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Odrive LogoI started trialling Odrive 30 days ago to see if it is a good alternative to running cloud synchronising apps for the many different cloud services I use. Those cloud services include Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Drive, Google Drive, and OwnCloud. I am also looking at ExpanDrive as another possible option. Besides doing away with additional applications, this is a way of reducing the data footprint of cloud platforms on my local machine.

Dropbox itself uses more than 20 gigabytes on my local machine solely for its database. Then, of course, there are the files. Manually removing files from my Dropbox synchronisation is a constant hassle, especially when there are terabytes of data there and it takes quite a while to load the full folder tree. It would be perfect for the computer to cease synchronising files automatically that are not in regular use.

Enter Odrive. Odrive runs in the background, providing placeholder files and folders, synchronising the contents of all of your cloud storage systems on demand. At the time of writing, it has a free and a premium subscription version. When you first sign up, you get access to the subscription version for seven days and are then automatically downgraded to the free version unless you choose to enter your payment details and stay subscribed.

Odrive Placeholder Folders
Odrive Placeholder Folders

The core features are:

  • Connect to multiple storage platforms at once, including most common platforms, with a single application.
  • Background file transfers.
  • Native file access (must be synchronised first by accessing files in Finder after which access is native in all applications).
  • Local synchronisation of files.
  • Filesharing.


The extra features available in the subscription include:

  • Manual desynchronisation of files.
  • Automatic desynchronisation of unused files.
  • Localised file encryption before uploading to cloud storage.


Supported storage platforms:

Dropbox Yes
Amazon Cloud Drive Yes
Google Drive Yes
Google Cloud Storage Yes
Box Yes
Amazon S3 Yes
一个驱动器 Yes
4分享 Yes
ADrive Yes
Backblaze B2 Yes
海德威 Yes
OpenDrive Yes
Oracle Documents Yes
Oxygen Cloud Yes
Yandex Disk Yes
WebDav Yes
Social Platform File Access
  • Facebook Photos & Videos
  • Gmail Attachments
  • HipChat Files
  • Instagram Photos
  • Slack Files

So after using it for 30 days, 7 in the subscription trial and 23 in the free version I’ve tried to cover off all the things I would use on a regular basis.

What I found is:


Odrive is partially set up through the website and partially through the desktop application. First, you sign up on their website using an account you already have with either Google, Dropbox, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Oxygen Cloud, or OneDrive for Business.

Odrive Sign In Screen
Odrive Sign In Screen

Once signed in, any clouds associated with your login account are added to your Odrive automatically. For example, I logged in with my Google account and my Google Drive was automatically added to my Odrive. Now, the local app can be downloaded, and you can proceed with connecting and authorising additional cloud storage platforms.

Odrive cloud storage selection within the web interface.
Odrive cloud storage selection within the web interface.

Almost all of your actual setup is in your account on the Odrive website. Once you are signed up you can set up your storage connections (including encryption during the trial or with a premium subscription), you can browse those storage platforms and their contents through the web interface, you can share things, set up your billing and so on. This web-based setup process has the distinct advantage of being able to configure your connections and preferences once and then install the app on all your computers quite quickly. No need to authorise each computer for each cloud platform.

Once you have the local app installed (which is a very straight forward installation), you then login using the same account you used on the website. To do this you just click the “Get Started” button from the app and it will take you to the website to login. After login, it creates your Odrive folder and makes available any storage you connect online. Simple.

Welcome to Odrive
Welcome to Odrive – Click the Get Started button

The Odrive app adds a context menu to files inside your Odrive folder that allows you to sync, un-sync, share, or view a web preview if possible.

Odrive Context Menu
Odrive Context Menu

The app also adds a taskbar icon where you can set things like auto-downloading, auto un-sync, bandwidth throttling, trash behaviour and large file behaviour. From the taskbar, it also provides links to the website for modifying your storage connections, upgrading your account and so on. It’s important to note though that these are links so it will open your browser and you will have to log in before you can perform these functions.

