Which extended attributes does Dropbox sync?

An extended attribute is a filesystem feature that is used to associate computer files with metadata.  Dropbox syncs the following extended attributes:

MacOS

  • com.dropbox.attributes
  • com.dropbox.internal
  • com.apple.ResourceFork (not synced for directories)
  • com.apple.FinderInfo
  • com.apple.metadata:_kMDItemUserTags
  • com.apple.metadata:kMDItemFinderComment
  • com.apple.metadata:kMDItemOMUserTagTime
  • com.apple.metadata:kMDItemOMUserTags
  • com.apple.metadata:kMDItemStarRating
  • com.dropbox.ignored / user.com.dropbox.ignored/ :com.dropbox.ignored

Windows (represented as Alternate Data Streams)

  • :com.dropbox.attributes
  • :com.dropbox.internal
  • :com.dropbox.apple.ResourceFork(not synced for directories)
  • :com.dropbox.apple.FinderInfo
  • :com.dropbox.apple.metadata._kMDItemUserTags
  • :com.dropbox.apple.metadata.kMDItemFinderComment
  • :com.dropbox.apple.metadata.kMDItemOMUserTagTime
  • :com.dropbox.apple.metadata.kMDItemOMUserTags
  • :com.dropbox.apple.metadata.kMDItemOMStarRating
  • :com.dropbox.posix.executable
  • com.dropbox.ignored / user.com.dropbox.ignored/ :com.dropbox.ignored

Linux

  • user.com.dropbox.attributes
  • user.com.dropbox.internal
  • user.com.apple.ResourceFork(not synced for directories)
  • user.com.apple.FinderInfo
  • user.com.apple.metadata:_kMDItemUserTags
  • user.com.apple.metadata:kMDItemFinderComment
  • user.com.apple.metadata:kMDItemOMUserTagTime
  • user.com.apple.metadata:kMDItemOMUserTags
  • user.com.apple.metadata:kMDItemStarRating
  • user.com.dropbox.foldericon
  • com.dropbox.ignored / user.com.dropbox.ignored/ :com.dropbox.ignored

Note: These represent filesystem-visible attributes, and do not include attributes which are not considered “extended” attributes.

Common use cases for extended attributes in Dropbox

  • Tracking synced files
  • Syncing tags, stars, and colors marked in MacOS Finder
  • Keeping track of files uploaded via camera uploads (on desktop and mobile)
  • Supporting less-common filesystem features, like executable bits on POSIX and resource forks on MacOS
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