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Make offline files visible in the android filesystem

Make offline files visible in the android filesystem

andersmusikka
Explorer | Level 4

I think you should make files stored offline on Android available in the file system.

 

As it is now, the dropbox files marked as 'available offline' are hidden from the rest of the operating system. This gives a number of problems:

 

1: When opening a file in an app, that app may put the file path in its 'most recently used documents'-list. However, since the path it gets from the Dropbox-app is not long-lived, the 'most recently used documents'-list becomes unusable, since the links on it become dead rather quickly.

2: It makes using browsing apps, like photo viewers or podcast players, on your offline files impossible.

3: Some apps expect content to be found on the file system. For example, the samsung app used to download content onto a samsung smart watch, expects to find files in the file system. It cannot be used to download files from dropbox onto the smart watch.

4: Sometimes a smart phone is used a bit like a computer. Like uploading files to an FTP-server and the like. A FTP-client typically expects to find files on the file system, and allows them to be selected and uploaded. This does not work with Dropbox.

 

A possible  work-around is to export the contents from the dropbox offline folder onto the phones regular file system. This is unsatisfactory because:

 

1) It feels cumbersome. The number of clicks to send a podcast episode to a smart watch, or to download a .pdf from dropbox and upload to an FTP-server, becomes a few too many.

2) For files which can be edited (like password manager saves, various profiles, text documents etc), the user needs to remember to copy the file back to Dropbox, which is very error prone.

 

Dropbox obviously already has technology to synk a file system folder with dropbox. Could not this functionality be offered on smart phones also?

 

 

26 Comments
Lusil
Dropboxer
This idea is going to need a bit more support before we share your suggestion with our team. 
 
We’ve updated the status to encourage more users to back you up!
Status changed to: Needs more votes
Flying SharkLizard
New member | Level 2

I've been using Dropbox since it showed up in a xkcd comic (maybe a decade ago? I'm not proud) and I've pretty much settled for using it as a ebook library and glorified accordion file for things I might need on the go. As of two days ago I can't access the files I have "saved offline" anymore with my ereader, which means the app has lost a good 80% of its functionality for me. I suppose I could "export" each book individually but I'd have to recreate my file system by hand, at which point I'd be better off just keeping my library on a USB stick like some kind of sad 70 year old who doesn't know how the gigabites work. 

otakuarchivist
New member | Level 2

I've been using Dropbox for a very long time on mobile. I rely on being able to access offline files manually outside of the app, which is something that has always been an option until recently. This renders Dropbox considerably less useful to me. I'm considering dropping it for another platform if this doesn't get fixed.

crckrmn77
Explorer | Level 3

@Lusil - Is that a joke? This WAS how Dropbox for Android functioned for the last couple years. It was very useful for accessing my password manager, keeping it up-to-date across devices, and for using podcasts and audiobooks in 3rd-party playlists. The irony is that I am only having this problem on a replacement phone, same model, and identical version of Dropbox. One puts offline files in the scratch folder and they stay there. The new phone will not do that. And, I have tried to ensure settings are identical across devices. If you look at the community posts/comments you'll see that Dropbox pissed off a lot of users by hiding their offline files from them. 

 

This is NOT something you need to develop, just put it back!

MaxRavenclaw
Explorer | Level 4

@crckrmn77 Exactly! Just when I decided to stop using Syncthing and instead sync my music with dropbox they removed this functionality, and now it's suddenly in need "a bit more support". It's preposterous. If they hadn't billed me for this year already I'd have left.

 

Previously the issue was that dropbox wouldn't download on sd cards, and my interal memory was insufficient. I got a better phone, but I guess it doesn't matter anymore.

 

It appears Google Drive doesn't allow this functionality either, but onedrive might have it locked behind a premium subscription. I might get a free month with them to see if they provide what I'm looking for, but for now I'm stuck with dropbox for another 10 months. Fingers crossed this feature gets re-added before the end of that preiod, because I really love dropbox, it saved my data in the past, but if I'm going to pay 100+ euros for a cloud service, I'd like to be able to use it to sync my mp3s.

 

EDIT: Then agian, I remember a time where you had to select files individually for offline avaiablility. Thank God that's no longer an issue.

Neffets
Explorer | Level 3

For me too, this feature was the most useful aspect of the Dropbox app on my phone: keeping files in sync that I open and edit with other apps.

What is the reasoning/ the advantages for the changed behaviour?

Dunni
New member | Level 2

This was one of the main reasons I use dropbox on my phone. I use dropbox offline files to sync my ebook collection to my phone;I get a book, I copy to the dropbox folder folder any of my other devices, and it 'magically' appears in my local ereader. 

 

This behaviour worked particularly well for some ebooks I read that are still in development - the author updates their shared folder and my version of the book is updated with the latest chapters. 

 

I've been a paying dropbox customer for several years, but if it's no longer convenient for my use case I'll need to consider other options. 

MaxRavenclaw
Explorer | Level 4

As I noted above, Google Drive does not have this functionality either, but Onedrive seems to have it, though I haven't tested it. I have, however, tested it on the MEGA app. Unfortunately, it doesn't offer it by default. In fact, it's just like dropbox in that departament, but there is a MEGA sync app out there that can do the job for it.

 

I have found an app called "Autosync for Dropbox - Dropsync" but I haven't tested it yet.

 

 

EDIT: If Dropsync works like the MEGA sync app, then basically it boils down to what's cheaper, and so far it appears MEGA is a bit cheaper than dropbox. Might transition there, since it's also used to share files on the net more than dropbox is, and I could make use of those extra download limits.

 

EDIT2: Turns out Dropsync is almost identical to MEGA sync. Probaly made by the same chaps. Great to see. I'll use it until my dropbox subscribtion expires, then I'll decide if I stick to dropbox or go to MEGA. Maybe until then Dropbox will get their stuff together and I won't have to use a third party app to get the functionality dropbox previously offered.

MaxRavenclaw
Explorer | Level 4

I can finally confirm that "Autosync for Dropbox - Dropsync" does exactly what we're looking for. Everyone here might find it useful. It's free, but you can pay to remove ads and get some extra features.

Ben Anderson
New member | Level 2

I need to be able to access Dropbox files stored on Android from other apps. This is exactly how it works on Windows. Without this functionality in Windows no one would use Dropbox. Why are you now hiding my files on Android?

 

I am a paid Dropbox user for many years. I have a Music folder which I have been accessing through Poweramp on Android. Recently I can no longer find my offline Music folder. This is a step backwards in development. Instead of moving Dropbox Android toward the Windows version, you are moving away.

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