cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Announcements
Update: Find information on Dropbox support during COVID-19 here
Close
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Can I backup Dropbox folder to external disk with Time Machine?

Anna R.5
Helpful | Level 5

I've read lots of posts about various Time Machine topics but I'm unable to find a definite answer to my questions:

1) Can I backup Dropbox folder (including subfolders and files) to external disk with Time Machine?
2) If it's possible - how should I go about this exactly (not using smart sync etc)?

As Dropbox is a sync service and not a backup service it's important for me to know how to go about the backing up of all folders and files I currently have in Dropbox. At the moment I have the entire Dropbox folder excluded from Time Machine backups since I'm unsure about how/if it would work to include it.

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions

Re: Can I backup Dropbox folder to external disk with Time Machine?

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Hi @Anna R.5, thanks for posting today!

I wouldn’t recommend backing up the Dropbox folder to Time Machine for various reasons.

First of all, Time Machine creates multiple backups, and restoring your Dropbox folder from one of these backups might not have the same permissions as the original folder, and could create conflicted copies, thus duplicating your data.

Secondly, if you are using Smart Sync, you won’t gain any benefit, since it only saves the placeholder files and not the actual files themselves. Restoring from a backup might overwrite the real files from the site.

Lastly, this would cause a massive resyncing of files when restored, and even when making backups to Time Machine, it could be detected as a change to a file, affecting the version history of the real file.

If you are planning to make a backup of your Dropbox folder, I’d recommend doing it manually to another drive, and not through an automatic system which constantly monitors the Dropbox folder.

I hope this helps to clarify matters!


Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so please give it a Like below. 
 Did this post fix your issue/answer your question? If so please press the 'Accept as Solution' button to help others find it.
 Still stuck? Ask me a question! (
Questions asked in the community will likely receive an answer within 4 hours!)

View solution in original post

3 Replies 3

Re: Can I backup Dropbox folder to external disk with Time Machine?

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Hi @Anna R.5, thanks for posting today!

I wouldn’t recommend backing up the Dropbox folder to Time Machine for various reasons.

First of all, Time Machine creates multiple backups, and restoring your Dropbox folder from one of these backups might not have the same permissions as the original folder, and could create conflicted copies, thus duplicating your data.

Secondly, if you are using Smart Sync, you won’t gain any benefit, since it only saves the placeholder files and not the actual files themselves. Restoring from a backup might overwrite the real files from the site.

Lastly, this would cause a massive resyncing of files when restored, and even when making backups to Time Machine, it could be detected as a change to a file, affecting the version history of the real file.

If you are planning to make a backup of your Dropbox folder, I’d recommend doing it manually to another drive, and not through an automatic system which constantly monitors the Dropbox folder.

I hope this helps to clarify matters!


Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so please give it a Like below. 
 Did this post fix your issue/answer your question? If so please press the 'Accept as Solution' button to help others find it.
 Still stuck? Ask me a question! (
Questions asked in the community will likely receive an answer within 4 hours!)

View solution in original post

Re: Can I backup Dropbox folder to external disk with Time Machine?

Anna R.5
Helpful | Level 5

Thank you @Jay .

Now I know I should not include my Dropbox folder in Time Machine backup. If it had been a possible solution I would have turned off Smart Sync of course, but I gather from your answer that it would not be a recommended solution even with Smart Sync turned off.

I understand that you recommend manual backup for files in Dropbox folder. However, this is not a viable solution (for most I think). Do you know how other people solve this? What is the recommended solution from Dropbox, please (except for manual backup)?

Re: Can I backup Dropbox folder to external disk with Time Machine?

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Each user has their own preference, some have scripts setup to simply copy the Dropbox folder to an external drive, others upload via FTP to off-site storage, it can vary.

While I can’t provide any recommendations on how to do this, I’m sure some other users on the Community will have something to share from their end!


Jay
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so please give it a Like below. 
 Did this post fix your issue/answer your question? If so please press the 'Accept as Solution' button to help others find it.
 Still stuck? Ask me a question! (
Questions asked in the community will likely receive an answer within 4 hours!)

Work Smarter with Dropbox

The way we work is changing. Share and discover new ways to work smarter with Dropbox in our community.

Sound good? Let's get started.
Who's talking

Top contributors to this post

What do Dropbox user levels mean?
Need more support?