What is selective sync?

Selective sync gives you the control to ensure you have only the files you need on any computer.
What is selective sync?

Selective sync is a feature of the Dropbox desktop application that allows you to select only the folders you want to be synced to your computer. 

  • By default, your folders are saved on our website and on your computer. Just like your other folders, this takes up space on your hard drive.
  • As an alternative, you can decide to have certain folders saved only on our website.
  • Selective sync needs to be set up on each computer individually. This way, you can choose which files are accessible on each.

We recommend using selective sync for files and folders you don't access very often.

Important: If you delete files from your Dropbox folder instead of using selective sync to free up space, they'll be deleted from your other linked devices. They'll also be deleted from the devices of anyone you've shared the files with. 

Instructions for Mac

Select which folders to sync on macOS

  1. Click the Dropbox icon from the menu bar.
  2. Click the gear icon and select Preferences... from the menu.
  3. Click the Account tab.
  4. Click the Change Settings... button.

A window will appear with a list of all the top level folders in your Dropbox folder. The folders with a check next to them will be synced to your computer. Uncheck any folders that you don't need to sync to your computer's hard drive. Any folders you deselected will be removed from your hard drive, but will still be available through the website and on any computers linked to your Dropbox account.

Note: Wait until the folder has uploaded completely (it displays the green checkmark) before unselecting it in your selective sync settings.

Instructions for Windows

  1. Click the Dropbox icon from the system tray.
  2. Click the gear icon and select Preferences... from the menu.
  3. Click the Account tab.
  4. Click the Selective Sync... button.

A window will appear with a list of all the top level folders in your Dropbox folder. The folders with a check next to them will be synced to your computer. Uncheck any folders that you don't need to sync to your computer's hard drive. When you're done, select OK. Any folders you deselected will be removed from your hard drive, but will still be available through the website and on any computers linked to your Dropbox account.

Note: Wait until folders display a green checkmark—which means they are completely uploaded to your Dropbox—before unselecting them in your selective sync preferences and removing them from the Dropbox app on your computer.

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