Dropbox and Syncing all your photos to your Galaxy S4

A few months ago I got my hands on a Samsung Galaxy S4. As part of the setup procedure it asks for your login details for Dropbox, this was great, I actively use Dropbox, had the app on my previous phone and regularly access files from my cellphone. As it was set-up on my previous phone to only download files when I request/access them, I expected the same to happen with this setup.



The next day I checked my gallery, and saw hundreds and hundreds of photos that Dropbox had decided I wanted to have on my phone. Fortunately I was on Wi-Fi, otherwise that 1.5Gb could have hurt my phone bill at the end of the month. This wasn’t a major problem, as I assumed I’d missed something in my settings which told it to sync photos, so I went in search of the correct settings. And I couldn’t find them anywhere.

I compared the settings exactly to that on my previous Android phone and there was no difference. After searching for a quite a while on the internet, I eventually came across a forum post that explained my problem. The setting I was looking for wasn’t in Dropbox, it was in my phones ‘Accounts’ options, and not under the Dropbox account, but under the general ‘Cloud’ options.

If you look at the bottom you’ll see a ‘Contents sync (with Dropbox) menu, here you can disable the syncing of pictures, videos and documents. Disabling this option then removed all my photos from my gallery and prevented the further unwanted syncing of files from Dropbox to my phone.

So to get there:

Settings > Accounts tab > Cloud > Contents sync

75 thoughts on “Dropbox and Syncing all your photos to your Galaxy S4

  1. Hey,
    I’ve recently purchased a new Samsung S4 as my other one was stolen. I had no issues setting up dropbox as I had done before and the photos that I took on my phone were on my computer when I got home, just like I wanted but all of a sudden that has stopped. I followed your instructions and it tells me that the account is disabled but refuses to give me the option to activate it – am I missing something? It’s really annoying me as it was so handy before! >.< haha
    Thanks in advance :)


    • Hi Hannah, I don’t fully understand the problem. Are new photos you’re taking no longer appearing on your computer? Or are you battling to get your photos from Dropbox onto your phone?

      • Sorry to jump in here, but that is the problem that I’m having – how do I get my photos to upload to my camera uploads folder in dropbox? I don’t particularly want to see all of my dropbox photos in gallery. But I’d be willing to if it meant that somehow the new camera photos were being uploaded. I seem to be stumped….

        • If you want the photos you take on your phone to upload to your Dropbox, you must open the dropbox app on your phone, go to the settings menu and select “Turn on Camera Upload”

  2. Hi I want to get my pictures and videos out of my dropbox and sent back to my phone (galaxy s4) I tried your method but on mine it says sync for dropbox is turned off I went through all the settings and couldn’t find out how to turn it back on?
    Any thoughts?

  3. I have my S4 set to automatically send photos to dropbox. The phone is very low on storage so I do not want to keep the photos on my phone. If I delete a photo on the phone, will it also be deleted from Dropbox when it syncs? Thanks so much for your informative posts!

    • If you have activated “Camera Upload” within dropbox, then no it won’t sync them. If there’s a new photo on your phone Dropbox will upload it to your “Camera Upload” folder in Dropbox, but anything you do to it afterwards won’t affect your photos stored on Dropbox.

      • I am having a very similar issue. My S4 storage is less than 7%, due to over 4k photos of my kids from the past year. I know dropbox integrates with the Android system in many ways, so I don’t want to lose anything. I have my account set to sync when on wifi to camera uploads; all of my photos have been uploaded to dropbox. I have the option to have the dropbox folder in gallery turned off to save space as well. I just want to be able to delete the camera upload photos/album from my phone gallery without having any effect on them in my dropbox account. Then once I begin taking photos again, they should then begin uploading as usual. Can you confirm I will be able to delete the current 4k photos in the album on my phone without having any repercussions in them being in the dropbox account?

        • As long as the photos are set to upload via wifi within Dropbox itself and that it isn’t set to ‘sync’ under the cloud option then deleting the photos on your phone won’t have any effect on the photos in Dropbox.

  4. Hi Gareth
    I have all my uploads turned on, in Dropbox I have camera upload turned on. I have all the photos in my gallery in my camera uploads folder on my phone (S4) but not on my laptop.
    Like some of the others when I go into settings – cloud – contents sync and open my Dropbox account it tells me “sync disabled” with a greyed out “sync all” option at the bottom. Pushing the LH menu key (on the phone body) does not give me any further options. If I select the account that is “sync’ed disabled” as above it gives me a greyed out “sync now” option and a highlighted “Remove account” option. Again LH menu key does not give me any further options.
    I need to get the pics from my phone to my laptop as that is where I sort and store the daily pics.
    Any ideas or help would be appreciated.
    Many thanks

    • If you go “Settings” > “Account” > “Cloud” > and click on “Pictures”, what does it say? This should be enabled to allow old images to upload to Dropbox.

