15 Tips To Get More Out Of Dropbox

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By now, you probably have your favorite cloud storage platform, so if you are reading this, we’re expecting you to be a fan of Dropbox in spite of all the other options out there. And why not? Dropbox is full of surprises, and has a ton of features that allow you to better manage and do a lot more with your files and data.

Dropbox Cloud File Hosting

In this post we will be sharing with you 15 other things that you can do with Dropbox, including download legal torrents remotely (yes, Dropbox checks the legality aspect for you), restore overwritten documents, change the background wallpaper remotely, and be the default storage for your photos on your mobile devices.

Also included are some tips on how to better secure your Dropbox account, how to speed up the syncing process, or sync selected folders only, and more.

1. Use Selective Sync To Save Storage Space

Whenever you install Dropbox on a new computer, you need to resync all the folders and files that are available in your Dropbox account onto that new computer. That will take up a lot of space (especially if you have a lot of files) and it consumes a lot of time. Instead of doing that, you can choose to use the Selective Sync feature to only sync certain folders.

  1. Right click the Dropbox icon then click the settings icon and choose Preferences.
  2. Go to the Account tab and under Selective Sync, click Change Settings.
  3. Tick the folder that you want to sync and click Update.

Use Selective Sync To Save Storage Space

2. Make Dropbox Your Default Folder For Documents

Sometimes, we forget to sync the documents that we’ve stored in our PC with what we have on Dropbox. Well, now instead of manually transferring your documents to Dropbox individually, you can have the entire Documents folder synced to your Dropbox instead. You can do this both in the Windows and Mac operating system.

For Windows platform:-

  1. Open your Windows Explorer and right click on Documents then choose properties.
  2. Click on include a folder… and select your Dropbox folder.
  3. Click Apply and OK.

For Mac platform:-

  1. Open up Terminal by typing terminal in spotlight (CMD+Spacebar) and press Enter.
  2. Type cd Dropbox (if you have Dropbox installed at the default location) and press Enter.
  3. Copy and paste this command ln -s ~/Documents/ Documents and press Enter.

Make Dropbox Your Default Documents Folder

3. Use The ‘Favorite’ Function To Access Files Offline

In the Dropbox app version for mobile, there’s a way for you to access your files offline. By tagging the file as ‘Favorite’ you will be able to access it, even when you’re not connected to the internet. To do that, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Dropbox app and go to any of your files in your Dropbox account folder.
  2. Tap and hold the file that you want to access offline and choose Favorite.

Use Favorite To Access Files Offline

4. Restore Previous Versions Of A File

If you’ve made a mistake by overwriting your previous saved file, there’s a way for you to obtain the previous version of the file in the Dropbox website. This way, if you happen to edit something but later realize that you still want the original, you can use this handy feature to obtain it. To restore the previous version of a file, here are the steps.

  1. Go to the official Dropbox website here (make sure you’re logged in), and look for the file that you’ve overwritten over your original.
  2. Right click the file and click on Previous versions.
  3. Choose the version that you want and click on Restore to restore the file.

Restore Previous Versions Of File

5. Enable Two-step Authentication For Better Security

On the internet, a single step authentication that only relies on your ID and Password is no longer sufficient. That’s why most services have introduced two-step authentication to provide you with better security, and that includes Dropbox. To enable two-step authentication for Dropbox, here’s how.

  1. Visit this link (make sure you’re logged in) and click on Enable under Two-step verification.
  2. Click on Get started and type in your Dropbox password.
  3. Choose the method for your two-step authentication, be it using text messages or the mobile app.
  4. Enable Two-step Authentication For Better Security

With The Text Messages Option:-

  1. If you choose the text messages option, you will need to enter your mobile phone number , click Next.
  2. Wait until you receive the 6-digit code from Dropbox then insert the code on the blank space and then click Next.
  3. You will be asked to put a second mobile phone number as a backup. You can insert one (if you have any), or just continue by clicking Next.
  4. This time they will provide you with an emergency backup code to disable the two-step verification.Save the code somewhere you won’t forget and then click on Enable two-step verification.

