Dropbox Auto Sync

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Automatically sync folders on your computer to the cloud. Individuals and teams can back up folders like Desktop, Documents, and Downloads directly into Dropbox and access them from anywhere. Save a file to the Dropbox folder on your computer, and it will synchronize automatically to your mobile device. Cloud file sync is available on multiple devices and platforms, from Windows and Mac to mobile devices like iPhone, iPad and Android via the Dropbox mobile app.

Turn Off Dropbox Sync

With Dropbox, you can access the same version of a file on any computer, phone, or tablet that you’ve linked to your account. We call this ”sync,' and it’s core to what Dropbox does. With sync, the latest versions of files are always available on all your devices.

You can sync files in three quick steps:

  1. Download the Dropbox app on your computer and on your phone or tablet.
  2. Sign in to each of those devices with the same email address and password.
  3. Add files from any device to the Dropbox apps or to dropbox.com.

If you've already installed Dropbox, simply add files to the Dropbox folder to automatically sync the files to Dropbox. If you’re syncing your account for the very first time, it may take a few minutes to complete. Once the process finishes, you'll find your files in the Dropbox app on each device connected to your account.

Important things to know about sync

Use the same Dropbox account on all your devices

When installing Dropbox, you’ll be prompted to either sign in or create a new account. You only need one account no matter how many devices you want to keep in sync. In order for files to sync, you must sign in using the same email address and password on each device you’d like to link to your Dropbox account.

The 'Dropbox' folder on your computer’s hard drive

If you install Dropbox on your computer, you'll see a Dropbox folder on your hard drive. This folder works just like any other folder on your computer, but with one important difference: files in this folder sync to Dropbox, and files in Dropbox are accessible through this folder.

No manual uploading or downloading is required

The Dropbox service monitors the Dropbox folder on your computer and the Dropbox mobile apps. If there’s a change—a new file or folder, or an edit to an existing file or folder—Dropbox will automatically sync those changes. No manual uploading is downloading is required. This means that sync happens automatically, as long as you have an active internet connection, you have the Dropbox desktop app installed, and you’re signed in.

If you’re offline, files will sync as soon as the device is online again

Computers, phones, and tablets that aren’t connected to the internet won’t sync to Dropbox. However, a device that’s offline will automatically receive file changes from Dropbox as soon as it’s online again. And file changes made on an offline device will sync back to Dropbox as soon as the device is online again.

And don't worry about shutting down Dropbox while a sync is in progress. It will simply resume where it left off once Dropbox is running again.

Dropbox syncs in order by file size

Dropbox prioritizes syncing (or uploads) by file size, starting first with folders and the smallest files in them. This way, you don't have to worry about your smaller files getting stuck behind larger ones when syncing.

Dropbox can’t sync files that are outside of the Dropbox folder

Dropbox can only sync the files that are in the Dropbox folder, or in the Dropbox mobile apps. After moving a file or folder into Dropbox, you can create a shortcut in the original location to access the files from there. However, this doesn't work the other way around. Creating a shortcut in your Dropbox folder to access files in their original location isn't supported by Dropbox.

Syncing over Wi-Fi and cellular networks

The mobile app syncs based on the type of network your phone or tablet is connected to.

On a Wi-Fi network:

  • The mobile app automatically downloads updates when you launch the app, open a file, and open the Offline files tab
  • Camera uploads start or resume whenever you launch the app

On a cellular network:

  • Only downloads update automatically
  • On Android devices, offline files display an alert icon if they were modified while you were offline. These files then need to be manually synced. To sync the latest version, tap Update all in the Offline files tab.
  • Camera uploads don’t automatically start or resume unless the Use Cellular Data option is set to On.

If you need your files when a network isn’t available, make your important files available offline.

Content of this article:

About Dropbox

Dropbox, one of the famous cloud storage services, is widely used in storing data on cloud, syncing files to multiple devices and platform, including Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android. When you sync local folder to Dropbox or its folder, all the folders will be synced automatically to all your devices as long as there is an internet connection. You just need to log in with the same account on your devices.

Besides, you can sync folder outside Dropbox folder. You can directly copy and paste the folder you want to sync to Dropbox folder. If you want to see it at the original location, you can create a symbolic link (a sort of shortcuts) between Dropbox folder and the folder on your drive that you want to sync.

