FU Dropbox

Jul 10, 2019

Dropbox used to be a perfect service. I happily paid them money every month. They silently synced files across all my machines (and with friends) with 99.999999999999% accuracy.

Good job Dropbox.

Then... Dropbox decided they needed there own app (for reason that I still have yet to figure out). Now at random time this stupid dropbox app shows up in my doc and I see no way to turn it off. I can close it, bit it keeps coming back.

Congratulation Dropbox, you ruined a near perfect service.

Why? Probably because they wanted more "engagement" from users. Netflix suffers from this by auto playing video and previews to create more engagement despite almost everyone hating it. They don't care because a) They get more engagement (even is that engagement is rage) and b) No one leaves their service.

Thing is, I don't want to engage with Dropbox, I want it to silently (and magically) run in the background.

What's next dropbox? A Dropbox social feed?

FU Dropbox.

It seems that wherever a company creates a wonderful service or product they quickly ruin it by adding features no one asked for in slave to their algorithms. AI isn't going to end the world via Skynet, they are going to do it by algorithming us to insanity and complacency.

Pro-tip: If you want to add features, give people a way to turn them off to create a perfect service for everyone (I'm looking at you Netflix).


If anyone knows how to stop the Dropbox app from appearing in my doc, please let me know.


I'm sure there are people who like autoplaying video and binge mode on Netflix. Fine, just give the rest of us a way to turn it off. Then everyone is happy.... hell, I'd even pay a few more bucks a month for this option.

Rudolf Steger Jul 11, 2019
@Jonatan Thank you! I feel dumb for not having googled that by now, but thank you so much! ^^

Matteo Bini Jul 11, 2019
Have you ever tried NextCloud?

Morph Jul 11, 2019

bosbeetle Jul 11, 2019
Can't agree more...

Matt Jul 11, 2019
You can try this to hide the icon. https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/207944

Ron Gilbert Jul 11, 2019
@ Jonatan I used to have that option set, but it no longer works.  It also doesn't stop auto-play of previews and thumbnails. What's odd is I have two fireTVs, one of them auto-plays thumbnails and the other doesn't.  My AppleTV auto plays as well...

Li Boar Jul 11, 2019
Yeah the Netflix thing is incredibly annoying. It forces me to mute the TV every time I fire up the app. I can't for the life of me understand how it makes more sense to keep it when I'm convinced 90% of their users loathe it.

Also, never trusted Dropbox's syncing; rather pay for a less convenient but more reliable cloud service.

Ron Gilbert Jul 11, 2019
One of the issues with a dropbox alternative is that a lot of my use of dropbox is sharing with other people and 90% of everyone I work with has dropbox. Requiring them to sign up for something else is too much friction.  

That's the same problem with finding an alternative to Photoshop.  There are some really nice alternatives on the Mac, but no one I work with uses them.

Li Boar Jul 11, 2019
Ditto on the Photoshop. We're using a mini server for our game, plus Google Drive, but there's the obvious disadvantage of having a computer on at all times. I know dropbox is nice in this regard, and have used it for a while - it only failed to sync a few times, but enough to make me lose hours of work.

Anyway, Photoshop has come a long way, CC is a dream compared to the previous versions, that's probably why most people don't want to give up on it.

zuglufttier Jul 11, 2019
Nextcloud let's you share files and folders via a link that you may protect with a password or not. No account or app required.

Ron Gilbert Jul 11, 2019
The genius of Dropbox is that I don't have to share a link to the file, the files just appear on your machine.  No clicking or downloading... they just appear.  And if the files change, I don't have to send out new links.

Peter Wimsey Jul 12, 2019
Dropbox is just a glorified FTP service. I used to deal with people that used Dropbox and instead setup a local FTP service for them to use in place of Dropbox.

An alternative that I've used is OneDrive by Microsoft to store files.

@console Jul 12, 2019
It's hard to replace Dropbox if it's part of your workflow.

I think the best approach here might be to write (or find?) a little utility that runs in the background and kills the Dropbox process whenever it shows up in the dock.

I personally moved to OneDrive after convincing a single key person to do the switch. Once that guy was converted, a lot of other people in my workgroup followed. Sometimes it just needs one or two people to jump.

@console Jul 12, 2019
PS: There's a hacky way to switch to another service like Onedrive but sync with Dropbox: https://rclone.org/ - runs as cronjob every x minutes and syncs any local folder structure (e.g. one inside the OneDrive folder) with Dropbox. Share-Management would be done on dropbox.com, but no local client required.

I use this this tool to backup local folders to OneDrive that I'm not synching.

Jordy Rodriguez Jul 12, 2019
This is the first time i read about Dropbox syncing problems, i guess i had luck until now as i randomly use it in some cases.
I am mainly and happily using OneDrive included in Office 365 on Windows, i don't know how it does integrate on OSX though.

