How to use Dropbox Vault

This feature is available to users on the Dropbox Plus and Family plans.

Dropbox Vault is a feature that lets you create a location in Dropbox with an additional layer of security for your most sensitive files and share it with trusted contacts. This location, or “vault”, in your Dropbox account is guarded by a numeric password, or “PIN”, and can't be opened or accessed by third party apps.

If you are a trusted contact, or have been invited to be one, visit this article about becoming a trusted contact.

Note: Most users can only open their vault from dropbox.com and the Dropbox mobile app. The ability to open a vault from the Dropbox desktop app is currently in beta and only available to some Dropbox users.

Create your vault

To create your vault:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Click All Files in the left sidebar.
  3. Click Vault in your file list.
  4. Click Continue.
  5. Set a PIN.
  6. Click Continue.
  7. Re-type your PIN.
  8. Click Confirm.

Your vault is named “Vault”, and listed alongside your files and folders on dropbox.com, the Dropbox mobile app, the Dropbox desktop app, and the Dropbox folder on your computer. 

Most users can only open their vault from dropbox.com and the Dropbox mobile app. For those users, their vault isn’t saved to their computer’s hard drive at all. However, the ability to open a vault from the Dropbox desktop app is currently in beta and available to some users. For those users, files in their vault automatically save to their hard drive when they unlock their vault on the desktop app and are automatically removed from their hard drive when they lock their vault on the desktop app.

Note: If you already have a folder named “Vault” in your Dropbox account, your vault will be named “Dropbox Vault”. If you already have a folder named “Dropbox Vault”, your vault will be named “Dropbox Vault (1)”.

Lock your vault with your PIN

Dropbox Vault keeps your files extra-secure with a PIN. You set a PIN for your vault when you create your vault. When you open your vault, your PIN allows 10 attempts before you’re locked out. If you’re locked out, contact support to reset your pin. 

After you use your PIN to unlock your vault, your vault auto-locks again after 20 minutes on dropbox.com and after 3 minutes on mobile. While your vault is locked, the files in your vault won’t appear on your content suggestions, recents, updates, and notifications lists or in the search bar suggestions.

To manually lock your vault, so a PIN is needed to unlock it:

  • On dropbox.com—Click the padlock icon in the top-left corner of your vault.
  • On the Dropbox mobile app—Tap “” (ellipses) in your vault, and then tap Lock.

Your vault’s security measures are in addition to the security measures Dropbox takes with all of your files and folders, including encryption in transit and at rest. To add security to your entire Dropbox account, we recommend enabling multi-factor authentication

Choose files for your vault

Some suggestions for sensitive files to add to your vault are:

  • Identification files: Pictures of your passport, driver’s license, social security card, or birth certificate
  • Medical files: Health records or your insurance card
  • Legal files: Your will, your marriage certificate, or your lease
  • Financial files: Tax forms

Let Dropbox suggest files to add to your vault

Note: This Vault feature is only available to some Dropbox customers.

When you create your vault, you have the option to let Dropbox suggest files to add to it. If you let Dropbox make suggestions, a list of files are displayed for you to choose from. These files are chosen because their names and content include keywords common for sensitive files, like “tax return” or “passport”. This information is private and only used to suggest files to you.

Add or move files to your vault

If you add or move a file to your vault from Dropbox, it’s added to your vault and removed from its original location in Dropbox. If you add or move a file to your vault from somewhere else on your computer, it remains in its original location and a copy of it is added to your vault. 

To add a file or folder to your vault from Dropbox or your computer:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Click All Files.
  3. Click Vault. (It’s in your files and folder list).
  4. Enter your PIN.
  5. Click Add.
  6. Click one of the following:
    • From Dropbox — Click a file or folder and click Choose
    • From computer (file) — Click a file and click Open
    • From computer (folder) — Click a folder and click Upload (Mac) or Select folder (Windows)
    • New folder  — Type your new folder name, click a location, and click Create

To move a file or folder to your vault from Dropbox, move it to your vault like you would normally move a file or folder.

Notes:

Share the files in your vault

You can give “can view” access to the files in your vault in the same way you would share regular files in Dropbox. Anyone you give “can view” access to can view and comment on your files without a PIN, but can’t edit them. 

Change your PIN

To change your PIN:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Click All Files.
  3. Click Vault in your file list.
  4. Enter your PIN.
  5. Click the Settings tab.
  6. Click Set PIN.
  7. Enter your old PIN and the new PIN you’d like to use. 
  8. Click Save.

Reset your PIN

If you forget your PIN, you can reset it with your Dropbox account password. To do so:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Click All files.
  3. Click Vault in your file list.
  4. Under the box where you enter your PIN, click Forgot your PIN?
  5. Type your Dropbox password.
  6. Click Submit. You will receive an email with a reset link.
  7. In the email that you receive, click Reset PIN.
  8. Type a new PIN.
  9. Click Continue.

Note: If your Dropbox account password was just changed, you must wait 48 hours before you can reset your PIN. 

Delete your vault

To delete your vault:

  • If you haven’t set up your vault (haven’t created a PIN), you can delete your vault from your file list just as you would delete a folder in Dropbox
  • If you already set up your vault (by adding a PIN), you can’t delete your vault. However, you can delete the files and folders inside it as you would normally delete files and folders in Dropbox.

Downgrade, upgrade, or delete your Dropbox account

If you downgrade your Dropbox account to Basic or upgrade your Dropbox account to Professional or Business, the next time you enter your PIN to open your vault, it will become a regular folder.

If you delete your Dropbox account, your vault is deleted.

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