How to find and use Dropbox logs

When using Dropbox, you can find logs of different events and activities. Among these are log files for connected devices, browser types and team activities. Dropbox logs list relevant information on access time, the types of access as well as changes and user data. They are particularly useful for both organizational and practical reasons.

What are Dropbox logs?

Alongside the Dropbox alternatives such as Google Drive and iCloud, Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud storage providers and file hosting services worldwide. The service offers users cloud-based storage of 2GB for free. It also offers a practical alternative to FTP, allowing files to be transferred using Dropbox Transfer at up to 100 MB. You can, of course, can more space and features on paid Dropbox plans.

Since there are always questions about data privacy, cloud security and access, Dropbox has automated reports in the form of Dropbox log files. These logs document changes to the files, security-relevant events, newly uploaded files, connected devices and much more. For individual users who use Dropbox as a backup for their files, logs can help them identify if anyone has accessed them. Dropbox users working in a team or for business can use the logs to organize, monitor, delegate and analyze their teamwork.

How to find Dropbox logs

Dropbox creates different logs for your activities on the site. We will explain how you find and open Dropbox logs below. This process is the same on your desktop PC or on your mobile browser.

Event logs

Event logs list all your activities together with the relevant Dropbox account. You can find the event logs as follows:

Step 1: Open the link and log in to your account.

Step 2: In the “Event” menu you can now see a list of all your activities. On the right-hand side of the screen, you can see the option “All events” and beneath that is the calendar menu which you can use to search for an event on an exact date.

Activity logs

The “Activity” logs feature will list all activities which belong to the files, folders and projects connected to your Dropbox account. Among this information and options, you can find the following:

  • Added
  • Edited
  • Moved
  • Renamed
  • Replaced (with an earlier version)

Here’s how to find them:

Step 1: Log in to your Dropbox account.

Step 2: In the start menu you can see the option “Activities” in the bottom right. Click on this.

Step 3: In the “Activities” menu you will see the “Filter” option. Click on the option to get listed activity information. You can use the feature for folders or selected files and projects.

Step 4: If you’ve activated the option “Show viewer information” for the corresponding file, you can see which users with reading or editing authorization have looked at or opened a file by looking in the file preview.

This information on activities is limited to files which have not been downloaded from Dropbox and edited away from the site.

Logs on linked devices

Logs for linked and logged-in devices and browsers are particularly useful when it comes to the security of your Dropbox account. You can use this option to check whether only approved devices have access to your files. The logs can be found in the “Security” section of your profile settings. They can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Web browsers: Information about the browser type, time and date they logged in as well as the IP address
  • Devices/mobile devices linked with paper: Information on the device name, location and time they logged in
  • Mobile device contacts: Information on imported contacts from the linked device

Here’s how to find this information:

Step 1: Log in to your account and click on your profile picture in the top right. Here you will find the “settings”.

Step 2: In the “Settings” menu, you will find the “Security” option.

Step 3: In the “Security” menu you will find information on the web browsers that are currently logged in, devices linked to your Dropbox account, devices linked with Paper and imported mobile contacts.

Step 4: If there are any unknown devices, browsers or contacts, you can check whether they have made any changes to your files.

Dropbox business logs in the analysis dashboard

If you use a Dropbox business account, then you will be able to use the Dropbox Business analysis dashboard. This gives you helpful and insightful information about previous and current team activities such as shortcuts to important administrator features. Among these include the ability to search a specific team member by their name or email, the number of current team members, invitations, licenses and team members who have been recently added. You can also find an overview of the scope of teamwork, including:

  • Files and folders from current and added team members
  • Files and folders from deleted team members
  • Active and archived folders from team members

To open the dashboard, you can do the following:

Step 1: Log in to your Dropbox administrator account.

Step 2: In the menu, you will find the “Management console” option.

Step 3: Under “activity” you will not be able to see information such as:

  • Active team members
  • Memory
  • Created links
  • Active open folders
  • Active devices
  • Relevant numbers

The following features are also available to you in the management console:

  • Search team member
  • Open team statistics
  • Invite a new user
  • Send an invite reminder
  • Add licenses
  • Usage data for a specific time period
  • Intensity of team activities
  • Show security warnings
  • See external approvals

Among the information you can get from the management console, you can see team activities in the last 28 days. The activities that are logged include adding, editing, viewing and sharing files. On top of this, you can see information about the memory you’ve used and if you have at least two users, the shared links and folders. To carry out a more specific search, you can filter the information by time periods, members, files or activities. To do this go to “Activities” and “Add activity”.

Dropbox activity area for administrators

Dropbox offers administrators the option to create activity reports and export them. Here’s how:

Step 1: Log in to your Dropbox administrator account.

Step 2: Go to “Management console” and “Activities”.

Step 3: You can then filter the data depending on your criteria.

Step 4: You can then export the data by clicking on “Create report”.

The log report can then be saved as a .csv file locally. You can find them in the “Dropbox Business reports” folder. As soon as the report is ready you will receive a confirmation email. Depending on your filter options the report will contain information such as:

  • Time and date of the activities
  • Users carrying out the activities
  • Details on the logged activity
  • Access location and IP address
  • Apps used and commentaries
  • Logins and passwords used
  • File requests
  • Groups, members, team folders, team rules and team profiles

Dropbox business approval activities for shared files

Another log function includes logs for shared files. You will be able to see information about approval activities and files which have been shared by members within or outside the organization. Take the following steps to do this:

Step 1: Log in to your Dropbox administrator account.

Step 2: Go to the “Management console” and “Activity” then select the “Approval” filter.

Step 3: The latest approval activity for members can be seen by clicking the menu on the left-hand side and choosing “Users” and then clicking on a specific one from the list.

Step 4: In order to see all actions carried out by the team, choose the option “Create complete report”. In this report, you will see all actions carried out by team members in regard to approval.

Approval activities logged by Dropbox include:

  • The creation of an approved folder
  • Invitations to folders
  • Access to a folder
  • The removal of a member from a folder
  • Changes to member roles
  • Change of folder ownership
  • Removal of folder approval
  • Changing the approval status of a folder
  • Changing the general approval settings of a folder
  • Movement of an approved folder from a business account to a private one

Under “Activity” you can also find complete information about shared data, approved links, file requests and Paper approval processes.

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