What do the icons on my files mean?

The Dropbox desktop app is always on the lookout, trying to make sure that the stuff in your Dropbox folder is synced with dropbox.com. The app will display special icons to let you know what's happening. You'll see icons in a few different places:

  • Icons that appear over the Dropbox icon in your system tray or menu bar represent the overall status of your Dropbox folder.
  • Icons that appear over individual files and folders represent the status of that file or folder.
  • The icon that appears on open Dropbox files is the Dropbox badge. Learn more about the Dropbox badge.

Sections in this article:

Status icons for all platforms

Green icon with check mark


A green circle with a check mark is a wonderful thing and what you'll see most often. When it appears on the Dropbox icon in your system tray or menu bar, it means your Dropbox is fully synced. When it appears on an individual file or folder, it means the file or folder has finished syncing the latest changes.

Blue icon with rotating arrows

Sync in progress

The blue circle with rotating arrows is another great sign that your Dropbox is running smoothly. When it appears on the Dropbox icon in your system tray or menu bar, your Dropbox is currently syncing, with files uploading and/or downloading. (Click on the Dropbox icon to see an estimate of how long syncing will take.) Individual files and folders that are in the process of syncing will also appear with this icon.

Gray icon with a minus sign

A file or folder isn't syncing

The gray circle with the minus sign may appear on a file or folder when you're using the Selective Sync feature (meaning you've opted not to sync it on your computer). In general selectively synced files and folders won't appear in your Dropbox at all. However, if you create a new file or folder with the same name, it will appear with the gray icon, indicating that it's not being synced.

Red icon with an x

Sync not happening

The red circle with the x means that something is wrong, and Dropbox is unable to sync. Usually, this happens because your storage quota is full (can't upload), your hard drive is full (can't download), or you're experiencing connection problems (no Internet). See our troubleshooting page if this icon appears.

Shared folder with lock

View-only access in a shared folder

If you see a lock on a shared folder, it means that you have view-only access to that folder. To request edit access to the folder, contact the owner of the folder.

If you’re a Dropbox Business user, you may also have icons unique to Smart Sync:

Online-only content icon

Online-only content

Online-only content shows in your local Dropbox folder, but doesn’t use the full amount of space that the file would. In your file explorer, you can see the file, but the content isn’t fully downloaded until you need it. Only information about the file, such as the file name, location, and date the file was updated, is downloaded.

Local content icon

Local content

Local content is downloaded and saved on the hard drive of your computer. You can directly edit these files from applications on your computer.

Mixed state folder icon

Mixed state folders

Mixed state folders contain both local and online-only content.

Smart sync is in early access. Contact your admin to turn on Smart Sync.

Learn more about Smart Sync.

Status icons for Mac

There are a few additional Dropbox icons that appear in the system tray of Mac computers.

Not connected

If Dropbox isn't connected, the icon will appear in gray.

Dropbox Tray Mac Not Connected


If Dropbox is paused, the icon will appear in gray with a paused symbol in the lower right corner.

Dropbox Tray Mac Paused

Fully synced

If Dropbox is fully synced, the icon will appear in black without a checkmark.

Dropbox Tray Mac Synced


If Dropbox is in the process of syncing, the icon will appear in black with a black syncing symbol in the lower right corner.

Dropbox Tray Mac Syncing


If there is a notification about your account or a file or folder in your account, the icon will appear in black with a red dot in the lower right corner.

Camera Import

If you are uploading from a camera, the Dropbox icon will be replaced by a black camera icon while the upload is in process.

Dropbox Tray Mac Camera Upload

Don't see any icons at all?

Troubleshoot why Dropbox icons are not appearing.

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