Thursday, June 13, 2019

Meet the New Dropbox

Emil Protalinski:

Dropbox has doubled the storage space for its Plus users from 1TB to 2TB, added Rewind and Smart Sync features, and increased the price from $10 per month to $12 per month. The company has also increased the storage for its Professional plan from 2TB to 3TB and added a watermarking feature. Additionally, Dropbox will be increasing its Business plans from 3TB to 5TB and extended file version history from 120 days to 180 days.

Tim Hardwick:

Dropbox on Tuesday announced a new client for Mac and Windows that seeks to make the cloud storage service a “meta-platform” for collaborative tools in the productivity workspace.

I’ve been using iCloud Drive more and Dropbox less these days, and to avoid the CPU use problems I quit Dropbox when I’m not using it. These days my main use is to share folders with family members, e.g. for photos and 1Password. iCloud Drive will be getting shared folders in macOS 10.15, but as far as I’m aware there’s no way to actually use them from the iOS version of 1Password.

Jason Snell:

Apple: We’ve got iCloud folder sharing coming!

Me: Eh, Dropbox works really well for me and you’re still missing some stuff.

Dropbox: Enterprise collaboration! Google Docs and Slack inside a Dropbox!

Me: Uh, you were saying, Apple?

Ben Sandofsky:

Dropbox now uses over half a gig of memory. Let’s peak into its frameworks folder.

Nick Heer:

My only two requests for this version of Dropbox were for it to use as much memory as possible and somehow also be a web browser, and boy did they deliver. Thanks, Dropbox.

Ken Hayes:

Cheeky of @dropbox to raise subscription cost >20% and double capacity, though I only used 15% of it. Price gap is too large from a $0 useless tier to $120/yr “rolls royce” Plus. Why not do 500 Gb for $50/yr tier and pick up way more prosumers? Now evaluating alternatives...

They’ve got to lose less that 1/6th (~17%) of the current user base to break even on such a price hike. What’s dumb is that I’m a satisfied user - and would pay $99 forever - but now I’m going to take the effort to look for a better deal - and probably cancel for good.

John Price:

So @Dropbox just casually drops an email to tell me they’re raising the price by 54%. […] There is no plan smaller than the 54% increase so I have no choice. Worse customer treatment than an insurance company or a telco.


Update (2019-06-13): Yashendra Shukla:

It’s incredible how Dropbox went from the leanest native cross platform software to the most expensive bloated crap.

Nick Heer:

I suppose Dropbox’s new client is indicative of their increased emphasis on enterprise customers. It sure seems like they’re more eager to compete with Slack and Microsoft than they are to provide syncing tools to individual customers. I’ll respond accordingly by making sure no files or apps I rely upon are dependent on Dropbox.

John Gruber (tweet):

I don’t want any of this. All I want from Dropbox is a folder that syncs perfectly across my devices and allows sharing with friends and colleagues. That’s it: a folder that syncs with sharing. And that’s what Dropbox was.

Federico Viticci:

Yes I’m aware that Dropbox offers a lot more features than iCloud Drive. I pay for it! And I hope Apple copies some of them.

But I mostly need a service that syncs well, with sub-folders I can share with other people. That’s it.


Not to mention that iCloud is now using the same native On-Demand Files API on Windows now, making it a first class citizen on macOS, iOS/iPadOS, and Windows 10!

Update (2019-06-14): @braz:

[When] I switched to Catalina, and OneDrive didn’t work, I shifted a lot of my ~1.5TB of cloud files to iCloud.

Rock solid, easy syncing. Really looking forward to folder sharing.

See also: Accidental Tech Podcast.

Mike Rundle:

Dropbox is in a bad place. They have to expand beyond just syncing/sharing to prove they’re a growing, public software company, but if they alienate long-time users along the way they’ll erode their core userbase. Not sure what path they can take.

Update (2019-06-17): Curtis Herbert:

Your product either dies a hero or lives long enough to alienate its early fans as you start chasing that sweet sweet B2B revenue.

Russell Ivanovic:

Watching people leaving DropBox for iCloud Drive like

I’ve tried it a few times and the opaqueness of the syncing is incredibly frustrating. I’ve tried Google Drive and their desktop app sucks even worse.

I’m all for lean clean apps. But they have to actually work seamlessly

Geoff Knauth:

Beware file loss when moving files/folders from iCloud to Dropbox. (I think this is Apple’s responsibility.)

