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Unable To Access Dropbox Account After Factory Reset of iPhone

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Unable To Access Dropbox Account After Factory Reset of iPhone

Preface: I have an iPhone and to my recollection have only ever used/accessed Dropbox through the Dropbox app on my iPhone.

 

In early December 2016 I went to a Genius Bar appointment at my local Apple store and described issues I was having with my iPhone (the issues were basically poor battery performance and random data loss).  The Apple employee I met with suggested that what I was describing sounded like I had corrupted data on my iPhone, and that a factory reset would most likely be the only option to resolve the issue.

 

I did not have iCloud space to perform a backup, however I was able to back up the phone to my Macbook Pro, which I did immediately prior to the Genius Bar appointment.

 

Because the Apple employee suggested that I not restore my backup in order to avoid also restoring the corrupted data that was suspected to have been on the device, I began to re-download the apps I had on my iPhone before.  When I tried to access Dropbox, I found that I had been fully logged out of the account (whereas prior to the factory reset, I was always logged in to Dropbox on my iPhone and accessed the app solely with a 4-digit passcode); I was thus locked out of my Dropbox account.

 

I have attempted to sign in to Dropbox with virtually every email address I have ever used, and each attempt made through the "Forgot Password" screen results with a message from Dropbox that there is no account associated with the address entered.

 

 

I only recall using the Dropbox iPhone app; to my knowledge I have never accessed Dropbox via desktop / laptop.  Is it possible that I downloaded the app and was never prompted to create an account using an email address?  Or that the account was associated solely with my iPhone and/or Apple ID?

 

Or alternatively is it possible that I may have mistakenly entered an invalid email address (e.g., due to a typo, or typing a ".com" in place of a ".edu", etc.) and Dropbox created an account for me under this invalid email address - even if there was no way to access the email address because it didn't exist?

 

 

I have raised these questions to the Dropbox support team, however they have essentially focused solely on requesting that I send emails to their support address from every address of my own which I suspect may be associated with my Dropbox account (in order to prove that the address IS in fact my own).  This has only served to confirm that there is no Dropbox account associated with any of my past or present email addresses.

 

Does anybody have insight regarding my situation and/or hypothetical scenarios?  Every picture I've taken with my iPhone dating back to some time during 2012 (which is basically the only way that I take pictures at all) is stored on the Dropbox account which I've lost access to, so I sincerely appreciate any and all help that anyone has to offer.

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Solution
Super User

Re: Unable To Access Dropbox Account After Factory Reset of iPhone

You *have* to join Dropbox with an email address, however, that email address is not verified until you try to do some specific things on the website (namely share a folder).

Without knowing what the email is there is no way to recover the account I'm afraid - even by contacting support you cannot do it without knowing the email.

If you actually have the backup of the iPhone data you could temporarily restore it back to your phone and see if you can get on to the app again with just the PIN code to see what address is linked to your account, but, thats also unlikely.

 


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Solution
Super User

Re: Unable To Access Dropbox Account After Factory Reset of iPhone

That's will not help. There's nothing in a link that will tell you which email address was used for the account. If you're desperate, you could restore your old iPhone backup and the Dropbox app might still be linked to the account.

 

Create a new backup for your phone (without overwriting the existing one) and then factory reset your iPhone. Select the old backup that you suspect has corrupted data in it. Once the restore is complete, see if you can still get into the Dropbox app. If you can, go to Settings and it will show you which email address is associated with the account. When you're done, factory reset again and restore from the new backup you created.

 

If you're able to determine the correct email address, I would suggest first making sure it's acurate and update it if necessary, then I would install Dropbox on a second device (your laptop?) just in case you run into such a problem again. Or at the very least, log in to the Dropbox website and make sure you're able to access your account that way.


7 Replies
Solution
Super User

Re: Unable To Access Dropbox Account After Factory Reset of iPhone

You *have* to join Dropbox with an email address, however, that email address is not verified until you try to do some specific things on the website (namely share a folder).

