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Syncing dropbox files on Android - third party apps?

Syncing dropbox files on Android - third party apps?

PunkyFickle
Helpful | Level 5

Hi everyone,

 

As you may know, Dropbox doesn't sync files on Android any more as of last year or so (see this, for example). They used to be in sdcard>Android>data>com.dropbox.android>files, but the new "available offline" option stores them in the cache of the Db app, which other apps cannot access (you wouldn't be able to locate them with Files, for example), to ensure their safety, I would guess. The only way to use these files on your device apart from through the Db app is to "export" them after they were made "available offline" (so basically to properly download them locally), and it is thus impossible to do what Dropbox is meant to do in the first place : read and write synced files. I personally would like to edit note files on my computer and my phone and to get them synced by Db, but there seems to be no way to reach and edit locally stored (note) files with my note-taking app.

 

The only workaround I found to this problem is using third party app that syncs files with your Dropbox repository, such as Dropsync or FolderSync, which were explicitly meant for that :

"New files in your cloud account are automatically downloaded onto your device. [...] This is how Dropbox works on computers but not on Android. Two-way automatic synchronization should be an essential function of the official app. For whatever reason, it is not the case. Dropsync is here to fill the gap." [Dropsync app description]

 

But then I am not too keen on adding more complexity to my workflow, increase the likeliness of some incompatibility or other "technical issues" to emerge in the future and, moreover, to potentially put my professional and personal data into more covetous digital hands than they already are in (free apps that manipulate my data? I sense what the product might be)...

 

So my questions are : has anyone in here ever tried these solutions and did it work as planned? Any (unusual) worries to have regarding privacy with these solutions? And above all (@support people?), is there any way to circumvent the issue without these?

 

Cheers

6 Replies 6

Re: Syncing dropbox files on Android - third party apps?

Hannah
Dropboxer
Hey @PunkyFickle, thanks for joining us on the Dropbox Community!

We really appreciate your feedback on this.

While you can't actually sync local versions of your Dropbox files on your phone's memory at the moment, there is a similar idea, which you can find and up-vote here.

And you never know, it might get implemented!

Let us know if you have any more questions. 

Hannah
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Syncing dropbox files on Android - third party apps?

PunkyFickle
Helpful | Level 5

Hi @Hannah,

 

Thanks for your reply.

 

Well certainly, I still have the questions regarding the use of these third party apps or other workarounds, which is the very reason for me creating this thread. 🙂 I of course don't expect you as a Db support team member to take a stance on that regard, though, these indeed are questions to the community.

 

Not to want to seem dismissive, but "it might get implemented!" sounds a bit hypocritical, since the "similar idea" we are talking about was a "feature" that was effectively removed earlier by a change in the way Db manages local files on Android (see for example all the huffy comments in the thread you linked)...

On that regard, would you have any idea of why that was done in the first place? To ensure privacy/data safety? Overlooked in a technical change because usage analysis showed that most people do not edit files on their phones anyway? It goes against what Db essentially does on all other OSs (purely loading local files from and to the server), so I'm genuinely confused – especially so since I am biased by the issue I have and what I have read about it, which logically makes me only see the downsides of it.

Re: Syncing dropbox files on Android - third party apps?

Hannah
Dropboxer
Hey! Sorry for the delay here and happy Monday!

I just found a thread that will give you some interesting info on what you described, so you might want to take a look.

Other than that, we do appreciate the feedback and I will gladly pass it along to our team!

Hannah
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Syncing dropbox files on Android - third party apps?

PunkyFickle
Helpful | Level 5

Hi @Hannah,

Again, this only solves the issue for people who would like to get files downloaded locally. This is sufficient if you only concern is to be able to read a file (that will not get further modified, btw). I and others would like to be able to edit a file on our device and get it synced with the server. Kinda what Dropbox was meant for in the first place...

Re: Syncing dropbox files on Android - third party apps?

Hannah
Dropboxer
Syncing files locally was always intended mostly for the desktop application. 

The mobile app was always pretty much a mirror of the website, but I do understand where you're coming from.

If you'd like, you can take a look at our App Center to see all our app integrations, in case any of them look useful.

Hannah
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Syncing dropbox files on Android - third party apps?

PunkyFickle
Helpful | Level 5

Thanks, that makes sense, although file accessible for edition on android was a thing earlier...

 

I didn't find anything to properly allow me to work on my notes on my phone, but thanks for the suggestion.

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    PunkyFickle Helpful | Level 5
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    Hannah Dropboxer
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