The desktop app gives you one organized place to work with all your Dropbox content, tools, and connected apps. Jump back into work quickly. Easily prioritize your workday and stay focused on what’s happening with Dropbox in the Windows system tray and macOS menu bar. Find all your files easily. If you wish to remove DropBox from finder sidebar, right click on DropBox and click on “Remove from Sidebar.” There are a number of popular cloud storage services like OneDrive, Box, Google Drive, Amazon Cloud Drive, iCloud Drive (only for Apple ecosystem). However, Dropbox is found to be the most user-friendly by a lot of users.
Once upon a time, Dropbox was just a really useful cloud storage service that offered a reasonable amount of storage space for free and allowed you to pay for more as you needed it. However, over the years it has grown in features and its Mac app has grown in complexity.
Now, Dropbox wants to be an online platform, integrating with the likes of Google Docs, Trello boards, and Slack. But what if you don’t want all of that and are fed up with the nagging requests for you to upgrade to a paid storage plan? Well, then it’s time to uninstall Dropbox from your Mac.
Before we continue, it’s important to note that there is a distinction between uninstalling the Dropbox app and closing your account. When you uninstall the app, all your files will still be available through a web browser on your Mac or via another device. You just won’t be able to access them via the Dropbox app. If you want to close your account and remove your files from Dropbox, you will have to do that separately, in a web browser.
Equally, when you uninstall Dropbox, it won't remove the Dropbox folder from your Mac. If you want to do that, you will have to drag it to the Trash. However, before you do that, make sure all your files are backed up elsewhere.
How to remove Dropbox on your Mac
- Launch the Dropbox app if it’s not already running.
- Click on the Dropbox menu item in the menu bar.
- Select your profile picture or initials then choose Preferences.
- Click on the Account tab.
- Choose Unlink this Dropbox.
- Click on the Dropbox menu bar item again.
- Select your profile picture or initials, then choose Quit Dropbox.
- Navigate to your Applications folder, open it and drag the Dropbox app to the Trash.
- Empty the Trash.
How to uninstall the Dropbox contextual menu
- In the Finder, choose the Go menu and then Go to Folder.
- In the box, type /Library and press Return.
- Locate the DropboxHelperTools folder and move it to the Trash.
Remove Dropbox application settings
- In the Finder, choose the Go menu and then Go to Folder.
- In the box, type /.dropbox and hit Return.
- Select all the files in the folder by clicking and dragging over them or Command-clicking each one in turn.
- Drag the files to the Trash.
- Empty the Trash.
Here’s what to do if Dropbox won’t uninstall
- Go to Applications>Utilities and launch Activity Monitor.
- Locate any processes with Dropbox in the name.
- Select each one in turn and press the Quit Process (x) button in the toolbar.
- When you’ve quit all the Dropbox processes, quit Activity Monitor.
- Try uninstalling Dropbox again.
Once you have completed the steps above, the Dropbox app will have been uninstalled from your Mac. Your files will remain in the Dropbox folder on your Mac and in your Dropbox account, but they will no longer sync. To remove the Dropbox folder from your Mac, drag it to the Trash. Remember to back up your files first.
If all that seems like a lot of work to delete Dropbox from your Mac, there is an easier way. CleanMyMac X allows you to uninstall apps with just a couple of clicks. Here’s how to use it.
- Download and launch CleanMyMac X — get a free version here
- Click on the Uninstaller tool in the sidebar.
- Locate Dropbox in the list of apps and check the box next to it.
- Press Uninstall.
- Check for any leftover files by clicking on Leftovers in the Uninstall utility. If there are any listed, check the box next to them and press Uninstall.
Dropbox will be fully uninstalled and all its associated files removed. However, your Dropbox folder and all your files will remain on your Mac.
Alternatives to uninstalling Dropbox
There are several reasons you may want to uninstall Dropbox on your Mac. Depending on your situation, there may be better options than uninstalling it completely.
Dropbox syncing using too much bandwidth?
If you have lots of files on Dropbox and they change frequently, and particularly if they are large files, you might find that syncing between your Mac and Dropbox’s servers uses up a big chunk of bandwidth. You can limit this, however.
- Click on the Dropbox menu bar item.
- Choose Preferences.
- Select the Network tab.
- Press Change Settings, next to Bandwidth.
- Check the box next to Limit to in the Download rate section and type in a transfer rate.