Without knowing what the email is there is no way to recover the account I'm afraid - even by contacting support you cannot do it without knowing the email.

If you actually have the backup of the iPhone data you could temporarily restore it back to your phone and see if you can get on to the app again with just the PIN code to see what address is linked to your account, but, thats also unlikely.

 


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Level 4

Re: Unable To Access Dropbox Account After Factory Reset of iPhone

Thank you for the quick response Mark.

 

I've never attempted to share a folder in my Dropbox account, so it sounds like I could potentially have created the account with an invalid email address and simply never have realized it.

 

Out of curiosity: if the above is in fact what happened, and while attempting to recover access to the account by resetting the password I somehow typed in the correct invalid email address that I had initially created the Dropbox account with, would I then get a message that an email was sent to the address (despite it being an invalid address and rendering any messages sent to it undeliverable)?  The reason I ask is that I could presumably then use that validation to lock in on the invalid address and switch to attempting to guess what password I may have used when I set up the account.

 

I have indeed tried to restore that backup to my phone to see if I could get on the app again using only the PIN code, but I was still fully logged out of Dropbox when I tried this solution.

Super User

Re: Unable To Access Dropbox Account After Factory Reset of iPhone

If I'm honest I dont think the site says if it is or isnt sending an email address when you try and request a password reset.

I believe it just says that if its valid you will receive an email. This is to stop people trying to force hack accounts to work out which ones are valid and which ones are not.

Also, the big problem is that it could literally be ANY email address - an extra digit, a missed digit, letters the wrong way round, wrong domain, googlemail.com instead of gmail.com etc.

Did you ever do anything with the account to interact with others (other than backup your data)?
Have you tried searching your email inbox/trash etc. for any historic @dropbox.com or @dropboxmail.com emails? That may help.

Without knowing the email address the account is lost I'm afraid :(

 


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Level 4

Re: Unable To Access Dropbox Account After Factory Reset of iPhone

I'm pretty sure I never used the account to interact with others.

 

I have tried searching my email accounts for a welcome message from Dropbox (or any correspondence really) and I can't find one.  Which is odd, because as a general rule of thumb I indefinitely save these kinds of "new account" emails.

 

I've also combed through the app that I use to store important passwords, as well as searched high and low on my laptop for anything related to Dropbox, and no cigar.

 

Do you know off the top of your head if it's possible to retrieve any kind of user app data (and potentially login information) from an iPhone backup?

 

It's looking more and more like my only option is to try combinations of emails to find my Dropbox account.

 

Thank you again for your replies and suggestions Mark.

Super User

Re: Unable To Access Dropbox Account After Factory Reset of iPhone

It isnt possible to get the data from the iPhone, no.

Unfortunately it sounds to me like your account is lost :(

 


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Level 4

Re: Unable To Access Dropbox Account After Factory Reset of iPhone

Hi again Mark,

 

I was able to find an iMessage thread in which I sent a friend a link to a picture in my Dropbox account (as opposed to saving the picture back to my phone's photo library and sending it that way instead).  Might this potentially help me recover the account?  I can't see any useful information that indicates the username associated with the picture owner (me), but is there something I may be overlooking?

Solution
Super User

Re: Unable To Access Dropbox Account After Factory Reset of iPhone

That's will not help. There's nothing in a link that will tell you which email address was used for the account. If you're desperate, you could restore your old iPhone backup and the Dropbox app might still be linked to the account.

 

Create a new backup for your phone (without overwriting the existing one) and then factory reset your iPhone. Select the old backup that you suspect has corrupted data in it. Once the restore is complete, see if you can still get into the Dropbox app. If you can, go to Settings and it will show you which email address is associated with the account. When you're done, factory reset again and restore from the new backup you created.

 

If you're able to determine the correct email address, I would suggest first making sure it's acurate and update it if necessary, then I would install Dropbox on a second device (your laptop?) just in case you run into such a problem again. Or at the very least, log in to the Dropbox website and make sure you're able to access your account that way.