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iPhoneDrive 1.1

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One of the more common complaints we’ve heard about the iPhone here at Macworld is that, unlike iPods, it doesn’t offer a Disk Mode option—the capability to use the phone as a removable drive for storing and transferring files. Ecamm Network’s $10 iPhoneDrive 1.1 (   ) brings some of that iPod Disk Mode magic to the iPhone, although not without a few limitations.

After connecting your iPhone to your Mac (using Apple’s USB dock-connector cable) and launching iPhoneDrive, a browser window—with your iPhone’s name in the window’s title bar—will appear. Overall, iPhoneDrive’s browser works much like a Finder window for an external drive: To copy files to the iPhone’s file-storage area, drag them into the browser window. To get files from the iPhone to your computer, just drag them from the iPhoneDrive browser to your Desktop or another Finder window.

(Alternatively, you can use the Copy To iPhone and Copy From iPhone buttons in the toolbar, or choose File: Copy To iPhone or File: Copy Selection From iPhone. You’ll then use OS X’s Open dialog to choose the file[s] to copy to the iPhone, or the Save dialog to choose the location on your computer to which the file[s] should be copied, respectively. You can also double-click a file in the browser to automatically download it to your Documents folder; I would have preferred the Desktop as the default destination, with a preference to choose a different folder.)

A couple minor quirks with the iPhoneDrive browser are that there’s no progress bar, so you can’t monitor the progress of the copy; and the “preview” pane of the browser doesn’t display the size of folders.

You can create new folders on the iPhone by using the New Folder toolbar icon or choosing File: New Folder; you’ll be asked for a name for the new folder. (Unfortunately, once a folder is created, you can’t rename it.) You can drag-and-drop files within the iPhoneDrive browser to organize them. And you can delete files from the iPhone by selecting them and clicking the Delete toolbar icon. A status bar at the bottom of the iPhoneDrive browser displays the amount of free space available on your iPhone.

As I mentioned earlier, iPhoneDrive does have some limitations. The biggest is that you need a copy of iPhoneDrive on any computer from which you want to access your iPhone’s “drive” data, and since iPhoneDrive is Mac-only, that means you can access that data only from a Mac. (Thankfully, iPhoneDrive’s license lets you install the software on all your Macs; you don’t need to purchase a copy for each computer.) And if you’re looking for the ability to access your iPhone’s media content—for example, as you can with an iPod using a utility such as Senuti or iPodDisk —you’re out of luck; iPhoneDrive can be used only to store files. Finally, note that if you ever need to restore your iPhone, any data saved to it using iPhoneDrive will be deleted.

Most of these limitations seem to be due to the iPhone itself, which apparently works much differently from an iPod when it comes to disk use. Whatever the case, until Apple adds an official Disk Mode feature to the iPhone, iPhoneDrive is an easy-to-use workaround—as long as all your computers are Macs.

iPhoneDrive 1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4.10 or later, iTunes 7.3 or later, and a Mac with USB2.0. Oh, and an iPhone.

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