So you don’t like keeping your private files on a cloud storage? Neither do we – especially after all the hullabaloo the National Security Agency’s PRISM project has managed to cause. Though that doesn’t mean you have to completely sacrifice the ability to remotely access your important information. Cloud services aren’t the not the only definitive answer to remotely accessing files stored on your PC on your mobile devices. After using Polkast for a few hours, I immediately knew there was something good about it. Poklast basically acts as your personal cloud to let you access files stored on your Windows PC, Mac, Linux or NAS Storage device (such as ZyXel or Synology) from iOS, Android and Kindle Fire over Wi-Fi or the internet.
The company behind the app dates back to 2010, and has established itself as an efficient file access solution over the internet. Getting started with setting it up is very straightforward; you don’t need to go through any cumbersome setup wizard to get things up and running. In fact, it’s way simpler than I originally thought it would be.
The first thing you need to do is download its main PC application on the computer from where the files will be accessed, which Polkast calls your ‘Homebase’. Upon running it for the first time, you will need to create a Polkast account from the app. Having done that, sign into your account using the pertaining email and password credentials.
Polkast supports creating multiple homebases, though free account holders can link just one homebase at a time. Once signed in, you’re presented with the main interface dubbed your dashboard, where you can manage the files and folders you want to share. There’s a sidebar on the left that lets you navigate between your documents, music, pictures, videos, favorite, recent, and shared items.
To manage the files that you want to be accessible from the mobile app, click Settings > Manage Access from the menu bar, and a small window will pop up where you can add or remove folders. Polkast also lets you integrate your iTunes library should you want to access it remotely.
When you have your homebase configured, it’s time to grab the mobile app. I tried the Android variant and it didn’t face any issues connecting with my homebase. Here’s how it works:
Launch Polkast on your mobile device, sign in to with Polkast account credentials when prompted, choose your default Homebase that you created earlier, and your mobile device will be linked with Polkast.
You can then access the files you shared from your computer, either over Wi-Fi or the internet, depending on the type of connection you’re currently using. The interesting bit about the service is that it automatically prompts you when your files are inaccessible over the internet, and suggests you do it over the local network in case your homebase and mobile device are on the same Wi-Fi network.
In addition to accessing your files directly from your Android or iOS device, you can download the ones you want locally to your phone or tablet.
I’m not sure if there’s any reason not to like Polkast. It’s fast, free and fairly functional at what it offers. And if you want to share your homebase with other Polkast users, you can always upgrade to the Pro account that offers additional perks.