Tue. May 21st, 2024

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Before I discovered Microsoft Drop, if I wanted to transfer something from my PC to my phone (or vice versa), I would email it to myself or scour the many files on my OneDrive cloud. While these methods do work, they’re far less easy and efficient than using Drop.

I use Drop daily—I even used it to send screenshots from my phone to my computer for this article, and it saved me so much time.

How Does Drop Compare to Other File Transfer Options?

Before we look at how to access and use Drop, let’s look at some of its benefits against other file transfer methods.

Drop Is Free

You only need three simple things to access and use Drop: an internet connection, a Microsoft account, and Microsoft Edge.

Drop uses OneDrive to store the items you’re sending to yourself, and you get 5 GB with a free Microsoft account. And if you’re using Windows 11, Microsoft Edge is the default web browser, so you already have that ready to go. When I first discovered Drop, it took me all of one minute to get going, and I didn’t have to spend a penny to take advantage of its many benefits.

Drop Is Always Ready to Receive Files

Other file transfer solutions, such as AirDrop, require your computer to be “on” before you can use it seamlessly. Also, alternatives such as KDE Connect require all your devices to be connected to the same network. What’s more, setting up an account on another platform, such as DropBox, takes time and invariably requires you to verify your email address.

However, with Drop, as long as you’re signed in to your Microsoft account and have Microsoft Edge on the device you’re using, you can drop in and out whenever and wherever you like. All you need is an internet connection, and you’re good to go—you don’t even need to set it up!

Drop Is a Dedicated Tool

KDE Connect, for example, is a multi-tool with a bunch of different features, and file transfer is just one of the things it lets you do. As a result, it’s a bloated solution if all you want to do is send some files to yourself. On the other hand, as suggested by its name, Drop is a dedicated platform for your file transfers, which makes it much more straightforward to use than some of its alternatives.

How to Use Drop

With Microsoft Drop, you can easily send files, pictures, and even messages to yourself. It’s available on any device with Microsoft Edge installed, including your Windows PC, Mac, iPhone or iPad, and Android device. No matter which device you use to upload your files or messages, you can access them anywhere on any of your devices.

Drop on PC

There are two places to access Drop on your Windows PC quickly—through Microsoft Edge and through your OneDrive folder.

With your Edge browser open, click the three dots in the top-right corner and open “Settings.”

The Microsoft Edge 'Settings And More' three dots highlighted and the 'Settings' option also highlighted.

In Settings, which opens in a new tab on Edge, click “Sidebar” in the menu on the left, and toggle the “Always Show Sidebar” button so that it turns blue. You will then see the Sidebar appear to the right of your Edge window.

Microsoft Edge Settings with 'Sidebar' selected on the left, and the 'Always Show Sidebar' button toggled on. The Sidebar is, therefore, showing on the right of the window.

You can then close the Settings tab. You’re now ready to open Drop. To do this, click the paper airplane icon on the Sidebar.

Microsoft Edge with the Sidebar opened and the Drop icon highlighted.

You won’t believe how easy this bit is. Any files you’ve already sent to your Drop from any device will show straightaway.

To add something to drop, simply click and drag a file from your computer to Drop in your Edge browser to upload it to your Drop OneDrive folder (or click the blue “+” icon to upload a file through your File Explorer). I first encountered Drop when I wanted to send a PDF from my computer to my phone, and I was amazed about how easy and instant it was. You can also use the chat box at the bottom of the pane to make some notes or, for example, send a link to yourself for later use.

From here, you can also download the files back to your computer if needed.

Once you have uploaded one item to Drop, your File Explorer OneDrive folder will also create a new Drop folder, a great way to access your Drop files without having to open Microsoft Edge. The only downside of this is that any notes you’ve typed into Drop won’t show here.

The Microsoft Edge Drop folder on OneDrive, accessible through Windows Explorer.

Drop on Mobile

As with all other devices, to access Microsoft Drop, you’ll need to first add the Edge app (for free) through your app store. With Edge open, click the three lines at the bottom of your screen to open the Edge menu.

The Edge homepage on iPhone with the menu option in the bottom-right corner highlighted.

Then, choose the Microsoft Drop icon.

Edge open on mobile with the Drop icon highlighted.

From here, you can:

  1. See and open any files or notes you’ve already added to your Drop on any device.
  2. Add files to Drop from your phone.
  3. Add a note to your Drop.

Microsoft Drop on mobile containing a sample document, the '+' icon to add files, and the note box.

What’s more, you don’t need to open Microsoft Edge to upload something to Drop. For example, on my iPhone, I can go through the usual iPhone sharing method to add a photo to my Drop files. After tapping “Edge,” it gives me the option to share through Drop.

A photograph selected and the 'Edge' icon highlighted as a method of sharing through Drop.

And magically, anything I add to Drop through Edge on mobile will be accessible on my computer through the method outlined above.

Things to Note with Drop

As Microsoft Drop is a free tool, it does have some very minor drawbacks. The first is the OneDrive capacity limitation that comes with a free Microsoft account, though 5 GB still offers plenty of scope to send yourself many files and notes. After all, Drop is a short-term solution to help you speed up your file transfer—once you’ve completed the transfer and then downloaded the file to your device, simply delete it from Drop by clicking the three dots in the top-right corner of each message (this works whether you’re deleting on your PC or your mobile).

A file in the Microsoft Drop pane on Edge with the 'Delete' option highlighted.

This will instantly free up the storage space that the file was taking up.

The other potential stumbling block is that you cannot upload folders to Drop from your computer. However, a straightforward workaround to this minor blip is to open the folder in your File Explorer, select the multiple files you want to upload, and drag and drop them together.

Along with Drop, Microsoft Edge’s Sidebar also has many other hidden features, such as quick access to Microsoft 365, Outlook, and games. Simply click on the “+” icon at the bottom of the Sidebar to customize what you see here.

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By John P.

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