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Dropbox starts testing native Apple M1 support

Dropbox starts testing native Apple M1 support

 January 17, 2022 at 2:42 am   |     Author:   |     Technology  

The front of a closed, silver-colored laptop on a table
Enlarge / The 2021 MacBook Pro needs an emulator to run Dropbox’s app.

Samuel Axon

A recently released beta version of Dropbox’s app for macOS has added support for Apple Silicon in the current MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, 24-inch iMac, and Mac Mini. The release is the first step toward fulfilling the company’s promise to offer native support for M1-based Macs.

Apple debuted its M1 silicon in 2020. Until now, Dropbox did not offer a native version of its file-hosting service for computers using Apple’s chips, frustrating some professional users who rely on and pay for the program for work.

Without the beta, M1 users are required to use Rosetta 2, software that translates apps with x86_64 instructions for Apple’s Arm-based silicon, in order to use the Dropbox app. Running Rosetta 2, however, can generally affect battery life, memory, and performance. For most users, Rosetta 2 is a sufficient solution for running Intel-based applications. And it’s possible that some lesser-known apps will never be transitioned to M1 systems at all.

But with Apple continuing to cut ties with Intel and planning to have all of its systems on its own chips by the end of 2022, the number of apps requiring Rosetta 2 should continue to shrink. We’re still waiting for other apps to come to the M1 side, including OneDrive, which has also promised to add support.

Dropbox invited controversy last year when a forum moderator responded to requests for native M1 support by suggesting that more interest was needed. Dropbox quickly changed its tune, telling 9to5Mac that an M1 version of Dropbox would arrive soon.

Now, as the site reported yesterday, citing a Dropbox user, testing for that M1 version is currently underway. An arm64 identifier confirms Arm support in Dropbox’s latest macOS beta.

Again, this is only a beta. Dropbox has yet to say when native support for Apple Silicon will be available to the general public.

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