the Joy of Macs Software Dropbox Encore icon
Dropbox Encore 1.1b1
19 Nov 19
[ Overview | Requirements | Installation | Usage | Problems | Reinstall | Uninstall | Feedback ]


Special setup for Dropbox Encore on Catalina (10.15)

Dropbox shared folders let two users (i.e., two accounts) share a folder of files. See the Dropbox Help for more information.

But sometimes Dropbox Sharing is not what you want, e.g., independent work and home accounts. Dropbox Encore enables a second instance of Dropbox to run in a single Mac OS X user account.

Each instance of Dropbox must have (1) a unique Dropbox account and (2) a separate local Dropbox folder.

Take Note

New: Dropbox Encore is compatible with macOS Catalina (10.15)

Since Dropbox Encore 1.1b1 is not a "signed" application, a normal Open of the Dropbox Encore app fails on macOS Catalina (10.15).

See below for special setup that enables Dropbox Encore to run on Catalina.

Dropbox Encore no longer runs on Snow Leopard (10.6) to Mavericks (10.9)

With the release of Dropbox 3.8.5, Dropbox Encore stalls in “Starting…” mode shortly after its icon appears in the menu bar on OS X 10.9.5 and earlier releases. See more about this in Known Problems.

Dropbox Encore on Yosemite (10.10), El Capitan (10.11), Sierra (10.12), High Sierra (10.13), Mojave (10.14) or Catalina (10.15)

Dropbox Encore runs successfully with Dropbox 47.3.73 (or later) on Yosemite (10.10) through Catalina (10.15).

Note: Dropbox's Finder features are not available in a Dropbox Encore folder (see more in Known Problems).



  1. Download DropboxEncore1.1b1.dmg.
  2. Mount the disk image if your browser does not do it automatically. The installation folder should open automatically.
  3. Drag the Dropbox Encore application and drop it on the Applications folder alias.
  4. Important: In Finder, create a folder for your second Dropbox folder. For example, create a new "Dropbox Encore" folder in your Home folder. (You'll need this folder the first time you launch Dropbox Encore – Dropbox will create a "Dropbox" subfolder within your new folder.)

Note: You can verify Dropbox Encore is not a Trojan horse: Show Package Contents of the applcation package – you'll find a two-line shell script in the "Resources" folder.


The sole function of the Dropbox Encore application is to launch a second instance of Dropbox, using the official Dropbox application in your Applications folder.

Launching Dropbox Encore the first time

  1. Launching Dropbox Encore for the first time creates a second instance of Dropbox – a second Dropbox icon menu appears in your menu bar.

    • If launching Dropbox Encore causes the running Dropbox to quit, see the "Dropbox quits" fix below.
  2. Special setup on macOS Catalina:
        Click to enlarge:
    a. Start by attempting to launch Dropbox Encore 1.1b1, which fails because "the developer cannot be identified."

    Click the Cancel button to dismiss the error dialog.

    Dropbox Encore cannot be opened.
    b. Open System Preferences and click Security & Privacy. System Preferences
    c. In the Security & Privacy panel, visually confirm that Dropbox Encore was just blocked.

    Then click the Open Anyway button.

    Security & Privacy Preferences
    d. Click the Open button in the resulting error dialog.

    Your second instance of the official Dropbox application should proceed normally.

    After this,  Dropbox Encore should launch without error.

    Open Dropbox Encore
    e. Continue with the rest of Dropbox Setup.  
  3. The Dropbox wizard leads you through setup of your second account. To keep your two Dropboxes from interfering with each other, you must make a few departures from the default process. These screenshots shows selected Dropbox Setup steps that require special setup for your second Dropbox account:
        Click to enlarge:
    a. Enter the email address of your second Dropbox account, or create a new second account. Dropbox Second Account
    b. Click Advanced Settings in order to configure your second Dropbox folder. Dropbox Advanced Setup
    c. Choose Other... to select your Dropbox Encore folder,
    e.g., the "Dropbox Encore" folder you created in your Home folder
    during Dropbox Encore installation.
    Dropbox Location
    d. Dropbox will create its "Dropbox" folder in the folder you selected. Second Dropbox folder
    e. Continue with the rest of Dropbox Setup.  

