Confused about Sync

Just bought Pro Office version of DEVONthink and I’m a bit confused about the sync setup. I read through the sync information in the local Mac Help section and still can’t figure it out.

In the “Setting up a database for synchronizing”, I don’t understand why I need to setup anything special since I use DropBox, Google Drive, and Box Sync to synchronize different folders to my various computers. Of course, I need to figure out where to place my DEVONthink database (i.e., whether I want it to sync using DropBox, Google Drive, or Box Sync), but beyond that question, why do I need to set up DEVONthink internally for a sync? Doesn’t my Cloud service already automatically sync my database for me?

Please shed some light on this.


Dropbox, Box, Google Drive – and similar services – are not constructed to work with database structures such as DEVONthink. Database damage can occur. Best practice is to keep your database in a local folder on your boot drive or an attached drive, rather than in Dropbox, etc. Thus, to keep a database synchronized on multiple machines, you would use the Sync feature of DEVONthink. (Syncing using Dropbox is a different approach than storing databases in Dropbox.)

Have you watched the tutorial about setting up Sync in Help > Tutorials? It is a good starting point.

Thanks! This is helpful. I think I’m almost getting the picture, but will follow your suggestion of watching the tutorial to figure this out.

By the way, whoever writes the help manual for DEVONthink, it would be helpful to include information that using Cloud service’s sync feature isn’t a good route because of potential database corruption.

Will write back more if I have questions. Thanks!

Hmm…I thought I had posted a reply, but it either didn’t make it or I forgot to hit post (I was interrupted earlier this morning and only now am returning :laughing: )

Thanks for these pointers! I think I have a partial understanding, but am sure it’ll be much clearer once I watch the tutorial.

Whoever wrote the help topic on synchronization on the Mac application, it would be helpful to make a note to users that syncing using Dropbox and other cloud services is not the same as setting up DEVONthink preferences internally for syncing due to possible corruption from cloud syncing.

Related question regarding sync. From what I can understand, there is no easy solution to use google drive instead of dropbox, is that correct? Any particular reason, and is this going to be changed anytime soon?


Goodgle Drive does not support WebDAV, so no there is no option. Currently there is no concrete plan to support it.

So…is there further development with the sync technology in DT?

I’m still occasionally pulling my hair out wanting to throw DT in the dustbin. It still sucks with syncing and there are times when “could not load a record” pops up and I end up having to clean the remote location.

Yes yes, I know I can sync with a local USB flashdrive, which I do, but there are times when I forget my flash drive and the remote sync just has to happen.

My database is large enough now that doing a clean and re-sync takes forever when I do it at home and even takes a while at Duke where there is very fast internet connection.

Oh Sync and DT…the bane of my life!

Remote Syncs are not optimal for all situations as there are inherent limitations and problems with any network. We also do not have control over whether a service’s uptime or whether it throttles bandwidth / limit maxiumum concurrent connections, etc.