How to Unlock a Dropbox

By Randall Blackburn

Resolve Dropbox file locking issues by editing file properties.
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To unlock your Dropbox account, simply open Dropbox and log in with your user credentials. If you have received an error message that a file is locked or in use when you attempted to upload the file to Dropbox, the file is either open in a running application, the file has an attribute of "Read-Only" in Windows or "Locked" on Mac, or the Dropbox folder is not configured correctly with your credentials in the Mac Sharing & Permissions folder settings. Note that the locked local files issue is a known issue with uploading files to Dropbox from Mac OS X 10.1 and higher.

File Locked by Application

If you attempted to sync a file to Dropbox, and you received the error message that the file was locked by another application, open the application locking the file and save the file you want to upload. Close the file and exit the application. If the file is configured to automatically sync with Dropbox, the upload will start as soon as the file is released by the application. Otherwise, you can manually upload the file, once released.

Disable Lock File Attribute - Mac

If you have uploaded a file to Dropbox from a Mac, and now the file is locked on your local system, this is a known issue with Dropbox. First, disable the lock from the File Info dialog box, then check to ensure your username is listed the Dropbox folder Sharing & Permissions list. To disable the file lock, open the Finder and browse to the locked file. Right-click on the file to display the File context menu. Click the “Get Info” option to open the File Info dialog box. Click the “Locked” check box to clear the box, then click “OK.” The Locked attribute is now disabled. De-select the file by highlighting another file or folder, then perform the action you were attempting prior to the error message. For example, copy, move or rename the file. You should now be able to perform the action on the formerly locked file.

Check Sharing & Permissions - Mac

To make sure your credentials are listed in the Dropbox folder’s Sharing & Permissions settings, open the Finder and browse to the Dropbox folder. Right-click the folder, then click “Get Info.” The Folder Info dialog box opens. Click the “Disclosure” icon to open the Sharing & Permissions pane if it is not visible. Click the “Lock” icon, then type the administrator username and password if your account does not own the folder. The Sharing & Permissions pane displays existing users. Check to make sure your account is listed. Close the File Info window.

Disable Read-Only Attribute - Windows

If you uploaded a file to Dropbox from a Windows computer, and the file is now read-only, right-click the file to open the File Properties dialog box. Clear the “Read-Only” check box in the General tab, then click “OK.” You can now modify, copy or move the file.