Update (2019-06-25): Tony Arnold:

What catastrophic mismanagement happened at Dropbox for it to get to the point where the desktop app component takes more CPU than Xcode?

And even when it recovers after a sync, it continues to slow down every other process.

We’re a long way from 2012.

Update (2019-07-08): Khoi Vinh:

Over the years I’ve hooked numerous apps and services into my Dropbox account, which is why I started paying for the professional plan seven years ago. And yet each year, at renewal time, I think a bit more deeply about the question of whether Dropbox is in fact so indispensable. This is the very boring story of how I came to realize that it’s not.

Update (2019-07-11): Ron Gilbert:

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?

Update (2019-07-18): Marco Arment:

Great. Now Dropbox has this app I don’t want and it pops itself up every so often for no reason.

It’s like Dropbox is trying their hardest to lose customers.

Glenn Fleishman:

Honest to goodness, I saw a Dropbox app in my dock and switched to it, and thought for a moment I’d been infected by malware.

Malcolm Hall:

I’m unhappy with Dropbox using 500MB of RAM and 100% CPU when I’m using rm -r in Terminal. But I’m also unhappy with iCloud’s dependency on Spotlight and requiring to re-upload its entire Drive after cloning to a new Mac instead of just diffing file hashes.

Tony Arnold:

Narrator: this did not end well.

Git repos stores in iCloud Drive die a horrible death if you try to actually interact with them.

Marco Arment:

What we want Dropbox to be: a folder that syncs, with basic shared-folder and share-link support, for which many of us will pay a reasonable monthly fee.

That would be a great business.

But it’s not enough for them. They want to be the next Microsoft Office/Google Docs/Slack.

In a way, “just a feature” was right — folder sync isn’t the kind of business Wall St. and VCs want.

But Dropbox could have been an incredibly successful normal business.

Instead, it will keep becoming a mediocre business-collaboration platform, at the expense of our feature.

The sad thing is that they won’t succeed. They have very little chance of competing well in the arena they’ve put themselves in.

Curtis Herbert:

It would be great business if it weren’t for the fact that they’ve raised lots of funding. You’re talking about a healthy business, not a unicorn, which is what VCs want to see.

Peter Cohen:

When Dropbox’s creators presented their idea to Steve Jobs, he told them that it was a feature, not a product. Dropbox became a hugely successful product and now it wants to become a platform.

That should give us all pause, because our relationship with platform providers is fundamentally different than our relationship with app publishers.

Dropbox Support:

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. We’re currently working to revert this change. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Marco Arment:

“That immensely unpopular change we forced onto all of you yesterday? We only meant to force it on some of you. The rest of you weren’t supposed to get it forced upon you until later.”

Doesn’t really fix the problem, does it?

Nick Heer:

You probably noticed the new app when it self-importantly plopped its icon into your MacOS dock today and jumped to the foreground on its own volition. It’s a very rude new app that occupies several times as much hard drive space because it includes a full copy of the Chromium embedded framework.

Josh Centers:

They could have kept the web hosting feature and charged money for it. Or added additional paid tiers besides the one. There are so many obvious opportunities they left on the table that wouldn’t have mucked up their product.

Update (2019-07-19): Ron Amadeo (Hacker News):

This new update implements different weird or workflow-breaking changes depending on which OS you’re on. On Windows, double-clicking the tray icon no longer opens your Dropbox folder by default, and it instead opens the Dropbox file manager. On macOS, Dropbox now likes to repeatedly spawn a Dropbox dock icon. You can remove it, but it will reappear every time you restart your computer. Dropbox support says it is not possible to turn this dock icon off. On Linux, well, Dropbox doesn’t care enough about Linux to port the file manager app over. Lucky penguins.


Dropbox was quietly one of the Web’s best services for years, and after a lot of growth, the company held an IPO last year. Since then, the stock has struggled to stay above its IPO price, and it’s clear the company is getting more aggressive to try to convert users and get people to treat Dropbox as more than “just a folder.”

Update (2019-07-23): Ben Sandofsky:

Quitting the new Dropbox file manager from the dock just hides it. It’s still sitting in the background, consuming resources for no reason. Your only option is to kill all of Dropbox, which includes syncing.

Update (2019-07-26): See also: The Talk Show.

Update (2019-11-25): Ben Sandofsky:

Quitting the new Dropbox file manager from the dock just hides it. It’s still sitting in the background, consuming resources for no reason. Your only option is to kill all of Dropbox, which includes syncing.