Evan Jul 12, 2019
Dropbox has always worked well for me but I've only used it in a Windows environment.  When I needed a big storage solution I gave Google Drive a try, it was nightmare. If you tried to backup an entire Unity project god help you.   Slow and inaccurate syncing.  Missing files that completely destroyed your project...it was shit.  Went back to Dropbox and have never had a problem, even when backing up gigs of files at a time.

Nille Jul 12, 2019
The Nextcloud app works great and it has auto-sync to (a folder of your choice on) your Mac or PC. Just get a high-powered webserver.
And you can hook it up to different external services/storage, too.
For me it was well worth the effort to set it up.

Nille Jul 12, 2019
And it integrates with the Ipad (with the files app and stand-alone).

Ron Gilbert Jul 12, 2019
I think some of you are missing the point.  I know where are lots of solutions to storing, sharing and backing up files.  The problem is getting other random-non-technical people to use them with zero friction.  Dropbox does this with 95% of the people I need to share stuff with.  OneDrive doesn't even come close (yet, maybe someday).

Also, this post wasn't about alternatives to Dropbox, it was more about how companies create wonderful products and then fuck them up.  It's worse in todays world where I have no choice but to accept the "upgrade".

Gffp Jul 13, 2019
I don't have the slightest idea how to help you with this dropbox issue but... I agree with you all down the line (if it's any consolation). Behind these kinds of upgrades (for a lot of software, big and small) there's a concept of technology which is a constant engagement for the user. I hope in the end the new generations will get tired of this and begin thinking about how to come back to a more balanced and in charge of user experience, since it seems that those upgrades are focused on new audiences.

David Oberlin Jul 13, 2019
The worst thing about the shady tactics used with a lot these services now is what the end-user ends up paying for when they offer Your Name In Lights promo to companies. Especially when some people are on a data-tarrif.

Now I remember when Google was a quaint little web crawler that unlike its competitors Yahoo and Lycos didn't have a busy frontpage. And everyone thought highly of Google for offering the service that everyone wanted from a little web crawler.

As its popularity grew so did its investors. The investors were a funny lot who demanded that Google became the name on the tin at the end of the string. People trusted Google.

The investors weren't a very stable bunch. With their bellies being replaced by Microsoft Excel and a hunger for money. And so they wen't about acquiring all the shinest of code that they could find. As the investors worried that they'd starve to debt they were always vigilent in their strife to shit out ideas that no sense could fathom. So much so that they prioritized action. If there was no action then they'd protect a new finance-pool with their graft. And so we now have yet another cloud service wasting space in orbit propelled by a poop on a stick.

The moral of the story: don't bring an app to a service, and let your clients handle their own business. Oh and Stadia; I think the dialogue in the Monkey Island 1 SE needs to be rewritten to include a new point about the software market. That you should never pay more than $20 for a game on top of a $20 subscription service.

GermanV Jul 13, 2019
I notice software products changing for worse more and more plus they don't listen to user complaints. Is it maybe generational?

dada Jul 13, 2019
But all these companies are so vigorously tracking all the data about us only to improve our experience. Surely it must be just our incompetence to realize the exponential advance in improvements that we're experiencing.

Big George Jul 14, 2019
OMG, you big aspie freaks. Take a pill and move on. LOL

dada Jul 15, 2019
"..Take a pill and move on. LOL" - is that the new MS advertising slogan?

. Jul 16, 2019
This issue does not exist on Mac OS 10.14.3
+ dropbox v76.4.126

p.s. v76 sounds impressive 😀

John Wood Jul 18, 2019
Prescient post. Barely a week later, Netflix posted their first drop in US subscribers since 2011. Or was it... too prescient? Did Grumpy Gamer take a voodoo needle to NFLX, and DBX is next?!

. Jul 19, 2019
Fwd email from dropbox support received today:

Accidental Dropbox desktop app update

Hi _,

We recently announced a new desktop app experience that is now currently available in Early Access. Due to an error, some users were accidentally exposed to the new app for a short period of time. As a result, you or some members of your team may have seen the new app on your desktop.

The issue has been resolved, although there might be a short lag for some users. There is no action needed on your part. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

- The Dropbox Team

Fuz Jul 24, 2019
"It seems that wherever a company creates a wonderful service or product they quickly ruin it by adding features no one asked for in slave to their algorithms"

I have the same issue with MANY sites/browsers/apps. They work wonderfully for a while then they decide to add "features" no one asked about or do stupid redesigns, and you can not opt out. I hate this with a burning passion.

Lukas Dec 31, 2019
I think the best option is to switch to a third-party Dropbox client, something like Expandrive. Keep using Dropbox for other people's convenience, but don't use their abysmal client.

Another problem I have is that on Windows, installing Dropbox somehow interferes with the built-in OneDrive integration, and they both trigger each other to download files in an infinite loop of passive-aggressive mutual access contention.

Itamar Feb 22, 2020
I think this is old news, but: