Hi! So my brother recently got this new Galaxy S21 because his old phone died, and I helped him restore all the settings, apps, content, etc. Yesterday he comes toward me and asking why he is seeing double. I laughed and asked what do you mean you see double? Then he showed me his home screen and sure enough there were not one but two Dropbox app icons.
One icon with a white box on a solid light blue background (let's call it Light), and one pale blue box on a dark blue circle on top of a white background (let's call it Dark).
Light is titled "Dropbox". Dark is titled "Dropbox".
Light is version 255.2.2. Dark is version 255.2.2. I checked with the app manager (app info).
Light has the option to "Uninstall" from the home screen. Dark lacks the option to uninstall from the home screen.
What is this?... why is this?... where is this?... what... I don't know what to say, this is beyond madness and it's driving me nuts. How does one end up in this situation? How is this even possible? Two apps, same version, on the same phone? Whichever icon I tap on seems to open the same **bleep** thing. Yet apparently there are two entities living inside the phone. This brings on the hard questions like does Dropbox exist? And is the Earth flat? I don't know what to believe in anymore. These new "smart" phones make people look and feel stupid. Even Einstein would come across as an imbecile next to a "smart" phone (assuming he doesn't know what buttons to press).
He is into Dropbox too deep, and I don't want to make him re-learn OneDrive or Google Drive. Not that those services are much better when it comes to creating massive confusion like this and wanting to tap into everything on our phones and automate stuff to make our lives supposedly "easier". Dropbox can automatically backup photos, but it can't and doesn't backup videos. Not by default, and not after you enable video upload. It fails to upload videos for some reason (that's another issue I'm working on for my brother).
I personally don't use Dropbox more than I have to. That usually comes down to occasional file sharing. I definitely don't backup all my devices to it, and I stopped using it for syncing since the free plan got limited to three devices only. But since my brother likes it so much I was thinking about buying a family plan just because of him. But seeing odd behavior like this makes me wonder if it's worth my mental health. I would not only be the one paying the bills, I would also act as first responder and tech support for the whole family. Give us a better quality product, and less of a Beta release, and I may get the family plan.
Hello @Walter, thanks for reaching out. I don't have access to his phone at the moment. I will post back when I get a chance to have a look at his phone again.
I am also puzzled as to how this has happened or how it's even possible. Is it possible to create some sort of shortcut to the Dropbox app on the home screen, like you would create a shortcut to an app on the desktop for a Windows app? I mean it's like one is a shortcut and the other is the app itself, both shown as icons, with different context menu options depending on which one you press and hold.
I have not tried to completely uninstall and reinstall the app. That would be a good first step, of course. But not without making sure he has access to his phone number or another means of providing a security token, in case he has 2FA activated. He has not transferred his phone number yet to this new device. He is waiting for me to help him with that. (I'm the guy who helps all my family members and friends with tech stuff.)
He only has a free plan with Dropbox, and he uses Dropbox on his computer as well.
I also thought this may have happened because I restored his old apps during device setup. But it seems unlikely that only Dropbox would run into this sort of issue? There were like 60 apps, all of which were downloaded from the Google Play Store as far as I could tell, and none of the other apps present the same symptoms. I was present of course during setup, I did the initial setup. But now that I think about it, he didn't log into the Dropbox app while I was present. The app was installed but he was not signed in. I told him to remember to sign in when I left, because that's how he keeps his photos backed up (to help him avoid future disasters in case his new phone also decides to die on him).
I'm not exactly sure how this works when it comes to restoring Android apps, but I think there is like a list of currently installed apps across all your Android devices that Google keeps track of if you are signed in with your Google account (I imagine most Android users are). Then when you get a new device and select to restore your apps to it, Google pulls those apps down and installs them on your new device. It skips the apps that you had installed in the past (I think), but it keeps them for you to review in case you want to install those manually later on (I know it's somewhere in the Play Store).
But since this is a Samsung device, Samsung does pretty much the same thing, in case the previous device was signed into with a Samsung account and Samsung Cloud backup was set up. So I can't be sure who does what in this relationship. But I can picture a scenario where you may run into conflicts and issues where Samsung and Google race each other who will install your apps first. They would be doing duplicate work.
