Last year, Dropbox stirred up emotions by stating that they won’t be working on a Dropbox client optimised for Apple Silicon (M1) Macs until they see the demand for it — words that thankfully retreated fast, and a new Dropbox client was promised in the first half of 2022. As we roll off this year, the M1 app is officially available as a beta for anyone to download.
What’s the big deal about an app being updated for a new platform, where even older apps work just as fine? The problem is with how Dropbox works on these new Macs. Or rather, how badly it works on the new M1 Macs.
There were so many widespread reports of performance issues and battery life troubles that our official advice was to switch from Dropbox to something that worked better natively on the Mac.
And while we still stand by that, it’s not possible for everyone to easily jump ship. If you have a long-term plan with Dropbox or are part of a Dropbox Business plan, you’ll have to make do with the app. Thankfully, that app is now at least optimised for Apple Silicon.
How to improve Dropbox on M1 Macs using the beta
To download the Dropbox Beta, head over to Dropbox’s Forum page and click the “Standard Installer” link in the Mac OS X section (here’s the direct download link). This will download a 900KB dmg file. Once that’s mounted, you’ll be able to download and install the latest Dropbox client. If you’re already running Dropbox, this installer will replace the existing version.
Betas should be installed with some general caution, gut early reports seem promising. Based on preliminary tests done by MacStories, the new M1 optimised app brought down the RAM usage from a whopping 4GB to a much better 645MB.
After installing the new Dropbox app, you can confirm that it’s the Apple Silicon version on your own. Click the Apple button in the menu bar and go to “About This Mac”. Here, click “System Reports” and go to the “Applications” section in the sidebar. Find the “Dropbox” app and it should say “Apple Silicon” right next to it.