- Repeat for the Upload rate section.
Dropbox sync speeds will now be throttled, ensuring it doesn’t take up too much bandwidth.
Don’t like Dropbox launching at startup?
In order to sync files whenever you make changes to the Dropbox folder, its helper app needs to be running. But you don’t need the full Dropbox app to launch at startup. And if you don’t use Dropbox much, you can stop the helper app launching at startup, too.
- In Dropbox’s Preferences, choose the General tab.
- Uncheck the boxes next to Start Dropbox on system startup and Open the desktop app when starting Dropbox.
Apps and helper apps that launch at startup can slow down your Mac when it’s booting. If this is causing a problem, the best thing to do is to stop them launching automatically. You can do that in Users & Groups in System Preferences. But an even quicker way to do it is to use CleanMyMac X’s Optimization tool. That way, you can prevent multiple apps and services launching at startup with just a few clicks.
Dropbox is a useful cloud storage service. But over the years, its app has grown in size and in the features it offers. If you no longer want it on your Mac, uninstalling it is easy. You can then choose whether to close your account completely or to continue using it with other devices. If you decide to close your account, remember to backup your data first.
This is a story I never had any intention of writing. Dropbox updated its file-sync application for Mac last month, and the new version contains an annoyance that I would like to eliminate.
I figured this wouldn't be difficult, let alone newsworthy: I'd contact Dropbox, explain the problem, and find out if there's any way for me to change the annoying behavior. If there wasn't, I'd recommend that they make a small change to their app, and hopefully my message would be passed along to their development team and they'd eventually make a change.
Instead, I learned something both frustrating and fascinating: there are numerous Dropbox support employees who apparently have never used their company's Mac application and do not understand how it works. As a result, Dropbox's users have to explain to Dropbox employees how Dropbox's application works on the Mac.
As a division of labor, it probably makes sense for some support reps to specialize in Dropbox for Windows, or Dropbox for Mac, or Dropbox for mobile devices, etc. But when Dropbox rolled out a major change to its Mac application, it had support reps replying to Mac users without knowing what they were talking about. I don't blame the individual support reps—Dropbox the company needs to make sure its employees are prepared to answer user questions, especially in advance of major changes that will inevitably lead to a rise in user complaints. That didn't happen this time.
Dropbox wants to be front and center
To summarize, the problem is this: Dropbox now opens a new file browser and an associated Dock icon every time it starts, even if you don't want it to. If you're not familiar with Macs, the Dock is the line of applications on the bottom of the screen (or the side, if you've moved it in the settings) and serves the same function as the Windows Taskbar. If my computer restarts or if Dropbox restarts, the new Dropbox window that I don't want pops up in the Dock:
This isn't a huge deal, as I can quit Dropbox's new file browser and get rid of that Dock icon each time my computer starts up. I'm not going to stop using Dropbox—I've been paying the company $138 a year for 2TB of storage and for 12 months' worth of file history, which saves all deleted files and revisions to files. (It's going up to $158 next time I get billed, in February.) It's worth it to me because Dropbox still works great, while the alternatives have always been unreliable or disappointing in other ways when I've tried them. I'll get into that more later in this article.
But the Dock icon and window is a major change in how Dropbox presents itself to users. Dropbox has always been the kind of application that is there when you need it and gets out of the way when you don't. Dropbox's syncing and file-sharing features are integrated with the Finder (the Mac file manager), and there's a little icon in the Mac's Menu Bar at the top of the screen for when you need to change a setting.Advertisement
But now, Dropbox wants to be front and center at all times. The company built its own file browser to replace what's already available in the Mac Finder, and it opens that new file manager every time Dropbox starts. We wrote about it last week when Dropbox started rolling it out to more users. I've had it for more than a month since I somehow ended up in Dropbox's Early Access program.
You can use the Mac's Command-Q shortcut to quit the file browser, and the new Dropbox window and Dock icon will disappear—as long as you've also disabled the Mac feature that shows recent applications in the Dock. You can fix the other major problem by going into Dropbox settings and choosing 'Open folders in Finder' instead of 'Open folders in Dropbox.' That way, if you click the Dropbox Menu Bar icon and then click a file, it opens in the Mac's native file manager instead of Dropbox's own file manager. You have to change the setting because Dropbox's new app automatically switches the default from the Finder to Dropbox's new file browser.