2 common ways to sync local folder to Dropbox

Way 1: Dropbox one way sync with Dropbox folder

The first thing is to download and install Dropbox on the local computer if you want to sync local folder with Dropbox. After downloading, your computer will have a Dropbox folder. It looks like a normal folder, but it can automatically sync local folders to Dropbox once you put files inside and you can access files in Dropbox through this folder.

Now, follow the steps below to sync local folder with Dropbox folder.

Step 1. Open Dropbox folder by double-clicking Dropbox in the desktop.

Step 2. Copy and paste the local folders to Dropbox folder. Then, it will automatically sync to web-site.

Way 2: Sync local folder with Dropbox using Smart Sync

Smart Sync is a new feature for Dropbox to help users save hard drive space automatically via Online-only option, which is only available on Plus, Professional or Business plans. Please note you can only view your files with an internet connection. It provides a free-trial for users still using the Basic plan, so you can try it before purchasing.

Then, let's start to sync local folder with Smart Sync feature.

Step 1. Open the Dropbox folder on your computer.

Step 2. Select the files you want to make online-only, right-click it, then choose Smart sync and Online-only option.


  • Except for the manually operation, you can still enable automatic smart sync feature. Click Dropbox icon at the system tray and your avatar, select Preferences, then tap on the Sync tab and tick On under Save hard drive space automatically.

  • Also, you can set the file added to web default as online-only.

Other things you need to know

1. If you want to sync folders to all your devices, you need to log in with the same email address and password on each device.

2. Dropbox service will monitor the Dropbox folder on the computer and other devices. And once there is a change, Dropbox will sync it automatically as long as there is an internet connection.

3. When your computer or other devices are offline, all the changes will be saved and synced again when it connects to internet.

4. Dropbox can only sync files in the Dropbox folder or mobile app. If you want to sync folder outside Dropbox, you need to add it to Dropbox folder.

5. Dropbox selective sync is diferent from Smart Sync, which refers to sync your folder on dropbox.com to local. If you have this need, you can go to References > Sync tab > Selective Sync, then uncheck the folder you don't want to sync to your computer.

Easier way to sync local folder outside Dropbox folder

To sync folder outside Dropbox folder, the simplest way is to copy and paste the folder you want to sync to Dropbox folder. After that, you can create a symbolic link so that you can see folder at its original location. Also, if you are using Plus, Professional or Business plan, Smart Sync is a great choice.

Besides, you still can use Dropbox alternative software - AOMEI Backupper Standard. It’s very easy to use. The sync process is automatic without any human intervention. And this software will keep the selected folder both online and local, you can view your files at any time.

Dropbox Not Syncing Automatically

More features of AOMEI Backupper:

  • Support multiple backup devices, such as, Google Drive, OneDrive, network drive, or NAS, external hard drive, USB drive, and more.

  • Schedule sync in daily/weekly/monthly: This feature can protect your data intact as much as possible and give you more backup versions while restoration.

  • Email notification: In an emergency, this feature can provide you the convenience of leaving directly without waiting for the final result. It will inform you if the task is sucessful through your email.

To sync local folder outside Dropbox folder, just use the following steps.

Step 1. Download Dropbox alternative - AOMEI Backupper, install and run it. Then, click Basic Sync under the Sync tab. To backup files to Dropbox for a copy of image file, click File Backup.

Dropbox Auto Sync

Step 2. Click + Add Folder and click Desktop, Libraries or This PC to find the local folder you want to sync.

Step 3. Click Drop-down menu and pitch on Select a cloud drive.

Step 4. Select Dropbox or its subfolder and then click OK to exit this window.

Note: If you want to sync local folder to Google Dive, click 'Google Drive' in the given picture above.

Step 5. Click Start Sync. If you want to create a scheduled backup, you can click Schedule, select any settings you want.


  • Don't modify the source folder name, otherwise the software will not sync changes anymore.

  • This software also supports 'Real-time sync', 'Mirror Sync' and 'Two-Way Sync', which can bring users much convenience. But all of them are available on the professional version of AOMEI Backupper.

Wrapping things up

Speaking of syncing local folder to Dropbox, you may think about the simplest way - using Dropbox folder on the desktop. In addition, Smart sync of Dropbox is an excellent choice, which can help you save hard drive space automatically via online-only option. You can also view these online files locally when your computer connect to network.

But if you want to protect your files continously or enjoy other advanced features, you can turn to AOMEI Backupper Standard. It supports many useful features, such as, daily/weekly/monthly sync, event triggers, USB plug in etc. Try it and you will be pleasantly surprised.