Join gaming leaders online at GamesBeat Summit Next this upcoming November 9-10. Learn more about what comes next. 

The Mac app for cloud file syncing and sharing service Dropbox is becoming more transparent about asking for permission from its users. The change applies to macOS Sierra, which Apple released earlier today, and it will be coming to OS X in the next few weeks.

The change comes after Dropbox faced criticism over how the app got accessibility permission without asking for it. (You can check if it has that permission by going to System Preferences > Security & Privacy and looking under Accessibility in the Privacy tab.)

“We want to do a better job with how we ask for permissions,” a Dropbox spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email.

Now the Dropbox Mac app will ask you to give it accessibility permission. It’s for “the Dropbox badge (Office integrations) and other integrations (finding windows & other UI interactions),” the spokesperson wrote.

Here’s an animated GIF of how Dropbox now asks for accessibility permission in macOS Sierra:

What happens when you install Dropbox on macOS Sierra now.

Above: What happens when you install Dropbox on macOS Sierra now.

Image Credit: Dropbox

A Dropbox support page says it’s not currently possible to revoke Dropbox’s accessibility permission in OS X. “We realize this isn’t a great experience, and we’re actively working to make this better,” the company said, noting that some OS X permissions “aren’t as detailed as we’d like.” If you chose to disable Dropbox’s accessibility permission, that change will be overridden when you restart.

Further, with today’s changes, Dropbox may not operate well alongside iCloud if you’ve installed macOS Sierra. Dropbox has suggestions for dealing with issues here.

Dropbox competes with Box, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive, among others. It has more than 500 million registered users.

Dropbox previously dealt with blowback for the way its Project Infinite system accesses the operating system kernel. That technology, which is still in technology preview, is not related to the new permission flow, the spokesperson wrote.

Update at 6:14 p.m. Pacific: Clarified that the change will be coming to OS X; it’s not available yet.


VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact. Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:
  • up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
  • our newsletters
  • gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More
  • networking features, and more
Become a member