I’m a big fan of Dropbox for storing files in a safe, off-site location. Dropbox is also a fantastic way to share files/folders with other users, particularly files which are too large to exchange via email. If you’re not using Dropbox yet, I suggest you have a look.
If you haven’t already, you will likely receive a notification from Dropbox about some necessary changes in modern Mac operating systems – particularly *where* your Dropbox files and folders are located on your computer. A bit of backstory will help make these changes more understandable…
As you probably know, each user on a Mac has a “Home” folder – this is where your Documents, Desktop, Pictures, Music and other personal folders are located. Back in the day, Apple also made a folder inside each users’ Home folder named “Library.” The Library folder is chock full of user-specific application preferences, custom fonts, third-party software extensions, Safari browser settings, iPhone/iPad backups, etc, etc.
Unless you have a specific troubleshooting need, the files and folders inside the Library folder should be left alone, as they can render a Mac unbootable, if the wrong stuff gets moved or deleted.
Some curious users would find the “Library” folder and decide to do some “cleanup” or “organizing” of the contents. Deleting or moving some files/folders inside the Library folder could render their Mac unable to start up the next time it was rebooted. Sometimes the next restart might be days/weeks/months later and the user, having forgotten about their actions, would be mystified about why their computer wouldn’t start up. So they’d call Apple and complain…
To avoid this situation, Apple Support technicians collaborated with the operating system programmers and the decision was made to make the important “Library” folder invisible, thereby preventing users from making adjustments which might render their Mac unusable.
But sometimes there is a legitimate need to access the Library folder, such as when an application won’t launch or is misbehaving. Deleting a corrupted preferences file can save the day and restore a sick program to health. For these situations, Apple added a trick for power users: If you hold down the Option key and click on the “Go” menu in the Finder, it reveals the otherwise hidden “Library” option from the Go menu and will open the Library folder:
So back to how this all relates to Dropbox: Dropbox is being forced by Apple to change the location of your Dropbox files/folders. In the past, your Dropbox files/folders were easily accessed within a “Dropbox” folder inside your Home folder, where you could easily see and manipulate items.
Apple has made changes to the security of modern operating systems, which now requires Dropbox (and Google Drive and any other cloud-storage vendors) to store your Dropbox files/folders inside the hidden Library folder (at ~/Library/CloudStorage/Dropbox), a location which isn’t easily located… unless you know about the secret Library folder and the Option key trick to reveal it.
(When you accept the new Dropbox update, it automatically moves your files/folders and adds a new “Dropbox” listing under Locations in the sidebar, allowing quick access to the contents of your Dropbox folder, but it is still important to know and understand where the Dropbox files/folders actually live on your computer):
In summary, when you get the notification from Dropbox, it is OK to accept, now that you understand the ramifications and location of where things actually live.
Let me know if something above doesn’t make sense…