Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to reply to this. I completely get as to why this is how dropbox behaves at present, i.e. that the time machine request triggers the download of the file. However, I wonder whether there is a way to prevent dropbox from doing so if it is a 'read trigger' by time machine? What I really would like to continue doing is to be able to backup my dropbox folder to my time machine automatically as this gave me extra peace of mind that I physically have a copy of my important files. It was good enough for me to have this physical copy only of the files that are physically on my hard disk, i.e. I used selective sync. Having smart sync is however a great new feature for me as I have a ton of files on my dropbox that I do not need regularly but which I really love being able to find via spotlight etc. So it looks like I'm between a rock and a hard place and for now need to exclude my dropbox folder from time machine and run a scripted backup from time to time from the command line to an extrenal drive using rclone. Given I'm using a laptop this is far less comfortable than using time machine over Wifi and I might of course forget to do the manual backup quite frequently.
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There is a huge problem when using smart sync as a Mac user who has time machine setup to automatically back up the entire hard drive (including the dropbox folder). If this is the case the time machine backup will trigger each an every one file that is set to 'online only' to be downloaded locally. If the amount of data on dropbox exceeds the hard drive space it slows down the entire computer!
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