Younity, from Entangled Media, is a free app that allows users to share files between devices. Almost any file stored on any computer (including external drives connected to the computer) with a connection to the Internet can be streamed to any iOS device. The app has been improved quite a bit since its initial release on Feb 1, 2012, including the ability to index multiple file locations and external drives from each computer.
Pro: Extremely easy to install and use
The Younity site claims there are only two steps required to set up your personal Younity cloud: installing the app on a Mac or Windows computer, and installing it on an iOS device. There is actually one additional step, but it’s also quick and easy: registration with Younity. Once registration is complete, all that is required is to download and install the app on every computer that contains files you’d like to access from your iOS device, and sign in using your registration information. Easy peasy.
Con: No central security options for businesses
Because Younity makes the streaming of an unlimited number of files of any size, the temptation to use the app in business may be very high. The only problem is that there are no central security options for business owners. It’s a wonderfully convenient app for personal use, but one reason for that is its ease of use. It would be great to see a business version with more features that could sell for a small fee.
Pro: Number of files, devices, and sizes of files don’t matter
The biggest advantage to using the Younity app is that all files from every computer connected to the Internet with Younity installed can be viewed on iOS. The size of the files don’t matter, because they are streamed rather than downloaded, although the option to download individual files is available. There is no limit to the number of devices or the number of files that can be viewed.
Con: Can’t download files to desktop computers from iOS
Younity is fantastic as a personal cloud, as long as your goal is simply to view, download, share, and stream files on iOS devices. The app currently does not work the other way around. For example, you can’t easily free up space on your iOS device by using Younity to download the iOS file to your computer, delete it from the iOS device, then simply view it on the iOS device without using up any space. You would have to perform those actions another way.
Pro: Files not stored on Younity servers
Although Younity does not contain any central security features, it does have one enormous security advantage: the files are not uploaded to external servers. Cloud services such as Dropbox require users to upload their files to Dropbox servers in order to share them. With Younity, all of your files remain on your own computers, and individual files can be shared with others.
Con: Small annoyances that add up
The following annoyances may be fixed in later versions, but they hurt the usefulness of the app. One of the most annoying problems is that the files do not show much information. All you really get besides the file content is the name of the file and a date. It doesn’t show the location of the file, or even on which computer it resides. Another really annoying problem is the need for never-ending scrolling. That is because the app doesn’t remember your last place in a list of files. When you view a file and go back to the list, you have to scroll all the way down to your last location to view the next file. This is definitely a downer if you have a long list of files to sift through.