Thursday, March 14, 2019

Dropbox Limits Free Plan to Three Devices

Juli Clover:

Dropbox users who have a free Dropbox account are now limited to using that account on a total of three devices, according to new information added to the Dropbox website and spotted on Twitter (via The Verge).

Dropbox says that as of March 2019, “Basic” users, which is the free tier, can add their account to three devices. Dropbox users who already have their account attached to more than three devices can keep them linked, but there will be no way to link additional devices when over the three device limit.

If you have a Mac, an iPad, and an iPhone that’s already three devices. I imagine this will accelerate the trend of people switching to iCloud Drive. I’ve been working towards that myself and keep Dropbox quit most of the time on my Mac, as its file change monitoring is disruptive.


Update (2019-03-15): Brian Stucki:

I made the jump from Dropbox to iCloud Drive this year and it’s been really nice. If you really want to rid your Mac of the app itself, Transmit from @panic does a really nice job of logging into Dropbox for any shared folders you still need to access.

Clark Goble:

Obvious way around - multiple accounts and then share folders.

Peter N Lewis:

The problem with all these subscription products is all the companies want $10/month. If DropBox offered a $10/year plan (or even $20/year) they could probably make a fortune. Instead they just keep trying to drive away low volume customers. It is just not worth $120/year.

Tanner Bennett:

Its malicious, fake system dialog which attempts to steal your user account password so it can keep itself enabled in accessibility settings is also disruptive, among other things.

Kirk McElhearn:

Back around 2014-15, I took out a pro subscription with 1 TB, but there was no way I could make it worthwhile. I don’t need 1 TB, and even if I did, it wouldn’t fit on my Macs; I could put that much data on an external drive connected to my iMac, but now my MacBook Pro. (Yes, I know, selective sync; but I still don’t need that much storage.)

The problem is that Dropbox doesn’t have a low-priced, low-GB plan. I’d happily pay, say, $20 a year for 100 GB, because I am aware that I’ve been getting this service for free for many years. But I’m not spending $100 a year.

13 Comments RSS · Twitter

I use iCloud drive for a lot of things, but you can't share folders with someone else there.

@Tom Yeah, that’s one reason I still have Dropbox installed. I just launch it when I need to update a shared folder.

The other sticking point is that iCloud Drive doesn’t handle symlinks the way Dropbox does.

What is the file change monitoring issue?

@Sean If Dropbox is running while something else on the Mac is making a lot of file changes, Dropbox can use up a ton of CPU time monitoring those changes. Even if the files aren't in your Dropbox folder.

Makes OneDrive with Office 365 for $70 look like an even better deal. I used to feel snookered that I was paying, largely for the convenience of Office, but it and its terabyte of storage is starting to feel like a steal.

I'm not sure iCloud is a good replacement for either.

I was hoping this limit was just for the desktop apps.

@Tom Interesting. Is this flaw exclusive to Dropbox or does it affect other cloud file synchronization systems such as Google Drive and OneDrive, or even iCloud Drive? It feels odd to me that Dropbox wouldn't figure out a lower-CPU method to do this. Unless it's a fundamental limitations of the APIs that Apple has exposed?

You know a company doesn’t have much to offer anymore when they start to put arbitrary limits like this one.

I have switched to iCloud Drive years ago (and I’m really happy with it), but with my current setup (five devices) I would fall below the new Dropbox limit. And I wouldn’t pay 120€/year just to sync all my machines.

I find this new Dropbox’s policy quite worrisome for the company.

Dropbox totally screwed the pooch on this. They should have announced any new accounts are limited to 3 per account, and then offered a reasonably priced low GB plan. But instead they did the opposite.

I'll probably switch to NextCloud, because I like hosting my own stuff.

I don't think iCloud Drive will work for me the way I need it.

Stephan Spencer

It's possible to connect Dropbox account via 3rd party tools (for example CloudMounter), it doesn't count as a new device. Thus, I continue to use Dropbox.

After they got caught abusing MacOS system security policies, I uninstalled the desktop client and now only use their website. The storage space I have is comically low, so I don't use my account for much these days, especially since I'm already paying for iCloud storage space (primarily for the sync'd photo library).

iCloud drive has its uses. But I bought a Synology NAS and now am looking at Dropbox as a useless relic. I'm gonna take my stuff out and close my account tonight.

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