files that I currently have synced with that computer.


Synced file list

If you tap the little arrow on the right side of a listed file, you can see more information on that file. This includes the name, size, and modified/created date for the file in addition to the number of revisions that it has recently undergone.

There’s also the option here to add the file to your favorites. This not only puts the file in the Favorites tab, it downloads it to your iPhone for offline access.


File info and Favorites

Previewing Files

If you tap on the filename of a listed file, the app will load a preview of the file for you to see (if that filetype is supported). Keep in mind that this is a read-only view and that you can’t actually edit any of the files in your SpiderOak account using your iOS device.


File previews are shown right in the app

From the preview screen you can tap a button to quickly email the file to someone. This functionality is definitely one of the core functions and purposes of the app. I don’t frequently need to simply view the files that I have backed up but I do occasionally need to shoot one of them off in an email.

Share Rooms

One of the great and unique features of SpiderOak is “Share Rooms,” which allow you to create a virtual file vault that can be shared with only the people you invite. SpiderOak Share Rooms are accessed via a room name and room key created by the originator of the room.


Share Rooms

As you can see above, SpiderOak for iPhone fully supports Share Rooms. These are incredibly useful when you’re collaborating on a project with a team of people.


The SpiderOak iPhone app is a solid implementation of the service on a mobile device. It’s extremely efficient with zero eye candy and an emphasis on getting at your files quickly. The app worked flawlessly in my testing without a single bug or crash.

The only disappointment here is the lack of any sort of editing capabilities for files, which does take down the usefulness of this app a peg. As I said above, it’s not too often that I need to merely look at my files when I’m out, I need to actually use them in some fashion. Simply adding a basic text editor instantly take this app from “rarely used” to “frequently used” in my personal workflow.

It’s important to note that this critique applies across the board for apps in this category and is not unique to SpiderOak. Almost none of these apps provide even basic editing capabilities, though there are a number of third party Dropbox apps that allow you to at least edit text files.


Whether you currently have a backup solution or not, you should give SpiderOak a shot, if only for the 2GB of free space! The desktop solution allows you to backup and sync the files that are most important to you and the iPhone app provides access to these files from anywhere. Be sure to check back soon as we’re cooking up an awesome SpiderOak account giveaway!

Leave a comment below and let us know whether or not you’ve used SpiderOak and what you thought of it. How does it stack up to other solutions you’ve tried?


Access files synced to your SpiderOak account from anywhere. Review and email files, view your Share Rooms and more.