Dropbox Connection setup only finds old data files

Fred's Avatar


05 Jan, 2020 12:56 AM

Trying to setup sync via Dropbox Connection (switching from sync via Dropbox Folder, because after upgrading to Catalina on MacBook Pro, I had too many devices on free Dropbox account !).
No problem on MacBook Pro (my main device to make change to Dropbox Connection and sync works to my iPhone and iPad, but when trying to make change on our iMac, I am only offered 2 old data sets to choose from, July 2018 or Aug 2017 - doesn't seem normal to me??? Was expecting to see data set with today's date.

Using MD 2019.3 on MacBook Pro running Catalina, and on iMac running Mojave

  1. 1 Posted by derekkent23 on 05 Jan, 2020 08:55 AM

    derekkent23's Avatar

    I am not support staff, just a user.
    Hi Fred.

    Can you confirm your setup?
    MacBook Pro, and iMac running Moneydance 2019.3(1880) and Mobile devices iPhone and iPad.

    If this is the case you may not be exceeding the three-device limit for a free Dropbox account.

    The Dropbox restrictions maybe not as bad as they first sound.
    The limit of 3 devices running Dropbox applications with a free account applies to the devices that can be connected to a Dropbox product itself, via official Dropbox applications, such as the official Dropbox desktop client or mobile applications.

    If your computers are using Dropbox Folder as a syncing method for Moneydance then as you have to have Dropbox Client installed, this count towards the limit. This limit does not apply to third party apps that connect to Dropbox via the Dropbox API, such as the Moneydance Mobile App. Your mobile devices would only count towards the limit if you had Dropbox official app installed on your mobile devices for another reason. Note on computers Moneydance Dropbox Connection uses the Dropbox API, same as mobile devices.

    Given this if you still want to move your computers to Dropbox Connection, I can post a sync reset process if you wish.

    Hope this helps.

  2. 2 Posted by Fred on 05 Jan, 2020 11:22 PM

    Fred's Avatar

    Hello Derek,
    thank you for your outstanding support to the MD community.

    Re Dropbox:
    Between me and my wife we have 5 devices: MacBook Pro (MBP, just upgraded to Catalina), iMac (still on Mojave, due to Photoshop CS6 not working in Catalina because it is not 100% 64-bit), iPad Air 3, iPhone SE and iPhone 7. iOS on all devices current.

    Have a free Dropbox account since 2010 at 6.2 GB and used it on all devices, mostly for sharing files and having access to some files when out and about with mobile devices).

    Encountered the first device limit problem when I replaced my old iPad Air in September 2019 with a new iPad Air 3, which the free Dropbox account did not accept because of the “new device limitation." No problem to use Dropbox on our other 4 devices - until a couple of days ago when I upgraded my MBP from Mojave to Catalina. Dropbox now considers my MBP as a new device! (I filed a support ticket about this with them).

    I have now moved most shared files from Dropbox to Box, where I have a free 50GB account (early sign-up benefit back in 2014), accessible from all of our 5 devices and working fine. (Also considered a free 5GB Sync account, but the free account has limited operations for entire Folders).
    Some of my apps use Dropbox for syncing and some also for file storage; have to see which just use the Dropbox API… .
    So now, I have removed my wife’s iPhone 7 from Dropbox, which allowed me to get my MBP back onto Dropbox, along with my iPhone SE and the iMac.

    Now to Moneydance:
    I now changed the MD sync method on my MBP from Dropbox Folder to Dropbox Connect, which allows me use the MD Mobile app on my iPhone SE and even on my iPad Air 3 again - yeah!

    Then I tried to change the MD sync method to DP Connection on our iMac. Opened MD and it shows synced/current. The File>Sync menu item is greyed out. The MD data file is located in correct location (~Library/Conainers/com.infinitekind.MoneydanceOSX/Data/Documents.
    Went to File>New. In pop-up I select Open Synced File>Dropbox Connection; on next 2 screens I get and paste in the Authorization from Dropbox, Next screen offers to 2 files, one from 8/2/17 and one from 7/14/18. Checking this 2018 file against the file in the Library shows same creation date and modified Today, i.e. it should be my current MD data file. Select this 2018 file and start the "Performing initial sync process” (somewhere in this process it asked me to enter my passphrase, which I did). After about an hour, MD opens to this file but with a -2 addition in the file name. BUT: newest entry in my accounts in this file is from April 15, 2018 - it is not the synced file as modified today.

    Opening my current MD file on the iMac still shows Dropbox Folder as syncing method, and syncing seems to work even though MD on my MBP is set to syncing via DP Connection.

    I can leave this as is, but feel somewhat uncomfortable of having different sync methods between the MBP and the iMac. I should say that syncing works at least from MBP to iMac; I have at this point not tested to create an entry on iMac to see if it syncs with MD on MBP.

