New limits on free Dropbox accounts are a problem if you have more than three devices

Posted:
in General Discussion
Dropbox has quietly started to apply limits to the number of devices that could be connected to a basic account to encourage upgrades to the paid version, with users of the free tier now only able to access the cloud storage service on a maximum of three devices.

Dropbox


Dropbox has not previously applied a limitation to devices allowed per free account, but the change now means users will have to take care to link only the devices they want to use the service through. While this may seem fine for users who have only one Mac, iPad, and iPhone to add all of their personal hardware, the change mostly affects those who have more elaborate computing needs.

Spotted by Liliputing, the change to the support page advises "Basic users have a three device limit as of March 2019," whereas Plus and Professional users can link unlimited devices. Business users can also link unlimited devices, but Advanced and Enterprise Dropbox Business administrators can limit the number of devices for a team if required.

For users who already have more than three devices linked to an account before the change in policy Dropbox advises the hardware will still be linked to the account, but additional devices cannot be added until a free slot is opened up by removing existing listings.

Paid accounts for Dropbox start from $10 per month for Plus, which provides 1 terabyte of capacity, or $20 for the 2-terabyte Professional version which also includes Smart Sync, Showcase, and priority chat support.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,478member
    So free isn’t really free? Wow! Now let's hear all the outrage about free not being free and how Dropbox will fail and how dare they treat their free parasites this way. 
    beowulfschmidtStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 20
    Guess I'll be moving all my various sync data to iCloud Drive. I have at least 6 devices synced at any one time. I hope Apple finally got their s/*t together with all that.

    I have never paid for my personal account, but I am directly responsible for quite a few business accounts. Think I might look more closely into Google's offerings now.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 3 of 20
    frantisekfrantisek Posts: 561member
    Vivat iCloud and MegaSync now.
  • Reply 4 of 20
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,505member
    Guess I'll be moving all my various sync data to iCloud Drive. I have at least 6 devices synced at any one time. I hope Apple finally got their s/*t together with all that.

    I have never paid for my personal account, but I am directly responsible for quite a few business accounts. Think I might look more closely into Google's offerings now.
    Concur. This might be the time to move stuff out. I signed up for DB long ago, and the iCloud stuff has gotten way better since then. Maybe just clean it out and close the accounts.

    vulpineStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 20
    78Bandit78Bandit Posts: 235member
    I wonder how this affects apps that directly access Dropbox. I've got three computers linked to my account that stay synced, but I also use Dropbox within specific apps on my iPhone and iPad (like Readdle Documents and 1Password). Will those count against me as well?
    sphericwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 20
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,800member
    eightzero said:
    Guess I'll be moving all my various sync data to iCloud Drive. I have at least 6 devices synced at any one time. I hope Apple finally got their s/*t together with all that.

    I have never paid for my personal account, but I am directly responsible for quite a few business accounts. Think I might look more closely into Google's offerings now.
    Concur. This might be the time to move stuff out. I signed up for DB long ago, and the iCloud stuff has gotten way better since then. Maybe just clean it out and close the accounts.

    Without a way to guarantee offline access, iCloud is a pretty iffy service in some situations. 
  • Reply 7 of 20
    Would have been a good time to offer a $5 plan... can’t really do iCloud at work. Maybe I can get work to support something directly :/ I can’t complain much, though. I’ve gotten tons of utility out of Dropbox and paid nothing. Still I’m definitely keeping iCloud and would like to avoid too many services.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 20
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,201member
    This is a pretty good sign that Dropbox is becoming irrelevant for many casual users. If you are a casual user of DropBox now is the time to move your stored assets off of Dropbox before they get digitally shitcanned. This is a good case study in what happens when the burden of the "free tier" becomes unsustainable for service providers. Yeah, we've always known that the "free tier" was always intended to suck you into paid subscriptions. This should come as no surprise at all. As much as we all like "free," once you sign up for a service that is vital for the success of your business you'd better be prepared to pay for the service you are getting. The days of casual users and hobbyists getting access to robust applications and services that require bottom-line business-impactful investments to sustain are coming to an end. If you want to play - you've got to pay. 
    edited March 14 hmurchisoncornchip
  • Reply 9 of 20
    jslovejslove Posts: 5member
    I would cheerfully pay $3 per month, with a much lower storage limit and a higher limit on devices Surprise: I need at least four: iPhone, iPad, Laptop, Desktop, and maybe 5: Server. I would consider $5. $10 per month or $99 per year is right out. So they do not want me to use their service any more? I'll migrate. Mildly inconvenient. It's not that I don't want to pay for service, it's just they want more money than their service is worth to me.
    toysandme
  • Reply 10 of 20
    jfc

