Thumbnails for photos stored in Dropbox Online Only Files not showing up in Lightroom Classic

Status
Not open for further replies.

nkawoods

Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2015
Messages
54
Location
Lenexa, KS
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Classic 11.5 Release
Operating System
  1. macOS 12 Monterey
I use Lightroom Classic on two different computers. I store my files on Dropbox and keep everything in sync so that I'm always working on the most recent version of a photo no matter which computer I'm on. I also use the "online only" sync feature to save storage space on my computers.

This system has worked like a charm for me until very recently. I could see all of my photos in Lightroom and in Finder on my Mac. The ones I marked "online only" only showed a thumbnail. In Finder the file would show up but show 0 bytes. If I needed to edit an online only photo I could click on it in Finder, it would download, and I could edit with no problem. But for the last few days I can't see many of the thumbnails for online only photos in Lightroom. I can see some of them; I can't discern any reason for the difference. And if I download a previously "online only" photo I still can't see it in Lightroom. Finder clearly shows that the full photo has been downloaded as the file will show it's using several MG of space instead of 0 bytes.

Has anyone else using this system encountered this problem?
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2008
Messages
261
What version of macOS 12 are you on, and when did you update to it?

I am wondering whether you are experiencing something related to this subject :

https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...for-macos-monterey-in-fourth-quarter.2354423/

"With the release of macOS 12.3 in March, Apple deprecated kernel extensions used by cloud storage services like Dropbox and OneDrive, resulting in users being unable to open online-only files stored on Dropbox or OneDrive in third-party apps after updating. The new version of Dropbox for Mac will include full support for opening online-only files, but the updated app has still yet to be released after several months.


The article is misleading because Dropbox has had working betas which work with 12.3 and later since at least April, when I moved to the new Dropbox location of ~/Library/CloudStorage/Dropbox, and started using the Apple fileproviderd extension which solve the online file problem from 12.3 on.
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2015
Messages
12,712
Location
Netherlands
Lightroom Experience
Power User
I use Lightroom Classic on two different computers. I store my files on Dropbox and keep everything in sync so that I'm always working on the most recent version of a photo no matter which computer I'm on. I also use the "online only" sync feature to save storage space on my computers.

This system has worked like a charm for me until very recently. I could see all of my photos in Lightroom and in Finder on my Mac. The ones I marked "online only" only showed a thumbnail. In Finder the file would show up but show 0 bytes. If I needed to edit an online only photo I could click on it in Finder, it would download, and I could edit with no problem. But for the last few days I can't see many of the thumbnails for online only photos in Lightroom. I can see some of them; I can't discern any reason for the difference. And if I download a previously "online only" photo I still can't see it in Lightroom. Finder clearly shows that the full photo has been downloaded as the file will show it's using several MG of space instead of 0 bytes.

Has anyone else using this system encountered this problem?
There was indeed a problem with Dropbox, but this could be another problem as well: Apple changed the security requirements in MacOS Monterey. Go to MacOS 'System Settings - Security & Privacy' and add Lightroom Classic and Photoshop to "Full Disk Access". Click on the lock icon to unlock the settings, then click on the plus icon to add Lightroom Classic and/or Photoshop if it isn't already listed. If it is listed, then just enable the checkbox. See also Quick Tips: How to give Full Disk Access to Lightroom Classic on macOS
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2008
Messages
261
There was indeed a problem with Dropbox, but this could be another problem as well: Apple changed the security requirements in MacOS Monterey. Go to MacOS 'System Settings - Security & Privacy' and add Lightroom Classic and Photoshop to "Full Disk Access". Click on the lock icon to unlock the settings, then click on the plus icon to add Lightroom Classic and/or Photoshop if it isn't already listed. If it is listed, then just enable the checkbox. See also Quick Tips: How to give Full Disk Access to Lightroom Classic on macOS
Good suggestion, but I think that the past tense for the Dropbox issue is a bit premature! Anyone not running Dropbox betas is vulnerable to it.
 

nkawoods

Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2015
Messages
54
Location
Lenexa, KS
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
What version of macOS 12 are you on, and when did you update to it?

I am wondering whether you are experiencing something related to this subject :

https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...for-macos-monterey-in-fourth-quarter.2354423/

"With the release of macOS 12.3 in March, Apple deprecated kernel extensions used by cloud storage services like Dropbox and OneDrive, resulting in users being unable to open online-only files stored on Dropbox or OneDrive in third-party apps after updating. The new version of Dropbox for Mac will include full support for opening online-only files, but the updated app has still yet to be released after several months.


The article is misleading because Dropbox has had working betas which work with 12.3 and later since at least April, when I moved to the new Dropbox location of ~/Library/CloudStorage/Dropbox, and started using the Apple fileproviderd extension which solve the online file problem from 12.3 on.
I'm using Monterey Version 12.6. And thinking back, I did update the OS not long before I started having this problem.