    Kind regards,

  3. 3 Posted by dwg on 06 Jan, 2020 12:38 AM

    dwg's Avatar

    I'm a fellow user.

    When using operating systems like MacOS you have a choice of three syncing methods, all of which can all potentially use Dropbox as the shared service, the difference being on how data is written to Dropbox, there are pros and cons for each method.

    There is no requirement to use the one method for all desktop/notebook type devices, the main thing to remember is that when using connection you do not have offline access for Moneydance, which at the user level is the major benefit of Dropbox Folder.

  4. 4 Posted by Fred on 06 Jan, 2020 12:54 AM

    Fred's Avatar

    Any advice on why setting my iMac to Dropbox Connection does not work?

  5. 5 Posted by dwg on 06 Jan, 2020 01:43 AM

    dwg's Avatar

    I would expect selecting the command File --> New, then selecting "Open Synced File" setting the connection method to Dropbox Connection would work.

  6. 6 Posted by Fred on 06 Jan, 2020 01:47 AM

    Fred's Avatar

    Unfortunately it does not, as I described in details in my earlier, lengthy reply.

  7. 7 Posted by derekkent23 on 06 Jan, 2020 03:36 PM

    derekkent23's Avatar

    I am not support staff, just a user.
    Hi Fred.

    First of all, I agree with dwg there is not issue in using different sync methods on different computers.

    As for the difference between Dropbox Folder and Connection this from Sean the software developer.

    “With "Dropbox Connection" Moneydance uses the Dropbox API to talk to the Dropbox service directly. So, you don't need to have Dropbox client actually installed on your computer, but you do need to be online when Moneydance is running in order for changes to be synced. With "Drobox Folder" Moneydance will just read and write files to your Dropbox folder on your computer, which means that you need to have Dropbox client installed and running, but you don't need to be online in order for Moneydance to read and write the changes.”

    Just to add from my own testing.

    Dropbox Connection
    If transactions were added when no internet connection was available and you close Moneydance then syncing will only occur then the internet is re-established and you open Moneydance, no data is lost.

    Dropbox Folder
    If transactions were added when no internet connection was available and you close Moneydance then syncing will occurs when the internet connection is re-established, Moneydance does not have to be re-opened. This is due to the installation of Dropbox client, the Dropbox folder on your computer.

    I use Dropbox Folder on my two windows computers and a Linux computer and Dropbox Connection on a seldom used third windows computer. I also sync to two Android phones which don’t have official Dropbox apps installed.

    Just a bit about syncing. You have one primary computer, the one you first set up syncing on using MONEYDANCE – SYNCING and any number of secondary computers set up using MONEYDANCE – NEW – OPEN SYNCED FILE. You can change the sync method on your primary computer but not on a secondary computer. If you do change the sync method on your primary computer it should still sync to the same alphanumeric folder within the Dropbox “.moneydancesync” folder so syncing should still work to your secondary computers.

    If I understand correctly you have you have moved all file sharing on your computers to Box.

    On your mobile devices you are trying to determine if you still need the official Dropbox app installed for reasons other than Moneydance.

    In your situation the clearest thing to do is set up syncing again from the start.

    First determine which of your two computers is to be the primary computer. Ensure the data set on this computer is up to date.

    Work out if on one or more of your three mobile devices you can uninstall Dropbox.

    Sign in to your Dropbox account online and remove devices you no longer wish to use official Dropbox apps on, leaving you three or four depending how your support ticket turns out. If possible, ensure you primary computer still uses Dropbox client.

