Expected changes with Dropbox for macOS

Dropbox for macOS utilizes Apple’s updated File Provider API for a more seamless experience. Learn more about what to expect with this experience.

Below is additional information on the changes you can expect when using Dropbox for macOS. These will be updated regularly as Dropbox support for macOS continues to develop and improve.

Note: Your device must be running macOS 12.5 or later to use Dropbox for macOS. However, using macOS 13+ is strongly encouraged.

Updates Additional Information
Changing the location of your Dropbox folder is no longer supported by macOS.
  • Your Dropbox folder will be moved to ~/Library/CloudStorage.
  • Due to the change of the Dropbox folder location, files that were previously linked in some third-party applications will need to be linked again.
  • Storing your Dropbox folder on an external drive is no longer supported by macOS.
  • Your Dropbox folder in Finder will now be found under Locations instead of Favorites.
  • Individual folders can be moved from your Dropbox folder to Favorites for quick access.
Some third-party applications need to be granted permission to access your Dropbox files and folders.
  • Some third-party applications don't use the native macOS system dialog box when opening or saving a file or folder. For example, accessing a file through a Terminal command.
  • If you attempt to directly access a Dropbox file or folder via one of these applications, you'll need to allow access
A new file format known as a flattened package is supported by Dropbox on macOS.
  • Package files appear as regular files, but are actually bundles that contain other file types within.
    • Examples of package files include .pages, .numbers, and .key.
  • This new format will have the same functionality as previous package files.
  • Existing packages will be updated to the new format the next time they are changed and synced.
  • Flattened packages can only be accessed on devices running Dropbox for macOS.
  • Dropbox Transfer doesn’t currently support flattened packages.
Searching through Finder won’t find all content in your Dropbox folder.
  • Searching through Finder will only find online-only files or folders that have been previously accessed on your device running Dropbox for macOS.
    • Only file names will display in these search results, not the file contents.
    • This will also affect features that depend on searching through Finder. For example, Smart Folders.
  • Search using Spotlight isn’t affected.
Actions involving a large number of files can take longer than usual to complete.
Certain types of files may not sync on macOS 12.
  • Files or folders may not sync if their name contains the byte-order mark (BOM).
  • Files or folders may not sync if their name begins with a space followed by a single digit.
  • These issues are resolved in macOS 13+.
LAN Sync is currently not supported on Dropbox for macOS.
Certain files or folders with very long names or that are located in deeply-nested folder structures won't be synced.
  • The name length limit for a file or folder will depend on the entire path.
  • The path length limit is 1024 characters.
Some types of files may not be synced while an application is actively editing them.
  • On macOS 13, these files will be clearly identified in the View sync issues window on the Dropbox desktop app.
    • To resume syncing, close the applications that are actively editing these files.


Syncing may slow when your computer is trying to save energy.
  • When your Mac has low battery, is not plugged in, or is running hot, Dropbox regulates syncing to preserve energy.
    • Dropbox may sync more slowly than on previous versions of macOS in this circumstance.
Some types of files aren't supported on Dropbox for macOS.
Some downloaded files won’t display as occupying disk space.
  • Opening an online-only file from the Dropbox desktop app downloads a file to your computer, but macOS won’t include these files when calculating occupied disk space.
Some newly added files will default to online-only.
  • Files added to your Dropbox account from another device or that are shared by another user will default to online-only.
AirDrop won't work if Dropbox Backup is enabled.
  • This is a known issue that Dropbox engineers are working to resolve.
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