    I got off the Dropbox train back when they added a war criminal to their board of directors, but have had to maintain a free account for occasional client back-and-forth'ing. Maybe it's time to finally set up a personal cloud on macminicolo.net…

    [edit] or maybe an "OwnCloud" on DigitalOcean, anyone here play around with these?
    edited March 14 hmurchison
  • Reply 11 of 20
    ednlednl Posts: 30member
    "For users who already have more than three devices linked to an account before the change in policy Dropbox advises the hardware will still be linked to the account" = you can keep syncing all devices you already have, even if that's more than 3.
  • Reply 12 of 20
    I think 3 devices is pretty good for a free service. If you find it so useful that you use it on more than 3 devices, it's probably worth paying for.
  • Reply 13 of 20
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,151member
    Problem with Dropbox is they have never had a good plan to turn casual users into customers. They like the viral marketing of large user base but have always been dismissive of those users.

    even now tightened the screws but first tier of product is $10us per month. 
  • Reply 14 of 20
    I think 3 devices is pretty good for a free service. If you find it so useful that you use it on more than 3 devices, it's probably worth paying for.
    I have 3 physical devices but multiple OS installs on my desktop, I'm sure that puts me over the limit.

    Anyway, I was on the verge of paying when they started to push people to sign up for dropbox instead of just downloading the file when they click on links i've generated, and I didn't like that. Not to mention giving up on public folders.

    I've signed up for pCloud, which seems to work about the same and is based in Switzerland, which should mean a lot more privacy, especially as an EU citizen. If they stick around I'll probably end up paying too.
  • Reply 15 of 20
    gbdocgbdoc Posts: 69member
    I can’t complain. Dropbox is, after all, a company, not the Salvation Army. They’re a business, which doesn’t just live for its product, but also from it. They offer a good, reliable service, which has improved over time, and has made my life easier for years, for free. I don’t currently have more than 3 devices, so I can continue using it for nothing, but I’d stick with them even if they began to charge a reasonable fee. IME iCloud hasn’t been nearly as reliable; I try to stay away from Google’s stuff, because I don’t know what about me they monetize, and to whom. Besides, Dropbox is AFAIK an independent company, whose only product and only interest is their product, so they’ve got to keep on the ball. For Apple and Google this service is only one of their innumerable products.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,739member
    I’ve always wondered how Dropbox made money with such a generous free package. I guess they were starting to wonder that, too.

    I switched to DB years ago when Apple dropped Mobile Me and I needed a reliable file syncing solution. There weren’t many options at that time and DB was the best one. For a long time they were the most commonly integrated service used by third party applications, and in many cases the only option. As other platforms ahve become more common and as iOS has developed that’s finally started to change. 

    iCloud is doing better now and has more sharing options, so it may be time for me to re-evaluate and move everything over to icloud.

    One suggestion to those concerned with security - I started using an app called BoxCryptor a few years ago. It encrypts everything on the server, decrypting it locally with a locally-stored key, so the Dropbox servers get hacked, the files are useless. There are other apps out there as well that do similar things.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,823member
    Lame. As a free user, I’m already accepting limited storage capacity, that was the deal. 

