Illustration of a confused Dropbox user looking at the company's new file browser.

Aurich Lawson/ Getty


This is a story I never ever had any intent of composing. Dropbox upgraded its file-sync application for Mac last month, and the brand-new variation includes an inconvenience that I want to get rid of.

I figured this would not be challenging, not to mention relevant: I ‘d call Dropbox, discuss the issue, and discover if there’s any method for me to alter the bothersome habits. If there wasn’t, I ‘d advise that they make a little modification to their app, and ideally my message would be passed along to their advancement group and they ‘d ultimately make a modification.

Rather, I discovered something both discouraging and remarkable: there are many Dropbox assistance workers who obviously have actually never ever utilized their business’s Mac application and do not comprehend how it works. As an outcome, Dropbox’s users need to discuss to Dropbox workers how Dropbox’s application deals with the Mac.

As a department of labor, it most likely makes good sense for some assistance representatives to focus on Dropbox for Windows, or Dropbox for Mac, or Dropbox for mobile phones, and so on. However when Dropbox presented a significant modification to its Mac application, it had assistance representatives responding to Mac users without understanding what they were discussing. I do not blame the specific assistance representatives– Dropbox the business requires to make certain its workers are prepared to address user concerns, specifically in advance of significant modifications that will undoubtedly cause an increase in user grievances. That didn’t occur this time.

Dropbox wishes to be front and center

To sum up, the issue is this: Dropbox now opens a brand-new file web browser and an associated Dock icon whenever it begins, even if you do not desire it to. If you’re not acquainted with Macs, the Dock is the line of applications on the bottom of the screen (or the side, if you have actually moved it in the settings) and serves the very same function as the Windows Taskbar. If my computer system reboots or if Dropbox reboots, the brand-new Dropbox window that I do not desire appears in the Dock:

Dropbox's new app opens a file browser and Dock icon every time my Mac restarts.
/ Dropbox’s brand-new app opens a file web browser and Dock icon whenever my Mac reboots.

Jon Brodkin

This isn’t a big offer, as I can give up Dropbox’s brand-new file web browser and eliminate that Dock icon each time my computer system launches. I’m not going to stop utilizing Dropbox– I have actually been paying the business $138 a year for 2TB of storage and for 12 months’ worth of file history, which conserves all erased files and modifications to files. (It’s increasing to $158 next time I get billed, in February.) It deserves it to me since Dropbox still works excellent, while the options have actually constantly been undependable or frustrating in other methods when I have actually attempted them. I’ll enter that more later on in this post.

However the Dock icon and window is a significant modification in how Dropbox emerges to users. Dropbox has actually constantly been the type of application that exists when you require it and gets out of the method when you do not. Dropbox’s syncing and file-sharing functions are incorporated with the Finder (the Mac file supervisor), and there’s a little icon in the Mac’s Menu Bar at the top of the screen for when you require to alter a setting.

Dropbox's right-click menu for files in the Finder.
/ Dropbox’s right-click menu for files in the Finder.

Jon Brodkin

Today, Dropbox wishes to be front and center at all times. The business constructed its own file web browser to change what’s currently readily available in the Mac Finder, and it opens that brand-new file supervisor whenever Dropbox begins. We blogged about it recently when Dropbox began rolling it out to more users. I have actually had it for more than a month considering that I in some way wound up in Dropbox’s Early Gain access to program.

You can utilize the Mac’s Command-Q faster way to give up the file web browser, and the brand-new Dropbox window and Dock icon will vanish– as long as you have actually likewise handicapped the Mac function that reveals current applications in the Dock. You can repair the other significant issue by entering into Dropbox settings and selecting “Open folders in Finder” rather of “Open folders in Dropbox.” That method, if you click the Dropbox Menu Bar icon and after that click a file, it opens in the Mac’s native file supervisor rather of Dropbox’s own file supervisor. You need to alter the setting since Dropbox’s brand-new app instantly changes the default from the Finder to Dropbox’s brand-new file web browser.

Dropbox does keep syncing in the background after you give up the brand-new file supervisor, and the helpful Menu Bar icon will still exist. However you need to do this whenever you reboot your Mac, or whenever Dropbox restarts. No matter what settings you select, the brand-new file web browser and matching Dock open whenever Dropbox begins. I believe many individuals will simply leave it in the Dock since they might not understand that Dropbox will continue running generally even if you “gave up” the file web browser.