Maybe one of these Dropbox apps is pulled from Google Play Store and the other from Galaxy Store? Who knows with these things? It's like magic, there is no explanation. When it works it works, when it doesn't it doesn't, and no one knows why.
As for the video upload issue, I went into the settings for the Dropbox app and enabled video uploads. Then I took two short video shots. The app did not upload them. So I went into main Android settings to find all the account settings for all the accounts, including Google, Samsung, etc. I wanted to kick off an immediate sync action.
How often does Dropbox sync the files? Why is there no "Sync Now" menu option within the app? I didn't want to sit and wait for it, so I found the Dropbox section within the Android settings and went in, only to find that the sync menu option was grayed out and I could not tap on it to initiate a manual sync like you would expect (why else have that misplaced option in there?). To be sure everything was working correctly in terms of Internet connection, I opened the Google account section and was able to initiate a sync action instantly.
So I had to wait it out. Then after some time Dropbox finally started to upload files. There was a clear indication at the top of the app saying something to the effect of "uploading file 1 of 10". I only took two video shots for the purpose of testing. So the remaining 8 must have been the videos that were taken previously and laying around in the Gallery (onboard memory). So I thought it was all done. But some time passed and upon checking again, while the upload was still in progress, no video files were appearing within the Dropbox interface, not on "Photos" tab and not on the "Files" tab (I checked here because I thought it categorically does not sort it under "Photos"). It was doing something, but there were no results to show for it. Everything is uploaded, but there are no videos to show. Not in Dropbox.
Ironically, the Photos app by Google started to show the video files. They are now in Google, not in Dropbox. He wants them to be in Dropbox. So I don't know... Google stole them from Dropbox? I don't know what else to think. The videos are seen in the Gallery app, so they are not deleted or anything like that, but that's not Dropbox. They need to appear within the Dropbox interface (under "Photos" presumably).
Why do you have the video upload turned off by default? Consider turning this option on by default. If people want to preserve bandwidth, they can do so by turning it off. But I think many more users would rather see that their video memories are preserved in case of a device malfunction (like in my brother's case where his old Galaxy phone just died), at the expense of more bandwidth use.
Dropbox can be a real life saver sometimes. My brother has Dropbox to thank for saving all his photos and videos. He would occasionally unload some files to his local archive disk via his computer, to stay within the storage limits of the free plan. But the Dropbox app itself worked better on his old Galaxy phone than it does on the new one, so I've been told.
So we finally solved this puzzle. I mean we still don't know why there were two different icons on the home screen. But the app works fine now, and from what I heard the video files are now appearing in the Dropbox app for Windows as well.
I first removed both icons from the home screen, then signed him out of the Dropbox app (the light blue one), and then uninstalled the app (light blue one). I then reinstalled the app from Play Store and made him sign in again. That didn't help with video uploads, but at least he had only one Dropbox icon instead of two. From that point on he was no longer seeing double.
I think the issue with videos uploads was that the "Sync" option/button was off (found on the quick access panel). I found this option disabled. I do I did notice previously while looking at the account settings (Accounts section in Android system settings) that for the Dropbox account it said something to the effect of "sync disabled for all items".
This "Sync" option (quick access panel) is a system wide setting that affects all apps that use an account and allow Android system to manage it. Sadly it is clear to me now that Dropbox is not one of those apps that allows itself to be managed by Android but rather prefers to make its own bowl of soup to achieve the same goal. This is me trying to explaining why the "Sync now" option was grayed out as I mentioned previously when viewing Dropbox account settings within the system settings and not being able to manually initiate a sync at will instead of having to sit and wait for Dropbox to do it automatically at whatever time intervals.
You don't get to go into Android system settings, go into Accounts and select Dropbox and decide there what items – Videos, Photos, etc. – to sync using Dropbox. This is in contrast to your Google account, and to Signal account if you happen to be using the Signal app. With Dropbox app, you have to open the app itself and in there flip a switch to decide if you want to upload and sync videos in addition to photos (photos alone don't have their own flip switch, i.e. you can't sync and upload videos alone by disallowing sync and upload of photos).
I really don't know how or why, but it works now. I enabled "Sync" and now Dropbox keeps photos and videos synced and uploads them as soon as new ones are recorded. But it's strange that other apps, like Google Photos for example were still able to sync and upload videos in spite of having the Sync button in off position. Some stones are better left unturned...
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