Two Dropbox folders in Finder's sidebar

When Dropbox created its first "Dropbox" folder on your Mac, it put this folder into Finder's sidebar. When Dropbox created its second Dropbox folder for Dropbox Encore, it replaced the original folder in Finders sidebar with the new Dropbox Encore folder.

    Click to enlarge:
a. Your Finder sidebar points to your Dropbox Encore folder. Dropbox Second Account
b. Drag your original Dropbox folder into the sidebar and drop it in the
space between the Pictures and existing Dropbox folder.

Caution: Before releasing your mouse, make sure you see a line between
the two folders. Otherwise, you'll move the original Dropbox folder.

Dropbox Advanced Setup
c. Your Finder sidebar will have two Dropbox folders.

You'll need to remember the correspondence to the actual folders.

Dropbox Location

Quitting Dropbox Encore

Choose Quit from the second Dropbox Encore icon menu.

Subsequent launches of Dropbox Encore

After the second Dropbox has finished its configuration, launching Dropbox Encore simply causes the second Dropbox icon to appear in your menu bar.

Start at Login

If you want your second Dropbox running all of the time, drag the Dropbox Encore application to your your "System Preferences > Accounts > Login Items" list.

More than two Dropbox accounts

Several Dropbox Encore users have asked for more than two Dropbox accounts. I expect any number of Dropbox accounts could be active on a single macOS account. I have not tried this because I have only two Dropbox accounts.

If you'd like to experiment, ...

  1. Duplicate the Dropbox Encore application file, naming the new file something like "Dropbox Encore 3".
  2. Use Finder's contextual menu to Show Package Contents.
  3. Edit the "script" file in a text editor, changing "dropbox-two" to "dropbox-three".

When I launched my test Dropbox Encore 3, it got to the point of asking for a Dropbox account. Since I did not want to create another, I Quit the test app.

Known Problems

Dropbox Encore stalls at launch with Dropbox 3.8.5 on OS X 10.9.5 (and earlier)

On Mac OS X 10.6.8 to OS X 10.9.5, Dropbox Encore has stopped working with the latest release of Dropbox. Specifically, after the Dropbox Encore icon appears in the menu bar, it stalls in “Starting…” mode. If Dropbox Encore is launched first, it starts normally, but then Dropbox subsequently stalls in “Starting…” mode.

At this time, there are only two options for using Dropbox Encore with Dropbox 3.8.5:

  1. Run Dropbox or Dropbox Encore individually but not at the same time.
  2. Upgrade to OS X 10.10.4, where Dropbox Encore functions normally with Dropbox 3.8.5.

Although Dropbox Encore behaves normally with earlier releases of Dropbox, downgradng Dropbox is not an option because Dropbox automatically upgrades itself to the latest release.

Investigation is underway to find a way to stop Dropbox from upgrading itself. This is clearly not a ideal solution, but it may be the only way to continue running Dropbox Encore on OS X 10.9.5 and earlier releases.

If you'd like to be notifiied if and when this problem is resolved, please send a brief message to Ward Clark, including the version of OS X on which you are using Dropbox Encore.

Reinstall Dropbox Encore to fix some other problems

A small number of Dropbox Encore users have reported other problems with Dropbox Encore setup or usage. So far, these problems have resulted from departures from the "Launching Dropbox Encore the first time" instructions.

In the event of a problem with Dropbox Encore, ...

  1. Delete the hidden Dropbox Encore configuration files: see step 4 of Uninstall Dropbox Encore (next section).
  2. Carefully follow the steps in Launching Dropbox Encore the first time.

Uninstall Dropbox Encore

To remove Dropbox Encore from your Mac, ...

