SkyDrive for Windows Phone is simple, sleek, and well-integrated

The good: Microsoft SkyDrive for Windows Phone offers a sleek interface and tight integration with Office.

The bad: No password protection.

The bottom line: If you have a mobile device running Windows Phone version 7.5 or higher, then SkyDrive is a must-have.


Very much like Google Drive or Dropbox, Microsoft’s SkyDrive app lets you store files in the cloud, so you can access them from anywhere, on any of your devices, regardless of the platform they’re running. It also lets you share documents with collaborators and view documents that have been shared with you. The app is free to download, and users with Microsoft accounts get 7GB of free storage to start.

Open up the SkyDrive app on your Windows Phone device and you’ll see a sleek, minimalist interface, displaying all of your files and folders in either a list or tiled layout. A quick swipe in either direction brings up pages for Recent and Shared files, while the ever-present, though not at all intrusive, toolbar gives you options to create a folder and move, search, add, and share files. Altogether, it’s a simple interface that looks as good as it functions.

The “+” button on the toolbar makes it easy to upload a photo or video right from your device into your SkyDrive. You can even set your device to automatically upload photos to the cloud as you take them, which is hugely convenient. From the Office app, you can save any new files directly to SkyDrive as well.

Organizing files in SkyDrive is a snap, as the app offers two different ways — both of which are intuitive — to move files around. You can either long press a file or folder, or use the checklist to select multiple items before moving them. And of course, you can rename, delete, and share items as well.

Sharing from SkyDrive is slick, as the app lets you send a download link in an e-mail or copy it to your clipboard, in just a few taps. From other apps, you can also access SkyDrive, in case you want to post a picture from an album in the cloud, straight to Facebook.

It’s easy to quickly jump from SkyDrive to Office and back.On the Android platform, one of the biggest complaints about SkyDrive is that it lacks a built-in interface for editing Office files. While Google Drive integrates a good amount of Google Docs’ editing functionality, SkyDrive on the platform merely houses your Office files and nothing more. On Windows Phone, that is not exactly the case, since SkyDrive is so tightly integrated with the OS’ built-in Office app. Thus, its a seamless transition between viewing your files in SkyDrive to editing Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, and Excel spreadsheets. And of course, all of your changes, once saved, are propagated to the cloud. What’s also worth noting is that Office’s mobile editing interface is significantly simpler than Google Drive’s, especially when it comes to spreadsheets.

The only thing I found missing from SkyDrive was a password protection feature. Sure, you could always just secure your phone with a lock screen, but I like that the Dropbox app on Android offers another level of security, in case someone happens to get a hold of your device.

Because it is so tightly integrated with Microsoft Office and the Windows Phone OS as a whole, the SkyDrive app is an absolute necessity. It’s free, it offers a convenient place to save your files (in the cloud), and it’s incredibly easy to use. But before downloading, be aware that the app is only compatible with Windows Phone versions 7.5 or higher.

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