Problems syncing to Dropbox with Audacity 3.2.5


I’m having problems syncing Audacity files to Dropbox. This started maybe six weeks ago. I’ve been syncing Audacity files to Dropbox for over three years with no problems.

My specs:

  • Mac OS: Ventura 13.2.1
  • Audacity: 3.2.5
  • Dropbox: v171.4.6182 … this is Dropbox’s Mac OS desktop software
  • Mac: iMac M1 desktop

The issue: Audacity files no longer sync to Dropbox using the Mac OS desktop app. This app creates a folder on my computer that syncs with Dropbox. I work out of this folder when editing Audacity. I share these Audacity files with a colleague (we do a podcast).

How it worked in the past: As I edited my Audacity file, Audacity would save each change automatically and Dropbox would sync the updated file automatically. I would look at the Dropbox icon at the top of my screen and see the little wheel spin on it as it synced the updated file. After a couple of minutes, the sync was done. We had no problems syncing this way and Dropbox never missed a change in my Audacity file.

What happens now: I still edit my Audacity file out of the Dropbox folder on my iMac. When I first create my Audacity project file, it will sync to Dropbox. But after that, the file stops syncing. Other types of files (Word, iMovie, Photoshop) sync fine even when I edit them in the Dropbox folder on my iMac. But Audacity no longer updates.

When I am first working with a new Audacity file, it will sync an updated project file once or twice when I close the project file. After that … zip. It won’t work. I can sync my Audacity files through the Dropbox website. This works but it’s clunky and not as sweet as previously.

Question: Anyone else having this issue? I worked with Dropbox support. They asked tons of questions, wanted screenshots and a bunch of other stuff but, so far, they haven’t come up with a fix.

Thank you for your help!

Did the onset of this issue coincide with a macOS update?

I’m not sure. Possibly. Dropbox also updated at some point in the last couple of months. It’s possible the fault lies with Dropbox but … I’m not sure. I’ve tried to troubleshoot it and pin it down but I’m not getting anywhere.

Traditionally, we have urged people not to do live production on external, USB, network, or on-line drives. Much worse than having them not work, they can be unstable and unreliable when they feel like it.

Audacity is not a network program with path management, collision detection, error correction, and automatic retry. The internet is not a pure, clean pathway between two things.

You’re trying to restore your system to normal. This is normal. Your internet provider may have shifted things around to “help you.”


Here’s a piece I wrote earlier. Koz

You can totally save and recover projects on network drives. You just can’t use Audacity to do it. Use your operating system to push files back and forth. Do actual audio production on your internal drive.

Audacity assumes its drives can do all possible audio production jobs including jobs that require surgically precise timing and stability.

Audacity doesn’t understand network collision detection, retry management, failure recovery, and sloppy delays. All features of network or cloud drives.

So, just to be clear: I am editing on my internal drive on my iMac. The headline on my post may have been a little misleading.

It works like this: Dropbox’s desktop app creates a folder on your internal drive. The Audacity project file lives in that folder. That folder syncs to Dropbox. When you save a new version of a file in that folder on your internal drive, Dropbox picks up the new version and syncs it to the cloud. The editing is all done on the internal drive.

This has worked like a charm with Audacity project files for three years but now it doesn’t work. Files from other apps still work this way. Something has changed. Just curious if anyone else had run into this recently with Dropbox and, if so, if they had found a fix for it.

One good troubleshooting technique is to is to peel off complexity and reduce parts of the system until it starts working reliably. Then put the pieces back testing as you go until it crashes.

Disconnect the network connection. What happens to Audacity? What happens to your other applications?


There’s another level of this troubleshooting thing. Successful troubleshooters never say the words: “I won’t check this condition because it can’t possibly be that.”

My co-worker: “How did you know that [some condition} was the cause of the problem?”

Me: “I didn’t, but I know you guys checked everything else.”


Agreed! I’ve done tons of troubleshooting and you go through everything you can think of. I’ve done that with this issue and not finding where the problem is. But I’m still looking!

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