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How to use Dropbox with two or more accounts (aka. running two or more instances of dropbox)

I love dropbox.

I think i wrote about that in a previous post already.

Recently, I had to access two dropbox accounts simultaneously (it’s a long story).

However, Dropbox doesn’t officially allow you to run two instances of dropbox.

After searching on the web, I found a solution but it was really time consuming. However, in that solution, i found the secret:

HOME=/Users/$USER/.dropbox-alt /Applications/

What this does is change the “HOME” directory to a hidden folder called “.dropbox-alt” in your HOME directory, so that when Dropbox runs it starts a whole new instance. It’s that simple.

However, i want to be able to use this as an application and not type it into the command line each time. Enter Automator:

Open Automator by Typing “Automator” in spotlight, or clicking on “Applications” | “Automator”

Then click on “File” | “New” and choose “Application”


Type “run shell script” on the left under “Actions” and drag it over to the workflow on the right. Then type in our one line shell script as follow (You can change .dropbox-alt for any other folder name you want)

HOME=/Users/$USER/.dropbox-alt /Applications/

When you are done, it should look like this:


Now save it under /Applications with whatever name you want. I choose “DropboxAlt”.

Now if you want it to launch on startup, just open “Settings”  | “Users & Groups” and click on “Login Items” on the top right. Then the “+” button, and find your new Application to launch. Image

(PS. you might have to click on the bottom right lock icon & enter your password to make changes”

And that’s, it – you can now run more than 1 account with Dropbox @ the same time



Jon Chui (pronounced "chew") has been building iOS/Android apps for the last 7 years, the last 3 working on Google Maps, Inbox by Gmail and Google's Search App. Though he grew up in a Christian family and to parents who would end up giving up their 25 years of hard-earned comforts/affluence in Canada to go back to China as missionaries when he was 14, being a Christian was always in his head, and he would constantly struggle with trying to unify the sacred and the secular - until last year. However, through a radical transformation[] @ work last year (which he can't take ANY credit for), he & his wife & 2 young boys have decided to leave Google, sell/donate everything they have so to serve the poor & marginalized with Jesus’ love as missionaries with's Family DTS in Kona, hawaii then to the Philippines. Read more about their family journey @, and reach out to him @ If you're a recruiter with freelance jobs or have tech projects for jon feel free to reach out to him -

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