Dropbox Apple Silicon support promised, but the damage is already done

Dropbox still lacks a native app for Apple's latest Mac models running its M1 silicon, forcing users to utilize a battery-hungry version of the software operating under Apple's Rosetta translation process. A recent tweet highlighting some posts on the Dropbox forums stirred up chaos among Dropbox users by indicating a native M1 app may never arrive, and now the company is trying to clear up the confusion.

The issue started with a tweet from developer Mitchell Hashimoto in which he shared a link to Dropbox's "Share an idea" forum, specifically a thread in which a user asked the company to update its app with native support for Apple Silicon. The user pointed out — as many others have — that using the Dropbox app with Rosetta is a massive battery drain, not to mention the amount of memory it requires.

The support thread included posts from company representatives who were apparently unaware of Dropbox's existing M1 app project, leading to official responses like, "This idea is going to need a bit more support before we share your suggestion with our team." As expected, the suggestion that native app support for Apple M1 wasn't a priority pushed many already-frustrated users over the edge, with some talking about ditching the company for an alternative cloud storage provider.

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston clarified things in a tweet today, revealing the company has been working on a native app for M1 Macs and that it plans to release it in the relatively near future. The lack of transparency regarding this effort, as well as the recent attention brought to the community thread, may make this a "too little, too late" moment for the company, which isn't planning to make its native app available until sometime in the first half of 2022.

Dropbox confirmed the Apple M1 app project in a statement to SlashGear, noting that the community forum thread regarding the native support was a mistake:

Dropbox currently supports Apple M1 through Rosetta. We have an internal build for native Apple M1 support, which we're currently testing and we're committed to releasing in the first half of 2022. While we regularly ask for customer feedback and input on new products or features, this should not have been one of those instances.

Confirmation about a planned native app release is reassuring, but a big question remains: how many frustrated M1 Mac users are willing to wait until potentially next summer to get access to the native app? Though Dropbox arguably remains the best-known cloud storage provider, the company faces stiff competition in the current market — and many alternatives like Google Drive already offer full M1 Mac support.