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selective sync on ipad?

selective sync on ipad?

karen h.3
New member | Level 1

Is this possible? I know how to selectively sync on my computer, but I can't figure out how to do so on my ipad. HELP!

54 Replies 54

Laureline
Community Manager

Hi Karen!
Indeed, you can't do a Selective Sync on your iPad... Because your files are not stored locally on your tablet!
The app on your tablet works more like the website https://www.dropbox.com.
It enables you to see your files, but only downloads them if you 'favorite' them (star).
So, as the files re not natively taking space on your iPad, there is no need for selective sync.

Deane M.
New member | Level 1

I have the same question. Does anyone have a solution?

Laureline
Community Manager

Hey Deane!

I replied to the question previously - the files on your phone are not stored locally, so there is no need to use selective sync.
The app works like the website, where you can see your files and download them, but they are not stored on your device.

Barry R.3
Helpful | Level 7

I desperately need a proper solution for this.

Current situation:

At the moment since I need a selective synch functionality on my iPad, I using the Documents app by Readdle with my Dropbox. Documents lets you set up a two-way synch folder with any Dropbox folder. It works okay, but is unreliable when you are synching a folder with sub-folders. It also requires a lot of steps. This is now becoming a major frustration since I need to manage thousands of digital photos while I am travelling and not linked to the internet.

My workflow is:

  1. Offline: Daily transfer photos from my camera to my iPad, often for a month at a time.

  2. Offline, when I have down time: Sort through hundreds of photos on my iPad, comparing them side by side (currently impossible on an iPad), discarding ones I don't need, then organizing the remainder into the hierarchical folder structure I have already setup in on my Dropbox server. (note: I am creating new folders)

  3. Offline: when I have down time: Do the same step 2 with my iPhone photos.

  4. Online, when I get to an Wifi spot : Selectively synch the various new folders I have created to my Dropbox folder so I have a backup on the cloud.

  5. Online, when I get back home: Selectively synch specific folders to various main office desktop computers for different work tasks.

Problems:

  1. Apple's iPhoto is unusable because it does not have a hierarchical filing system, and iCloud does not have selective synch.

  2. Dropbox is unusable because you cannot organize photos into folders if you are offline, which is when I need to do the organization. It is also poor for comparing photos side by side, and cumbersome for copying photos from one folder to another (need the side by side windows functionality in the OS/X app called PathFinder in order to do this easily).

  3. Dropbox plus Readdle is a workaround, but extremely cumbersome and unreliable when you are synching a folder with subfolders.

Question:  

It seems to me that anyone who is doing any serious data management with Dropbox, and using tablet devices must be having the same frustrations. Is Dropbox working on fixing this issue?

Timothy B.10
Explorer | Level 4

I am also looking for a solution.  My problem is that I have a long list of folders that contain various files, when I no longer need them remotely I want to clear them from the list so I don't have to page through them to find what I want.  I need to keep them available to the office machines, so don't want to move them to some other folder.  Selective sync allows me to accomplish this on my laptops, but I can't do it on my ipad.

Laureline
Community Manager

Hi Barry and Timothy!

I just want to clarify a couple of details about the Selective Sync feature.

The Selective sync feature has been developed only for computers, because Dropbox files are stored locally on computers. It allows you to keep your files on Dropbox without having to save them locally on your device.

There was no reason to develop selective sync on a tablet or a smartphone, because the files are not stored locally on these devices by default. If you didn't want to have your file stored locally on the mobile app, you could just need to un-favorite the file.

In a nutshell, it works the other way round on computer and on mobile devices.

Now, Barry, I totally understand your frustration considering the way you need to use of Dropbox, even though it's a use case that is different from a Selective sync issue, but more a way of better organising favorites and to download / unfavorite them locally in bulk.

As a consequence, I've passed your request along to our mobile team to be able to organise the favorites by folder to access them online, that you could bulk download when you need them, as well as better data management.

Your detailed description of how you use Dropbox is extremely helpful, so a big thank you 🙂

Timothy, your feature request is also slightly different, as Selective sync is only for a specific device and doesn't allow you to change the files stored locally remotely. You have to change the selective settings on the device you want them to be applicable, and not from another device.

I guess you would also like to be able to organise offline favorites by folder, but you also want to be able to change the favorite settings remotely, and by folder (instead of 'by file'). I also forwarded this feature request to our iOS team.

Thank you both for your feedbacks, this is super useful forus to know how our users are using our products, and how we can improve them!

Mikhail S.3
New member | Level 1

Dropbox really needs a selective sync option on iOS. Its a shame that we have to resort to other cloud storage services just to control that feature in our business, when we already pay for Pro.

Laureline
Community Manager

Hey Mikhail!

Could you give me more infos about how you'd like to use the Dropbox app on iOS?

Thanks 🙂

Mikhail S.3
New member | Level 1

Hi, thanks for the quick response.

We use Dropbox in a small sales lot for photos/projects/studies/etc. Biggest issue is that we have many devices and having all data/pictures/documents sync to the mobile device makes things complicated for others to search through. Any sensitive data is stored as encrypted archives and that's not what we're attempting to do. Right now, Dropbox is the easiest, most intuitive to use cloud-based collaboration package for us, we don't need the complexity of OneDrive/Office (though we use that for some things) or other services, The simplicity and ease-of-use and sharing is what keeps us on Dropbox. But, having all the data sync across all devices clutters each user's mobile device when it shouldn't have to, it makes finding things and getting things done very frustrating. On PC/Mac, selective sync allows us to decide what folders each user can see when using Dropbox. 

Using "Favorite" would not work for us as we need data uploaded to the devices and ready for viewing as soon as it's added.

Selective sync is not a replacement for proper privacy or security, Dropbox for business does that (I beleive), but we're just asking for a tool to organize our Dropbox. 

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    Tim S.17 New member | Level 1
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