A real alternative to Dropbox

Is there any real alternative to Dropbox to enable reliable sync for the Mac and iOS devices ?

I’m really keen to get rid of Dropbox given how woeful the Mac app has become.
It currently spins the CPU over 100% every hour and causes the MBP fans to kick in and currently is using about 750MB of memory.

The only thing keeping me on Dropbox is DT3


I don’t have that behavior at all with Dropbox. I sit at a Mac 8+ hours per day and am sensitive to when it’s not running as fast as I’d like. Dropbox hasn’t been one of those issues (except for when I restart the computer - then it will take up resources for a while as it goes over the synced files).

Perhaps there’s another issue with your system that is manifesting itself with Dropbox. When I used Backblaze, I had terrible issues with it running up my CPU while it ran its sync, but after several rounds of tech support, it seemed my Mac was the only one that had an issue with their service.

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I use Dropbox for syncing, and am not seeing that behavior here either (Dropbox rarely goes over 2-3%). What version of Dropbox and OS are you runnning?

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My experience of iCloud sync of DT3 databases is that it is very solid. With iCloud storage being quite affordable, it’s worth checking out as an option.

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Catalina 10.15.2 and Dropbox v86.4.146

Though been happening for a while on previous MacOS - seems to have started when the stuck in chromium webkit.

I’ve done clean MacOS install nothing changes.

Do also run ArqBackup but have disabled it and still spins up the CPU

I’m not on Catalina (I have 10.14.6) but running the same version of Dropbox on three computers with no problems.

Hmm… have you tried temporarily removing the DevonThink’s syncstore from Dropbox, to see if the CPU burn happens when nothing is actively using it?

Maybe also strip down Dropbox’s preferences to the lowest impact (turn off “save hard drive space automatically”, use selective sync limit which folders are syncing, set limits on upload/download rates).

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Does DEVONthink or the Dropbox.app cause this CPU usage? In case of DEVONthink please launch Apple’s Activity Monitor application (see Applications > Utilities), choose DEVONthink in the list of processes while the CPU usage is high, select the menu item View > Sample Process and send the result to cgrunenberg - at - devon-technologies.com. Thanks in advance!

I use Sync, www.sync.com, and it’s been quite stable and reliable.

And the iOS apps can use it ?


To DT guys, do you actually need Dropbox installed on a Mac to sync ? Or will the app use an API to sync ?

What size storage does the sync use ? Is it the entire Database or just a minimal conduit of data ?


I agree with your assessment if iCloud synching. I switched to iCloud after getting notified of a substantial increase in my Dropbox charges, and so far it has worked flawlessly to keep all of my devices in synch.

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Yup, never had issues with iCloud either.

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No. Our sync engine doesn’t use the Dropbox application at all.

It is not merely copying the database to Dropbox and it is not “just a minimal conduit of data”. It is raw, chunked, and optionally encrypted sync data for the entire database. It will be in the general ballpark of the size of the contents of your database (as shown in File > Database Properties).

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Thanks, that may work for me.

You’re welcome :slight_smile:

FWIW: I’ve just been looking into alternatives to Dropbox myself, and this fairly recent (Feb 2019) MacWorld article is one the most helpful articles I’ve come across:

A real alternative to Dropbox - DEVONthink - DEVONtechnologies Community

Regarding Dropbox: “Dropbox was the go-to cloud storage and sync service eight years ago, but has since been surpassed by more robust, flexible, and affordable offerings from its competitors.”

They recommend Google One (formerly Google Drive), iCloud, and Microsoft OneDrive, depending on one’s scenario. They summarize costs and criteria that might lead one to prefer one to the others.

If any of these should be avoided for DT (I’m still using DT2), I’d appreciate learning that.

iCloud is and has been supported for some time (though it’s been problematic since iOS 13 and Catalina, and not just for us).

Neither Google Drive (or however they want to rebrand it) nor OneDrive is suitable for use with DEVONthink and DEVONthink To Go syncing as neither offer WebDAV services.

Thanks for that clarification, Jim. That narrows down the options! :wink:

You’re welcome :slight_smile:

FYI, the link you embedded links to this forum and not the Macworld article.