ProtonDrive

So I may be slightly late on my claim to look for a post on ProtonDrive “ in the near future” back in July, but better late than never? If you aren’t familiar with it at all, ProtonDrive is the encrypted cloud storage offering from the same excellent people making ProtonMail and ProtonVPN. I had been looking forward to it since I’m a bit of cloud storage nomad. I moved from using a NextCloud instance to Dropbox to iCloud.

Currently in beta, ProtonDrive is available to anyone with at least one of the following Proton plans:

  • Lifetime
  • Visionary
  • ProtonMail Professional
  • ProtonMail Plus (that’s me!)
  • ProtonVPN Basic (that’s me!) or Plus

It can be accessed either directly at drive.protonmail.com or from the app waffle if you already happen to be in the ProtonMail web app:

ProtonMail app waffle

The biggest thing to note about the ProtonDrive beta at the moment is that there are no apps for it. So you can’t install an app to sync things from your local filesystem to your phone, for example. As a result, it’s unlikely to completely replace other cloud storage options for most people until things have matured a little bit. I’ve mainly used it for the sake of making files accessible between systems that already don’t have homogenous cloud storage options installed. For example, if I take a screenshot on my MacBook Pro and know that I’ll likely write a blog post related to the screenshot on my Ubuntu laptop, ProtonDrive is a perfect option for saving that image. Naturally, I could do the exact same via iCloud, OneDrive, etc. since they all also offer browser-based options, but I’d honestly just rather use ProtonDrive since I already have a bit of a bias in favor of anything they offer.

Of course, having access to cloud storage now has made the bonus storage I’ve accumulated with Proton even more useful. I went from consuming about 50 MB of storage when it was only used for my email to over 600 MB when ProtonDrive released. I have a total of 19 GB built up, though, and I should be earning another yearly storage bonus later this month.

A really nice feature that’s already been implemented for ProtonDrive is the ability to share a file with someone who doesn’t currently have a Proton account; you can generate a magic link giving access to the file in question. As doing so is always a little suspect since the link could fall into the wrong hands, it’s nice that they also offer the ability to set a password and expiration on said link, saving me from having to remember to go delete it later on:

ProtonDrive sharing options

Given that everything is currently web-based, one of my current wishes is for some simple web apps for interacting with the file(s) stored there. For example, I’ve taken to throwing Markdown files with notes for blog posts into ProtonDrive so that I can easily access them regardless of which of my laptops or iPads I happen to be using when the urge to write strikes. However, I can’t actually interact with Markdown when it’s stored in ProtonDrive. While I can preview the file in my browser, none of the Markdown will render; this isn’t a huge issue, but it would be a nice quality of life improvement for the future:

File preview in ProtonDrive showing unrendered Markdown

Similarly, there aren’t any options to edit files once they’re been uploaded. If I upload a Markdown file with some notes, for example, and then immediately after think of a point I forgot to add, I can’t simply modify the file that I already uploaded. Instead, I have to modify another local copy of the file and re-upload it. Re-uploading to ProtonDrive will prompt if you want to save both copies, overwrite the existing copy, or just cancel the entire operation:

ProtonDrive duplicate file upload

Again, this is hardly a problem — especially for a product still in beta — but it would be a nice quality of life change to see in the future. In the meantime, I plan to continue making use of ProtonDrive much in the same way that I have been. I’ll be looking forward to the potential for apps in the future, though, that’ll alleviate my need for other cloud storage options entirely.

Originally published at https://looped.network on November 22, 2021.

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The /dev/null of my life.

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LoopedNetwork

LoopedNetwork

The /dev/null of my life.

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