Why so much criticism of Dropbox?

  1. Their macOS client is resource hungry and intrusive.
  2. Their iOS/iPadOS client still doesn’t support features like open-in-place.
  3. Their pricing model is very unfriendly to consumer users (nothing between the tiny amount of free storage and the ~$120/year 2tb tier).

I’ll second what @ChrisUpchurch noted.

Add to that, for me Dropbox became irrelevant once I joined the 1Password family plan with its own sync; I moved less frequently used files to local external storage; DEVONthink 3 changed its sync to use CloudKit and iCloud storage; and, driving all of the above, Apple’s introduction of Family Sharing, with far more cloud storage available than I need.

(Speculation: Family Sharing is partly an Apple strategy to make third-party cloud storage services unattractive and shift that revenue to Apple. They probably learned that from Microsoft’s OneDrive gambit, though it took several years for the message to arrive.)


I’ve been looking and haven’t found yet. In Dropbox I share folders with family members granting their access to these folders specific to the individual and me. I can’t find how to do that in iCloud or in the Family storage plan–seems to be all nothing? Is there a reference somewhere that you know of, or just not there?

My only complaint is their asinine insistence on naming their own “Dropbox” folders the way they want, which means business/school folder names have spaces, parentheses, and are a mile long.


I’ve never experienced Dropbox refusing to name a folder or file as I wanted. Do you have examples of what you consider “asinine insistence”? I’m curious. :grinning:

I clarified my wording. It’s the way they name the Dropbox folders.
If I add my school account, my own personal dropbox folder becomes
Dropbox (Personal)
I don’t remember what the school’s dropbox folder would be named,
probably Dropbox (SchoolName).

Oh. I’ve not done multiple accounts. I guess the good news is that it’s possible to add other accounts like that–that’s unusual for the big cloud services. Seems like they have to distinguish them by name somehow or another, though.

I’ve also seen it refuse certain characters, preventing the sync of files with e.g., emoji in the filename.

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Share folders with iCloud Drive - Apple Support should help. It involves a couple more steps than Dropbox’s right-click → copy link.

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I only “share” in Family Sharing at the top-level configuration: allocating a portion of the 2TB total space to other family members. That’s just a portion of the whole blob, not sharing of individual folders. We don’t have a case where we share folders.

It does and did. (Slapping forehead not seeing that menu option). I’m now working with my son (lives 1/2 world away) to see if this will work for us.

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I am probably one you read about criticizing dropbox. I have a business account and it works just as advertised. I can control who sees what. I can control password management. All good.
About 5 years ago we started having issues at work. We were full syncing to each iMac. the computers all had spinning disks. We started having crashes and really long restarts.
Even today we only have about 130GB of data. I think the problem related to indexing. We have many small files. Dropbox and spinning disks could not handle this.
I upgraded all the computers to SSD and 16GB RAM. Also selectively synced data so each computer had less historical data to deal with. All much better. Working from home this year exposed the same problem on my iMac 3015 5k with fusion drive. Just could not handle it.
I think Dropbox is rock solid but hogs resources and is also getting to have more functionality than I really am asking from it.
Still no better option for a business that needs control of data and personnel.
Personally, everything is on iCloud.

I agree what has been already said (@ChrisUpchurch and @anon41602260). I would also add that Dropbox keeps adding features that bloat the app that I don’t care about (Paper, their password manager, etc.) It feels like they are having an Evernote moment, trying to figure out what to do with themselves, and going very wrong about it (adding features instead of strengthening the ones they have and undercutting the competition).

I am Dropbox-free on my M1 Mac mini and I am extremely happy so far.


I love dropbox. While there are a few items that do cause me some friction (open in place on iOS), everything else just works much better than iCloud. I have no issue on the pricing, or the gap between free accounts and their subscription. The free account is plenty for a casual user to use it especially when you boost it with the various options to get more space. Anything more than that, they are entirely entitled to monetize.

There are so so many BASIC things that iCloud just cannot get right yet for me to leave Dropbox.


I got sick of the requests for Admin access on macOS, despite the fact it didn’t need it

I used Dropbox for years and do not recall ever seeing that.

what might be different ?

I believe that it asks when you install, and if you say “yes” it never asks you again.

