Multiple Dropbox accounts on Mac OS X

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Many people have asked if there was a way to have both their private Dropbox account and their company Dropbox account co-existing under the same Mac OS X login.

I have put together the steps involved along with an automator process which you can download below.

Before we start consider the following:

  • Each dropbox account will have its own running process
  • Each dropbox account should have its own unique account login
  • Each dropbox process should have its own dedicated “Dropbox” folder

In my example, I will be showing how this works using a Mac OS X machine. I have 2 separate dropbox accounts and have created two separate Dropbox folders. The first account will keep the default /Users/macosuser/Dropbox folder. The second account will use /Users/macosuser/emailaddress as its Dropbox folder. Under this folder, Dropbox will automatically create a folder called Dropbox.

Start a Terminal session allowing a command line to be typed in.

The first thing we need to do is to change the location of the HOME environment variable. This is pointing by default to /Users/macosuser where macosuser is your username on the Mac. If we change that to /Users/macosuser/account for example:

Last login: Mon Nov  7 19:00:19 on ttys004
macbook:~ macosuser$ export HOME=/Users/macosuser/test/
macbook:~ macosuser$ mkdir $HOME
macbook:~ macosuser$ /Applications/ &
[1] 22774

If this is the first time you are running this you will be prompted to either configure a new account or an existing account for Dropbox.After each reboot of the machine you will need to manually restart the Dropbox as explained above. However, once the account is configured you will no longer be prompted for each restart.

Automated Service

We have also developed a Finder service which allows you to select a folder in Finder and enable the Dropbox Setup which automates the steps above.

If you wish to get a copy of this service please fill in your email address and we will email you a link to the downloadable file. These emails are not passed on to 3rd parties and are used to notify you of changes to “Dropbox Setup” or any new products that we release.