Time sensitive Dropbox Shared Links — There's a Workflow for That.

Setting the Stage

Once upon a time, our intrepid hero discovered Dropshare for Mac. Awestruck by the flexibility and independence it provided him, he promptly eschewed using services such as Cloudapp and Droplr(despite their greatness and coveted position in the King's court).

But as powerful and versatile as Dropshare was, it lacked1 a feature our hero envied, one essential for those times all he really needed was way to quickly share an ephemeral file or screen-shot with a friend or foe—Time Sensitive shared links.

Getting Real

Now that I've set the stage (and caffeine has worn off a little bringing me back down to earth), let me present you with the solution.

My buddy Ryan recently posted a great write-up on how he uses his Mac Mini (as if I needed more reasons to want an always on Mac Mini). Until such time I can afford one, I'll have to settle for the next best thing...and steal a few of his ideas for myself. More specifically, "Time sensitive Dropbox shared links".

I urge you to read his post for more details and suggestions, but in essence, the idea is to create a folder in Dropbox where these ephemeral files are to be placed. This folder is then monitored by Hazel and any file older than a specified number of days is deleted. Personally, I created one for 1 day and 1 week.

On The Mac

"Example of Hazel Rule"

As you can see, the Hazel rule is quite simple: If date added is not in the last 1 days => Move to trash, but to make things even easier, here are the rules for 1 Day and 1 Week. You can optionally send yourself a Pushover notification as Ryan does, but I don't feel as though that's necessary.

I also created two TextExpander snippets to share the link and provide some useful information letting the recipient know when the link will be deleted:

Now, all that is left is to save a file in the desired folder, copy the share link and trigger the TextExpander Snippet.

On iOS

"Workflow.app Workflow"

On iOS, I decided to leverage the power of Workflow to make this task even easier by creating two workflows that accept files, save them to the desired folder, get the Dropbox link, calculate the date and then share the information, all in one fell swoop. I could've optionally combined both into a single workflow, but that would add an additional and unnecessary step. Remember, sometimes less is more.

You can import them by visiting these links on you iOS device:

Exit Stage Left

Armed with this simple idea and a few quick workflows, our intrepid hero is now free to continue slaying dragons all whilst being able to quickly share ephemeral photos of his latest conquest (yep...got another shot of expresso).

In all seriousness, I hope you find these quick tips useful, and do reach out if you need any assistance (after all, what is a knight, without a damsel in distress).


  1. Dropshare introduced this feature too in version 3.9, dubbed Dropshare Safe