  1. If Dropbox Encore is running, select Quit Dropbox from its "gear" menu.
  2. Drag the Dropbox Encore application from the Applications folder into the Trash.
  3. If Dropbox Encore is automatically launched at startup, remove it from your System Preferences > Accounts > Login Items.
  4. Use the Terminal application to delete the hidden Dropbox Encore folder, which holds account information and status data. This hidden folder is different from your visible second Dropbox folder (see Installation step #4 above).
    1. Launch Terminal from your Utilities folder. Terminal defaults to your "home" folder.
    2. Use the "rm" command to delete the hidden ".dropbox-two" folder – note that the folder name has a leading period.
      rm -R .dropbox-two


Dropbox Encore was inspired by pioneering discussion:

Many thanks to Richard Bao for tracking down the cause of the Dropbox "auto-Quit" problem.

Sveinbjorn Thordarson's Platypus developer tool created the Dropbox Encore application from a 2-line bash shell script.

The Joy of Macs thanks the Dropbox Team for providing a wonderful Internet cloud service.

And thanks to Dropbox Encore users for helpful feedback.


Please send questions & comments to Ward Clark, including the following information:

Revision History

19 Nov 19 – Add special setup for Dropbox Encore on macOS Catalina (10.15).
12 Jan 19 – 1.1b1: Dropbox Encore is a 64-bit application for macOS High Sierrra (10.13) and Mojave (10.14); update the Dropbox Set Up screenshots.
02 Apr 18 – Announce compatibility with macOS High Sierrra (10.13).
20 Jul 17 – Add "Only 1 Dropbox after a Dropbox 'stealth' update" to Known Problems.
30 Sep 16 – Announce compatibility with macOS Sierrra (10.12).
04 Aug 15 – Add "Dropbox Encore stalls at launch with Dropbox 3.8.5 on OS X 10.9.5 (and earlier)" to Known Problems.
29 Jul 15 – Add "Mimic contextual menu folder/file sharing" instructions.
08 Jun 15 – Clarify the Dropbox features missing... notes.
13 Apr 15 – Add a note about Dropbox menu bar icon color.
04 Nov 14 – Announce compatibility with Yosemite (OS X 10.10); add two Known Problems: Dropbox Encore must be started after Dropbox and Dropbox features missing....
22 Jan 14 – Add a fix for the Dropbox "auto-Quit" problem.
27 Dec 13 – Replace the "In the event of a Dropbox Encore problem, ..." section with an expanded "Known Problems" section.
26 Oct 13 – Announce compatibility with Mavericks (OS X 10.9).
14 Oct 13 – Test with Dropbox 2.4.2 on Mac OS X 10.6.8 and 10.8.5.
03 Jun 13 – Clarify the requirement that the user's home folder must be on the startup hard drive.
18 Mar 13 – Add an "In the event of a Dropbox Encore problem, ..." section; test with Dropbox 2.0.0 on Mac OS X 10.6.8, 10.7.5 and 10.8.2.
21 Jan 13 – Add note about Dropbox in /Applications folder; test with Dropbox 1.6.15 on Mac OS X 10.6.8, 10.7.5 and 10.8.2.
17 Nov 12 – Test with Dropbox 1.6.0 on Mac OS X 10.6.8, 10.7.5 and 10.8.2.
08 Oct 12 – Note compatibility with Mac OS X 10.8.2.
26 May 12 – Test with Dropbox 1.4.7.
16 Feb 12 – Test with Dropbox 1.2.52.
12 Dec 11 – Update the Lion compatibility notes for newer Dropbox 1.2 releases; update the pioneering section of the Acknowledgements (thanks to Kevin Ernst).
10 Aug 11 – Update the Lion compatibility notes for Dropbox 1.2.24.
23 Jul 11 – Add Lion compatibility & Dropbox 1.2.16 caution notes; add a new "Finder sidebar" section.
04 Jul 11 – Add Dropbox Setup screenshots & uninstall steps.
21 Mar 11 – 1.0: release with no functional changes from 1.0rc1; add a note about icons to the Overview; add More than two Dropbox accounts notes.
05 Oct 10 – Clarify the N.B. in the Overview.
02 Oct 10 – Expand the Overview; correct typos.
18 Sep 10 – 1.0rc1: rename to Dropbox Encore.
23 Aug 10 – 1.0b2: change to a background application.
07 Jun 10 – 1.0b1