How to use camera and mobile device uploads

Updated Apr 16, 2024
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This article describes a feature that isn’t available to Dropbox teams using Dropbox Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) for Android or Dropbox users on Linux.

You can upload photos to Dropbox from your camera and other devices by connecting them to your computer. 

Dropbox team admins: Learn how to turn camera uploads on or off for your team.

Turn photo uploads on or off on the Dropbox mobile app

To turn photo uploads on or off on the Dropbox mobile app for Android:

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap the menu icon (stacked horizontal lines).
  3. Tap Settings.
  4. Under Features, tap Camera uploads.
  5. Tap Back up my photos.
  6. If prompted, tap Allow.

To turn photo uploads on or off on the Dropbox mobile app for iOS:

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap the person icon.
  3. Tap Camera uploads.
  4. Tap Ok to give Dropbox access to your photos and videos.
  5. Choose what you’d like to back up and whether you’d like to use cell data.
  6. Tap Turn on camera uploads.

Turn photo uploads on or off in the Dropbox desktop app

When you plug a camera or mobile device into a computer with the Dropbox desktop app installed, you’ll see a prompt asking if you’d like to enable uploads for that device. Once you accept, that device will automatically upload your camera roll each time the device is plugged in to that computer.

To turn uploads on or off at any time:

  1. Open your Dropbox desktop app preferences.
  2. Click Backups.
    • Note: Click the dropdown next to Enable camera uploads for to switch between Photos only or Photos and videos.
  3. Click Change AutoPlay Settings next to Import photos and videos to Dropbox.
  4. Click the dropdown under Removable drive.
    • To turn on camera uploads, select Import photos and videos (Dropbox).
    • To turn off camera uploads, select any other option.
  5. Repeat step 4 for Memory card.
  1. Open your Dropbox desktop app preferences.
  2. Click Backups.
  3. Toggle Photos on to upload photos and videos from your connected devices. 
  4. Choose Photos only or Photos and videos from the dropdown menu.
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Note: If you’re using macOS 10.15 (Catalina) or higher, you’ll see a notification that says “Dropbox would like to access files on a removable volume.” Clicking OK will allow camera uploads to work.

You can change this preference any time:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click Security and Privacy.
  3. Click the Privacy tab. 
  4. Click Files and Folders.
  5. Check or uncheck the box next to Removable Volumes under Dropbox.

How to connect or forget mobile devices in the Dropbox desktop app

When you plug a camera or mobile device into a computer with the Dropbox desktop app installed, you’ll be asked to turn on photo uploads for that device. 

If you accept, the device will be registered as a connected device under Preferences

 

To forget a connected device:

  1. Click the Dropbox icon in your taskbar (Windows) or menu bar (macOS).
  2. Click your avatar (profile picture or initials) in the upper-right corner.
  3. Click Preferences.
  4. Click the Backups tab.
  5. Click Forget next to the device you’d like to disconnect.

FAQs about camera and device uploads

Can I choose which folder my photos upload to?

By default, your photos will be uploaded to a folder in your Dropbox account named Camera Uploads. You can’t change this; however, you can move your photos to a different folder in your Dropbox account after they’ve been uploaded.

Why did camera uploads use all of my battery power?

Camera uploads can use a large amount of battery power the first time your photos are uploaded. After the photos are uploaded, battery usage should return to normal. By default, the Dropbox app stops auto-uploading when your battery is low to save battery life.

Why did camera uploads use all of my cellular data?

By default, camera uploads use cellular data when WiFi isn’t available. You can change this setting by following the instructions for your device below.

Android:

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap the menu icon (stacked horizontal lines).
  3. Tap Settings.
  4. Tap Camera uploads.
  5. Toggle Use data when offline to off.

iOS:

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap the person icon.
  3. Tap Camera uploads.
  4. Toggle Use cell data to back up to off.

Can I upload iOS Live Photos?

Live Photos that are uploaded to your Dropbox account will be stored as normal photos.

What should I do if camera uploads aren't working?

If camera uploads aren't working, follow the steps in our troubleshooting guide.

Why don’t I see the option to turn on camera uploads?

If you’re on a Dropbox team and you don’t see a camera uploads option, your admin may have turned the feature off for your team.

Can I use camera uploads on my personal and work account?

If you’ve linked two Dropbox accounts, you can only have camera uploads turned on for one account at a time.

Why do I see someone else’s photos in my Camera Uploads folder?

When you plug a camera or mobile device into a computer with the Dropbox desktop app installed, you’ll see a prompt asking if you’d like to enable camera uploads for that device. This means that if someone used your computer to charge their phone, they may have clicked OK to that pop-up without realizing it.

To find out who uploaded photos to your account:

  1. Log in to dropbox.com.
  2. Hover over the photo you don’t recognize, and click the “” (ellipsis).
  3. Click Version history.
  4. Look for a name next to Added by.

If you don’t recognize the name, you can remotely sign out of any devices you’re currently signed in to.

Why aren’t my photos uploading in the background?

Sometimes the settings on your device prevent you from uploading photos in the background.

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