Dropbox Auto-Opting accounts into AI - Current Cloud Sync State?

Since Dropbox has decided to automatically opt users into AI access to their docs, what is the current state of other cloud sync services? Scrivener is pretty much the only reason I have a Dropbox account at this point and I do not want my writing being used without my consent. Yes, they claim they only do it when you interact with Ai features … but if they turn one feature that shares your private data on behind your back without consent, then that indicates that they could do so again.

I love Scrivener and have managed to “Win” NaNoWriMo twice pretty much only because of it. Being able to write wherever, whenever is a key part of that. I’d lose the ability to write on my IPad or even my phone at lunch time without cloud sync, for instance.

While I’d rather get rid of Dropbox sooner than later, you’re probably worried for the wrong reasons. Could this data get sent to third-party “AI” servers without you using their “AI” functionality? I don’t think so. But maybe. Who knows. That’s the actual problem. “The cloud” is just someone else’s hard drive. Unless that someone doesn’t have the encryption key, you pretty much have to believe what they tell you.

(Bottom line: If you want to be really sure what’s going on, self-host.)

I had a brief read of their terms and conditions, and as far as I can tell, this isn’t an issue for people who either a) use the Basic, non paid, version of Dropbox, or b) live in the UK, EEA or Canada, as apparently we’re either too poor to bother about or are too well protected by consumer protection laws to be laboratory animals for these particular delights.

As most of my interaction with Dropbox (which I only keep around for Scrivener) is the regular turning down of their offers to upgrade and to install new features I’ve no need for, I shall try to contain my disappointment that I won’t get the chance to turn this one down as well.

You can see the terms and conditions here: Dropbox AI and your privacy - Dropbox Help

This article describes alpha features available to customers:

  • On Dropbox Professional, Essentials, Business, Business Plus, and some customers on Dropbox Standard and Advanced.
  • In countries with the preferred language set to English.
    • Excluding Canada, the UK (United Kingdom), and countries within the EEA (European Economic Area).

Dropbox AI is subject to additional terms.


I do have a NAS that syncs files with my desktop and laptops, over a VPN if I’m not home. However, the scrivener for iOS only syncs via Dropbox as far as I can tell. Syncing over the NAS seems to work fine, but then I can’t write on my phone or ipad any more.

That’s why I’m wondering what the current states are, because that flexibility is what makes the iOS apps usable at all. Technically I COULD plug in with a cable and manually sync but ain’t nobody got time for that.

Yup, convenience > privacy. I get it. The downside is that you can’t trust any third party, no matter what they claim or are obligated to do. That is the current state, unfortunately. Don’t store sensitive data unencrypted on someone else’s drive. And don’t expect this situation to improve anytime soon.


Well, that’s only if one absolutely constrains themselves to the subjectively most convenient path and refuses to use the plethora of other methods available. The iOS version supports many ways of working with your data that do not involve Dropbox, some as about as secure as an iOS device can get as they involve plugging the device physically into the Mac/PC and copying data around like you would to an external drive. Other methods are more convenient than USB cables, and are as secure as your WiFi network is, such as AirDrop and WiFi disk management (which you need to enable on the desktop last I checked). Other methods are even more convenient/fault-tolerant in that you can make use of whatever cloud service you consider safe, bringing back the ability to forget to update your device before you leave the building.

The user manual goes over all of these methods in §14.2.1, in the section on working with the iOS version of Scrivener, and there is also a more extended guide on the cloud-based method mentioned above, as well as a discussion on the forum that goes into the merits of this method in-depth, such as how rock solid it is in protecting us from:

  • Machine errors in copying data around over the Internet.
  • Human errors in the use of such technologies.

More salient to the topic at hand though, they grant us the power to choose whatever service (or technology we cook up in a closet server) we want to use. I use Tresorit myself, which is backed not only by EU privacy laws, but even more strict Swiss law—and they don’t have my decryption key anyway.

I wouldn’t ever expect Scrivener (or any program) to support niche services like that, but that’s okay because the method I describe above is in my opinion a better and safer way of working than having several devices all manipulating “one” data pool anyway.

It’s just… a little less convenient. :slight_smile: But, I don’t cook with a microwave either, so I’m not bothered by that.

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FWIW, it’s pretty easy to opt-out of this “feature.”


Thanks for this info! Just did that.

Was also going to say this! I agree that it shouldn’t have been an auto opt-in, but it’s easy enough to sign into the Dropbox website and opt out rather than spiraling and trying to move all your files to spaces unknown.

Thankfully not impacted by that, but will keep an eye out for that tab appearing at some point.