Dropbox-like syncing services

I’ve heard that Maestral is like an old-school Dropbox client.


A second for Maestral, which I heard recommended by Marco Arment on the Accidental Tech Podcast a few weeks ago. I’ve installed it and it’s been working just fine. It uses much less RAM, adds no junk, and is a true Dropbox client, using the Dropbox API. If you are a free Dropbox user, it’s also great, as it doesn’t count against your three device limit. And it is universal, unlike the stock Dropbox app. (Though that’s not an advantage for me yet, as I have no Apple Silicon Macs yet.)


I use Box (not DropBox, just Box). I have to say I don’t place too many demands on it, but it has worked well for me for several years for the little bit I have it doing.

I’m just going to move everything onto iCloud since that’s where most of the rest of my stuff is these days.

I noticed that on my old MBP right after I posted last night. For some reason, the installers all seem to require Rosetta, which led me to think the apps weren’t universal yet.

I’m using OneDrive but only because I have an Office 365 account giving mine and five other Macs 1 TB free each. But I would only recommend it if you’re on Office 365. It’s less delay-prone than iCloud, but only if you (1) rename any files it flags with unacceptable characters and (2) don’t use the Files On-Demand feature (analogous to iCloud’s "Optimize Mac Storage) as it’s buggy.

iCloud and OneDrive here. OneDrive dates back to the time when you couldn’t share iCloud files with just anybody; OneDrive made it far easier to share. I don’t “optimize” either; they’re solely backups and sharing.

Fwiw, I’ve had trouble with OneDrive on iOS and iPad os showing up to date files. In other words, I have a folder with dozens of image files that change daily, and when I check OneDrive in iOS or iPadOS, I find that the folder stays badly out of date. Every year when my Dropbox subscription comes up for annual renewal I check this again, and as recently as last month this problem continued to occur.

Since I do use sync clients to have up to date files on iPadOS, I just can’t trust OneDrive yet. I’m not sure if it’s a problem limited to image files - my office document files don’t have this issue.

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I rarely do photos. I tried it just now and a 1.4 MB photo showed up in iOS in about ten seconds though. You don’t have Files On Demand turned on by any chance? (It’s on by default).

I just checked to be sure. No, it’s off.

I’m curious about how you guys use Maestral.

I notice it can use its own local folder, doesn’t necessarily have to be ~/Dropbox. Does it make sense to use a separate folder or is it better to just keep using ~/Dropbox with Maestral? How about if you intend to perhaps go back and forth between Maestral and the official Dropbox client ever once on a while — any benefit in using separate folders or could having Maestral use the same ~/Dropbox as the official client cause any issues?

I completely remove the stock Dropbox app. One my Mac Mini, I kept the Dropbox folder, and used that as the Maestral target. The app was able to sync just fine without adding or losing anything.

For my MBA, I let Maestral build its own folder (after deleting the folder that Dropbox used). I’ve noticed no difference between the machines.

Since I have a Linux server at home that’s on 24/7, I’m running OwnCloud. It’s completely free, and it’s good to not have to worry about a third party doing nefarious things with my data.