How to Make Dropbox Sync Faster on Mac OS X?

Shreyas Patil
Shreyas PatilUpdated :
How to Make Dropbox Sync Faster on Mac OS X?

Dropbox is a popular cloud storage service that lets you sync files across multiple devices. However, sometimes Dropbox can sync slowly on Mac, which can be frustrating. In this guide, we’ll cover several tips to speed up and optimize Dropbox syncing performance on Mac OS X.

Check Your Internet Connection Speed

The speed of your internet connection is one of the biggest factors affecting Dropbox sync performance. Here are some things to check:

  • Wired vs Wireless: Syncing will always be faster on a wired Ethernet connection than wireless. If possible, connect your Mac directly to your router with an Ethernet cable.
  • WiFi Signal Strength: If wireless, make sure you’re getting a strong signal and are close to your router. Syncing will be slow on a weak WiFi connection.
  • Bandwidth Saturation: Other devices on your network can saturate your available bandwidth and slow down Dropbox. Try pausing downloads or disconnecting bandwidth-hungry devices.
  • ISP Speed: Check that you’re getting the internet speeds you’re paying for. Contact your ISP if speeds are consistently below the advertised rate.
  • Speed Tests: Run speed tests at or to check your connection. Aim for at least 15-20 Mbps download speeds.

Enable LAN Sync

Dropbox has a LAN sync feature that can accelerate syncing between your devices on the same network. To enable:

  1. Open Dropbox Preferences
  2. Go to the Network tab
  3. Check “Enable LAN sync”

With LAN sync on, Dropbox will transfer files directly between devices on your local network before updating the cloud. This avoids slow internet uploads/downloads.

Choose Selective Sync

By default, Dropbox syncs all files in your account across connected devices. This constant background syncing can slow things down unnecessarily.

Enable Selective Sync in Preferences to manually choose which folders you want synced to each device. Sync only the folders you need on each device to speed up the process.

Sync Smaller Sets of Files

Similarly, syncing many large files or batch-transferring whole folders of content can bog down Dropbox. For faster syncing, try to:

  • Sync individual files instead of full folders
  • Sync groups of smaller files rather than a few huge files
  • Temporarily remove large files during initial sync setup
  • Sync big files overnight when less network activity

Syncing many smaller files will allow Dropbox to better utilize your available bandwidth.

Pause Syncing Temporarily

You can temporarily pause Dropbox syncing for when you need to concentrate bandwidth on other tasks. Here’s how:

  • Mac menu bar: Click the Dropbox icon, click Pause Syncing
  • Activity tab: Click account icon, click Pause Syncing
  • Dropbox Preferences: Switch “Sync” off

Syncing automatically resumes once you unpause. Pause during large uploads/downloads to prioritize bandwidth.

Troubleshoot Dropbox App Issues

Sometimes sluggish performance is due to issues with the Dropbox desktop app itself. Try these troubleshooting tips:

  • Restart the App - Quit and relaunch the Dropbox app to clear any memory issues.
  • Update the App - Make sure you're running the latest version of the Dropbox app. Install app updates.
  • Reinstall the App - If issues persist, uninstall then reinstall the Dropbox app to clear any corrupt files.
  • Trash Dropbox Cache - Delete ~/Library/Caches/com.getdropbox.dropbox folder and relaunch app.

This clears out any stale app data that may be slowing things down.

Set Bandwidth Limits

You can throttle Dropbox’s bandwidth usage in the app settings:

  1. Go to Dropbox Preferences > Bandwidth
  2. Check “Limit” and adjust the upload/download rates

This prevents Dropbox from saturating your connection. Reduce the limits if you need to devote more bandwidth to other tasks.

Use One Account for Multiple Computers

Linking several Dropbox accounts to one computer can confuse things and slow down syncing. It’s better to use selective sync for one account instead.

Also, limit sync to core workflow folders, not your whole Dropbox. This prevents duplicate transfers.

UpgradeYour Dropbox Account

Dropbox limits free accounts to 3 connected devices with up to 2GB storage. If you sync larger files or multiple devices, consider upgrading to a paid Dropbox plan.

More storage space and connected devices means Dropbox has more resources available to sync faster. Their paid plans also give your account higher priority.

Set Up Dropbox Smart Sync (Pro Plans)

Dropbox Smart Sync selectively syncs files on demand rather than the whole Dropbox folder. This eliminates unnecessary background transfers.

Smart Sync is included with Dropbox Pro plans. It provides faster access to your files while optimizing storage space and sync performance.

Optimize Your Mac for Faster Sync

You can also optimize your Mac system to improve overall performance for syncing Dropbox:

  • Close unused apps to free up RAM, CPU, and bandwidth.
  • Disable login items and plugins you don’t need.
  • Setup your Energy Saver settings to optimize performance when plugged in.
  • Disable Spotlight indexing of Dropbox (System Preferences > Spotlight > Privacy).
  • Run maintenance scripts like sudo periodic daily weekly monthly to clear caches.

A faster, optimized Mac means a faster Dropbox sync!

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Here are some frequently asked questions about speeding up Dropbox syncing on Mac:

Q: Why is my Dropbox sync slow on Mac compared to PC?

A: Potential factors include your Mac's technical specs, bandwidth limits on your network, WiFi signal interference, and OS differences in sync efficiency. Try the speed tips in this guide to optimize Mac Dropbox performance.

Q: Should I sync Dropbox to an external drive instead of my Mac's internal drive?

A: External drives can sometimes be slower depending on the interface (USB 2 vs 3 for example). For fastest performance, sync to your internal drive, preferably an SSD if available. Use LAN sync to avoid network bottlenecks.

Q: Will upgrading my WiFi router speed up Dropbox?

A: Possibly, if your router is old or doesn't support latest/fastest standards like 802.11ac. But also make sure your Mac's WiFi card supports the router's standard. Ethernet backhaul helps too.

Q: Does Dropbox throttling affect Mac sync speeds?

A: Dropbox may throttle free accounts at times by limiting bandwidth. But throttling mainly affects upload speeds. Syncing existing files down to Mac should still be relatively quick.

Q: Is Dropbox faster if I choose Minimum or High Performance energy mode?

A: Yes, using "High Performance" mode will devote more system resources to syncing Dropbox faster at the cost of battery life. Minimum can throttle speeds to conserve power.

Q: Will syncing faster drain my Mac's battery when on WiFi?

A: Increased WiFi usage can drain battery faster, but optimizing Dropbox is unlikely to have a major effect. Limiting bandwidth and using Ethernet backhaul will reduce power demands.


Slow Dropbox syncing on Mac can definitely be frustrating. But in most cases, you can optimize and speed up performance by troubleshooting your network connection, configuring sync settings selectively, upgrading your account, and tweaking system settings. Test different combinations of the tips in this guide to find the best solution for your Mac setup. With a few strategic optimizations, you'll be transferring files faster and keeping your workflow in sync.

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