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Dropbox irks Mac users with annoying Dock icon, offers clueless support

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

Aurich Lawson / Getty

It is a tale I by no means had any aim of writing. Dropbox up to date its file-sync software for Mac closing month, and the brand new model incorporates an annoyance that I want to do away with.

I figured this would not be tricky, let by myself newsworthy: I might touch Dropbox, provide an explanation for the issue, and to find out if there may be any manner for me to switch the irritating habits. If there wasn’t, I might suggest that they make a small alternate to their app, and with a bit of luck my message can be handed alongside to their building staff and they would in the end make a metamorphosis.

As an alternative, I discovered one thing each irritating and engaging: there are a large number of Dropbox fortify workers who it appears have by no means used their corporate’s Mac software and don’t know how it really works. In consequence, Dropbox’s customers have to provide an explanation for to Dropbox workers how Dropbox’s software works at the Mac.

As a department of work, it most definitely is sensible for some fortify reps to focus on Dropbox for Home windows, or Dropbox for Mac, or Dropbox for cellular gadgets, and many others. But if Dropbox rolled out a significant alternate to its Mac software, it had fortify reps replying to Mac customers with out realizing what they had been speaking about. I do not blame the person fortify reps—Dropbox the corporate wishes to ensure its workers are ready to respond to consumer questions, particularly upfront of main adjustments that may inevitably result in a upward thrust in consumer court cases. That did not occur this time.

Dropbox desires to be entrance and heart

To summarize, the issue is that this: Dropbox now opens a brand new dossier browser and an related Dock icon each and every time it begins, even supposing you do not need it to. In case you are now not aware of Macs, the Dock is the road of packages at the backside of the display (or the aspect, should you’ve moved it within the settings) and serves the similar serve as because the Home windows Taskbar. If my laptop restarts or if Dropbox restarts, the brand new Dropbox window that I are not looking for pops up within the Dock:

Dropbox's new app opens a file browser and Dock icon every time my Mac restarts.
Magnify / Dropbox’s new app opens a dossier browser and Dock icon each and every time my Mac restarts.

Jon Brodkin

This is not an enormous deal, as I will be able to surrender Dropbox’s new dossier browser and eliminate that Dock icon every time my laptop begins up. I am not going to forestall the usage of Dropbox—I have been paying the corporate $138 a 12 months for 2TB of garage and for 12 months’ price of dossier historical past, which saves all deleted information and revisions to information. (It is going as much as $158 subsequent time I am getting billed, in February.) It is price it to me as a result of Dropbox nonetheless works nice, whilst the choices have at all times been unreliable or disappointing in different ways when I have attempted them. I will get into that extra later on this article.

However the Dock icon and window is a significant alternate in how Dropbox gifts itself to customers. Dropbox has at all times been the type of software this is there when you want it and will get out of the way in which when you do not. Dropbox’s syncing and file-sharing options are built-in with the Finder (the Mac dossier supervisor), and there is a little icon within the Mac’s Menu Bar on the most sensible of the display for when you want to switch a surroundings.

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

Jon Brodkin

However now, Dropbox desires to be entrance and heart always. The corporate constructed its personal dossier browser to switch what is already to be had within the Mac Finder, and it opens that new dossier supervisor each and every time Dropbox begins. We wrote about it closing week when Dropbox began rolling it out to extra customers. I have had it for greater than a month since I one way or the other ended up in Dropbox’s Early Get entry to program.

You’ll use the Mac’s Command-Q shortcut to surrender the dossier browser, and the brand new Dropbox window and Dock icon will disappear—so long as you may have additionally disabled the Mac characteristic that displays fresh packages within the Dock. You’ll repair the opposite significant issue by means of going into Dropbox settings and opting for “Open folders in Finder” as an alternative of “Open folders in Dropbox.” That manner, should you click on the Dropbox Menu Bar icon after which click on a dossier, it opens within the Mac’s local dossier supervisor as an alternative of Dropbox’s personal dossier supervisor. It’s important to alternate the surroundings as a result of Dropbox’s new app robotically switches the default from the Finder to Dropbox’s new dossier browser.

Dropbox does stay syncing within the background after you surrender the brand new dossier supervisor, and the helpful Menu Bar icon will nonetheless be there. However it’s a must to do that each and every time you restart your Mac, or each and every time Dropbox restarts. It doesn’t matter what settings you select, the brand new dossier browser and corresponding Dock open each and every time Dropbox begins. I think many of us will simply depart it within the Dock as a result of they won’t understand that Dropbox will proceed operating generally even supposing you “surrender” the dossier browser.

