How to Use MEGA Backup & Sync Features in 2021: Complete Guide

MEGA is among the best security-focused cloud storage services out there, and it’s also packed with features. Keep reading to learn how to make the most of everything that comes with your MEGA account.

Aleksander Hougen
By Aleksander Hougen (Editor)
— Last Updated: 2021-09-05T13:07:11+00:00 Facts checked by Elisabeth Ivey

MEGA is a secure cloud storage service with end-to-end encryption that lets you upload files to the cloud on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS. There’s a lot to unpack with MEGA, especially for users who don’t have prior experience with cloud storage services, so here’s the full guide on how to use MEGA.

Key Takeaways:

  • MEGA has a 20GB storage plan for free users.
  • It allows you to backup and sync files directly from your computer to the cloud easily.
  • MEGA has a transfer quota, which means that there’s a limit to how much data you can upload or download per day. For Free accounts this is a vague limit that resets every 24 hours, whereas Pro accounts get allocated their transfer quota in bulk for the entire billing period.

As we cover in our MEGA review, there’s a lot to like about the cloud storage and file management that it offers. It has highly secure and private encryption and good speed. Plus, it’s easy to share your files with other people, and you can sync any folder on your system.

If MEGA isn’t to your liking, but you still need somewhere to upload and download files, then make sure to check out our list of the best cloud storage.

  • 08/31/2021

    Expanded article with detailed step-by-step instructions and replaced images.

  • MEGA Backup, or simply MEGA, is a cloud storage service that lets you sync and backup your files to the cloud. It functions similarly to Microsoft OneDrive (read our full OneDrive review) and will let you sync your folders to your cloud storage.

  • There are several reasons why MEGA might not sync. If you’re sure nothing is wrong with your internet connection and that you have enough free storage, then you might have unsynced the folder or reached your daily or monthly data transfer quota.

  • All you need to do to use MEGA is sign up for a free account, which comes with 20GB of storage, and either start using it through the web interface or download the desktop and mobile applications.

How to Use MEGA: Signing Up for a MEGA Account

First things first: let’s start with how to sign up for MEGA cloud storage. The whole process is straightforward and simple, so this shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes. 

  1. Open MEGA on Your Browser

    Start by going to MEGA’s website and opening the service on your browser.

    mega signup1
  2. Register and Create a Free Account

    At the top-right corner of your screen, click on “create account” to register for a MEGA account.

    mega signup 2
  3. Fill in Your Details to Fully Register Your New MEGA Account

    Once you’re at the registration page, you’ll have to type in your credentials to set up the new account. Enter your name, email address and a strong password.

    mega signup 3
  4. Confirm Your Email Address

    When you’ve successfully registered an account, MEGA will send you an email for a verification test. Verify your email address by pressing the “verify my email” button.

    mega signup 4
  5. Download the MEGA Desktop App

    Once you’ve registered and verified your email address, simply click the “download” button for the operating system you’re using.

    mega signup 5
  6. Install the MEGA App to Your System

    Install the MEGA app to your desktop by opening the MEGA installer you just downloaded. Then go through the installation process and read through all the relevant information.

    mega signup 6
  7. Log in to Your MEGA Account

    The MEGA app should open when the installation is complete. If you haven’t created an account yet, you can follow the steps of registering above. Otherwise go ahead and log in to your account to run the MEGA desktop app.

    mega signup 7
  8. Configure MEGAsync

    Next, configure how you want MEGA to install to your computer. Full sync will sync your entire cloud drive, and selective sync will only sync specific folders. Since the free plan only comes with 20GB of space, we recommend selecting the “selective sync” option.

    mega signup 8

How to Use MEGA Cloud Storage: Backup & Sync

Backing up your files with MEGA is straightforward and secure. MEGA even provides you with a recovery key in case you forgot your password or lost your two-factor authentication details. The recovery key is just a string of randomized text, so it’s easy to save.

This article will cover the steps for desktop users. If you’re accessing MEGA through the browser or have the app installed on your iOS or Android device, then you can refer to MEGA’s complete manual for the steps.

How Do I Use MEGA to Sync and Unsync Files?

The most basic way of interacting with MEGA is by syncing files using its default MEGAsync folder. 

  1. Open Your MEGAsync Folder

    You can open your “MEGAsync” folder through the application icon at the bottom-right corner of your screen. If that doesn’t work, you can search for the folder in the directory provided below. By default, its location on Windows devices is: C:\Users\username\Documents\MEGAsync.

    mega upload a file
  2. Move Your Files to the MEGAsync Folder

    To backup your files or folders, just drag them to the MEGAsync folder. This will start the uploading process, signified by the small blue loading icon at the bottom-left corner of your file. When the files or folders are uploaded, that blue icon will change into a green checkmark.

    cloud storage and file upload

That’s pretty much it. Backing up your files is as straightforward as that, and anything you place in your MEGAsync folder will automatically sync with MEGA’s servers from here on out.

