Dropbox and additional Mac permissions

If you use Mac OS X, you may have noticed an authorization dialog box requesting your computer username and password.
Apple dialog box

This dialog box is used to give Dropbox additional permissions to your computer, which enables certain Dropbox features, including:

  • Automatic app updates
  • Better-quality syncing (specifically, these permissions help us better detect changes to files in your Dropbox folder and sync them to Dropbox)
  • Other user-interface interactions (specifically the Dropbox badge, and the Finder integration on some versions of Mac)

Without these additional permissions, you would not have access to these features, or to other new features that may require these permissions in the future.

Does this mean Dropbox can see my computer password?

No. Dropbox cannot see, receive, or share your computer password in any way. Entering your computer username and password in this dialog box simply gives Dropbox the permissions it needs to enable these features.

Is this a Dropbox dialog box?

No. This is an Apple system dialog box, not a dialog from Dropbox. Mac OS X requires password authentication for changes to certain permissions, and this dialog box is a standard way for a Mac OS X app to ask for your permission.

Can I disable these permissions?

Yes, you can choose to click Cancel rather than approving these additional permissions. However, this means that the Dropbox features listed above will not function on your computer. If you don’t give your approval, you will be asked to enter your username and password again the next time you start or restart Dropbox.

How do these permissions relate to Accessibility?

You may have noticed a listing for Dropbox under the list of Accessibility apps on your computer. Dropbox requires Mac OS X Accessibility for some of its features to work properly.

These additional permissions also enable Accessibility access.

Why does Dropbox need Accessibility access on my Mac?

Dropbox uses Apple Mac OS X Accessibility permissions to function properly. Specifically, we use Accessibility APIs for the Dropbox badge (part of Microsoft Office integrations).

How do I enable Accessibility on my Mac?

When installing Dropbox, you will see a dialog requesting Accessibility permissions:

Dropbox access accessibility dialogue
  1. Click Give Access to Dropbox—you will be redirected to the Security & Privacy section of System Preferences.
  2. Click the lock icon; you will be asked to enter your computer username and password.
  3. Once unlocked, check the box beside the Dropbox icon to enable Accessibility.
  4. Click the lock icon again to re-lock system preferences.

How do I disable Accessibility on my Mac?

  1. Open System Preferences and go to the Security & Privacy section.
  2. Click the Privacy tab at the top, and then select Accessibility.
  3. Click the lock icon; you will be asked to enter your computer username and password.
  4. Once unlocked, uncheck the box beside the Dropbox icon to disable Accessibility.

Note: If you click the minus sign "-" without unchecking the box, your changes will not take effect until you restart Dropbox.

Why wasn’t I asked to approve Accessibility?

Like all installed apps, we ask you to approve the privileges that we actively use. Unfortunately, some Mac OS X permissions aren't as detailed as we'd like. This means that multiple permissions can be included in the same approval dialog.

Dropbox does explicitly ask for permission to access Accessibility on macOS Sierra (10.12) and above. In the coming weeks, we will explicitly ask for user permission on Mac OS X (10.11) and below.

What will happen if I disable Accessibility access?

At this time, if you disable Dropbox Accessibility the change is overridden the next time you restart your computer.

We're aware that this is not ideal, and we want to do a better job with how we ask for permissions. Our team is working to change the fact that Accessibility permissions for Dropbox are re-added when you restart your computer.

The latest version of the Dropbox desktop app introduces a more explicit permissions flow for macOS Sierra (10.12). And we'll soon be bringing similar behavior to previous versions of Mac OS X.

Related articles

Why does Dropbox require Mac keychain access?

Dropbox file system integrations: an overview.

Did this article answer your question?

We’re sorry to hear that. Let us know how we can improve:

Thanks for your feedback!

Community answers
    Community answers

      Other ways to get help

      Community

      Twitter support

      Guided help