Odrive Taskbar Menu
Odrive Taskbar Menu

Inside the Odrive folder, the app creates all the placeholder files you need for each folder’s contents as you synchronise it. Until you sync a folder, it doesn’t contain anything, in fact, you can’t even enter it until you synchronise it. Once you do it is full of placeholder files that represent the files and other folders contained within that folder. As you begin to sync files, clicking the taskbar icon will show you their progress.

Odrive Sync Status
Odrive Sync Status

I find this most useful while uploading files. Like Dropbox, Odrive also adds little synchronisation symbols to files in the Odrive folder. These symbols help by showing the sync status of each file and folder that is presently in an active transfer state.

File transfers

Files seem to upload or download just as fast as Dropbox, Google Drive and Amazon Drive’s applications. The noticeable difference though is that you have to double click a placeholder file or folder and wait for it to download before it opens. In contrast, the dedicated applications for Dropbox, Google Drive and Amazon Drive all download files in advance, so they are ready for you when you want them. The advantage of Odrive’s approach is that it is not taking up space with files you aren’t using. Online need one file from an entire folder? That’s ok, just sync that file. When you combine this with the auto desynchronisation feature of the Odrive subscription, it keeps your local storage needs to a minimum by only downloading what you need and automatically removing things you haven’t accessed in a while.

The cost of doing this is that it uses data every time you need to download something which could end up using a lot of data unexpectedly and could be a problem if you are without an internet connection. What I found most frustrating with this approach though is when you have a big file. For example, I have some super high-resolution tiff graphics that I’m working on which are about 3.5gb in size. That takes a while to synchronise, so you have to double click your placeholder and then do something else for a while until it is downloaded. Alternatively, you can use the manual sync options. These options let you keep certain folders permanently synchronised, so they are always ready to be used.

This kind of manual synchronisation is something that I still have to plan for using Dropbox, so functionally it doesn’t have an advantage here. The advantage is more in how it treats everything else. It just means, as with Dropbox I have to make sure I synchronise anything large in advance. In practice, the only reason this is an issue for me is that I already have 900gb synchronised from my Dropbox. Odrive I am still working through and synchronising it as I use it. The more files that become synchronised, the more natural it seems to be. It’s just that initial stage of getting my most common things synced that makes it seem inconvenient.

Now two things I noticed with the file sync from placeholder files are:

  1. It appears to cause some unexpected behaviour in Finder. When synchronisation of a folder or file is complete, every Finder window seems to blink off and then on again, kind of like Finder has crashed and then restarted itself. I believe this is happening because Odrive is refreshing the folder to show the new contents in place of the placeholder file. As far as I can tell, though, Finder is not crashing, it is just behaving like it.
  2. There is not much to indicate what is happening. As an example, if I double-click a placeholder file to begin synchronising it nothing seems to happen. It’s not a big deal for small files as they sync quickly, but for big files that take longer the only indication you clicked it correctly is by going to the taskbar icon to see if it is on the list of things synchronising. Having a notification indicating synchronisation has begun of the file/folder would help. I’m thinking similar to the “x files have been added” pop-up notification displayed by Dropbox.

File Access

Within applications, data access is native as long as the files and folders you need are already synchronised. So if you have accessed them through Finder, it is fine. If you haven’t though, they will not sync using the file browser in an application. Synchronisation MUST occur in advance either through Finder or by manually synchronising a folder in the app. So, you have to make sure to sync the folders you will need before you need them. For example, say I want to save a graphic from Photoshop into an existing folder in Dropbox via Odrive. I will need to access the folder in Finder first to make sure it is synchronised. If I don’t, then I won’t be able to open it in Photoshop. The reason for this is because the placeholder files are just files. So until a folder is synchronised, Photoshop only sees it as a file type that it can’t do anything with since it doesn’t recognise it.