    Reset syncing.
    1. In Moneydance on your primary computer do a MONEYDANCE – EXPORT BACKUP in case something goes wrong.
    2. In Moneydance on your primary computer under MONEYDANCE – SYNCING set SYNC METHOD to DON’T SYNC, then click OK.
    3. On your mobile devices in Moneydance under setting disconnect.
    4. On your secondary computers click on SHOW DOCUMENT FOLDER to open a file explorer, close Moneydance and delete your second computers data sets “yourdatasetname.moneydance”.
    5. Assuming you have Dropbox, client installed using your primary computer in the Dropbox folder delete the folder “.moneydancesync”. Watch the Dropbox icon and wait till it states “Up to Date”. This can talk some time. Note on Mac “.moneydancesync” may be a hidden folder, try in your Finder window, typing CMD-Shift-G and then pasting ~/Dropbox/.moneydancesync/ into the box to unhide. If you don’t have Dropbox client installed or you can’t unhide the folder you will need to sign into you Dropbox account delete “.moneydancsync” from there.
    6. On your secondary computer if Dropbox client is installed check that in the Dropbox folder that the folder “.moneydancesync” has been automatically deleted. You need to give Dropbox a short time to complete this deletion.
    7. On your primary computer under MONEYDANCE - SYNCING, set your “Encryption Passphrase”, set “Sync Method” preferably to Dropbox Folder, click OK.
    8. Wait for Dropbox folder “.moneydancesync” and its contents to be created. Check the Dropbox icon states “Up to Date”. This can take some time.
    9. On your second computer if Dropbox client is installed wait until the same Dropbox folder appears, again watch the Dropbox icon this time on your secondary computers and wait till it states “Up to Date”.
    10. On your secondary computers starting Moneydance should open it in the welcome window, click on “Create a new account set”.
    11. Select “Open Synced File” and use dropdown to select preferable “Dropbox Folder” then click NEXT. If you have you use Dropbox Connection the following steps for the secondary computer will be different, but the results should be the same. You will have to authorise Dropbox to allow Moneydance to connect its API.
    12. You should see a search screen headed “Select a synced document to open”
    13. After a short search delay, it should then list your un-synced data set name used on your primary computer.
    14. Highlight your data set name and click NEXT.
    15. Enter the encryption password, the “Encryption Passphrase” you set on your primary computer under FILE – SYNCING.
    16. Then click on FINISH. Wait for your data to be synced.
    You may find a lot of old, maybe closed accounts or other accounts you have removed from the side bar reappearing in the second computers side bar. Use the “+” sign at bottom of side bar then ADVANCED to tidy up the side bar.
    17. Start the Moneydance app on your mobile devices in turn. You may be asked to sign in to your Dropbox account to allow Moneydance to access Dropbox if this is the first time the device has done this. The mobile app will search for your data set to sync. On the completion of the search you should see your current data set listed. Select this to sync. You will then be asked to enter you Encryption Password, the passphrase you entered on your primary computer MONEYDANCE – SYNCING. After you have entered the password click BEGIN SYNCING. The initial sync can take a long time.

    Hope this helps.

  8. 8 Posted by Fred on 07 Jan, 2020 01:38 AM

    Fred's Avatar

    Thank you Derek for your extensive guidance. Please allow me one question: In steps 7 and 11, you prefer Dropbox Folder over Dropbox Connection. Why this preference?

    With Dropbox Connection, I can sync MD on my mobiles without having a Dropbox client installed. I have now the three allowed Dropbox clients on my MBP, iMac and iPhone SE. To use MD on my iPad, where i have no DB client, I should use Dropbox Connection to gain access to MD. (We often travel internationally for several weeks at a time; I travel with my iPad and leave my MBP at home. And when I eventually upgrade my iPhone, I might loose that Dropbox client as well.

    Having said all this, I actually use MD on my mobile devices VERY rarely and have no definitive need for it - with its limited functionality. My biggest concern is that I don’t like to be bound to the need of a Dropbox Client.

    I will definitely reset syncing, but want to make the right choice for the syncing method.


  9. 9 Posted by derekkent23 on 07 Jan, 2020 08:33 AM

    derekkent23's Avatar

    I am not support staff, just a user.
    Hi Fred.

    Take another look in my last post explaining the difference between Dropbox Folder and Connection. I prefer Folder for the following reason. If transactions are added on a computer when you have no internet connection, then close Moneydance, once you re-establish the internet you don’t have to reopen Moneydance for the transactions to be synced to your other devices. A small difference but useful in some circumstances.

    As explained in my previous post, Moneydance run on Mobile devices does not use Dropbox client, even if it is installed. They use an embedded Dropbox API within Moneydance mobile which does not count toward the 3 limit. I don’t have Dropbox installed on my two phones.

    To be clear, if you use Dropbox only for Moneydance then:

    If you use Dropbox Connection on your computers, the embedded API, you don’t use any of the three Dropbox licences.

    If you use Dropbox Folder on one computer and Dropbox Connection, the embedded API, on the other you use one licence.

    If you use Dropbox Folder on both computers, you only use two licences, one is still free.

    The Moneydance Mobile only uses Dropbox Connection, the embedded API, so uses no Dropbox licences. There is no selection for Dropbox Folder on Moneydance mobile.

    Hope this helps

  10. 10 Posted by Fred on 09 Jan, 2020 02:29 AM

    Fred's Avatar

    did the reset (and chose Dropbox Connection) - success, all devices ok!
    Thank you for your outstanding support.

  11. 11 Posted by derekkent23 on 09 Jan, 2020 08:10 AM

    derekkent23's Avatar

    I am not support staff, just a user.
    Hi Fred.

    Really glad I was able to help and you are up and running again.

    Have Fun.

  12. System closed this discussion on 09 Apr, 2020 08:10 AM.

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