Five months after launch, the new Dropbox consumes one gigabyte of memory in the background.

34 Comments RSS · Twitter

Just use Syncthing already.

Dropbox has been an "open at login" app for me since the late 2000s. Last month I finally moved my notes folder out and have only launched it once since.

[…] Dropbox Debuts New Client, Increases Plan Prices […]

I was using a modest amount of storage, above the free tier. $10/mo was too high and $12 certainly was too high. I moved everything into iCloud, about 100GB. This includes sharing storage with family. So far, so good. I still have the free dropbox account with enough storage for special purposes.

What’s the connection between 1Password and folder sharing? Google didn’t give me many answers.

Is iCloud reliable enough yet to use in place of Dropbox?

@Ben 1Password still supports the old way of syncing via Dropbox folders. This can be used in combination with folder sharing to sync 1Password vaults from different people to the same Mac.

@Nigel iCloud Drive seems reliable to me but can’t be depended on to always maintain local copies of everything.

Thanks @Michael. Is it obvious when something is in the cloud / hasn't been downloaded locally?

@Nigel Only on a per-item basis. AFAIK, you can’t look at an iCloud folder and know that it’s not missing a file several levels deep. The other issue is that you can tell iCloud to force-download a file, because you know you’ll be away from your connection. But then, just hours later, without the storage being full, it may decide to throw it out of the local cache so it isn’t there when you really need it.

When Dropbox first came out, I published a few articles on how much I loved it. It was simple. It was easy to use. It used few resources. It was wonderful. Nontechnical friends used it. I hard linked my $HOME/Documents folder to it. I couldn't live lfe without it.

There comes a time when I have to say goodbye to a product I loved. It's time to say goodbye to Dropbox.

Brian Reiter

1Password 7 Mac and 1Password iOS works with iCloud for syncing the primary vault. That’s what I have been using for years.

I actually dropped DropBox in January in favor of iCloud sync. It was one too many thing she wants a lot of permissions and uses a surprising amount of system resources, so it went. We use Google Drive File Stream for work sharing.

I've been using OneDrive lately without issue, as I'm now regularly syncing between a hackintosh and a Windows laptop. My experience with iCloud has been fraught with problems, so I stay away from it.

I’ve tried the new Dropbox preview but it’s not for me. I plan to move my stuff to iCloud Drive and access shared Dropbox files via Panic’s excellent Transmit, which doesn’t seem to count against the equally annoying 3 client limit (home, work, tablet, phone... dang!). I would pay for a small amount of storage but can’t justify the price for TBs I won’t use. I’m not surprised they are going after enterprise but it reminds me of Evernote (which I replaced with Apple Notes).

Yes, I was already moving away from Dropbox. Then I upgraded my Mac and couldn't set it up without unlinking a bunch of other devices because of the three device limit. Then this came along. Definitely it is past time to leave.

I have been using OneDrive for syncing, most specifically to sync my iPhone pictures to my Mac, and that works well. And with an Office 365 subscription, which I already have for the family, that gives plenty of space, something I don't have with iCloud Drive (and I was sick of Dropbox always telling me my Dropbox was always full).

And like mentioned above, I would have been happy to pay Dropbox an appropriate amount for a reasonable amount of storage and devices, but it is not worth $120/year (for each family member). That is basically what I pay for all of Office 365 for all of us.

Time to leave…

Robin Phillips

I wish iCloud allowed syncing of non-apple (or windows) devices, such as our Synology NAS. If it did that, coupled with folder sharing it would do everything I need.

Our household had 6 Apple devices connected to a Dropbox account that we used for grocery shopping lists.
I made one small change to my Dropbox account and the 3 device limit came into play.
I am not going to pay $100/year to connect my 1.4KB grocery lists.
Off to iCloud. It was painful getting iCloud Drive set up, but it now works and costs $zero.

I only use 3GB of my free account. I don't need 1TB. I don't want to pay an exorbitant amount for more than 3 devices.

