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How to use team selective sync

This feature is only available to users who have signed up for early access products that are in alpha or beta. The early access program lets Dropbox Business customers try out new product updates before they're widely released, helping us test and improve the product.

Learn how to sign up for early access to Dropbox Business features.

Team selective sync is a folder management feature for Dropbox Business admins. The feature allows team admins to create a default selective sync setting for a team folder (or a non-member folder in the team space). This default then applies for all new members of a Dropbox Business team with access to that folder.

  • Important note: A selective sync default can be set on any folder that a team admin can manage in the admin console. For some teams, this will apply to team folders. For others, defaults can be applied to any folder in the new team space (other than the member folder). In this article, these two kinds of folders are referred to as "admin-managed folders."

Team selective sync works much like the selective sync feature, but for admin-managed folders. Selective sync lets people select which folders sync from dropbox.com to the Dropbox folder on a computer's hard drive. With team selective sync, Dropbox Business admins can centrally manage how folders sync to a team member's computer when they first link their account.

And all team members can still access folders (synced or unsynced) on dropbox.com.

How to set existing folders to start as unsynced

Admin-managed folders are set to sync by default. To change this for a specific folder:

  1. Sign in to Dropbox Business with your team admin credentials.
  2. Click Admin Console.
  3. Click Team folders (or Content, depending on which option you see).
  4. Click "" (ellipsis) beside the folder you'd like to create a sync default for.
  5. Click Change sync default.
  6. Select Starts as unsynced, and then click Save.


  • If a member of an existing folder already has their own, individual selective sync setting for that folder, sync defaults won't override it
  • Admin-managed folders start as synced by default—this means a folder will appear on both dropbox.com and the Dropbox folder on a member's computer
  • If your team uses Smart Sync, admin-managed folders will sync as online-only or local, depending on Smart Sync settings
  • Changing to Starts as synced won't automatically show the folder on the computers of existing members (only for new members)
  • Changing to Starts as unsynced won't remove a folder from the computer of existing folder members
  • If you select Starts as unsynced, new members of that folder will get a notification that they have access to the folder on dropbox.com

How to set new folders to start as unsynced

Admin-managed folders are set to sync by default. However, admins can change this when creating a new folder, setting it to be unsynced by default. A new, unsynced folder won't automatically appear on team member computers (though it will be available on dropbox.com).

To set a new folder as unsynced by default:

  1. Sign in to Dropbox Business with your team admin credentials.
  2. Click Admin Console.
  3. Click Team folders (or Content, depending on which option you see).
  4. Click Create team folder (or Create folder, depending on which option you see).
  5. Enter a folder name, and check the box beside Starts as unsynced.
  6. Click Create.

What folders are affected by team selective sync?

Team selective sync applies to admin-managed folders. This refers to team folders (or the folders in the new team space), and to one layer of subfolders beneath them.

For example, imagine you have a folder called "Marketing," and two subfolders in it: "Strategy" and "Projects." With team selective sync, you could create a default setting for any of these three example folders.

Note: The main folder must be set to sync if you’d like any of its subfolders to sync. In the example above, this means that for the "Projects" folder to sync, the "Marketing" folder must be set to sync as well.

What if individual team members need access to a folder that starts as unsynced?

If an individual team member needs a folder synced to their computer, they can use the standard selective sync function. This won’t change the default setting for other team members.

Note: All team members can still find unsynced folders on dropbox.com.

Who can set a team selective sync default?

Only team admins can set a sync default, or change an existing default.

Note: Individual team members can still use selective sync to sync any folders they have access to. This manual change will override team selective sync defaults for them (but not for other team members).

Can I remove or unsync a folder that's already synced to a team member's computer?

Team selective sync defaults don't apply retroactively. If a team member has already synced a folder to their computer, a new sync default will not override that setting.

If you'd like to remove a member's access to a folder, there are three options:

How do team selective sync defaults work with Smart Sync?

Team selective sync defaults don't impact Smart Sync settings. If a folder starts as unsynced, then it won't appear on a member's computer (and thus won't be affected by Smart Sync). If a folder does start as synced, it will sync according to the computer's Smart Sync setting.

Why would I use team selective sync rather than Smart Sync?

For most Dropbox Business teams, Smart Sync can help save space on employee computers while still giving easy access to company files. However, Smart Sync creates placeholder icons on a computer (showing all files available online, even if they're not fully downloaded).

In cases where an admin wants a quick deployment and more streamlined experience for team members, team selective sync may be a better option. With team selective sync, only the folders an admin deems relevant will be visible on a team member's computer.

Not sure which option is right for you? Learn more about selective sync, and the number of files you can start as synced on a computer.

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