How Do I Backup With MEGA?

By default, the MEGAsync folder automatically syncs your files to the cloud. However, if you want to continuously backup other folders, then you’ll need to take another approach. Here’s how you can sync and backup any folder to MEGA:

  1. Open the MEGA Settings

    Look for the MEGA icon at the bottom-right corner of your taskbar. Right-click the icon and open the “settings” page.

    cloud drive settings
  2. Open the Syncs Tab

    On the settings screen, navigate to the “syncs” tab. Here you’ll find all the files and folders on your computer synced to your MEGA cloud storage.

    file sync address data
  3. Add Your Local Folder

    In the syncs tab, click on the “add” button near the bottom-right corner of the window. That will open a pop-up asking you about the local and MEGA folders. Look for your local folder by clicking on “choose” and then selecting the local folder you want to sync.

    online address sync
  4. Add or Create Your MEGA Folder

    Now it’s time to add your MEGA folder, so click on “choose” to open your MEGA drive, which will show all the folders stored in your MEGA drive. You can choose where you’d like to upload your local folder, or you can always create a new folder by clicking on the “new folder” button below.

    add folder
  5. Sync Your Folders

    When you’re happy with everything, go ahead and sync your folders by clicking on “OK.” Finally, hit “apply” at the bottom-right corner of your screen to implement the changes.

    sync folders

Now that you’ve added your folder, any changes you make to it or the files inside of it will trigger an upload to MEGA’s cloud storage, which ensures that it’s backed up at all times. 

How to Stop Backing Up a Folder in MEGA

If you want to temporarily stop backing up a folder, disabling the automatic sync is simple.

  1. Open the MEGA Settings and Syncs Tabs

    Right-click the MEGA icon at the bottom-right corner of your screen. From there, look for and click on “settings.” On the settings page, navigate to the “syncs” tab.

    mega online syncs
  2. Uncheck the Folder You Wish to Unsync

    Look for the folder that you want to unsync and simply uncheck the box next to it. This will stop that folder from syncing to your cloud.

    mega uncheck
  3. Hit Apply to Implement the Changes

    When done, just click on “apply” at the bottom-right corner of your screen. The folder(s) that you unchecked will no longer sync to your MEGA cloud.

    mega apply uncheck

Now even though these folders are no longer syncing — meaning your online copies will be out of date — you can still find them in your MEGA drive. If you feel like deleting a sync path (the local and MEGA folder connection) for good and thus removing it from the cloud, you can always click on “delete” in the final stepto delete it permanently. 

How Do I Download Files From MEGA?

If you’ve completely deleted your local files and need to retrieve a backup, don’t fret. You can easily download your files from MEGA without a hitch. 

  1. Open the Download Window

    Look for the MEGA icon at the bottom-right corner of your screen and right-click it. From there, navigate to and open the “download” window.

    mega file download 1
  2. Look for the Folder You Want to Download

    Now look for the MEGA folder with your backups. When you’ve found the files you want to download, go ahead and select them, then click on “OK.” Then you’ll have to choose the download location. Feel free to specify a download folder. However, for this example, the default destination works for us.

    mega file download 2

You can also use MEGA to share files with other people, regardless of whether or not they have a MEGA account themselves. You can do this by creating public links to files and folders and then distributing them so that you can share the data with the people you want. Here’s how you go about doing that.

You can use this link to give your friends or colleagues access to the files and folders you want to share, which will let them download the file to their computer. 

If you want to open a MEGA link, the easiest way to do it is through your web browser. However, you can also do it directly in the MEGA application by doing the following:

Should I Use MEGA for Backup?

If all you need is basic file backup, then MEGA is a competent and secure choice. Since you’re not locked into the default sync folder, it’s easy to set MEGA up to automatically keep your files and folders backed up to the cloud.

That said, if you need or want more advanced backup options, then there are much better services out there than MEGA. For example, by creating and backing up disk images using dedicated backup software like IDrive (read our IDrive review), you can keep a copy of your entire system, which you can then restore from in the event that your device fails.

Furthermore, although MEGA offers some of the largest free storage quotas out of any cloud storage provider, dedicated backup solutions are usually much cheaper per gigabyte and sometimes even provide you with unlimited storage. Because of that, if you’re looking to backup large amounts of data, a service like Backblaze or Carbonite will serve you much better.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for our guide on how to use MEGA. Although its desktop client is a bit clunkier than it needs to be, once you get used to using the system tray, context menu options and the MEGAsync folder, it becomes pretty effortless.

What do you think about MEGA? Do you like its focus on secure cloud storage, or do you prefer another service? Let us know in the comments below and as always, thank you for reading.