Dropbox mistakenly installed a new desktop app on user devices without notice
But the change has been reverted nowBy Cohen Coberly
Everybody's favorite file-sharing and storage service, Dropbox, has made a few controversial changes as of late. As noticed by Ars Technica, earlier today the company began silently forcing its users to update to a new version of Dropbox, which includes a significantly reworked interface.
Dropbox's desktop presence used to be fairly simple: you had a Dropbox folder on your machine that you could add files to at will, and periodically, the folder would sync with your personal cloud storage account. This allowed you to easily move files between machines, or give your friends, family, or colleagues access to select portions of your data. The "new" Dropbox desktop experience is a dedicated app, which many users are understandably criticizing for being a bit overkill.
After all, as Ars notes, how many people really need (or want) an entire file manager for a single folder on their device? Based on the response this controversial change received, it's probably safe to say "not many."
It is worth noting that this new Dropbox app has been around for a while, but only in the form of a specific Early Access download. You needed to explicitly consent to download the new desktop app prior to today, but now, Dropbox has been pushing the update out to users without notice or consent.
Worse, on macOS, the new Dropbox app continuously implants a dedicated icon into user Docks. According to Dropbox, it "currently [isn't] possible" to permanently remove this icon.
All in all, this situation has been quite a mess -- however, it appears there may be an explanation for all of these surprise changes. Dropbox's Support Twitter account recently claimed the "new desktop app experience" had been "accidentally" installed on user machines.
We recently announced a new desktop app experience that is now available in Early Access. Due to an error, some users were accidentally exposed to the new app for a short period. We're currently working to revert this change. We apologize for any inconvenience.--- Dropbox Support (@DropboxSupport) July 18, 2019
Whether that's true or merely an attempt to backpedal in light of all the backlash is impossible to say. However, Dropbox promised to revert the change as soon as possible, and they apologized for the "inconvenience." As of writing, the company has kept its word.
The Support account now says "The issue with the Dropbox desktop app has been resolved, though there might be a short lag for some users to see resolution." If you were one of the users who had the new Dropbox app forcibly installed on your device, let us know in the comments if the issue has been fixed for you.