Dropbox says its users might not be able to open files on macOS 12

Dropbox icon
Dropbox icon (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Dropbox has warned users that third-party apps might soon be unable to access online-only files.
  • A workaround means opening files manually via Finder.
  • A beta release is coming that should help fix the issue.

Once-popular online storage and sync outfit Dropbox has once again upset Mac users after it sent an email out to users saying that they might soon be unable to access some files.

According to an email sent to customers, Dropbox is concerned that people running a future version of macOS Monterey might not be able to access online-only files via third-party apps. It mentions macOS 12.3, a release that doesn't exist yet, although that could be a mistake. It's also possible that Dropbox has been given a heads-up by Apple, of course. The latter seems most likely given the talk of macOS 12.3 in a related support article on the Dropbox website.

The problem, the email says, is that "for this release, Dropbox doesn't have full support for online-only files." That means that files that only live on Dropbox's servers — and not on your Mac — could go AWOL at some point in the future, at least in terms of access via third-party apps. Files should still be available via Finder, at least.

Dropbox is actively working on full support for the upcoming macOS 12.3 (Monterey) release and will begin rolling out a beta version in March 2022.If you choose to update to macOS 12.3, you may have issues opening online-only files in third-party applications on your Mac. As a temporary workaround, you can open online-only files directly in Finder.

Dropbox has been struggling to maintain its position as the best Mac app for syncing files and saving them to the cloud of late. It's still working on a native Apple silicon version of its app, for example.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.