Bonjour Sync fails regularly

Mac’s DEVONthink 3 acts as a Bonjour server; DEVONthink To Go 3 is the client.

I’m used to clicking on the “cloud” button to sync the data. The issue is, more often than not, it’s not syncing; the “cloud” button starts showing the progress (it gets like 1/5 filled), but then it does nothing. Killing and reopening the app helps — the sync proceeds with no issue then. The thing is that I need to do this multiple times a day.

Additionally, I sometimes encounter issues with the Bonjour server itself. One of the databases or the Global inbox may refuse to sync, no matter how many times I click the “sync” button or restart DEVONthink To Go. In such cases, stopping the Bonjour server and starting it again solves the problem, but I have to do this at least once a week or more often.

Is this normal behavior? Has anyone else experienced similar issues?

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Welcome @bgnfu7re

  • What device is acting as the Bonjour server?
  • Is it remaining awake with DEVONthink running?
  1. MacBook Pro, M1 Pro, Ventura 13.1 (13.1 (22C65))
    DEVONthink 3, Version 3.9 (checking for updates says it’s latest)
  2. Yes

Note: The current version of macOS Ventura is 13.4. We suggest you stay current with the operating system and our point releases.

Are you seeing this issue when you are at other locations than your home network?

I will surely upgrade, but I would be surprised if a new system update helped.

Are you seeing this issue when you are at other locations than your home network?

Are you saying Bonjour can work when I’m not on my local network?

I’m syncing only when I’m home, and Mac is awake. Sometimes I try to sync when Mac is sleeping, but that’s my mistake if I missed that it fell asleep.
AFAIK, Bonjour is using the local connection, and it doesn’t make sense to sync while I’m on the go.

Are you saying Bonjour can work when I’m not on my local network?

If Bonjour and non-standard ports are allowed on a network, you could. You can also sync-by-wire in situations where these things are prohibited.


I will surely upgrade, but I would be surprised if a new system update helped.

It’s just a good idea regardless.

Well, if we’re talking about making two machines discoverable by each other, sure. I’m not using that as I don’t need it now.

My problem is while being on the same network, two machines awake, sync having intermittent issues. I can live with them, but I am wondering if it’s only me who’s facing them. Also, I’ve updated the system for the sake of being up-to-date; I’ll check if anything changes.

Take a look at the activity log and perhaps see what might be going on at the time of the drop in Bonjour connectivity.

Where can I find logs?
Window > Log shows nothing.
I was also trying to find logs in Library, but didn’t find anything useful.

~/Library/Logs/DevonThink 3 WebServer.log is empty.
~/Library/Application Support/DEVONthink 3/Console.log has no info.
~/Library/Application Support/DEVONthink 3/Cloudy/Sync.log looks like something I would be interested in; however (and I’ve just tried to sync again, and Bonjour again has failed me), it has nothing:

2023-05-28 12:37:55,257 INFO: Database Inbox: 1 item added, 0 items modified, 0 items changed, 0 items deleted

— and that’s the only log line I have after the sync.

I’m thinking as Bonjour is part of macOS (not DEVONthink, which is just making calls to it), that there will be perhaps an indication of what is interfering with Bonjour. Something, and probably not DEVONthink.

Apologies, but I pointed you to the wrong macOS app. Interchangeable (sadly) in my old brain as they are related.

Two of them, both in /Applications/Utilities are:

Hold the Option key and choose Help > Report bug to start a support ticket.

I’m hesitant to go to the support. The last time they told me to restart the DEVONthink 3 to resolve the issue. Which is great, but I would like to avoid restarting it over and over. I still may try, though.

I’m getting the impression that the issue is only on my computer, though. On the one hand, it’s good because it means it’s fixable; on the other hand, it’s bad because I could spend weeks chasing it.

Ah, gotcha. Thank you, I may try looking there the next time I get the issue.

Any hints on what should I look for? Logs are flooding there like from a fire hose. I’m, of course, filtering by the process. An additional search for err-like strings in messages didn’t yield anything so far, but I’ll wait for the issue to repeat once again and try once more.


Computers are fickle and sometimes a restart of an App and/or macOS is exactly what is needed.

And you will get better support from a support ticket than here, IMHO.

Sorry, no. Just look for anomalies at the time you notice syncing by Bonjour interrupted. I have never noticed Bonjour not working.

How often “sometimes” is for you? If talking about macOS, my uptime is from weeks to months. I usually restart with the system software update, and on rare occasions, when it seems it’s just easier to press the kill switch. If talking about apps, it varies. Browser’s uptime is close to macOS uptime; others, yes, usually are shorter.

I’m used that DEVONthink is always open. It’s because:

  • I open it frequently;
  • searching with Applescript launches it (Raycast / Alfred / etc);
  • I want to sync without the need to recall whether I’ve opened the app or not.

The irritating part is that when I want to sync, I’m usually in another room or doing something else. Like, (the computer is awake), I grab the phone and go to make a coffee. At the same time, while going to the kitchen, I opened DEVONthink To Go and started syncing. It’s frustrating that if it fails for whatever reason, it makes me return to restart both apps (yes, I know that I could change my flow and sync before taking off of Mac, but then is the computer serving me, or I’m serving the computer?).

It doesn’t happen often, but it happens often enough for me to notice and bug with the behavior.

About once a week for iMac for no reason just to do it. Or if I know I do not need it powered on. MacBook at least a couple of times a week mainly to save battery charge.

I do not know details anymore but I am aware that macOS does some cleanup on shutdown and restart. I do not look to no restarts as some sort of badge of honour or try to compare with Windows. :wink:

DEVONthink probably restarted a few times a week, again for no reason other than to get it out of the way as I am doing something else.

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It’s not that I’m trying to keep a record of uptime. I like how I can lock the MacBook and unlock it the next day instantly to continue whatever I was doing.

It’s interesting to hear about other people’s workflows. Thank you.

well, at least now as you are seeking input for the Bonjour issue, perhaps do a full system restart. Might help.

I restarted the system yesterday with a fresh update I installed. Today I’ve had the issue with no new content; the Global inbox got out of sync again. As I see it, it doesn’t help. Restarting the app does.