How to Enable Background Photo Uploading with Dropbox on iOS?

Shreyas Patil SEO
Shreyas PatilUpdated :
How to Enable Background Photo Uploading with Dropbox on iOS?

Dropbox is a popular cloud storage service that lets you access your files from anywhere. One useful feature is the ability to automatically upload photos and videos from your iOS device's camera roll. This allows you to easily backup and synchronize your photos across devices.

Enabling background photo uploading is simple, but does require a few steps to get set up properly. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk through everything you need to know to enable background photo uploading from your iPhone or iPad to Dropbox.

Prerequisites for Background Photo Uploading

Before getting started, make sure you meet the following requirements:

  • You have the latest version of the Dropbox mobile app installed on your iOS device. Update the app if needed.
  • Your iOS device is running iOS 12 or later. Background uploading requires a relatively recent iOS version.
  • You have enough available storage space on Dropbox. Photos and videos can quickly eat up your allotted space.
  • Your iOS device has sufficient battery life, or is connected to a power source. Background uploading will drain battery.
  • Your device has an active internet connection, either via WiFi or cellular data.

As long as your iOS device meets these requirements, you should be ready to enable background photo uploads.

How to Enable Background Photo Uploads in Dropbox

Enabling background photo uploads is a quick three-step process:

Step 1: Open the Dropbox App Settings

Visit the official Dropbox website

Open up the Dropbox app on your iPhone or iPad. Tap the "Settings" tab located along the bottom toolbar.

This will open up the Settings page for the Dropbox app.

Step 2: Tap Camera Uploads

Next, tap on "Camera Uploads" about halfway down the list of settings options.

Tapping Camera Uploads will open up a page specific to background photo and video uploading.

Step 3: Toggle on Background Uploading

On the Camera Uploads screen, toggle the switch next to "Background Uploading" on.

With the Background Uploading switch turned on, your Dropbox account is now enabled to automatically upload new photos and videos in the background.

You're all set! New photos you take will now start auto-uploading to Dropbox. Keep reading for additional tips on managing background uploads.

Choosing Upload Locations

By default, photos will upload to a Dropbox folder named "Camera Uploads". You can change the destination folder in the Camera Uploads settings.

Some things to keep in mind when selecting an upload folder:

  • Choose a folder that syncs across your linked devices. This ensures the photos also upload to your computer, not just iOS.
  • Avoid uploading to the top level Dropbox folder. Create a subfolder specifically for your camera uploads instead.
  • If uploading for multiple iOS devices, give each device its own subfolder to avoid duplicate uploads.

Managing Cellular Data Usage

Background uploading will consume cellular data when not on WiFi. To minimize data usage:

  • Set uploads to only occur on WiFi in Camera Upload settings.
  • Select the "Data saver" option which limits syncing when not on WiFi.
  • Temporarily pause background uploads if you have limited cellular data available.

Uploading only on WiFi is recommended for most users with limited data plans. But you can allow cellular uploading if you need access to your photos at all times.

Changing Upload Frequency

In the Camera Uploads settings you can change how often new photos are uploaded:

  • Immediately after capture: Uploads begin as soon as your photo is taken.
  • Daily: Uploads will occur once per day in the evening.
  • Weekly: Uploads will run once per week on a specified day.
  • Manual: Disables automatic uploading. You must manually upload photos and videos.

Immediate uploading ensures your photos backup almost instantly. Less frequent options help reduce battery usage and data consumption.

Excluding Apps from Uploading

By default, photos from all apps and sources will automatically upload. You can change this by tapping "Choose apps" under "Upload Photos and Videos From:"

This will let you disable uploads from specific apps. For example, you may not want screenshots or photos from messaging apps to upload.

Managing Video Uploads

The same background upload process applies to both photos and videos. But videos consume much more bandwidth.

To manage video uploads:

  • Set videos to upload on WiFi only in Camera Uploads settings.
  • Disable video uploads entirely if you only want photos.
  • Select a lower video quality setting (720p or lower) to reduce upload size.

Checking Upload Status

You can check the status of recent and pending uploads in a few ways:

  • Open the Dropbox app to view current upload progress.
  • Enable Dropbox app notifications to be alerted about uploaded files.
  • Check the Camera Uploads folder on to see uploaded files.
  • See pending uploads from the Camera Uploads settings page.

Monitoring the upload status allows you to confirm your files are backing up properly through background uploads.

Quick Tip to ensure your videos never go missing

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Troubleshooting Background Uploads

If you're having issues getting background uploads to work properly, try the following troubleshooting tips:

  • Restart your iOS device and reopen the Dropbox app.
  • Ensure Background Uploading is toggled on in Dropbox settings.
  • Check that your iOS device has sufficient storage space available.
  • Make sure your device has an active internet connection.
  • Update to the latest versions of iOS and the Dropbox app.
  • Temporarily disable battery optimization for Dropbox if uploads get interrupted.
  • Contact Dropbox support if issues persist for help resolving them.

Following troubleshooting steps can typically get background uploading functioning again if disabled.


Automatically uploading photos and videos from your iPhone or iPad to Dropbox is a breeze with the proper background upload settings configured. Simply toggle on background uploads within the Dropbox app settings and you'll start effortlessly backing up your camera roll. Just be mindful of your upload destinations, cellular data usage, battery drain, and available storage as you enable this useful feature.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does background uploading work on both WiFi and cellular data?

Yes, background uploading can work over both WiFi and cellular data connections. But uploading only on WiFi is recommended to avoid excessive cellular data usage. The Camera Uploads settings give you options to restrict background uploads to WiFi only.

Will background uploading drain my battery?

Background uploading requires your iOS device to stay awake periodically when not plugged in, which uses extra battery life. So you can expect some reduction in battery life, but performance optimizations by Dropbox minimize the impact. Setting uploads to WiFi only or a less frequent interval can further reduce battery drain.

How much storage space do uploads require in Dropbox?

The storage space needed depends on the size (megapixels), quality (compression), and quantity of your photos and videos. Typical photos may average 2-5MB each. Videos take up much more room. You may need to upgrade your Dropbox storage plan to accommodate your total upload volume.

Can I upload photos to Dropbox directly from my camera?

Unfortunately the background uploading feature only works from your iOS camera roll and not directly from the camera. You'll first need to save photos and videos to the camera roll before Dropbox can auto-upload them in the background.

Does background upload work with Live Photos?

Yes, Dropbox supports automatic background uploading of Live Photos from iOS. The .mov video component of the Live Photo will upload along with the standard .jpg still image.

How can I tell if my photos are fully backed up?

Open up the Camera Uploads folder on to browse your uploads. You can also view pending uploads from the Camera Uploads settings page in the mobile app. Completed uploads will show the uploaded date.

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