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2020: "Stop renaming my files! (on auto phone upload)" by @BoxyBeat
Dropbox response was: "interesting indeed". Then they are like; let us learn what you have uncovered that we still don't know. Like, let's go out there and jump through the hoops together to confirm if the files are named based on when the files are created (recording starts) or when they are last modified (recording stops). What difference does it make? Just stop renaming people's files!?
They go on to explain that this is the expected behavior... duh! They never explain why this is, even though the author specifically requested an explanation from Dropbox as to "why" this is.
They said they moved the question to the "Share an idea" section.
They closed the question for further comments so that anyone who feels the same way about this Dropbox misbehavior can start their own discussion about it, like I'm doing right now, and we can all pretend that no one really wants this "feature", because the discussion activity is low and no one is voting.
They even go as far as closing supposedly "shared ideas" for lack of support by other members of the community of users, before it even has a chance to reach the right team at Dropbox, Inc. With so many filters along the way, I would be surprised if any Dropbox features is ever a direct result of user input. Dropbox has its own fixed ideas of how to do things, and that's how it's going to stay. Like it and use it, or don't like it and move on to using something else.
This is the example of a shared idea that has been closed due to lack of support.
2021: "Stop renaming files" by @Pete3000
Allow such ideas to stay open for a good while and see what happens. You will never get enough votes if you keep closing ideas and keep closing discussions. You will always blame it on lack of interest by other users, and users will keep creating new topics for the same old discussions, and keep sharing the same old ideas without it ever being forwarded to the right team at Dropbox, Inc. It's so obvious right now that you are genuinely not interested in what we users have to say or what we think of your apps and services. Not when you keep shutting us off, closing our topics of discussion and keep closing our "shared" ideas before they can gather enough votes and traction, and before they ever reach the right team. You're doing this on purpose. And that's OK. It's your product and your service. I just wanted to call you out and let you know that I can see through your charade and I don't agree with your practices.
So let us have it... why are you changing the names of our files? And more importantly, why are you not allowing us to decide for ourselves if we want your app to change the name of our files or not?
There is a way to set up naming conventions with Dropbox, but it does not apply to the mobile app and camera uploads. It applies only to the web and the desktop app (the option links back to the web for setting it up, there is no interface for it within the desktop app itself).
"How to use naming conventions in Dropbox"
Despite this advanced and elaborate way to exactly specify how to name and organize files in Dropbox (as long as you're not using the mobile app), and despite having several preset naming rules to choose from, having no rule at all is not a selectable rule or option.
I am very disappointed with Dropbox right now. It feels like with each passing year I have less and less reason to use Dropbox. You have already reduced the number of devices allowed to sync from 5 to 3 (if I remember correctly) on the free plan. I wouldn't actually mind getting a premium plan if you did things a little differently and you got rid of the excess bulk you have invented in recent years like Paper, Transfer, Vault, Spaces, and what not, the list keeps growing. Dropbox has moved well beyond what used to be its core business idea, and it's far from working ideally, and I don't want to be paying for the things I don't intend to use.
Thanks for sharing @dwcapture ! I know how you feel about this.
There is only one sensible way to do this. You either keep device-given filenames, or you let users do this properly and willingly, where you allow them to specify if and how they want the renaming to be done, for all the same reasons both you and I, and others, have already mentioned previously. We keep repeating ourselves but Dropbox is not hearing our plea.
This doesn't have to be complicated, and it should not be all that complicated to allow users to control this part of Dropbox.
There are two odd things about this I want to point out.
1. It's already possible to create your own naming rules for Dropbox on the web. The desktop version of it relies on the web version, so they are one and the same in that sense. But it's not possible on the mobile app. I'm using Android but I see it's the same with the iOS app.
2. This careless/forced renaming only applies to the Camera Upload feature of Dropbox for mobile devices. Mind-bending! So if you just select a bunch of photo files and save them manually to Dropbox, they are not renamed! Works even if you save them to the special "Camera Upload" folder. It's only when the app does it automatically as you take photos that it renames them! Weird, huh? I mean what were they thinking?... you're either all-in, or all-out. You don't leave one foot in, half-baked implementation, and then let it hang like that for years.
I am also a photo enthusiast and I have some 57000 photos from the past 10 years on my computer. If I had some dumb app rename all my files without asking me for permission – because some tech giant knows best what I need – I think it's only fair to compare that to a virus attack! But when it's sneaked in as a "smart feature" and you yourself have installed it, or if it's part of your new operating system, then you can't really hold anyone accountable.
