this is exactly my current experience with dropbox. my wife’s as well – on totally different hardware, 1/8 the number of files, and two OS versions back. and it’s been this way a year. it’s not a small bug – it’s their core functionality, some might say their “only feature”.
that said, i’ve spent six months trying google drive and microsoft onedrive with the plan to switch to whichever works best.
and the result… was surprising… they both have very very similar problems: endless syncing, failure to update the Finder correctly. data-rot (small corruptions leaking into files that have no changes) – all problems that i thought were new bugs to Dropbox.
i have no love of dropbox as i once did, they did a full rewrite of their software to make it less native. in the process it became a bloated mess.
but the dropbox problems, synology syncing failures, google drive and ms onedrive issues all seem to have started showing up on forums and blogposts at about the same time Apple began the push to Mojave and APFS.
that’s also when i disabled my old TimeMachine server because it just suddenly started having really strange problems.
this is all just speculation – but i’m not so quick to blame dropbox for these problems anymore. not if they are systemic across so many competing products. if these problems cannot be solved by MS, dropbox, google, synology i have a feeling it might be out of their hands.
anywho… to answer original question directly: YES and NO.
I’ve never experienced any data loss on dropbox firsthand – but I have seen the results of corrupted data A LOT. I don’t think the problem is Dropbox per se – but just the nature of syncing a large complex file that can take minutes to finish writing to a spinning drive (if you have a big file and slow drive) – and can take an hour or more to sync to Dropbox over a slow connection. In the meantime you may have opened the file and started editing again – or you may have opened the file on a different machine.
Syncing services are supposed to handle these worst-cases well, but I think with very large bundled files (like a RapidWeaver project that can contain many hundreds of smaller files) there are some cases that have no “right” solution.
So my advice is always is this:
- Keep a backup – one that doesn’t involve a syncing service.
- If things are working well, go for it. Use whatever tools suit you, including Dropbox.
- If things are not working well, stop. And make use of that backup to recover your file.
Your backup is there so that you can do things that might not be 100% safe. And yeah, I think that’s pretty much what a syncing service is – not perfectly safe.