Dropbox, essentially, is a cloud storage platform, and it means that by creating an account, you are entitled to a specific amount of storage capacity that you can use to store your files. However, as to make the service bigger, Dropbox allows users to make all those files available to any devices your Dropbox account is registered in. Whether it be a desktop computer, a tablet, a smartphone—Dropbox makes all those files available through the process of ‘syncing.’
By the mentioned process of syncing, Dropbox offers a ‘cross-way’ of making all files updated to the most recent versions. This means that regardless of where a file is modified—whether it be modified from a Desktop or from a smartphone, the updated file will be updated to all devices in almost perfectly real-time. However, the online version of Dropbox is the data center of all your files. This means that absolutely all files you are sharing and all files you have on the other versions of Dropbox can be found on your account online.
If you have downloaded the Dropbox app for your desktop, for example, you have to option to selectively sync files or folders you only want to make available on your desktop. Let’s say if you have 20 folders on your account online, you can only opt 10 among the 20 folders to be available on your desktop. Moreover, having a desktop version of Dropbox also means that every file you are currently under sync will be available directly on your PC, and you can open them, modify them, view them, reorganize them like any other files or folders on your PC.
Going back to the online version, Dropbox also allows you to view and organize your files and folders, but if you want to edit a document, for example, your only method is to download it and upload it afterwards if not sync. Being a data center of all your files on your account, the online version gives you more administrative controls over your account and files. Going online allows you to modify your account profile and details, change your password, change your notifications and subscriptions, view all the links and files you are sharing, and view the detailed status of your subscription.
To conclude, the online version of Dropbox is the data and administrative center of your account and all your files, from where and which every other registered devices would depend on contents, settings, and capabilities. The downloadable (app) version gets more limited controls and details, but you are given a chance to select only the files and folders you want to appear and sync on that device. All files that are modified from any device will be made available or will be updated to all other devices in almost perfectly real-time.