I don't want to imagine what I would do if something like this happened to my photo collection. For me, it's not a matter of taste or preference, and this is what Dropbox doesn't seem to understand. It's a matter of function. For example, my Adobe Lightroom database depends on these file names. In the past, I have had to locate and reconnect old files to the database, and it was no fun. Weeding out duplicate files is another solid reason why you might want to stick to one naming convention, preferably the one that came long before Dropbox was around.
In my opinion, no app should ever rename or otherwise alter user files and user data without prompting the user to do so. But we're living in a time where data processing and user interactions are increasingly more and more automated. Users serve merely to pay the bills for various subscription plans, everything else is taken care of by the brains behind the various companies. (Unless those brains are replaced by artificial intelligence, then it's an automated company.) Other times still, their subscriptions or "free" services are paid for by their data.
Thanks for the tip! I will check it out. For this type of thing I normally use one called Bulk Rename Utility (BRU). BRU is a bit complicated to use, so I'm hoping Rename Master is easier.
I will need this sort of utility very soon as I have convinced my brother to stop using Dropbox and switch over to OneDrive and he has a lot of old files from Dropbox that need to be renamed.
I have added him to my OneDrive subscription, so he will have a premium service, free of charge, that's just as good as Dropbox. But the thing is, Dropbox saved him once when his old Galaxy phone just died one day, all of a sudden, for no apparent reason. It still had some battery charge in it when he left it to charge up, and minutes later when he came back to check the status, the phone was no longer responding. It was completely dead. Thankfully he had Camera Upload enabled in Dropbox, so all the photos and videos were safe in the cloud. Samsung took care of the rest with its own cloud, for things like contacts, messages, etc. So when he ordered the latest Galaxy phone he could simply restore all the data. He is therefore very grateful to Dropbox and reluctant to "drop" (let go of) the Dropbox.
This story just shows what an immense value that Camera Upload feature can have! The only issue is, it has now become my job to consolidate all his different "Dropbox, Dropbox (2), Dropbox (3), ..." folders into one, and then merge everything with his old photo collection that's named differently. We're talking about some 2000 files in his Dropbox folders. He was constantly running out of space on Dropbox, so he kept moving those files out to the desktop on the computer, to make room for new photos. Now he has several of those. He's not very technical and so he still doesn't fully understand how this cloud thing works. I was going to buy a Dropbox premium subscription for him, to make it easy on him, giving him a lot more room to play around with. But it's difficult to buy something in someone else's name. And since I have decided to transition to OneDrive, it made more sense that I help him do the same.
So again, thanks for sharing your view and thanks for the tip about Rename Master! I am still hopeful that Dropbox will do the right thing and either allow users to disable this in the settings or expand on this idea (fully implement it) and allow users to make their own naming rules.
Be well and be safe!
Seriously, we have to download another app to get our files named the way we want?
Why, Dropbox, does everything have to be so corporate? Corporate, in the sense that Dropbox functions don't make sense, so they need to be explained by tech employees. Often to perfectly intelligent and sometimes very geeky customers --- let's raise our hands! 🙂
I can't believe they still have not fixed this. Unbelievable! That proves me right! They don't want to. They don't have to. So they don't. As simple as that. Good thing I no longer use Dropbox. But I keep getting notifications by e-mail from people that like and comment on this topic. So the problem is still there, and it's still relevant. But Dropbox doesn't care. According to a recent newsletter from February, they are rolling out new toys like "Dropbox Sign" and "DocSend". (I have an idea of what that is, but will likely never need it, and there are likely millions of users who will never use that.) They spread themselves thin by focusing their attention on building these complex new toys that no one asked for, instead of getting the simple things done right. Interesting company... this "Dropbox".
You may look at this new development like "Dropbox Sign" and think the company is growing up, it's finally crawling out of its blue box and thinking outside the box. But I look at this and think it's a company that no longer knows who they are. The whole product offering feels much more bloated and confusing. What started out as a USB flash drive on the web, is now everything but that. For God's sake, they can't even get the file names right! Right? If I copy my files from a mobile phone to a USB flash drive, using a USB OTG cable, I know my file names will not change. But you can't get that with Dropbox. They just have to change up your file names, for your uncalled "convenience". They have all sort of "smartness" built into the app now.
This is exactly the issue I'm facing with cameras uploads from mobile. (The file name changes upon upload to Dropbox, so I can't easily make sure the files on my phone have actually been backed up.) This was previously not an issue but now I have a few years of built up files that I don't feel fully confident in deleting because I'm not sure if all of them got backed up or not without manually comparing file sizes.
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