Problems with Dropbox and Mac Sonoma 14.0

Has anyone else noticed long delays or unending pauses using Dropbox recently? I have a small project (16MB), and Dropbox has started acting up: stuck on 3 or 85 files, etc. This began with Sonoma 14.0, I believe. I’ve been using Dropbox and Scrivener for 10+ years and this is the first time anything’s happened like this. It’s as if Dropbox really doesn’t want to sync certain types of Scrivener files all of a sudden. Note: I don’t have anything else in the Dropbox account, just one or two Scriv project files, so this is unrelated to any other software conflict.

Yes, I had, for the first time ever, a major sync failure when I moved to Sonoma (actually the beta, my responsibility of course). Here is what worked for me recommended by Dropbox email support: “Hi Sam, I also reached out to email support and I got a solution to relink my account (go into the web interface security setting and remove my laptop, then relogin etc on my desktop). This worked and cause a reindexing and resyncing that brought my desktop and web data in sync.

See this Dropbox support thread for my problem and solution in detail, and some other suggestions if that doesn’t work…

I did end up with some duplicates including Scrivener project index files, but Scrivener is good at finding this and offering to resolve the conflict and everything worked fine after this…

As usual, apart from this, Dropbox remains far more reliable than iCloud (even though in China where I live Dropbox is blocked without a VPN where iCloud isn’t)…

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Apple appears to change how “files stored in cloud” are handled for iCloud, so it’s entirely possible that the change affects other services as well. Here’s an article about the iCloud changes:


This was very helpful – I think it fixed the problem, so many, many thanks. That said, I already moved the files to iCloud (which seems to run fine these days, though I remember its old reputation). I might try it for a while, while keeping frequent backups just in case. I think the Scrivener forum people, if they’re reading this, ought to issue a warning note for those upgrading to Sonoma with the instructions you provided. The problem with iCloud, for anyone else reading this, is that it will prevent Scrivener iOS from syncing, if I understand correctly, so if you use the iOS version a lot then you’ll have to stick with Dropbox.

It is interesting that this is still the case, considering that Dropbox is these days almost better thought of as a feature and branding skin over iCloud Drive. Much like how Firefox on iOS is just Safari with different buttons and icons1, most mainstream uberCorporate sync on a Mac is these days, iCloud.

This might explain why what was once rock solid and super fast is now not so much, but as you point out, it does still seem to be better at using Apple’s sync technology than Apple is. Who knows why that is… server infrastructure could even explain it. Apple seems to love to throttle bandwidth down to a trickle when they can get away with it, but that wouldn’t explain the various issues described in that article, which I’ve seen myself, such as 10 byte updates to a .txt file taking upwards of 40 minutes to make it off the device.

And as the author of that article goes on to opine, I gave up on Apple networking ages and ages ago. MobileMe Drive? What a catastrophe. iTools? Yikes. They’ve always made a mess of sync. They are, I will admit, getting better, but it sure has taken them nearly 30 years.

  1. Absolutely no shade to the wonderful developers of Mozilla project, that made a much better browser than Safari, even if they weren’t allowed to also use their much better web rendering engine.

For the details:

The implementation of the API and all the server infrastructure would still be managed by Dropbox developers, so they can still screw this up less than Apple even if they are using Apple’s API. I suspect the server provisioning is the major difference, Dropbox still owns the server-side sync technology which is a major part of the cloud experience…

Maybe it would be easier for Apple to just buy Dropbox and call it a day. With the Q4/2023 profit alone they could purchase Dropbox 2.5 times, conveniently eliminating the only real competitor. Is this some kind of wounded pride? Anti-trust regulations?

There are old press reports around that Steve Jobs tried to buy Dropbox early on but they refused to sell. I think they did not want it to become an Apple-only product. He went off in a huff and had the Apple programmers create iCloud.

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