Thanks for the link to the article - I'm not clear on the fileproviderd extension you mention. What files use the extension? Is there any info you can share on what this is and how to use it? I'm also intrigued with some of the responses in the linked article. A couple of people mention moving to the Apple Cloud. I checked plan rates, and Apple Cloud rates are the same as Dropbox. Although in the past I've had issues where it's clear Apple and Adobe aren't working together well, which makes me cautious.
 

nkawoods

Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2015
Messages
54
Location
Lenexa, KS
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
I did go into the Privacy settings and made sure Lightroom and Photoshop had full access but the problem persists. I did get a message from Dropbox at one point when clicking on an online only file saying that some users might have some trouble accessing online-only files, and they are working on a fix.
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2008
Messages
261
I'm using Monterey Version 12.6. And thinking back, I did update the OS not long before I started having this problem.

Thanks for the link to the article - I'm not clear on the fileproviderd extension you mention. What files use the extension? Is there any info you can share on what this is and how to use it? I'm also intrigued with some of the responses in the linked article. A couple of people mention moving to the Apple Cloud. I checked plan rates, and Apple Cloud rates are the same as Dropbox. Although in the past I've had issues where it's clear Apple and Adobe aren't working together well, which makes me cautious.
I can't tell you much about fileproviderd, except that it is the extension provided by Apple to replace the deprecated ones used by Dropbox and Onedrive for handling on-line only files, and it requires Dropbox and Onedrive folders to be in ~/Library/CloudStorage/. When the change happens, a new Dropbox folder is created in ~/Library/CloudStorage/ Dropbox and a new Dropbox Location appears in the Finder sidebar. This is a short cut to ~/Library/CloudStorage/ Dropbox. When I converted to the new way in April my old Dropbox folder at ~/Dropbox remained (no longer being synced of course) and I had to delete it manually. I believe it is deleted by the installer now. Any third party apps using Dropbox to sync between devices need to be redirected to use the new location.

I have been on Dropbox betas since April and it has worked fine for me, but I don't have a Teams or Business account. It is not clear whether there are betas for these, and Dropbox have been very unclear on their rollout policy. There are a lot of complaints in their community, but I think most are from Business and Teams users and it is likely that the latest Dropbox statement about a fourth quarter public beta is aimed at Business and Teams. This is speculation as Dropbox have not been clear.

I never considered having my referenced masters on Dropbox as online only files. Obviously it has worked for you, but don't know what official advice about this would be. Having to download a master file before each edit sounds like a slow method but may not matter if not doing often. In your situation I would investigate alternative ways, with local masters.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 11, 2008
Messages
261
...just to add, you don't have do anything to use fileproviderd extension, nothing to learn. When the new version of Dropbox is installed and working you use Dropbox largely the same way as before.... filerprovidered is transparent in use.

One limitation which is causing grief to some, is that it is no longer possible to locate your Dropbox Folder on an external drive. It may be possible by using a symlink but not tried it.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2018
Messages
8
Location
In the Redwoods
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
This is a timely thread for me as I have been wondering about using Dropbox's Online-only setting for my images as well.

I do not have the OP's problem of only seeing thumbnails in Lightroom, nor am I trying to use Lightroom on more than one computer. I'm using LR 11.5 on macOS 12.6 and Dropbox v157.4.4808 which appears to be about two weeks old.

When I'm at home I keep my 8TB+ of master images on a large fast external thunderbolt drive. But as I am often traveling for extended periods of time, have been thinking about how I can access my entire library when I'm on the road.

I just tried an experiment where I created a LR Classic Catalog from a folder of images in Dropbox, created Smart Previews, then selected the images in the Finder and used Dropbox's "Make Online-only" command.

I was able to view the images in Lightroom's Library. If I try to Develop them, I get an error message saying "The file appears to be unsupported or damaged.", but if I right-click, select Show in Finder, and then select "Make available offline", I am able to develop the image fine. (I do have to go back to the Library module, and then return to Develop module to remove the error message.)

When I'm done Developing, I can export/print/etc and then right-click again to Show in Finder, and select "Make Online-only"

This could also work for new projects I'm shooting while traveling. I could keep all the new masters as "offline" until such time as I am able to get them all synced to Dropbox and them make them "online-only" to free up room on my MacBookPro as needed.

It seems to me that this is a safe and practical way to access large libraries of masters while traveling. I do not see how this could corrupt or otherwise negatively impact my Catalog nor my master files. Of course it requires a large storage plan in Dropbox, but the cost is reasonable considering the freedom it would give me and not having to worry about maintaining a NAS or other hardware based solution. (And yes, I keep multiple backups of the masters just in case.)

Wondering if anyone else is using such a workflow?
Any problems with this scenario that I might be overlooking?
 

nkawoods

Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2015
Messages
54
Location
Lenexa, KS
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Here is an update of where I finally ended up; Dropbox support was extremely poor. I couldn't talk to anyone, and could only get an e-mail response with suggested remedies once every 24 hours. None of the suggested remedies solved the problem. I finally ended up buying a new EHD with more capacity and am back to swapping that back and forth between computers. The EHD contains all of my photos plus all the associated Lightroom Libraries and backups. Drives these days are much faster and lighter, so what drove me to Dropbox to begin with is no longer an issue. I considered dropping my paid Dropbox account, but ended up using to back up all my photos and that's working just fine. The Dropbox backup seems to update every time I attach the EHD to either of my computer, which keeps it current.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top