​​How to download and install the Dropbox desktop app

The Dropbox desktop application is available for Linux, macOS, and Windows operating systems. Once installed, the app creates a Dropbox folder on your computer. This folder works just like any other folder, but with a few important differences:

  • Changes you make to files in the Dropbox folder are automatically backed up to Dropbox
  • Changes you make here also sync to the Dropbox accounts of people you have shared the files with
  • You can access files and folders that others have shared with you

Sections in this article:

How to download and install the Dropbox desktop app

Follow these simple steps to download and install the Dropbox desktop app on a Linux, Mac, or Windows computer.

  1. Download the desktop app on your computer.
  2. Once installed, you’ll be prompted to either sign in or create a new account.
  3. Once Dropbox is installed on your computer, you’ll see a Dropbox folder on your hard drive. You should also see a Dropbox icon in the system tray or menu bar.

How to install the desktop app with admin privileges

The Dropbox desktop app requires admin privileges to run with full functionality on your computer. This enables multiple different core features of Dropbox, including:

  • Sync icons that show the sync status of files and folders
  • Right-click context menus for taking quick actions in Dropbox
  • Access to Smart Sync

For the vast majority of users, the desktop app is automatically installed with admin privileges. However, if you didn't install with admin privileges you can follow the instructions below to do so.

Note: If you don't have admin rights on your computer (for example if you're using a work computer), you may need to ask your IT department for help.

Install the Dropbox desktop app with admin privileges

  1. If you already have Dropbox installed, uninstall the application.
  2. Download the Dropbox application.
  3. Open the installer.
    • Do not right-click, and do not command-click Run as an Administrator
  4. Follow the instructions in the install wizard.
    • If you’re asked for an administrative username and password, enter them or contact your administrator to sign in.
    • If you’re not asked for an administrative username and password, you’re already an admin on your computer.
  5. Complete the installation and sign in to Dropbox.

Smart Sync and admin privileges

Some Dropbox users will have access to Smart Sync. If you have access to this feature, check that Dropbox is installed with admin privileges on each computer where the feature will be used.

If you’re the admin on a Dropbox Business team, you can see which team members installed Dropbox with admin privileges. However, you can only do this before you enable Smart Sync. Depending on the policies at your company, your team members may be able to install Dropbox with admin privileges on their own. If not, they may need the assistance of your IT team.

Why does the Dropbox desktop app for macOS require Keychain access?

Keychain is a password management system for Apple's macOS. Dropbox requires access to your Keychain to help verify your account and to provide another layer of security over the Dropbox app settings.

  • To grant Keychain access to Dropbox, click Allow or Always Allow (recommended for seamless access) when prompted to do so from macOS.
  • Clicking Deny will result in a "Couldn't start Dropbox" error message. For security reasons, Dropbox will not start without access to your Keychain.

What is the Dropbox Web Helper for macOS?

Dropbox Web Helper supports the Dropbox user interface on macOS computers. It only runs when the desktop app is running. Dropbox Web Helper is an independent process, so it may start and stop at different times than the desktop app. If you adjust your firewall or antivirus software for Dropbox, we recommend similar adjustments for Dropbox Web Helper.

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