So what does this must do with Dropbox fortify workers? Neatly, it seems they do not know that it is conceivable for Mac packages to run and not using a Dock icon even supposing that is precisely how Dropbox labored for a decade. And they have got been giving dangerous recommendation to customers who need to alternate again to the outdated manner of doing issues.

As a result of a couple of Dropbox workers are making this error, I suppose it is a failure at a better stage. Dropbox made a significant alternate to how its Mac software works, nevertheless it does not appear to have totally defined that adjust to its fortify reps. You would assume Dropbox would be sure that its fortify reps have a baseline working out of the way its Mac app works and the way the Mac Dock works sooner than they have got to answer Mac customers, however that hasn’t been the case.

Explaining the Dropbox app to Dropbox workers

Take a look at this fortify thread that started a month in the past with the name “Cannot take away Dropbox icon from Mac OS Dock.” The consumer who began the thread wrote:

At the Mac, previously, I have appreciated simply having a small discrete Dropbox icon on my menu bar to watch issues after which accessed my information from the Finder.

After a contemporary replace to the “new” Dropbox, the Dropbox software itself now opens itself and slaps a large Dropbox icon in my Dock which I are not looking for there.

Bother is, if I choose not to open Dropbox on login, then the menu bar icon additionally does not seem and syncing does not happen in any respect.

How do I forestall the Dock icon showing on startup?

Thank you!

Beautiful easy request, correct? Except for the Dropbox worker who answered instructed the consumer that it is unattainable for Mac apps not to have a Dock icon, even supposing that is merely now not true.

The Dropbox worker answered:

[W]hile it might be price noting that each one lively systems will seem at the Dock whilst they’re open, kindly be aware that it’s going to now not be conceivable to take away it from there with out casting off the app altogether. From there, I have already made positive to notice your ideas in my record internally, since this might be some nice comments for our staff devs.

The remark that “all lively systems will seem at the Dock whilst they’re open” is fake, as many Mac packages simply seem within the Menu Bar and paintings within the background. That is how Dropbox labored till a month in the past, that is how Dropbox’s competition nonetheless paintings, and but some Dropbox workers assume it is unattainable. Many different Mac apps that may seem in both the Dock or Menu Bar allow you to disable the Dock icon, and Dropbox may just simply do that by means of including a checkbox to its app settings.

There is some other odd reaction from a Dropbox worker in that fortify thread, wherein the fortify rep suggests disabling Dropbox’s talent to begin up robotically upon logging in to the Mac. Sure, that will save you the Dock icon from showing, however it might additionally save you Dropbox from operating in any respect.

I contacted Dropbox on Twitter on June 13 and used to be instructed that there is not any option to disable the launching of the Dock icon. The Dropbox worker who answered to me in that tweet did appear to know the issue, however my additional makes an attempt had been all spoke back by means of workers who do not know how the Dropbox for Mac app works.

I contacted Dropbox by means of e mail on July nine, and an worker answered the following day with the next advice:

If I perceive accurately, your present factor is that the Dropbox desktop software dock icon is moving into the way in which when the usage of your tool, is that proper?… As dock icons are related to the settings in your Apple tool, doing a handy guide a rough web seek as to ‘tips on how to cover dock icons’ would possibly most likely yield the consequences you need to succeed in.

Very similar to the Dropbox rep within the fortify thread, the Dropbox worker responding to me gave the impression to assume that it is unattainable for a Mac app to function and not using a Dock icon until a consumer unearths some unsupported hack that adjustments how the app works. Whilst it is conceivable to cover some Dock icons by means of modifying every app’s information.plist dossier, this did not paintings once I attempted it with Dropbox. And it is higher for the app to fortify Dock hiding formally as a result of a consumer messing round with how an app works may end up in accidental issues.

I answered to the Dropbox worker and defined that Dropbox by no means opened a Dock icon till not too long ago, that there is not any manner for me to switch how the Dropbox app works, and that Dropbox’s building staff will have to indubitably know that it deliberately made this transformation. I additionally requested the worker if he has used the Dropbox for Mac software not too long ago as a result of I sought after to ensure I may just communicate to anyone who understands what the Dock is and the way it works.

In his subsequent e mail answer, the Dropbox worker didn’t resolution whether or not he has ever used Dropbox for Mac. However, he instructed me, “As you discussed there is not any manner so that you can cover the Dropbox dock icon, I’ve handed in your comments to my building staff for you.”


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