Dropbox Selective Sync

I don’t think enough people know about Dropbox’s ability to do Selective Sync, so I thought I’d talk about how I use it.

Dropbox is a cloud storage tool that integrates with your computer, simulating just another folder on your machine. However, it allows you to sync the contents of that folder to the internet (with an online folder browser) as well as other computers that you install the desktop application on. The use cases for Dropbox are so numerous that I can’t even begin to get into, but here are a couple of ways I use it:

  • Sharing photos with family
  • Collaborating on work related documents
  • Keeping personal projects in one location when I switch between computers

The perceived downside is that all of this content ends up getting sync’d across all your machines (which starts at a max of 2GB for the free version and quickly scales up once you start paying), and some laptops either don’t have a lot of available storage space. Additionally, you might not want family photos or personal items sync’ing with a work computer, and vice versa.

Selective Sync solves those pain points by allowing you to choose which folders actually get sync’d to the current computer, which allows you to keep your hard drive free of files that would never be accessed on that computer. And even if you run into a need, you can always access those files via the browser on Dropbox’s website.