But that’s the whole point. For some people, Dropbox getting (effectively) root access to your computer in order to install whatever it feels like was a significant problem for some.

There were also allegations that Dropbox spoofed a system dialog box asking for the user’s password, and then used that information to get the credentials it needed. If that actually happened to anybody, that would be enough - by itself - to not trust it going forward.

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You probably said yes once, and that’s all it needed.

I literally just installed it, and it asks for you to enter your admin password “in order for Dropbox to work properly” and it asks for Accessibility “to get the most out of Dropbox”.

You can tell it not to nag you about Accessibility again if you want, but if you choose not to give it your admin password, it will prompt you every single time the Dropbox app updates — which is a lot.

The worst part is that the app works just fine without your admin password, and I don’t know what Dropbox is doing with my admin password, but I do know that they have used it before to basically give themselves unfettered free admin access to your computer by creating a special tool that would run as an admin and basically do whatever Dropbox wanted. So, by saying yes once to Dropbox’s request for your admin password, they gave themselves free reign over your Mac basically forever.

The problems with Dropbox are legion.

  1. The developers are arrogant

  2. They lie

  3. They have proven themselves untrustworthy

  4. They add features no one wants (like an app that appears in your Dock to use instead of the Finder)

  5. They abuse the notifications to tell you about features like “Dropbox Paper” that no one wants

  6. The app is hugely inefficient. It is regularly the highest CPU usage on my Mac, even when it isn’t doing anything.

  7. It is also painfully slow to setup on a new Mac. Made worse by #8

  8. Even existing features that people do want, like LAN sync, don’t actually work and never get improved. (I have two full local copies of my 1.2TB Dropbox on my LAN. I recently setup Dropbox on a 3rd computer and wanted a complete version on that computer too. Dropbox downloaded 1.2TB over my Internet connection instead of using LAN sync, which I ensured was enabled on all the Macs on my network.)

  9. When I had a problem with my Dropbox account, they told me I had too many files, despite the fact that I was using barely 1/2 of the mandatory 2TB that I am required to pay for because it was the lowest storage tier available after their minuscule “free” plan.

  10. Their pricing is insanely stupid. I have a 2TB account, which costs me about $120/year, I think. If I want to share that with my family, it’s something like $200/year for no additional storage.

  11. Not only do they not have an M1 compatible version yet, but they won’t even respond to questions about when/if it might be available.

  12. The app is basically impossible to manage. It will update itself, even if you disable/remove the launchd plist that tells the updater to run, and even if you delete the /Applications/Dropbox.app/Contents/Resources/DropboxMacUpdate.app app, which wouldn’t be so bad except that their releases regularly include regression bugs which cause your computer to ‘index’ continually.

If iCloud sync was not a complete black box of Apple saying: “Just trust us, we’ll handle everything. You don’t need a progress indicator or any way to see what the computer is doing. Don’t worry your pretty little head over those little details” I would switch immediately. But I don’t trust iCloud. (Yes, I know, iCloud works great for lots of people. Unless it doesn’t. At which point you have no recourse except to wait and hope.)

The biggest problem with Dropbox is that nothing else seems to work as well, so I feel like I have no other option except to keep using it.

  1. When setting up a new Mac, you can go and turn off the setting that says “Upload my screenshots to Dropbox” when setting up the app, but do you know what happens when Dropbox notices the first screenshot after it is installed? It asks if you want to enable uploading screenshots to your desktop.

I don’t know how it does this, but I assume that it is either doing it by the “accessibility” feature that it claimed it needed or the admin password it claimed it needed.

And, somehow, it never needs to ask for permission to view your Desktop folder, like other apps do. How is it doing that? Not sure, but I bet if people found out what they’re doing, they wouldn’t like it.

Dropbox is the best argument on the Mac for requiring sandboxing on the Mac.


What killed Dropbox for me is that most of the apps I use takes advantage of Cloudkit. Also 1Password dropbox sync was made irrelevant due to 1Password own sync solution. Dropbox cannot be installed on my work too as it is against company policy. Our IT also doesn’t want it on our computer as it sucks resource. He doesn’t want it competing with the company-wide use of Microsoft Teams that also eats up most of our resource. Only one must take that crown.

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