How to make a file or folder available offline

Updated Sep 06, 2023

You can make your Dropbox files and folders available offline on any device, whether it’s a desktop computer, tablet, iPhone, or Android device. This is similar to downloading your files and folders, except it also keeps them in Dropbox, so they’re saved offline on your device as well as online on dropbox.com.

When you enable offline access, you can open files in Dropbox or view and edit files in applications on your device, without being connected to the internet.

Will Dropbox sync my files while I’m offline?

While you're offline, changes made to your files and folders on your offline device won't sync with Dropbox. This means that the changes won't show on other devices you have synced to your Dropbox account.

Once you're back online, Dropbox will sync the changes you made to your files and folders while offline. These changes will be updated across all devices where you access Dropbox.

Learn more about how Dropbox syncs your files.

How to make files and folders available offline in the Dropbox desktop app

  1. Download and install the Dropbox desktop app, if you haven’t already.
  2. Make sure there’s an application on your computer that can open your files and folders offline. For example, to view a PDF, you need a PDF viewer installed on your computer. 
  3. Open File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac) and navigate to the file or folder you want to make available offline.
    • If you don’t see the file or folder you’d like to save offline, open your Dropbox desktop app preferences by using your taskbar (Windows) or menu bar (Mac). Click the Sync tab, and check the box next to the folder you’d like to make available offline. 
    • If you’re trying to make a file available offline, check the box next to the folder in which the file is stored. Learn more about selective sync.
  4. Right-click the file or folder and select Make available offline.
  5. Wait a few minutes while the file or folder updates. A file or folder is available offline once you see it has a solid green checkmark next to it. Learn about the different sync icons and what they mean.

The file is now available offline and can be found locally in the Dropbox folder in File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac).

How to make files and folders available offline on the Dropbox mobile app

Files and folders in the Dropbox mobile app aren’t stored on your phone or tablet, so they aren’t available offline by default. 

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Note: The ability to make an entire folder available offline is only available to customers on Dropbox Plus, Family, Professional, Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise plans. The ability to make individual files available offline is available to all Dropbox users.

To make files and folders available offline on your phone or tablet:

  1. Download and log in to the Dropbox mobile app, if you haven’t already.
  2. Next to or under the file you’d like to make available offline, tap the “” (ellipsis).
  3. Toggle on Make Available Offline

How to find your offline files and folders on the Dropbox mobile app

Once a file or a folder has been made available offline, it'll have an offline icon (white downward-facing arrow in a green circle) next to or under it in your file or folder list. To see a list of your offline files or folders:

 

Android

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap the Account tab. 
  3. Click Offline.

 

iPhone/iPad

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Tap the account icon (person) in the bottom right.
  3. Click Manage Offline Files.

How to keep your offline files and folders updated on the Dropbox mobile app

By default, your offline files don’t stay continuously updated, or synced, if you’re only connected to data. You must be connected to Wi-Fi with your list of offline files and folders open for them to update.

To update an offline file while you’re connected to data, go to your list of offline files and tap the yellow “!” (exclamation point) next to the file you’d like to update. To update all of your offline files while you’re connected to data, go to your list of offline files and tap the refresh icon (circular arrow in the top right).

If you want your offline files and folders to update regardless of whether you’re connected to Wi-Fi or cellular data:

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Open your app settings.
  • On Android, tap the menu icon (horizontal lines) in the top left and then Settings.
  • On iPhone/iPad, tap the account icon (person) in the bottom right and then the gear icon in the top left.

3. Toggle Use data for offline files (Android) or Use Cellular Data (iPhone/iPad) to on.

How to check storage usage for offline files and folders on the Dropbox mobile app

  1. Open the Dropbox mobile app.
  2. Open your app settings.
  • On Android, tap the menu icon (horizontal lines) in the top left and then Settings.
  • On iPhone/iPad, tap the account icon (person) in the bottom right and then the gear icon in the top left.

There, you can see:

  • Available Space: How much storage space is available on your phone or tablet for offline files and folders.
  • Space Used: How much storage space your offline files and folders are currently using on your phone or tablet.
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