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Why did the Dropbox desktop application update automatically?

New member | Level 2

I was runing the desktop application on OS X 10.8.5, the latest rev of the OS my computer will run.  Yea my MacBook it is that old, early 08.

It stopped working and now will not run on my OS because of the dropping of suport for 10.8.

I get that my OS is to old and so will not sync Dropbox any more,

BUT ...

Why did the desktop app update automatically?
I never updated it.

I expected I would still have the old version running on my computer and it would fail to sync.

It distresses me to no end that an application downloaded and installed a new version without my permission.

For a program to be able to do this seems to me to be a large security risk.

Why?  How?

 

p.s  There is no other dropbox app file on my computer, nowhere, not the trash or anything.

So it seems like the application overwrote itself or did some kind of in place update - BAD.

8 Replies

Re: Desktop app update issue

Super User II
The best thing is to read https://www.dropbox.com/help/desktop-web/automatic-updates

 


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Re: Desktop app update issue

Super User II

The Dropbox client has always automatically updated itself. It periodically checks for updates and Dropbox would also push updates out when needed (like to fix a specific problem with the client). That's not to say that it would automatically update to every new release. Typically, updates would be applied to fix specific problems or to provide new or different functionality. If nothing was wrong on a particular install base, and a new version didn't provide any new functionality, then an updated version may not be applied to everyone. Either way, we have never had control over this process as it has always been automatic with no option for disabling.

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Re: Desktop app update issue

New member | Level 2
That is very naughty!

The referenced post says "Like many programs and applications, Dropbox may automatically update".

But that is not true. It is NOT like many programs.
I have NEVER had a program automatically update before on my computer without telling me and providing a setting to turn auto update on and off.
I have never had an app or the OS on my phone auto update before all by itself.
Even to update the carrier settings on the phone it asks me.

Dropbox is taking some very unacceptable steps in its program without telling anyone upfront. This is not acceptable. This is a big security risk.
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Re: Desktop app update issue

Super User II
It, sadly is, on new OS's Bob.

I know a good majority now of my applications will auto update - Office and Windows being prime examples.

 


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Re: Desktop app update issue

New member | Level 2
** At least never as far as I know.
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Re: Desktop app update issue

New member | Level 2

Many of my programs, browser extensions, etc. will auto update too; there are settings for me to allow it or not depending on how I trust the application, programmer, and company.  I am glad then that I don't use Office and Windows products.

 

I can't decide if it is an issue with Dropbox or the Apple OS's.  I think both.  Dropbox should have been upfront with what it was doing.  And I am going to report it to Apple and others as a security risk.  If Dropbox can push content to my computer without my permission, or even knowledge, then anyone can.  This has to be a potential hole in OSes for black hat hackers.

 

Flame Off - thanks guys

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Re: Desktop app update issue

Super User II

@Bob-A wrote:
Dropbox is taking some very unacceptable steps in its program without telling anyone upfront. This is not acceptable. This is a big security risk.

From the Terms that you agree to before using the software...

a36d8f99461dc448a489f41010b962eb.png

And this really is the new normal, especially for service clients; applications that connect to third-party services. I have several such applications that will update on their own without asking, and as Mark mentioned, even operating systems are getting in on it. Windows 10 controls the update process now. If you're on Pro or Enterprise there are ways to control it, but Home users have no choice in the matter and will receive updates as Microsoft feels necessary.

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Re: Why did the Dropbox desktop application update automatically?

New member | Level 2

On macOS you can disable automatic Dropbox updates using two methods:

 

Either install LaunchControl by SomaZone, and in User Agents select com.dropbox.DropboxMacUpdater.agent, then choose "Always True" from the submenu "Override Disabled Key" in the menu "Job.

 

Or use the command line:

launchctl unload -w ~/Library/Dropbox/DropboxMacUpdate.app/Contents/MacOS/DropboxMacUpdate

You can always re-enable auto updates, either in LaunchControl by unticking "Disabled" in the menu Jobs and resetting the override, or by executing the above command with "load" instead of "unload".

 

Please note that macOS will permanently add the Dropbox updater agent to the system's override database, which is not a problem, because you can continue re-enabling and disabling at will, but if for some reason you want to remove the job from the database at a later date, and if you're on a modern macOS, you'll need to boot into Recovery Mode, disable System Integrity Protection, and run some weird commands using PlistBuddy.

 

Should you disable automatic updates? Normally I'd say no: leave it as it is. I have disabled auto updates, but only because I'm using a third-party update solution, namely MacUpdater by CoreCode.

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Why did the Dropbox desktop application update automatically?
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