If you use Dropbox on Mac, you’ve probably been frustrated with its app at some point. The app is a resource hog, it keeps asking for your Mac password to update, and it doesn’t even support M1 Macs natively yet. Sure, it does run on M1 Macs via Rosetta 2, but the lack of native support leads to inordinately high CPU usage and battery drain. Until Dropbox ships a native Mac client, you can either move to another cloud storage service, or you can look for alternative Dropbox clients for Mac. If you chose the latter route, we’re here to help make the transition smooth.
Maestral is a free, lightweight, and open-source Dropbox client for Mac. It natively supports M1 Macs and will sync your files and folders with absolutely no fuss. It runs quietly with minimal resource consumption even on old Intel MacBooks, which makes it ideal for anyone who uses Dropbox. If you’re technically inclined, you can use Maestral using the command line interface. It’s useful if you want to further reduce its resource footprint, but the GUI client is very light, too, so this shouldn’t be a problem for most people.
As good as Maestral is, it’s not for everyone because it does not support some Dropbox features. For example, it doesn’t support transferring only the parts of a file that have changed, so if you make changes, Maestral will have to download or upload the entire file again, which makes it consume more bandwidth than the official Dropbox client. It also lacks support for Dropbox Paper, managing Dropbox teams, or shared folder settings.
Mountain Duck 3
Mountain Duck 3 has a few good features that make it worth considering as a Dropbox client. It doesn’t require admin privileges to install, so if Dropbox’s password prompts to update have been getting to you, this app will suit you a lot better. It also shows you which files have been synced and which ones haven’t with neat icons (a green checkmark denotes that the file is available offline, and a cloud icon means it’s on the internet).
The app also allows you to copy the URL of your files for quick sharing, which is a big feature for a lot of people. Mountain Duck’s use of the context menu is one of its best features. You can right-click any file or folder and select Mountain Duck to access useful features such as copying the URL, downloading files, reloading them, etc.
The app costs $39 and supports multiple cloud storage services, including Google Drive and OneDrive. You can check out its features for free with a two-week trial.
Strongsync is an app that lets you access multiple cloud storage services on your Mac. Each of these services is mounted as a network drive on your Mac, which makes it easy to access directly from Finder. If you are looking for a native app that lets you sync folders from Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Sharepoint, then Strongsync fits the bill quite nicely. It’s a little heavier than Maestral, but much better than using Dropbox’s official client.
Strongsync is made by the company that also makes ExpanDrive. There is some feature overlap between the two apps, so if you already own ExpanDrive, you can continue using it to access Dropbox, too. Strongsync has a week-long free trial, and if you want to continue using the app after that, it costs $50.
Panic’s Transmit is an excellent FTP app that also lets you access Dropbox. This is a great alternative to accessing Dropbox from a web browser, but not really a replacement for the official Dropbox client. If you use Dropbox to upload and download files but not to sync them across devices, Transmit is perfect for you.
No one’s going to buy Transmit just to access Dropbox, but it’s a useful tool to have on your Mac if you upload files to various services, such as Amazon S3, Backblaze B2, Google Drive, Box, OneDrive, etc. Transmit is a native app on the Mac and will consume fewer resources than browser tabs open with the cloud service of your choice. We’ve been using Transmit for file uploads and downloads for years, and it’s been rock solid throughout.
Transmit costs $45 for a single-user license, but there is a seven-day free trial to help you decide if it’s worth buying.