Clarification re: DTTG2 sync store and indexing


I am hoping to get some clarification on the sync process with indexed files, to see if I am doing something incorrectly.

Here is my ideal setup:

  • I have my actual files stored in a dropbox folder (let’s call it dbfolder).
  • I have dbfolder indexed in my Devonthink mac databas. This database itself is stored locally in the mac documents folder.
  • I want DTTG2 on my iphone to have access to the same database, but available on demand so I can search the database whenever I want but only download items as needed.

So, I did the following:
On Devonthink mac, I created a Dropbox sync store and ran the sync.
On DTTG2, I created a new Dropbox sync store (using the same info as on the mac), and selected On Demand downloads. When I ran the sync on DTTG2, my DTmac database showed up with all of the indexed files. However, it looked like DTTG2 had downloaded all the files from the sync store instead of just the metadata.

I then tested the setup with the following: I put a large file in dbfolder. Devonthink mac automatically indexed it as expected. I let the sync run on both the mac and DTTG2. However, it again looked like Devonthink mac was uploading the entire file to the sync store, and DTTG2 was again downloading the entire file instead of just the metadata.

Am I doing something incorrectly? Or is my ideal workflow not doable? Thank you very much for your help.

Unless you uncheck Synchronize contents of indexed items for the Sync location in DEVONthink, it will fully Sync the contents of those indexed items. This can be useful when Syncing between Macs that are linked to the same Dropbox account.

However, this is not helpful with mobile Syncing as DTTG2 on the mobile device does not have access to the files on Dropbox. This means you need the contents in the Sync location to be available to DTTG2.

Concerning Syncing only metadata, you need to set the Info popup for the database to Download Files: On demand (the encircled “i” in the bottom toolbar when you’re in the main page of a database in DTTG2).

Thank you very much. I had neglected to uncheck the “Synchronize contents of indexed items” when I created the sync on my mac.

Sorry but I am a bit confused by this statement (bolded portion). So, is unchecking “Synchronize contents of indexed items” a bad idea if I am syncing between DT mac and DTTG2?

My main Devonthink database on the mac is an index of the files stored on Dropbox. I want this database shared between the mac and DTTG2. I am using Dropbox as my sync method, and I do not wish to sync the contents of the indexed items since that would mean I would essentially double my Dropbox footprint.
My desired workflow involves me being able to search the metadata-only synced database from DTTG2 and download items as needed. I understand that this would mean that DTTG2 would not be able to search the contents of the files, only the metadata - but I am ok with that limitation. Is this workflow possible?

Thank you again for your help.

Thank you for that explanation.

I do not wish to “Synchronize contents of indexed files” because that will essentially double my Dropbox footprint (original files on Dropbox plus sync).
So does that mean my desired workflow (as below) is not implementable?

I would like to keep my files on Dropbox, index then in DT Mac, and have full metadata search and on-demand download ability in DTTG2.

DTTG2 does not have access to your Dropbox account, so if you wanted to download a document from the Sync location you could NOT, nor will DTTG2 access your Dropbox account to download from.

Also, note that it wouldn’t necessarily “double your footprint”. Sync is not just copying files to Dropbox. It’s Syncing raw DEVONthink-specific data.


Give this information, it appears that if I want to keep my files on Dropbox, index then in Devonthink Pro Office, and have full metadata search and on-demand download ability in DTTG2, then I have to check “Synchronize contents of indexed items” so that DTTG2 can work as expected. Is that correct?

If so, for a 500GB folder, (approximately) how large would the dropbox sync store file be? The indexed files consist of PDFs, powerpoints and videos.

Thank you.

You are indexing 500GB of data in a single database? Is there a reason?

The data belongs to the same academic field. Having it in one database lets me make connections using the AI for research. For what it’s worth, I have used this system (actual data in Dropbox, indexed in DT Pro Office database) now for several years without any issues.

Would this system not work if I bring DTTG2 into the mix? Also, I would very much appreciate your help with my original query (quoted below):

Even with a shallow Sync (metadata only), it is very possible you will exceed the resources of a mobile device with a database this large.

And you can’t calculate the size of a syncStore from the size of a database (also noting the size in File > Database Properties is not the size of the file in the filesystem). Sync is not copying your files to Dropbox when it Syncs. Your files are converted to raw data and we employ various methods to make the transmission faster and more reliable.

Understood. Thank you very much for that clarification Jim.

Unless there is an alternative i haven’t thought of, it seems I will have to stick to my tried and true mac system for the time being. A bit off topic, but I think situations like this are why I really hope Apple isn’t really going all in with iOS at the expense of OS X. Despite herculean efforts on the part of incredible developers like you, the underlying iOS platform still isn’t quite ready for real projects :angry: (/end rant)

Also, my sincere thanks to the DT team for this amazing product. DT has been the single most useful tool in my toolbox, and I couldn’t imagine working without it. Appreciate your vision, consistency and hard work!

@psroy: Thanks for the kind words, and we - like you - hope the ship corrects its course and strengthens macOS and non-mobile tech. It’s why we love Apple, not for their phones.