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Re: Disaster: Dropbox removing external disk support for Mac users :(

Disaster: Dropbox removing external disk support for Mac users :(

Jon C.10
Collaborator | Level 8
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In case anyone's unaware... if you're a Mac user storing your Dropbox on an external drive, you'll shortly lose that ability.


Just confirmed this with DB support (see below).  Gutted - been with Dropbox for years and our entire video team flow is based around it 😕

>Hi there, I read today that you are scrapping the ability to store the Dropbox folder on external disks, on OSX. I'd like to ask more about this please.

> Hello Jon, and thank you for contacting Dropbox Support. My name is Joseph, and I will be more than happy to look into your request, right away.  

That is correct Jon, as part of the Dropbox for macOS update, the Dropbox folder must be located in ~/Library/CloudStorage.

>This is a showstopper for us, and will mean we have to move to another service. We have a large distributed team using DB for video work, no way it'll fit within internal drives.
Is there a workaround?


> I totally understand and I apologize for the inconvenience. Unfortunately, there is no workaround on this as changing the location of your Dropbox folder is no longer supported by macOS.

>This change doesn't seem to have hit us yet - we're running a variety of machines inc Ventura
What will trigger its enforcement? Can we stay on an earlier OS or Dropbox version?

>The updates happening automatically every time the Dropbox app is restarting, for example if your device never restarts it should maintain the older version but we can't guarantee full functionality on older versions of the application.

>So what will happen - if we have a Dropbox folder on an 8TB drive and a tiny internal drive - will it try to clone stuff across and eat up the space? What's the mechanism?

>That's right, it will try to move the content on your internal drive until it has no space and gives you an error.

>Is Smartsync still supported? I.e. will it move stuff to being online only if it won't fit?

>It is, however it is now known as online-only.

678 Replies 678

Collaborator | Level 10
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@Ru 1971 I have no wish to argue, and there’s no need to take offense. I was just trying to help you out. In particular, I was trying to make sense of your statement:


“I've been testing on a couple of my machines, & it works pretty well. The only issue I have is that it interferes with the 'green/blue syncing checkbox' for my dropbox folder. I.e When is running, I can't see the online/offline/sync status of my dropbox files in the finder.”


I took your remark to mean that you were seeking to run that Dropbox folder inside of Sync. If you were not doing this, there’s no way that one could interfere with the other. However, when you use the finder, you do need to choose which service you’re using it for.


Here’s why. As I understand it, each service operates partially as an extension of the Finder.  You can either use one extension or the other, but the Finder doesn’t permit you to use both at the same time. That’s to avoid the infinite recursion error.


Does this answer your question?

Collaborator | Level 10
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@Ru 1971 Do you seriously think anyone cares?

Jennifer G.29
Helpful | Level 6
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I recall several posts in this very long thread that say that while Dropbox is considering solutions to this problem, they're waiting to roll this out to external-drive users. If I'm remembering that correctly, it's not exactly true. It's the only way to explain why one of my three machines--the only one that doesn't rely on an external drive--tried the local download last night to its 512GB drive. 


So, it appears that Dropbox is rolling this out by app, rather than by account. That machine is fairly useless to me now if it doesn't sync, so I'm going to uninstall Dropbox from it and use it as the test for today. Way to lose a 13-year customer, Dropbox.

Collaborator | Level 9
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@Jennifer G.29 


I'd like to say that it's sad to see this happening. But it's not. It's what happens when you treat clients the way they have treated us. 


Of course, it's too bad you have to go through this. And I think you are not by any means alone. I think a great number are heading out and are not coming back. 


It really pained us as well. We had been with the many years just like you. We had the entire workflows set up that had to be carefully figure it out again. Fortunately, was and is up to the task. I think they must be benefiting something fierce. 


I'd like to personally voice my disgust to dropbox. You failed me on numerous points. I have gone into them at length previously and won't do it here at this point for a bit again. But I intend to keep on putting pressure and letting everybody know that there are other options that will treat them the way customer should be treated. 

Collaborator | Level 8
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DropBox Users: You just destroyed our years long workflow. Literally everyone knows that internal drives don't have the capacity needed for a huge number of DropBox users. We'll lose business and suffer significant costs because of this.


DropBox: Welp, can we interest you in AI while we fire a ton of our workforce?


"Dropbox on Thursday announced plans to cut 500 employees, or about 16% of its workforce, according to a blog post on the company’s website.

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston wrote in the blog post that the company has been reckoning with slowing growth, in part due to a maturation of its business, but also as a result of economic headwinds that are pressuring its customers.

Houston said that the company is also facing an urgency to focus more on artificial intelligence-powered products, and doing so will require hiring workers with different skill sets."

Collaborator | Level 10
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@ppadmin Oh Drew. You just don’t get it, do you? The last thing I won’t from Dropbox is AI features. The first thing I want is SUPPORT FOR EXTERNAL DRIVES.

Collaborator | Level 10
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Just got an email from dropbox.. 

All your stuff when and where you want it.. well unless you want it on an external drive.  

Screenshot 2023-04-28 at 10.32.56 AM.png

Experienced | Level 12
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@psalcal that's brilliant. Made my weekend. 🤣


@ppadmin they just can't help themselves. They cannot fix one thing properly and they yet go on about something else they must do now. How about fixing this rather large problem first? No wonder they're in trouble.


"Dropbox CEO Drew Houston wrote in the blog post that the company has been reckoning with slowing growth, in part due to a maturation of its business, but also as a result of economic headwinds that are pressuring its customers." No mate, not that at all. Everyone is just now better than you. They've turned themselves into a Microsoft type of company, bloatware. So sad.


Doesn't matter to me anymore. I've moved about 2TB over to Sync already and am starting the copying of all our video files next week. Doing it a really long way round but should save me personally a load of time.

New member | Level 2
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Just one question for DB:

How come MS circumvented this problem with 1Drive? - Been there, done that, tried it, works.

By default, it also resides in ~/Library/CloudStorage, just as DB, but you can set it to store all your data (yes 5TB as well) on an external HDD/SSD.

From a technical perspective, the core storage is on the ext. drive and data is "channeled" through the local cloudstorage folder.

And it just works.

Now, I am pretty sure that Apple does not provide a different API to MS, so DB should work this way as well - if you wanted to. And that is the key point.

Yes, I know (from my own experience) that DB is far better than 1Drive. It is faster and more reliable. That is why I still pay for it every year.

Just one request: treat us, subscribers with respect, and don't lie to us. It would be a lot more fair to say that it would take a lot of time and effort and we simply don't feel like spending money on it. Plus it feels good for us (DB) to finally put the blame on Apple. And for the record, it was an ugly move from Apple as well.

So all you (DB) are doing here is ruining your own reputation and many of us will immediately switch to another provider who treats us with more respect and provides a fair service. Till then, we are stuck with you. 

brian q.
Helpful | Level 6
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Yes, having external HDD support for Dropbox/mac is a must in our use case.


All (and I mean all), our users  are video editors who often are working from laptops which obviously don't have space to support their work.   Not having external HDD support on mac's kills dropbox entirely for us, with no workaround!

Need more support?