Dropbox does keep syncing in the background after you quit the new file manager, and the useful Menu Bar icon will still be there. But you have to do this every time you restart your Mac, or every time Dropbox restarts. No matter what settings you choose, the new file browser and corresponding Dock open every time Dropbox starts. I suspect many people will just leave it in the Dock because they may not realize that Dropbox will continue running normally even if you 'quit' the file browser.
So what does this have to do with Dropbox support employees? Well, it turns out they don't know that it's possible for Mac applications to run without a Dock icon even though that's exactly how Dropbox worked for a decade. And they've been giving bad advice to users who want to change back to the old way of doing things.
Because multiple Dropbox employees are making this mistake, I assume this is a failure at a higher level. Dropbox made a major change to how its Mac application works, but it doesn't seem to have fully explained that change to its support reps. You'd think Dropbox would make sure its support reps have a baseline understanding of how its Mac app works and how the Mac Dock works before they have to respond to Mac users, but that hasn't been the case.
Explaining the Dropbox app to Dropbox employees
Check out this support thread that began a month ago with the title 'Can't remove Dropbox icon from Mac OS Dock.' The user who started the thread wrote:
On the Mac, in the past, I've liked just having a small discrete Dropbox icon on my menu bar to monitor things and then accessed my files from the Finder.
After a recent update to the 'new' Dropbox, the Dropbox application itself now opens itself and slaps a big Dropbox icon in my Dock which I don't want there.
Trouble is, if I select to not open Dropbox on login, then the menu bar icon also doesn't appear and syncing doesn't take place at all.
How do I stop the Dock icon appearing on startup?
Pretty simple request, right? Except the Dropbox employee who responded told the user that it's impossible for Mac apps to not have a Dock icon, even though that's simply not true.Advertisement
The Dropbox employee responded:
Where Could I Find My Dropbox On My Mac
[W]hile it would be worth noting that all active programs will appear on the Dock while they are open, kindly note that it will not be possible to remove it from there without removing the app altogether. From there, I've already made sure to note your thoughts in my report internally, since this would be some great feedback for our team devs.
The statement that 'all active programs will appear on the Dock while they are open' is false, as many Mac applications just appear in the Menu Bar and work in the background. That's how Dropbox worked until a month ago, that's how Dropbox's competitors still work, and yet some Dropbox employees think it's impossible. Many other Mac apps that can appear in either the Dock or Menu Bar let you disable the Dock icon, and Dropbox could easily do this by adding a checkbox to its app settings.
There's another strange response from a Dropbox employee in that support thread, in which the support rep suggests disabling Dropbox's ability to start up automatically upon logging in to the Mac. Yes, that would prevent the Dock icon from appearing, but it would also prevent Dropbox from working at all.
I contacted Dropbox on Twitter on June 13 and was told that there is no way to disable the launching of the Dock icon. The Dropbox employee who responded to me in that tweet did seem to understand the problem, but my further attempts were all answered by employees who don't understand how the Dropbox for Mac app works.
I contacted Dropbox by email on July 9, and an employee responded the next day with the following suggestion:
If I understand correctly, your current issue is that the Dropbox desktop application dock icon is getting in the way when using your device, is that correct?... As dock icons are associated to the settings on your Apple device, doing a quick internet search as to 'how to hide dock icons' might possibly yield the results you are looking to achieve.
Similar to the Dropbox rep in the support thread, the Dropbox employee responding to me seemed to think that it's impossible for a Mac app to operate without a Dock icon unless a user finds some unsupported hack that changes how the app works. While it's possible to hide some Dock icons by editing each app's info.plist file, this didn't work when I tried it with Dropbox. And it's better for the app to support Dock hiding officially because a user messing around with how an app works can lead to unintended problems.
Dropbox Free Download Windows 10
I responded to the Dropbox employee and explained that Dropbox never opened a Dock icon until recently, that there is no way for me to change how the Dropbox app works, and that Dropbox's development team should surely know that it intentionally made this change. I also asked the employee if he has used the Dropbox for Mac application recently because I wanted to make sure I could talk to someone who understands what the Dock is and how it works.
What Is Dropbox On My Mac
In his next email reply, the Dropbox employee did not answer whether he has ever used Dropbox for Mac. But, he told me, 'As you mentioned there is no way for you to hide the Dropbox dock icon, I have passed on your feedback to my development team for you.'