    But where is the widespread moral outrage that DB is turning the screws on users to increase its services revenue?
  • Reply 18 of 20
    jslovejslove Posts: 5member

    I would cheerfully pay $3 per month, with a much lower storage limit (I never used 5 GB, much less 1 TB) and a higher limit on devices.  Surprise: I need at least four: iPhone, iPad, Laptop, Desktop, and maybe 5: macOS Server.  I might consider $5.  $10 per month or $99 per year is right out; these things add up (to more than a disk drive per year).  So they do not want me to use their service any more?  It's not that I don't want to pay for service, it's just they want more money than their service is worth to me.  No moral outrage here, just sadness that they do not have a tier that I'd consider affordable.

    I've finished migrating to iCloud everything except for folders that others have shared with me.  Mildly inconvenient, one time.  With only the shared folders, I do not depend on being able to access from every device.  I believe that the people who have shared folders with me may be paying for their accounts, and I'm good with that.  Free access to that, while it lasts, is like Adobe Reader being free and the authoring software not.  They get paid for both their storage and other added value.

    I started using Dropbox mainly before iCloud, or at least before I pretty much stopped using operating systems too old to use iCloud Drive.  I never used Dropbox from my (Debian) Linux servers.  I am looking into running NextCloud on one of the Linux servers and pulling my files from iCloud into my own private cloud, possibly at a colocated server far from home, with backups to repository at home.

  • Reply 19 of 20
    ChristianSmithhChristianSmithh Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    This is one more reason to move away from Dropbox. I was looking for Dropbox alternatives when I discovered the Swiss cloud provider pCloud. They do not have this limitation for their FREE users.

    pCloud Drive, creates a secure virtual drive on your computer. The only difference from your physical drive is that pCloud does not take space on your computer. Files uploaded in the drive will be kept safe in the cloud.I love that it creates a drive on my PC and that I can access my files just as if they were stored on my computer.

    I switched over from Dropbox almost 2 years aho ago. The experience so far has been flawless.Some of the positives. 1. very responsive support. proactive, trying hard to help. I really appreciate that. Dropbox, on the other hand, is terrible at this. 2. simple and easy to use. pCloud is very similar to Dropbox, which I used before, so the transition is smooth.

    - Raw speed: in my experience pCloud is super fast and tends to be limited only by my broadband - I've hit 50Mb/s down and 15 Mb/s up, which is definitely a restriction at my end.

    - Small updates to existing files transfer *really* fast: this is because they support block-level file transfer, which means only the block of the file that was changed is sent up or down. Not unique, but not at all common either - I believe Dropbox does this, while Google doesn't.

    So...



  • Reply 20 of 20
    ChristianSmithhChristianSmithh Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    This is one more reason to move away from Dropbox. I was looking for Dropbox alternatives when I discovered the Swiss cloud provider pCloud. They do not have this limitation for their FREE users.

    pCloud Drive, creates a secure virtual drive on your computer. The only difference from your physical drive is that pCloud does not take space on your computer. Files uploaded in the drive will be kept safe in the cloud.I love that it creates a drive on my PC and that I can access my files just as if they were stored on my computer.

    I switched over from Dropbox almost 2 years aho ago. The experience so far has been flawless.Some of the positives. 1. very responsive support. proactive, trying hard to help. I really appreciate that. Dropbox, on the other hand, is terrible at this. 2. simple and easy to use. pCloud is very similar to Dropbox, which I used before, so the transition is smooth.

    - Raw speed: in my experience pCloud is super fast and tends to be limited only by my broadband - I've hit 50Mb/s down and 15 Mb/s up, which is definitely a restriction at my end.

    - Small updates to existing files transfer *really* fast: this is because they support block-level file transfer, which means only the block of the file that was changed is sent up or down. Not unique, but not at all common either - I believe Dropbox does this, while Google doesn't.

    So...

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