The Smart Sync system extension

This article discusses the Smart Sync feature, which is only available to Dropbox customers on Plus, Family, Professional, or Business plans.

The Dropbox Smart Sync feature installs a system extension on Windows and Mac computers with operating system macOS Catalina 10.15 or earlier. This is an integrations with your operating system that allows Smart Sync to function. 

Notes:

  • If you don’t use the Smart Sync feature, you can still use the Dropbox desktop app without installing the system extension.
  • If you have macOS Big Sur 11 or later, you don’t need to install the system extension to use Smart Sync.
  • If you’re a Dropbox Business team member, you may not have the right permissions on your computer to install or uninstall the system extension and need to contact an admin.

Install the Smart Sync system extension manually

This integration is installed automatically when you install the Dropbox desktop app, but it can get blocked by some system permissions, in rare cases. If it does, follow these instructions to install the system extension:

Uninstall the system extension

Note: Uninstalling the system extension will disable Smart Sync, but you’ll still be able to use the Dropbox desktop app.

Not using Smart Sync won’t uninstall the system extension from your computer. To uninstall the system extension:

  1. Sign in to dropbox.com.
  2. Click your avatar (profile picture or initials) in the upper-right corner.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Click the General tab.
  5. Toggle Dropbox system extension to off.

Admins: Uninstall the system extension from your team’s computers

As an admin, you can uninstall the Smart Sync system extension from your team’s computers. To do so, follow this link to the uninstall page of the admin console, check the boxes, and click Uninstall.

After the system extension is uninstalled, team members can still use the Dropbox desktop app, but all of their online-only files will become local and Smart Sync will be disabled for both their team account and any linked personal account they may have.

Alternatively, you can manage your team’s default Smart Sync settings without uninstalling the system extension for your team.

Is the Smart Sync system extension secure?

The Dropbox Smart Sync system extension is secure and only used to run Smart Sync. It’s similar to other drivers and system extensions you may need to install for hardware or software, like printers, hard drives, or desktop applications.

Specifically, the Smart Sync system extension prevents you from taking an action on a file or folder, like deleting, moving, or un-sharing it if you don’t have the right permissions. It does this using “callbacks” to the Dropbox server that tell it what permissions you have when you take an action.

Learn more about how Dropbox keeps your files safe and secure.

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