      The setting within Dropbox itself relates only to photos taken after you enable the setting.

      • Hi Gareth

        I obviously changed something yesterday before seeing your reply and it is seems to be working. I shall revert back to this if I get stuck again.
        Thank you

  5. Hi please can someone give me any advice on Samsung S4 dropbox. When i set drpbx on my phone it asked for 4 digit password which i gave it. After a software update. When i now go to dropbox it askd me for email and password i have daughters wedding pics stored there and cannot access them. Can anyone help please
    Thankyou in advance mazzyh

    • Hi Mazzyh

      Try going to Dropbox’s website, instead of using the app, and try the ‘forgot my password’ routine. This should send you an email with a process to reset your password.

      • Hi Gareth,thank you for your advice, I tried going to the drop box website. Got a new password on my account. But the pictures are not in that account. I am really baffled as when I first started with drop box on my samsung s 4 it just had 4 numbers to access all my pictures. Dropbox has uploaded other pics into the new password account. But i am worried i have lost the pics of my daughters wedding. As pictures of my hubby who passed away just 3 weeks after and other holiday pics that i do not have other copies of.
        I do appreciate your help
        Many thanks

        • Hi Mazzyh.

          I’m sorry to hear that. Sadly without access to your phone and accounts I can’t really help. Try asking at a cellular store or knowledgeable friend. You can even try the Dropbox support for help.

          When you first use Dropbox on your phone you would have created a new account or signed in with an old one. After the initial password is used you only ever have to type in your 4 digit pin thereafter. That’s just to save time on the phone.

          Depending how your phone is setup, it may sync all documents and photos on your phone, else it may only upload new photos you take. Thus only some of the photos are there.

          Good luck

  6. Hi Gareth! I just took a Samsung galaxy tab 3 on contract seven days ago, it has a dropbox and I am registered but I haven’t syncronise all my data yet in there, so while in that process it went dead of which they took it in for repairs now im scared all my photos, documents and contacts that are in the wil be wiped off , is there anything I can do to synccronise every thing in there.please help

    • Hi hanjelwa

      If you’ve handed in your device for repairs, anything on that device will potentially be lost. If data has already synced with your dropbox then it will be fine, even if they flash your device, you will still be able to get the data from Dropbox. If you haven’t synced the data on you tablet yet though, you can’t make it remotely sync. All you can do is ask the repair company to do a backup or sync before they flash your device.

      • Thanx Gareth
        I have syncronise but then it has asked me to finish using a computer but i dont own one,so I dont know whether im still safe

  7. I took 1200 or more photos during a 3 month trip on my new S4. They all went to dropbox but when I viewed them on my desktop the landscape ones were all upside down so I turned them over. (It seems you should have the shutter button on the right not left). Before turning them I could see them in the right time order through Gallery on the S4 but now they are in a random order. They are OK if I look at them through the DropBox App but when I’m not on Wifi (often when traveling) I’d like to show them and show them in the right time order. Any ideas?

    Thanks, John

    • Hey John
      The built in gallery app sorts images by their last modified date. The best idea is to get a gallery app which allows you to specify how to sort your photos. Although I haven’t used it myself, others have suggested QuickPic, a free, highly rated app which lists “Powerful file management features, including sort, rename, create new folders, moving and copying pictures” as one of it’s features.

      Hope this helps

      • Thanks Gareth, I thought that might be the case and I rotated them all to the left then all back again so that when ordered by modification date on the DropBox interface they are also in time order but that doesn’t seem to have altered the ordering on my phone. I even switched off the syncing to empty the cache but no difference. I’ll try QuickPic.

        Thanks again.

          • Hi I have a s4 and I need to use the box app for uploading pics for work and I can’t upload any pics. Help

          • Why can’t you upload any pics? What have you tried, what happens? what doesn’t work?

          • it isn’t the dropbox app that comes with s4 it’s the box app that u download. I’m able to create the folders but when I go to upload the pictures it starts to upload and then it says denied. And when I try to use the dropbox app once again I’m able to create folder but when I go to upload pictures it says that basically the memory is full. My job uses the box app because they all have I phones but I have android can’t I use that app too instead of the dropbox that’s already installed in galaxy?

          • Box have an app for Android and thus can be used on your S4. There is no reason for you to use Dropbox. However I don’t know Box and can’t offer support on it. Try contacting Box support directly.

  8. I changed from Sprint to T Mobile , I had a drop box with all my photos and videos. On my last Samsung Galaxy 3 phone stopped charging so T Mobile couldn’t pull off my information into my new Galaxy S4 , is there a way to retrieve this information?

  9. I too am having a problem, every photo I take is saved in my S4’s gallery it also is saved in dropbox on my computer,…………however with in a few seconds it comes back to my s4 . Now I have two copies on my phone of the photo i just took?
    I have been hours trying to stop this. Yes in my settings I have a cloud, I have everything turned off!!!!!!
    Can you please help?

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