Odrive Placeholder Files
Odrive Placeholder Files

It is a little inconvenient to have to remember to synchronise the folder or file beforehand, but it is still more convenient than dealing with Dropbox directly where you may have to tell it to selectively sync the folder, a process which could take a while. When using Dropbox with terabytes of data, I often find myself using the Dropbox web app to download the files I need and then manually reuploading them afterwards. It’s not the most convenient, but I just can’t keep all that data locally without an external drive. So the way Odrive synchronises files does help to improve the process.


I thought this function would be a given. It turns out though that in the free version of Odrive there is no actual desynchronize or “un-sync” option. While my trial subscription was active, I found files or folders could be explicitly told to stop synchronising, or it could automatically happen when they are unused for a period such as a day, a week or a month. While I knew beforehand that the automatic options were only available in the subscription version, I was very surprised that all the options to manually un-sync, when used, began telling me that they are a premium feature, including those in the context menu when you right-click a file.

Unsync is a premium feature in Odrive
Unsync is a premium feature in Odrive.

After some searching around I discovered that as odd as it seemed, desynchronization is not a part of the free version at all. It took a while to find a clear answer, but I did eventually find this question on the Odrive forums with a reply from Odrive. It states that the only way to remove files in the free version without removing them from the actual cloud storage provider is to unlink Odrive from your account and re-link it in a different location. At which point anything you do want to have synchronised you will have to synchronise again.

So while possible to work around, in practice, desynchronization is not a feature of the free version. If you want to stop syncing files you have to go with the subscription version. While other features, like encryption, make the upgrade worthwhile, this one is the number one for me. This missing feature severely limits the practical use of Odrive, especially when dealing with large files like I do.

It’s frustrating, but it is a smart move on Odrive’s part.


Encryption is setup using the web interface and behaves in much the same way as any other cloud storage location. When you set it up, you tell Odrive what location on which of your existing cloud storage systems you would like to be encrypted. For testing, I created a folder on my Amazon Drive called “Secrets”. Once configured in Odrive, it then appears in your Odrive folder on your local computer just like any other cloud storage. I’ve got Dropbox, Google Drive and Amazon Drive setup. So with my “Secrets” encrypted destination my Odrive destinations now show up as:

Odrive Encryptor Contents
Odrive Encryptor Contents
  1. Amazon Cloud Drive
  2. Dropbox
  3. Encryptor
    1. Secrets
  4. 脸书
  5. Google Drive

Anything I copy into the “Secrets” folder is accessible from within that folder on my computer just like any other file or folder on any other drive. Odrive creates placeholders when files are desynchronised, and I can access them without having to worry about any encryption keys, it all just works. You do however have to set your encryption key when you first access the folder being encrypted.

Odrive Encryption Key Setup
Odrive Encryption Key Setup

However, this “Secrets” folder is actually in my Amazon Drive. So if I open Amazon Drive, I can see a folder there called “Secrets”. I can open that folder on Amazon Drive directly, but the contents of that folder do appear garbled. Since these files are encrypted, this is what I would expect.


Odrive Encrypted Secrets
Odrive Encrypted Secrets

One thing I noticed though during the process of synchronising a small document to the encrypted destination is that after Odrive had reported the file synced, it took about 30 minutes before it appeared on Amazon Drive at all. I even logged directly into Amazon Drive through their web interface to make sure. Regular files appear immediately, and after testing about 20 files of different sizes and types, it became evident that it was consistently a delay in the appearance of encrypted data. So clearly the encryption process is doing something that delays it. My understanding is that files are encrypted locally before transmission to the cloud. So if they are synchronised, this to me means they have been encrypted and transmitted. It seems though that perhaps either the process takes longer in the background than the app suggests, or there is something unadvertised happening. Another thought I had was that perhaps it is Amazon, but Arq encrypted files do appear instantly on Amazon Drive.

Something I didn’t think to check regarding encryption before my trial ran out is that if you are connected to the encrypted destination through the same Odrive account on another computer, can it also open the encrypted files?

