Will Dropbox delete a file from my cloud storage after I upload it?

So if I upload a photo with the Dropbox app, then delete it from the phone, will it remain in my Dropbox storage?

  • A thumb rule: If you delete file using Dropbox app after browsing remote folders, the file will be deleted. Otherwise, it'll not. – user3303 Aug 29 '12 at 16:19
  • So you should not save your original file in dropbox? Or is that the whole purpose? I just moved my entire music library to dropbox, and it is located nowhere else - is this a good or bad thing? – user25461 Dec 24 '12 at 5:11

If you delete a file from your mobile device, the file remains on your Online storage.

To have the file permanently deleted, you need to delete it from your online Dropbox account, accessing it via their website.

I've just run this exercise (to prove the theory):

  1. Take photos;
  2. Sync Dropbox;
  3. Delete photos from my device;
  4. Access laptop;
  5. Photos were downloaded;
  6. Access Dropbox website and login to your personal account;
  7. Delete photos;
  8. Photos were automatically removed from Laptop and a notification was presented asking if I wanted to undo the operation.
  • 1
    I'm not sure I agree with that the whole purpose would be defeated, since the purpose of Dropbox is to provide 2-way sync as the other guy said, but I wasn't sure how it worked on Android exactly i.e. whether it worked differently to the desktop app. I guess it does. – warsong Aug 29 '12 at 13:05
  • Strange: So if I add a file from one end, it gets added everywhere -- but if the same origin deletes it again, it stays. While deleting on a different place get's escalated to all clients... Brrr... At least they get asked whether they want to undo it -- I had expected to be asked whether I want to do it in the first place... So it is a mix of "external storage" and "1.5 way sync" -- thanx, Zuul, for your explanation! – Izzy Aug 29 '12 at 13:31
  • @warsong I've removed that part from the answer. Does Not provide anything useful anyways! And could be considered more like a personal note than reality... :| – Zuul Aug 29 '12 at 14:35
  • well, I had already upvoted you, so thats fine – warsong Aug 29 '12 at 15:31
  • Comment by an anonymous user (taken from an invalid edit): This is not accurate from Dropbox automatic camera uploads. Pics and videos deleted from the automatic upload folder on your phone will also be deleted from your Dropbox account online. – Izzy May 22 '13 at 6:50

Dropbox doesn't work the same way on Android as it does on dektop platforms: It does not monitor a directory for changes. In fact, you only can download selected files, which will be saved on a cache directory on your Android device. The Dropbox app would not instantly notice if you delete the file. Only if you try do retrieve the file again from the cloud, the Dropbox app would search for the file in the local cache directroy first. If it isn't here, it will just download the file again.

But you can delete a file from the cloud storage by selecting the delete option in the Dropbox app. Same thing goes for upload: You have to select a file in order to upload it into the cloud.

  • 2
    +1 for explicitly noting that mobile and desktop are different in this case.. I think that may be where some of the confusion came from. – Izkata Aug 29 '12 at 16:57

As said before, Dropbox for Android works differently than the desktop program. It's just an interface to access your online account, with some special features like caching. For example, you can "favorite" a file for offline access and edit some files directly from the app. But if you want an app that works exactly like the desktop program, you can try Dropsync.

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