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Improve Camera Uploads

New member | Level 2
New member | Level 2

I've been using dropbox to backup my mobile photos for several years now. As long as you don't color outside the lines, it's a great feature. However, I've found it to be buggy around the edges and lacking in some basic controls that could alleviate the pain. I've been able to break uploads and cause quite a few problems, and I'm hoping that by providing focused feedback may help the developers understand and correct these issues. Here's a list of some generalized problems and ways I think they can easily be improved. Likely more exist out there, so please add your own experiences and lets put some pressure on the Dropbox crew to get some elbow grease devoted to making this better!


1. Dropbox app must be *running*! If you're like me and often swipe to kill running apps, just coming into range of a known WiFi point sometimes doesn't start or resume uploads. I have to be mindful of manually opening the Dropbox app at home to make sure everything goes through. Understandably this is somewhat a phone OS issue, but would be nice if it was consistent one way or another.


2. When camera uploads fail, it's nearly invisible. Usually i'm looking for a specific picture synced to my laptop, and only after pulling out hair do I go dig into the app to find the carefully buried "Camera Uploads: Couldn't Upload Photo" message. Please don't leave this up to manual auditing - computers are much better at this. Just make problems visible so I can solve them.


3. Speaking of resolving upload failures, there's actually no good way to manually intervene. After you dig into several menus and find that list of failed uploads, your choices are a) don't upload or b) delete. Why not a retry option? Or something else to help me get the pictures where I expect them to be? I'm left sifting through lists of tiny thumnails trying to get the exact photo to manually upload. This is ripe for human error and frankly, **bleep** infuriating.


4. Bandwidth bandwidth bandwidth! Please add a pause sync feature, like the desktop apps, or another similarly helpful tool so I can moderate my internet usage. When traveling, usually the exact time I transform into a photographer taking hundreds of photos, that massive data dump just clobbers the tiny intermittent pipe provided by hotel and coffee shop WiFi. This typically coincides with a quick pit-stop to pull up a map or webpage which is nearly impossible for a good hour or so with Dropbox uploads enabled. I know internet at DB-HQ is an infinite pipe, but please write code like you're on a dial-up connection. Because that's the world a lot of us still encounter often.


Addendum: Dropbox support gave me a clugey fix for this; disable uploads when not charging. A little inconvenient, digging into several layers of menus a few times a day to toggle, but still within reason so I gave it a shot. Unfortunately, toggling this setting on the fly leads to quite a few more upload failures. See #3, now I'm left running nightly photo audits during my precious vacation time to ensure my pics were backed up.


5. Don't auto-upload screenshots, downloads etc. It's called "Camera Uploads", so that's what I expect. For the 1 in 20 screenshots I want to save, it's still quite easy to share -> add to dropbox. Or allow me to choose which picture sources get included? However you slice it, I just spend too much time cleaning up after DB uploads.


Overall photo uploads and album sharing on Dropbox has been great in recent years. Hoping constructive feedback can make it even better. Keep up the good work DB devs!

1 Comment
Collaborator | Level 8

I agree with point 1 above. It was not like this before. For me, the ability to have Dropbox backup my photos while I am on WiFI or mobile without any intervention is crucial. I love taking photos and have thousands of them. I do not want to go into the Dropbox app on my phone to make sure it is being backed up. Having used Dropbox for many years, it was not like this before. 

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