How to manage team selective sync settings

Updated Sep 14, 2023
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The information in this article applies to certain types of admins on Dropbox Professional, Essentials, Standard, Business, Advanced, Business Plus, and Enterprise plans.

What is selective sync for Dropbox team accounts?

When a team member is added to a team folder or team space, all folders shared with them automatically sync to their computer’s hard drive. However, admins can set specific folders not to automatically sync using team selective sync.

Learn more about how selective sync works.

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  • Admins can only use this feature for top-level folders and their first subfolder.
  • This admin setting keeps folders from automatically syncing to new team members’ computers, but it doesn’t unsync folders that were already synced.
  • Individual team members’ selective sync settings override the admin setting. 
    • The admin setting doesn’t block team members from syncing and unsyncing folders from their computers on their own.
  • A folder that’s set not to sync (and any folder inside of it) can’t be synced to team members’ computers.

Selective sync versus online-only files

In addition to using selective sync, admins can also manage online-only settings for their team.

Online-only settings determine which files or folders will sync to team members’ computers and which will only be available for team members connected to the internet.

Online-only files and folders are different to selective sync in the following ways:

  • You can’t remove individual files from your hard drive with selective sync—only folders, which includes the files and folders inside them. You can make individual files online-only.
  • When you make a file or folder online-only you’ll still see that file or folder in the Dropbox folder on your computer. It will have the online-only icon, a solid grey circle with a white cloud (Windows) or a cloud icon with a down arrow (macOS on File Provider). Folders you remove from your hard drive using selective sync won’t appear in the Dropbox folder on your computer.

Learn how to manage online-only settings for your team.

How to set specific folders not to sync with selective sync

To set specific folders not to sync:

  1. Log in to with your admin credentials.
  2. Click Admin console in the left sidebar.
  3. Click Content in the left sidebar.
  4. Click "" (ellipsis) next to any folder.
  5. Click Change sync default.
    • Note: If you’ve disabled team selective sync, enable it to see this option.
  6. Click the circle next to Don’t sync automatically to set the folder not to sync automatically to new team members’ computers. 
  7. Click Save.

How to automatically sync folders

To set the folder to automatically sync, follow the instructions above, but click the circle next to Automatically sync to members’ computers instead.

How to exclude new folders from syncing automatically

To set a new team folder not to automatically sync to team member’s computers:

  1. Log in to with your admin credentials.
  2. Click Admin console.
  3. Click Content.
  4. Click New folder on the right side.
  5. Click the circle next to Don’t sync automatically.
  6. Click Create.

Learn more about creating team folders.

How to disable team selective sync

Team selective sync is enabled by default. It lets admins set specific folders not to sync automatically to team members’ computers. If team selective sync is disabled, all folders automatically sync to team members' computers, and the admin doesn’t have the option to set specific folders not to sync. 

To disable team selective sync:

  1. Log in to with your admin credentials.
  2. Click Admin console.
  3. Click Settings in the left sidebar.
  4. In the Content section, click Sync.
  5. Next to Team Selective Sync, toggle to Off.
  6. Click Save.
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