Memory and CPU usage

Now, if you’ve ever watched your CPU and RAM usage when running Dropbox, particularly while synchronising large files you will have noticed that sometimes it can use a lot of memory and CPU time. However this does seem to fluctuate, and when it isn’t doing anything, it doesn’t use much.

After running Odrive without rebooting the computer for one week and just leaving Odrive running, I observed it using an enormous amount of RAM, causing other programs to freeze and the computer to run very slowly. In this test scenario I used the computer as normal, but with Odrive running in the background. I synchronised a few small files up and down each day to both Amazon Drive and Dropbox, generally below 50mb of data. At the end of the week, I observed it using 6gb of RAM even though the last file synchronisation completed about 12 hours earlier. As I rarely restart my computer and I don’t like being forced to restart an application just to free up memory, this is a concern. I don’t know if this means there is a memory leak, perhaps a problem with garbage collection, but it is not something I would want to be having to deal with all the time.

Other things of note

One of the extra little things Odrive does is connect to an assortment of social media accounts, allowing you to access your photos and videos directly, rather than having to go through your accounts and manually download them all the old fashioned way. For example, you can connect your Facebook account and then access all your albums right from within Finder. The caveat here is that at this time it only works for personal Facebook accounts. It does not work with Facebook pages, unfortunately.

Odrive Facebook Photo Access
Odrive Facebook Photo Access

Then there is also web access. You can log into the Odrive website and access all of your cloud accounts through your Odrive account. So you are not just limited to using the Odrive app for access, just log in on the website, and you can then browse your Dropbox and your Amazon Drive, even your Facebook albums all from the one web interface.

Odrive Web Interface
Odrive Web Interface

In practice, I’m not sure if this is something I would ever use. It does mean you only need to login to one site to access your storage, but at the same time, the interface is not as functional as some of the dedicated app interfaces. For example, the Dropbox interface can open many more file types within the web browser.


Now, I must admit, once the 7-day premium subscription trial ended, I found Odrive a very pointless application (at least for me). If I use it, it adds data to my local drive (something I don’t want), with no way of removing it except to remove Odrive or my cloud connections. After those seven days, I found that I could only really keep experimenting with smaller files or my hard drive would be full.

That said, Odrive has a lot of very promising functionality available with an active subscription. The way it synchronises and automatically desynchronises files, in particular, is a perfect balance of local caching and remote access that you can tweak to your individual needs. There is the cost of inconvenience of having to double click files for the first time or choose to synchronise folders explicitly.

The inclusion of encryption functionality in the premium subscription is also a big plus, especially given it just happens in the background without the need for any user intervention. Add to that quick transfers with a huge range of connections to different cloud storage providers, and you have an excellent all-around package for combining all your cloud services into one handy application. Or at least in my opinion you do.

The minor downsides are the somewhat clunky file access method and the unexpected Finder behaviour. The more significant disadvantage is the memory leakage. For me, that is a possible clincher. The fact that Odrive can grind my computer to a halt, just from being open for a week is a real killer of what is an otherwise very promising application. I know I can just quit and restart Odrive every few days or every time it seems to be consuming excessive amounts of RAM, but that isn’t an ideal solution, particularly if it decides to happen in the middle of something important.

In my opinion, the local app is not particularly polished. In part because of the memory issue, in part, because the taskbar menu is just basic drop-downs with much of the setup and configuration through the website. That said, perhaps the app doesn’t need to be more polished. It does everything it needs to do. Having to switch between it and the website depending on what exactly I am configuring is a bit annoying, but that is only during initial setup and when changing my storage configuration. Otherwise, it is primarily the local app getting used. So the minor nuisance is just during the initial setup and figuring out how it all works.

Given the negative aspects of Odrive can be worked around, and frankly are things that I would expect fixes for in future updates, I don’t think they are enough to cost Odrive a place in your cloud arsenal. If it weren’t for a competitor worth considering in Expandrive, I’d be signed up to an Odrive subscription straight away and do away with my Dropbox sync that I have to carry around an external 2TB hard drive to fit.

