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Update Dropbox for Mountain Lion

Dropbox has long claimed that they have auto-updating of the Dropbox application, but for many people, it doesn’t seem to work. This is sometimes explained by Dropbox rolling out the updates over a week or so, or by there being interim updates that Dropbox doesn’t release via the auto-update mechanism. But the simple fact remains that when I started writing this article on 14 August 2012, we had a Mac running version 1.1.45, another running 1.2.52, and four running version 1.4.7, released on 24 May 2012. And that’s under all versions of Mac OS X from 10.5 Leopard to 10.8 Mountain Lion.

(To determine what version you’re running, hover over the Dropbox menu bar icon to see a yellow tooltip with the version number and status, or, for older versions, choose Preferences from the Dropbox menu and look in the Account pane.)

So I was a little perturbed to see that the current version of Dropbox is 1.4.12 from 26 July 2012, with release notes that outdo even Apple for useless brevity: “Mountain Lion support.” Since a number of our Macs are now running Mountain Lion, “support,” whatever that means, would be nice, given how heavily we rely on Dropbox for collaboration. To be fair, we hadn’t noticed any problems with any of the older versions of Dropbox, but with any cloud-based service, staying up to date is important in case there are any security updates buried under those three-word release notes.

Of course, realizing that our Macs were running obsolete versions of Dropbox was the necessary signal to cause two of the six to update themselves to 1.4.12 the very next day — three full weeks after the initial release — but the others remain stuck at older versions. Sigh…

My feeling is that if you have Dropbox 1.4.something, it will probably update itself eventually, but if your Mac is stuck in the 1.1 or 1.2 range (there was no 1.3 range that I see in Dropbox’s release history), I recommend downloading the latest version and installing it manually. Luckily, this is easy.

Go to the Download Dropbox page, where you can always get the latest stable release. Once you’ve downloaded and mounted the Dropbox disk image, be sure to quit the running copy of Dropbox, by choosing Quit Dropbox from the Dropbox menu, before you drag the new Dropbox application into your Applications folder and launch it. That’s it.

That this problem with automatic updates has lasted for so long with Dropbox is unnecessary. Dropbox could simply add a Check for Updates command to the Dropbox menu, or, if that’s deemed too geeky for average users, a Check for Updates button could be added to Dropbox’s Advanced preference pane. Then any user concerned about being out of date could check for and initiate an update easily, rather than having to poke around on Dropbox’s Web site.


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Comments about Update Dropbox for Mountain Lion
(Comments are closed.)

Anonymous  2012-08-15 21:09
I am running version 1.5.10
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-08-15 21:32
That's the beta tree at the moment...
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-08-15 21:34
And if you want all the beta releases of Dropbox, there's a utility that will get them for you.
Chris Kohuch  2012-08-15 22:45
I'm not sure what else it might fix, but prior to upgrading to 1.4.12 under Mountain Lion, I found that the little icons (either a green checkmark to indicate that a file or folder had been synced, or a blue rotating arrow to indicate that a file was in the process of being synced) no longer worked.
JerryNaples  2012-08-21 13:10
In addition, I discovered that 1.4.7 in Mt Lion wouldn't support the Share Folder /Share file features. A right click did NOT offer the Dropbox in the context menu

That is when I finally discovered that the current version was 1.4.12

Yes DB needs an update option

Jerry Nalpes
David S.  2012-08-16 05:40
I've long thought DB needs an 'update now' button, the wait for them to roll out new versions to everyone is often way too long, and as noted in this article sometimes certain versions never seem to update by themselves.

Auto-updating is nice, but a manual override is necessary too.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-08-16 09:39
Absolutely - I was thinking much the same thing, and will add it to the article!
My observation is that Dropbox auto update only runs when you are logged in to your Mac under an account with administrator privileges. Could you be using an non-privileged account some of the time?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-08-16 16:26
Nope, we always run under administrator accounts.
Daniel  2012-08-16 20:15
Not for me - I always run under a non-admin account and it updated for me just the other day - I know becuase the Mac OS X security subsystem asked me to authorise to allow DropBox connctivity via the firewall again. I then tracked it down to a silent update.
Peter Hillman  2012-08-17 11:39
I don't know when my Dropbox app updated, but after I installed Mtn Lion, I noticed that the folder icons in the Finder did not have status indicators (green check marks or blue upload arrows). A few days ago, I noticed the indicators reappeared, and I am running Dropbox 1.4.12. So that was the fix for Mtn Lion. The folder status indicators are back.
Lee Seelig  2012-08-22 16:38
Tried the update,

Was dead, (No response to the download link).
Tried the Install but the installer wouldn't run.
So, I'm still running the old version.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-08-22 16:56
That's very odd - I've not heard of any problems along those lines until now.
Vincent Hevern  2012-08-31 13:13
I can't get it to work either
Mac Carter  2012-08-23 13:48
Why recommend updating Dropbox manually or advising people to trust the apparently flawed Dropbox auto-update process? Why not recommend subscribing to and have it automatically inform you when updates are available for ALL of your non-Apple software? It sure works well for me, including updates for Dropbox.
Roger D. Parish  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2012-08-28 07:51
DropBox now offers two-factor authentication according to Krebs on Security
. It requires version 1.4.17.