A web search revealed that this issue has come up now and then for many years, but I couldn't find anything recent, so I opted to start a new thread.
My iMac was running slowly this morning. Activity Monitor indicated Dropbox was syncing - some 11,000+ files. I thought perhaps it was just re-indexing for some reason and didn't think much more about it until I went looking for some files in my sync folder (on an external drive) and couldn't find them. That's when I noticed entire folders missing as well.
I logged in online and the files and folders were missing there as well.
I used the "Restore Deleted Files" feature and got everything back. According to the "Events" log, I deleted these folders and files myself earlier this morning. I am 1000% sure I absolutely did not do so.
I have been using Dropbox for years as a "belt and suspenders" approach so that my content is safe in the cloud (or so I thought) and locally accessible across multiple devices, but now I realize that with Smart Sync enabled, it is NOT a backup plan at all. It is a syncing service, period.
I have no idea how this happened but I am in the process of figuring out how to truly back up my data to the cloud.
Is your Dropbox on an external drive by any chance?
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My sync'ed Dropbox drive is indeed an external Thunderbolt drive connected to my iMac.
When I saw the event for the deleted files, it simply said that "you deleted these files", though depending upon the actual time that happened, I was either eating my muffin or asleep 🙂 I was not at my Mac at the time, nor was I using Dropbox on any other connected device. The Mac was powered up but asleep with no one logged on in any case, and no one else has access to my Dropbox account. Unfortunately, I'm not sure which device initiated the deletion.
One thing I stumbled upon when scouring the various threads here was an apparent known issue with Samsung Galaxy phones. I recently switched from an iPhone to a Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G and installed the Dropbox app on that device; that was about 3 weeks ago. Though I've never actively used the Dropbox app on that device, I did have it configured so that my photos in the Gallery app automatically upload to Dropbox for backup. I've since deleted the Dropbox app in an abundance of caution there as I really don't need it on the phone.
I'm afraid I don't have any screenshots to share.
Right now, I'm grateful for the ability to restore deleted files and enduring what is estimated to be a 2-day re-sync process to get everything back to the external drive.
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