Deleting iCloud Drive databases

I’ve deleted the iCloud Drive sync settings and databases from my Macs and iOS devices, but for some reason I can’t get rid of the actual files on iCloud Drive. The line for iCloud Drive is now greyed out and there is nothing in that line’s list of databases; however, when I try to clean up my drive using DaisyDisk, it shows me a “~/Library/Mobile Documents/DEVONthink Pro Office” folder that contains 50+GB. I’ve tried deleting that folder from Daisy Disk and it came back. I tried deleting it from the iCloud Drive web interface and it came back again. I tried both methods again and again, but it keeps coming back. What do I need to do to get rid of it permanently.

You could try to create the sync location again (no need to activate or import the databases) and to clean it afterwards (see contextual menu) before removing it again.

Deleting a sync location does not remove sync data. You need to clean the location in order to remove the sync data. After that, you can remove the location .

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Okay, so what is best practice for deleting old iCloud databases? I’m coming back to DT after 8 months away and I want to start fresh save for one or two old databases. Do I re-upload each of my old databases, delete/purge all content, then delete each database on each of my devices?

How do I get the reference to that database off of the iCloud?

Welcome @talundbl
Does DEVONthink’s Preferences > Sync show an iCloud or iCloud Drive sync location?

Thank you for responding BLUEFROG.

Yes, if I tick the box beside iCloud and enter my old Encryption code, all my old databases show up under “Remote”.


No problem. And you can control-click any Remote database and choose Clean Database to individually clean the sync data for them. Cheers!

Okay, great thanks. And if I want the database to no longer exist, I just delete it on all of my devices? Or is there some other way to delete the instance of the database on icloud?

I seem to recall on Dropbox you would delete the actual database folder out of dropbox to delete it for good…

I suppose what I’m saying is I don’t even want to see the option to sync to these databases anymore on any of my devices.


Or is there some other way to delete the instance of the database on icloud?

There is no “instance of the database in iCloud”. There is only sync data.

If you have an unwanted database on other devices, delete it from the devices, then do the Clean from one machine as instructed. You only need to clean it from one machine since it’s a commonly accessible location.

This is really not made clear via the interface. The difference between “sync location” and “sync data” could be better explained; one would expect removing the location to purge the data — but from where, exactly? From this device or from all devices? Ambiguity about what I’m about to do to my data makes me really nervous.

A sync location and sync data are not the same thing.
The sync location is a reference to the actual location, whether Bonjour or a remote sync location.

Everything in the DEVONthink universe is based on a decentralized data model (which has been spoken of umpteen thousand times :stuck_out_tongue: ).

  • Each machine is independent.

  • Each machine has its own copy of the databases.

  • Each machine uses its own local resources and also its own set of sync locations.

  • The connection between devices is by using a commonly accessible sync location, accessed by each machines’ connection to that location.

Now imagine you want to remove a sync location from machine A only. If you removed the location and it cleaned out and deleted the sync location, it would affect the syncing for all machines. That would not be a good design.

Also, what if you accidentally removed the sync location? It would remove all the sync data as well. Not a great situation.

That is why the cleaning of a sync location (or a database in a sync location) is a specific and user-initiated process. It is a decision for the user to think through and make, not for the software to decide.

I think the functionality as you’ve described it is a Very Good Thing™ that makes all the correct and safest assumptions. :sunglasses::+1:


The “umpteen thousand times” this has been mentioned is here on the forum — not in the context of the app where I, the hapless user, is about to Make A Decision™.

I promise you I have 10,000 things on my mind most of the time, and the nuances of the DEVONthink data model (which I last consciously interacted with many, many months ago) are nowhere near the top of that list. Please take pity on me (us!) and have DEVONthink To Go provide affordances that remind me in context when I’m considering nuking a database from orbit exactly what the ramifications — and limitations — of my actions might be. :slight_smile:

I do know that this is asking a lot and that it would be easy to go overboard with it. Deleting databases is a crucial task, though, where more clarity would be welcome.

Your suggestion is noted. We will have a think on this :slight_smile:

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This! :+1:t3:

I completely agree. My own situation was that I stopped using Icloud sync for storage space reasons. A brief message noting that the storage space can/should be “cleaned” before turning off icloud sync, would have saved me a fair amount of unnecessary daisy disking, confusion and scrolling around “umpteen” grumpy messages about this issue. We all have better things to do.

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