With The Mobile App Option:-

  1. If you choose to use the mobile app, on the next page, they will ask you to download any one of their supported authenticator apps and have it installed on your phone.
  2. Once you’ve installed it, add a new time-based token and use that app to scan the barcode shown on the Dropbox website page you’re currently at.
  3. Or you can choose to do it manually by clicking on entering your secret key manually to show the secret key. Click Next when you’re done.
  4. This time enter the 6-digitally generated code on the mobile app and click Next.

Once you’ve set up your two-step verification process, the next time you need to login to your Dropbox, you will need to add this 6-digit code as well.

6. Download Torrent Remotely

Did you know that with Dropbox you can download your torrent remotely? Most Bitorrent clients are capable of scanning a folder to look for any new .torrent file for them to start a new download task. This means that if you’re outside and want to torrent something back at home (make sure it is legal otherwise Dropbox will warn you, and yes, they can do that), all you need to do is just download the .torrent file on your phone and upload it to the torrent folder on your Dropbox.

  1. Create a new folder on Dropbox and rename it to something like ‘Torrent’.
  2. Open your Bitorrent client go to its settings page and look for something along this line – Auto adds torrent files in "…" folder and have it enabled then link it to your Torrent folder on your Dropbox account.

Download Torrent Remotely

7. Unlink Dropbox From Unused Devices

Sometimes we have linked our Dropbox account to a few computers or devices in the past, that we probably don’t use anymore. So it’s probably a good idea to unlink these unused devices from your Dropbox account, just as a safety measure. Here’s how you do it.

  1. Visit this link (make sure you’re logged in) and scroll down then look under Devices for your linked devices.
  2. Look for the one that you want to unlink and click on the X button then choose Unlink.

Unlink Dropbox From Unused Devices

8. Remove Access Permission Given To Apps

Beside unlinking unused devices, you can also remove access you’ve given to apps to access your Dropbox account. Some people would have given an app permission to access their Dropbox account before, and if they no longer use that app, they have most likely forgotten to revoke it. To remove such permissions, follow these steps.

  1. Visit this link (make sure you’re logged in) and scroll down then look under Apps linked for apps that you’ve given access before.
  2. Locate the apps that you want to revoke its permission, then click on the X button and choose Uninstall.

Remove Access Permission Given To Apps

9. Check your Events Timeline

If your company uses Dropbox for work purposes, you will probably end up sharing a lot work files here and there.It becomes more difficult to keep track of what is actually happening with certain files. Luckily, there’s a feature called Events Timeline, that will list all the events that happened within your shared folders. This way you can easily find out when important changes were made and by whom.

  1. Visit this page (make sure you’re logged in) and you can see all your past events on that page.
  2. You can sort the page by your shared folders or dates by clicking on the Dropbox icon or the dates on the top right. You can search through past events as far back as 6 months ago.

Check your Events Timeline

10. Search For Deleted items

It’s not impossible to lose your file in a cloud, especially in Dropbox where you can easily edit, move and delete files immediately from wtihin your desktop folder. Well, if you did accidentally delete your file, don’t get frustrated just yet because lucky for you, your deleted file is safe with Dropbox for up to 30 days, just in case you’re interested in restoring it. If you want to reclaim your deleted file, follow these steps.

  1. Visit this page (make sure you’re logged in) and search for your file name at the top right search box and press enter. Don’t worry if no results appears. Click on the advanced search on the right side of the search box.
  2. On the advanced search page, make sure you have the option Files, Folders and Deleted Items ticked. Then click on Search to look for your deleted file.
  3. This time you will see your deleted file, but it has been grayed out and you need to right click on it and choose Restore… then click on Restore again to claim your file once more.

Search For Deleted items

11. Add Dropbox As Print To PDF Option (Mac Only)

Maybe you find something interesting on the web and want to save it as a PDF to read later on. Did you know that you can save the PDF straight into your Dropbox folder? That way you can even access a PDF on your mobile, and you won’t forget to transfer it to your phone.

