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Box Sync for Mac Packages

When Box updated their sync app to work with Mac packages, it was like Christmas and Hanukkah and my birthday all rolled into one. DropBox is cute, but it has a poor track record for security and doesn't offer the fantastic business controls that Box offers.  

So what are packages?

Many apps on the Mac use packages.  Examples most people know are Pages, Keynote and Numbers.  But for power users there are a lot more: OmniGraffle and OmniOutliner files are packages, and even Scrivener documents.  Mac packages look like files, but they're not. They're actually folders filled with other files. When you control-click on a package file you can "open" it to see it's contents.   So what's the big deal about Box Sync working with Mac Packages?

Most people don't realize that switching computers, regardless of what technology you use to do it, doesn't and can't truly move your sync capability over intact.  What this means in plain English is that if you're using Box Sync and migrate over to a new or different Mac, Box Sync renames your Box Sync folder and creates a new one and has to re-sync everything, all over again.   I learned this the hard way when I went on vacation with a different Mac notebook and found out my Mac wanted to re-sync 95GB; Not a Good Thing over a slow hotel wireless connection.

Where things get ugly is if your Mac packages have not already been synced, throwing away that old Box Sync folder could result in losing hundreds, even thousands of hours of work.  We had one customer send us his MacBook Pro for data recovery because a technician at another company told him the best way to solve sync issues is to delete his Box Sync folder and simply re-download it from the cloud.  After hours of re-downloading, the customer noticed that all of his Keynote files were gone- every presentation he had ever made for his business.  All of the missing files were in directories he had put them in for months, but because they hadn't synced up to Box, there was nothing to sync down.   The good news is that we were able to recover about 95% of his documents.  But the situation still cost the customer enormous disruption.

Why does all this matter?  If you have a Mac, or if anyone uses a Mac in your business, there's now finally an effective solution for Cloud sync between Macs and PCs with a good workflow. Windows boxes still can't use Keynote or the killer apps from the OmniGroup, but as businesses start rolling more Macs into their offices and home offices, users connected via Box will be able to share files that much easier, even without a file server at all.

Now that Box Sync supports packages, we can finally have an Enterprise-grade business sync tool that keeps all our files synced and accessible on any of our devices, with the convenience of opening a new Finder window.  Neat.  Just remember that the devil is definitely in the detail when it comes to switching Macs with a Box Sync account.  If you're interested in Box Sync and how it works for business, I used OmniGraffle to create an example of Box used in business here (downloadable PDF... via Box of course).  If you like it, please let me know.