How to View the Sizes of Files Stored on Dropbox

I use Dropbox to store files, share files with colleagues and friends, and back up some files. I have a 1 TB subscription to Dropbox, that I took out last summer, but that I’m planning to cancel. Since Dropbox can’t work with aliases, I really can’t use all that space.

(Every file you sync to Dropbox has to be in the Dropbox folder, which, by default, is in your home folder. I could move the folder to an external disk, which would allow me to store more stuff in it, but I’d rather these files remain in my home folder, so they get backed up regularly by Time Machine, and my other backups.)

Dropbox – both the app and the website – were telling me that I was using 26 GB, whereas my Mac only showed 10 GB. I use Dropbox’s Selective Sync feature to not sync everything to my Macs, notably backups of my websites, using the UpdraftPlus WordPress plugin.

The Dropbox website gives no information about the sizes of files or folders, making it very difficult to track down what’s taking up space. If you do sync everything to your computer, you can check, but if you use Selective Sync, you can’t.

Fortunately, the Dropbox app for iOS does show file size (but not folder size). I was able to find that there were a number of large backups, caused by an errant log file created by a WordPress plugin. I deleted those files, removing about 12 GB from my Dropbox folder. As you can see below, each of the files in the selected folder shows their size. To delete any files, tap the … menu at the top right of the window, choose Select, and select the files you want to delete. Tap Delete, and they’ll be removed from your Dropbox folder.

Dropbox size

It’s really a bit ridiculous that Dropbox can’t display file and folder sizes on the web. I understand that most people sync everything to their computers, but Selective Sync is very useful when you’re sharing folders and don’t need access to all their files. It allows you to save disk space, and save bandwidth, as you don’t have to keep downloading every file that someone else has updated.

By the way, if you don’t have a Dropbox account, you can get one for free. You get 2 GB for free, plus an extra 500 MB if you use my link (and I get 1 GB added to my account) which is enough for most people.