  1. Go to your /Library folder
  2. Look for PDF Services folder, or if it doesn’t already exist, create a new folder and name it PDF Services.
  3. Create an alias of your Dropbox folder and put it in the PDF Services folder.
  4. Go to any website page and press CMD + P, then click on the PDF dropdown on the left and choose your Dropbox folder.

Add Dropbox As Print To PDF Option (Mac Only)

12. Change Desktop Background Remotely

It is painful to lose our desktop wallpaper collection once we’ve switched to a new computer or when we have our PC reformatted. If you don’t like the idea of transferring your wallpapers from your old computer to an external hard drive and to your new computer, why not create a Dropbox folder that caters only for your desktop wallpapers and have the system default wallpaper pointed to your Dropbox path? Besides, with this method you can even remotely change your wallpaper.

For Windows platform:-

  1. Create a wallpaper folder in your Dropbox folder. Next, transfer all your wallpapers to that folder.
  2. Then right click your desktop and choose Personalize.
  3. Click on Desktop Background and click Browse… then choose that wallpaper folder you created on your Dropbox.
  4. Select all your wallpapers and select the timeout for your desktop to switch between wallpapers.
  5. To change the wallpaper remotely, just add a wallpaper into your Dropbox wallpaper folder on your other Dropbox connected devices.

For Mac platform:-

  1. Create a wallpaper folder in your Dropbox folder. Next, transfer all your wallpapers to that folder.
  2. Then right click your desktop and choose Change Desktop Background…
  3. Click on the + sign and choose your Dropbox wallpaper folder.
  4. Tick on Change picture and select the timeout you want your desktop to switch wallpapers to.
  5. To change the wallpaper remotely, just add a wallpaper into your Dropbox wallpaper folder on your other Dropbox connected devices.

Change Desktop Background Remotely

13. Sync Your iTunes Folder Across Multiple Computers

It’s a hassle to transfer your iTunes folder over and over again from one computer to another. If you happen to have the available space on Dropbox, enough to fit your large iTunes library, why not transfer them to Dropbox and have Dropbox sync your iTunes folder across all your computers?

  1. Move your iTunes library (i.e. Music/iTunes) to your Dropbox folder.
  2. Open iTunes by pressing Shift(for Windows) or Option (for Mac) to have a pop up box asking you to choose your library.
  3. Choose the library folder you have just transfered on your Dropbox as your library folder.

Sync Your iTunes Folder Across Multiple Computers

14. Remove Limit On Dropbox Upload Speed

Did you know that by default your upload speed to Dropbox is being limited by the Dropbox application? If you haven’t realized yet, whenever you upload a file onto your Dropbox folder, especially if it’s large, Dropbox will limit the upload speed of that file and it will reduce the time taken to upload your file. Fortunately for us, it can easily be changed from within the settings of the Dropbox software installed on your desktop.

  1. Right click the Dropbox icon on your taskbar, click the settings icon and choose Preferences… to open the settings page.
  2. Go to the Network tab and click on Change Settings… beside Bandwidth.
  3. Choose Don’t Limit under Upload rate and click on Update.

Remove Limit On Dropbox Upload Speed

15. Enable Camera Upload On Android or iOS Devices

So instead of you wasting your time transferring your camera photos from your album manually, why not have it upload to your Dropbox folder automatically? That way you don’t have to worry about losing your photos, if something happens to your phone. If you want to enable camera upload, so that the next time you snap a photo it’ll just save to your Dropbox folder, follow this tip.

  1. Open Dropbox app on your Android or iOS device.
  2. Tap on the navicon icon at the top right and choose Settings from the menu.
  3. Tap on "Turn Off Camera Upload" to switch it to "Turn on Camera Upload".

Enable Camera Upload On Android or iOS Devices

Author:

Nels Dzyre is a tech enthusiast from the age of dial-ups, an Android follower since we had Cupcake, and a gamer.

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