That said, depending on how it stacks up against Expandrive I just might be going ahead with Odrive! I will be posting a follow-up blog shortly on Expandrive and how it behaves and performs, then a direct comparison of the two with my verdict on which one I’m going to choose and why.

If you use or have used Odrive, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments below. I’d particularly like to hear if you found some of the same issues and whether you could work around them, or if you encountered anything that I didn’t.

《30 Days of Odrive Cloud Unification – Review》有13条留言

  1. Hey Matt, I’ve just been doing the same research trying to figure out which app to use. I really like the progressive sync model of odrive but hate software which I have to pay a subscription to use.

    我很好奇您是否遇到过Mountainduck?我已经使用Cyberduck多年(开源,FTP /云客户端),现在他们有一个基于Cyberduck开源引擎的商业应用程序。似乎与Expandrive非常相似。



    • 嘿,亚当,感谢您的阅读,很高兴您发现它有所帮助。实际上,几周前我遇到了山鸭。我还没有机会对其进行大量测试,但是从表面上看,它与ExpanDrive类似,但具有更好的大文件支持,尤其是在Amazon S3上。我计划在接下来的几周内对其进行测试。通过在存储位置之间创建一种或两种方式的同步作业,另一种工作方式略有不同的方法是GoodSync。目前,我正在测试要转到S3的大型文件。

  2. 感谢非常彻底和简洁的博客:),我发现它非常有用。我在其他地方对取消同步功能和免费版本感到有些困惑,但是现在我明白了。像个杀手,对吗?

    • 嗨,斯皮格,很高兴您发现它有用!我真的不清楚取消同步功能也如何工作。可惜的是,Odrive没有将其变得更加清晰。就免费版本而言,这是一个交易突破点,但是我想程序的任何免费版本都旨在将您升级到付费版本,因此,它肯定是可以推动您升级的功能。也就是说,Dropbox最近刚刚宣布了针对业务计划的新自动同步/不同步功能。从外观上看,这应该与Odrive类似。我期待看到它的工作原理。

  3. 马特



    现在,我拥有MacBook Pro和Amazon Cloud Drive,我正在寻找同样的事情。

    最近,当我单击“同步所有Amazon驱动器文件”时,我陷入了一片混乱,然后继续从我的Amazon Cloud Drive加载了装有文件的整个MacBook。



    我的主要目标是简单地存储所有我当前未使用但仍要保留在Amazon驱动器上的东西,同时仍然可以方便地将它们从finder或文件管理器中直接拉到我的计算机上在Mac上。也许我应该将Windows下载到我的MacBook Pro大声笑上。


    • 嘿布莱斯,谢谢你的评论。在免费版本中,oDrive仅在需要时下载所需的内容。您所要做的就是双击您要访问的文件或文件夹。然后将其下载。您必须订阅付费版本才能同时取消同步和自动取消同步。因此,在免费版本中,一旦将其放入本地驱动器,您将无法手动或自动将其删除,而不删除文件。唯一的方法是告诉oDrive同步到新位置,然后删除旧的oDrive文件夹。当然,您还必须再次在本地同步所需的所有内容。希望对您有所帮助!

  4. 嗨,马特,很好。您还在使用吗?您是否发现RAM问题消失了?您是否尝试过讨论过的其他选择?

    • 您好Angus895,感谢您的阅读。我还在用。到目前为止,我还没有选择订阅专业版。取而代之的是,我已经在几台只需要从几个不同的云驱动器访问几个文件夹的计算机上使用它。我还尝试了ExpanDrive,看来您已经在该文章上看到了我的博客文章。自从我写这些以来,我还找到了我正在试用的MountainDuck。





Matt in Noumea

Matt专职从事数字营销业务, TerraMedia。不过,在业余时间,他喜欢和妻子一起旅行,所以他们通常都会做很多事情。

您可以阅读有关马特及其故事的更多信息 这里.