So what does this pertain to Dropbox assistance workers? Well, it ends up they do not understand that it’s possible for Mac applications to run without a Dock icon although that’s precisely how Dropbox worked for a years. And they have actually been offering bad guidance to users who wish to alter back to the old method of doing things.

Since several Dropbox workers are making this error, I presume this is a failure at a greater level. Dropbox made a significant modification to how its Mac application works, however it does not appear to have actually completely discussed that modification to its assistance reps. You ‘d believe Dropbox would make certain its assistance representatives have a standard understanding of how its Mac app works and how the Mac Dock works prior to they need to react to Mac users, however that hasn’t held true.

Describing the Dropbox app to Dropbox workers

Have A Look At this assistance thread that started a month back with the title “Can’t get rid of Dropbox icon from Mac OS Dock.” The user who began the thread composed:

On the Mac, in the past, I have actually liked simply having a little discrete Dropbox icon on my menu bar to keep track of things and after that accessed my files from the Finder.

After a current upgrade to the “brand-new” Dropbox, the Dropbox application itself now opens itself and slaps a huge Dropbox icon in my Dock which I do not desire there.

Difficulty is, if I choose to not open Dropbox on login, then the menu bar icon likewise does not appear and syncing does not happen at all.

How do I stop the Dock icon appearing on start-up?


Pretty easy demand, right? Other than the Dropbox staff member who reacted informed the user that it’s difficult for Mac apps to not have a Dock icon, although that’s merely not real.

The Dropbox staff member reacted:

[W] hile it would deserve keeping in mind that all active programs will appear on the Dock while they are open, kindly keep in mind that it will not be possible to eliminate it from there without getting rid of the app entirely. From there, I have actually currently made certain to note your ideas in my report internally, considering that this would be some excellent feedback for our group devs.

The declaration that “all active programs will appear on the Dock while they are open” is incorrect, as numerous Mac applications simply appear in the Menu Bar and operate in the background. That’s how Dropbox worked till a month back, that’s how Dropbox’s rivals still work, and yet some Dropbox workers believe it’s difficult. Numerous other Mac apps that can appear in either the Dock or Menu Bar let you disable the Dock icon, and Dropbox might quickly do this by including a checkbox to its app settings.

There’s another unusual reaction from a Dropbox staff member because assistance thread, in which the assistance representative recommends disabling Dropbox’s capability to launch instantly upon visiting to the Mac. Yes, that would avoid the Dock icon from appearing, however it would likewise avoid Dropbox from operating at all.

I got in touch with Dropbox on Twitter on June 13 and was informed that there is no other way to disable the introducing of the Dock icon. The Dropbox staff member who reacted to me because tweet did appear to comprehend the issue, however my more efforts were all responded to by workers who do not comprehend how the Dropbox for Mac app works.

I got in touch with Dropbox by e-mail on July 9, and a worker reacted the next day with the following idea:

If I comprehend properly, your existing problem is that the Dropbox desktop application dock icon is obstructing when utilizing your gadget, is that appropriate? … As dock icons are associated to the settings on your Apple gadget, doing a fast web search regarding ‘how to conceal dock icons’ may potentially yield the outcomes you are aiming to accomplish.

Comparable to the Dropbox representative in the assistance thread, the Dropbox staff member reacting to me appeared to believe that it’s difficult for a Mac app to run without a Dock icon unless a user discovers some unsupported hack that alters how the app works. While it’s possible to conceal some Dock icons by modifying each app’s info.plist file, this didn’t work when I attempted it with Dropbox. And it’s much better for the app to support Dock hiding formally since a user tampering how an app works can cause unintentional issues.

I reacted to the Dropbox staff member and discussed that Dropbox never ever opened a Dock icon till just recently, that there is no other way for me to alter how the Dropbox app works, which Dropbox’s advancement group need to certainly understand that it purposefully made this modification. I likewise asked the staff member if he has actually utilized the Dropbox for Mac application just recently since I wished to make certain I might speak with somebody who comprehends what the Dock is and how it works.

In his next e-mail reply, the Dropbox staff member did not address whether he has actually ever utilized Dropbox for Mac. However, he informed me, “As you pointed out there is no other way for you to conceal the Dropbox dock icon, I have actually handed down your feedback to my advancement group for you.”