Dropbox: Using with data in Application Support

Posted on by Mike Evans

Yesterday I commented on the new expanded Dropbox storage and my long-standing policy of keeping all data in Dropbox. I said that “nothing of importance” is stored in my Mac user account’s home folder. On reflection, this needs some qualification. Some applications (such as Bento) insist, perversely in my opinion, on having their data in a specific location.

This is usually the library folder within the user folder (~/user/library), more often than not in ~/user/library/application support. If the data is not present in that location, the app will not find it. To overcome this, it is easy to create a symbolic link (symlink) between the data folder in Application Support and a folder in Dropbox. This effectively fools the app into using Dropbox.

If you reproduce this symlink on all your Macs, the app will find the common data. What’s more, the data is protected by being stored on Dropbox. I did a short tutorial on this two years ago. With a bit of background fettling, therefore, it is possible to achieve the blissful state of using Dropbox as your home folder. Not only does this protect your data by storing it in the cloud, it provides an identical home folder on all your Macs. Once you have this up and running you need never again worry about being out of sync. 

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