Running multiple Dropbox accounts on a Mac

There are many reasons you might want to have multiple Dropbox accounts running on the same computer: having separate work and personal Dropbox accounts, shared accounts with others, etc. 

For me, the main reason is separation of work and personal Dropbox accounts. Here's my setup:

  • 2TB AirPort Time Capsule that I use for storage and backup
  • 1TB Dropbox subscription on my personal Dropbox account (let's call this
  • Regular Dropbox subscription for my work Dropbox account (
  • 1Password app uses the work account to sync the keychain over Dropbox. This requires the Dropbox account to sync locally. 
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro with 256 GB storage
  • I want my personal Dropbox files to go to the AirPort Time Capsule
  • I want my work Dropbox files to synced locally so I can use 1Password (for both work and personal account passwords)

This Dropbox help center article will tell you you'll need a business account (starts at $15/month) to do this smoothly (although also says it's possible but not ideal). 

Yes, a google search will point you to this page which is the basis for the solution I will explain in this post. 

The solution explained in the lifehacker page basically has you write an automator script that runs the following command when you login on your computer:

HOME=$HOME/Dropbox-personal /Applications/ &
When I tried the solution posted on the lifehacker page, it worked well while my computer was turned on for that session but I started running into issues when I restarted my laptop.

The problem is, the AirPort Time Capsule might have been spinned down and the contents of your Dropbox folder may not be available. To work around this, I added two more steps before running the Dropbox launch script.

Get Specified Servers

On the Automator Library, search for the "Get Specified Servers" action

Add your AirPort Time Capsule from the Add dialog

Connect to Servers

This action is needed so a connection to the server is made in launch and the disk is ready to be accessed. You can add it the same way you added the previous action.

Run the Dropbox Command Script

Pick "Run Shell Script" action from the list of actions and add the script to run the second Dropbox instance from a different Dropbox folder.

Final Configuration

Your automator sequence should look something like this:

You can test the script by hitting the "Run" button. Name this automator script and save it to a convenient location on your Mac.

Running the automator script at login

Go to Users & Groups from System Preferences and add your automator script to the login items for your account.

And you should be ready to go! The only caveat with this approach is when you're on a network that doesn't have access to your AirPort Time Capsule, you'll get an error message from Dropbox saying it cannot find the dropbox folder. Just hit quit and it will work next time you restart your Mac on the network that has access to your Time Capsule.