I'm trying to have Automator move files out of my Camera Photos folder to my local disk when they arrive via Dropbox. It's a great way to reduce my Dropbox usage.

I've created an automation that fires when Files and Folders are added to the requisite folder. It then moves the file or folder elsewhere.

It works great when I manually drop a file into that folder, it fires immediately and the file is moved. It does not appear to fire when Dropbox places the file there. The file just sticks around.


  • I've done this previously, and had it working. I think the exact same way. This was however before Dropbox moved their storage location, and on a previous version of MacOS
  • I've tried changing the folder in Dropbox from "Online Only" to "offline" to ensure the entire file is actually placed there.
  • macOS Monterey (12.6.7)
  • Dropbox v177.4.5399
  • Just curious…this doesn’t affect the version in the cloud? I would think that it gets erased since the local action (mv is technically a copy and delete action) deletes it. Unless you’re moving it to another DropBox folder, of course.
    – Allan
    Jul 7, 2023 at 17:41
  • This does remove it from the cloud, which is the desired outcome for me. This makes dropbox an easy way to migrate photos from my Phone to my Computer (also converting them from HEIC to JPG), without taking up dropbox space long term. Jul 9, 2023 at 23:16

1 Answer 1


I've figured out an answer. It looks like Dropbox is still downloading/writing the file when Automator tries to move it, so it fails.

Adding a 10 second Pause (an action in automator) allows the file to finish downloading/writing, then the file is moved successfully.

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