I was going to switch to iCloud but this makes me worried: "iCloud Drive seems reliable to me but can’t be depended on to always maintain local copies of everything." That would be quite annoying. I'm going to try OneDrive

My price hike went from $10.99 to $15.99 (CDN).
I am currently using 170gb. I don't need 2TB, and surely don't need any of the new 'features'.
I just downloaded everything to a local hard-drive (had some online only files), and am about to delete as much as i can. I have 20GB+ Free space because I referred everyone I know to dropbox because it was awesome! Now it kinda sucks. :(


Same, I also have plenty of free space from referrals (have referred over 30 people). All I need is to be able to sync files to lots of devices (1 iMac, 1 MBP, 1 carry iPhone, 1 carry iPad, and a tonne of dev iOS devices). More than the 3 in the free plan. I don't need more space, definitely not 2TB. Dropbox won't even let me pay them a reasonable amount just to add to the device limit. That means I'll be moving away from Dropbox, and also adding support for other options into my apps (where previously Dropbox alone was sufficient).

David Waite

Also dropping dropbox. Have been willing for ages to spend a small amount a month, instead they have decided they would like a large per-seat cost to be a big part of my workflow. I already have a workflow.

I'm on the free tier, so this won't count against their important metrics - heck they could spin this as the % of paying customers going up. But it is a shame; I have wanted to be a paying customer (of the old Dropbox) for ages.

@Ben G - It's not uncommon for a lot of older versions of apps like 1Password to use Dropbox as the sync mechanism between multiple computers. If you update your password on one machine, you often want it synced to all your other personal devices. The newer subscription based 1Password has integrated sync features, but if you have an older paid version of 1Password and it still works for you...

I use Dropbox's automatic photo import to automatically aggregate family iPhone photos into shared folders. Do any alternatives to this exist?


pCloud has automatic photo uploads from devices. Their free account gives 10GB of space. I'm thinking of trying them out.

[…] bei Michael Tsai, der eine ganze Reihe von Statements zum neuen Dropbox gefunden hat, findet sich ein Kommentar, der genau beschreibt, was auch für mich gilt (bzw. […]

Used the Pro plan for many years and I have been a huge advocate until recently. Earlier this year they changed the core behavior that a restored file has its modification date changed to the time of the restore. I’m betting that lunacy is related to this new version. All I need is a great syncing product with sharing capabilities. Now looking at pCloud.

Starting to experiment with iCloud Drive and realized another obstacle to dropping Dropbox: Apple hasn't made a web API for other services to use. I use a couple of services that send files to my Dropbox, so I'm stuck with it until or unless Apple decides to make an API that other web services can use. (I wonder why they don't have one when every other cloud storage provider does.)


> But then, just hours later, without the storage being full, it may decide to throw it out of the local cache so it isn’t there when you really need it.

Possible solution for this: System Preferences -> iCloud -> iCloud Drive Options -> Uncheck "Optimize Mac Storage"

@Nigel That works fine on Mac. iOS is where the cache isn’t reliable.

I work on Windows at work and MacOS at home, and have various projects synched across machines. I'm another person that used to love Dropbox, but these days I use it just for legacy family member compatibility. This is spurring me to move everything out of Dropbox and just use it for sharing with family members. OneDrive has its glitches, but it works well 99% of the time on all of my machines so that's where I'm going. iCloud Drive sounds interesting, but since I won't be able to use it on work machines, I doubt I'll get that much use out of it.

It's a shame Dropbox is going bad ways, but I think the rot set in with the whole thing about it needing permission to control your machine and backdooring that in rather than admitting what it was up to.

>doubled the storage space for its Plus users from 1TB to 2TB

The worst thing is that, unless you sync huge files, it's not actually really possible to fully use that space. I'm using like half a TB of space, which, in my case, is 1.5 million files, which means that Dropbox literally can't synchronize these files to my computer anymore. It consistently crashes halfway through, and gives me a warning message saying it can't sync more than 500.000 files. So thanks for doubling my space, but I already can't properly use the amount of space I have now.

Try this, it should get rid of the Mac DropBox app interface upon boot (it is a little workaround until they de-app this thing):

1. Open the 'Script Editor' to create an Applescript

2. Paste this in:

tell application "System Events"
set AppName to name of every process whose background only is false
end try
if "Dropbox" is in AppName then
tell application "Dropbox" to quit
end try
exit repeat

end if
end tell
delay 2
end repeat

3. Save it as an Applescript Application (no startup screen, no stay open)

4. Go to Users is System Prefs, and add this application to the login items fro your user.

5. Launch the application once to give it the permissions it needs (A dialog box may come up asking you to grant it permissions).

6. Reboot.

[…] seems to be the upshot of the commentary on the new Dropbox. Nobody was looking for another way, outside the operating system they are […]

[…] seems to be the upshot of the commentary on the new Dropbox. Nobody was looking for another way, outside the operating system they are […]

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