Is there a way to start the Dropbox syncing client through SSH?

I already have the desktop version of Dropbox installed. However, I am using SSH to connect to the machine and if I restart the computer, Dropbox does not restart unless I log in to the Desktop.

Can I avoid the overhead required to log into the desktop and just start the Dropbox client from the command line?

Running open -a Dropbox.app fails with code: LSOpenURLsWithRole() failed for the application /Applications/Dropbox.app with error -10810.

I am aware of the Dropbox CLI, however it just seemed like it was silly to need to install additional software to start the client that is already installed. Perhaps it is the only way.

  • have you tried touching some files in the Dropbox folder?
    – igon
    Feb 12, 2013 at 0:55
  • I've never used it, but perhaps this will help: dropboxwiki.com/Using_Dropbox_CLI Feb 12, 2013 at 1:55
  • 1
    So Dropbox is already installed via the regular GUI installer. If I connect to the computer via SSH without logging in through the GUI login window first, the Dropbox client appears to not start. If I add files or touch files in the Dropbox folder, they do not get synced. I would like to avoid installing the CLI if I can, just because the normal Dropbox client is already installed on there, and it is much easier to configure. Feb 12, 2013 at 5:24
  • related: apple.stackexchange.com/a/102105/1174
    – cregox
    Jun 17, 2014 at 6:41

1 Answer 1


One thought is the Dropbox CLI

Another - hopefully just so simple you hadn't thought to try it - would be to launch to GUI client from the command line: open -a "Dropbox.app". Syncing happens automatically on launch.

  • I gave that a shot and received this error: LSOpenURLsWithRole() failed for the application /Applications/Dropbox.app with error -10810. Feb 12, 2013 at 19:49
  • Frustrating! I can't replicate this error, but some googling suggests that it may be a permissions error. Try running tail -f /var/log/system.log and seeing what Dropbox.app errors appear. You should then be able to add execute permissions as appropriate. <superuser.com/questions/116127/…> and <getsatisfaction.com/mojang/topics/…>
    – philadams
    Feb 25, 2013 at 18:27
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    The Dropbox CLI does not appear to support OS X, at least not for me on Mountain Lion... status says daemon is not installed, trying to install yields "Error: Platform not supported"
    – Michael
    Sep 16, 2013 at 3:51
  • Launching the GUI over the CLI works just fine for me (on Mavericks). +1.
    – jona
    Aug 19, 2014 at 19:21
  • I have the same issue with @user1027169, it just won't start.
    – Vicary
    Nov 5, 2015 at 7:59

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