DEVONthink To Go Wishlist

While I understand the pressures on the development team, I believe the dev team would be interested in feedback from a regular/heavy user. I am an architect and almost 90% of my work (except for the CAD drawings) happens on my iPad. So, here’s a list of stuff I wish was better implemented in DTTG:

Highest priority:

  1. Better Files App integration - Akin to the implementation in PDF VIEWER will be awesome.
  2. Printing from iOS does not work as intended. It prints out the Item Link instead of the actual PDF (on both AirPrint as well as Readdle Printer Pro)
  3. Drag and drop support from split view. Currently I use Workflow App to get around this limitation.
  4. Easy browsing / left-right swiping between Image files contained within a group.

Medium Priority:

  1. TAGS on iOS and DTTG must ideally behave similarly
  2. Add URL scheme to append/prepend text
  3. Better Spotlight integration

Lower Priority:

  1. Long press on the current group name currently takes me back to root. Would be great if an option existed such that a long press would instead provide a navigation tree popup.
  2. Better markdown editing support (this is not that important if files can be “reliably” edited “in-place” in iA Writer or 1Writer). Reliability means no app crashes midway of editing an important piece of text.
  3. I do not know if this is possible or not: When an unsupported file is clicked on, automatically offer the correct app to open it in (so long as it’s installed on iOS), or at the very least offer information on what kind of file it is (show us the file extension), rather than the very unhelpful “UNKNOWN - This document cannot be displayed”.

I understand that DEVONthink’s origins are much older than iOS, but today’s iOS users are mostly a young bunch, and our expectations as well as the ways we use your software could be different from those of your older Mac customers. So I hope you take these suggestions positively, because, I simply LOVE using DTTG, and am only hoping that subsequent updates make it more popular amongst iOS users. I eagerly look forward to every update and go through your update notes. All the best.



Some good, well-communicated suggestions here! Looking forward to how DTTG2 can develop on iOS over the next few years!

Thank you for this great list of suggestions!

What exactly would you like to see from integration? We already provide full access to all documents in all databases.
Printing: This is a bug, already fixed for 2.4.3.
Drag-and-drop: What exactly doesn’t work as expected?
Swiping: Agreed :slight_smile:

Where do Tags on iOS and in DTTG don’t behave identically? Tags are more flexible in DTTG so one option would be reduce their flexibility. Which also means we’d need to do this on macOS.
Append/prepend: On our feature request list already :slight_smile:
Spotlight: Full text in Spotlight? We considered this but this uses a lot of space on the device and a few people with less equipped devices might complain.

I now have a 256 GB iPhone 8+. EAT my storage space please for spotlight.

Perhaps there can be a spotlight option for metadata only or full indexing.


Noted, but remember not everyone is so lucky.

Thus I would like to see a full spotlight index option in the settings that is off by default. This would give us the best of both worlds. The first document/note etc manager app on iOS with full iOS spotlight document indexing for convenience. Then we could go into the app for advanced searching when needed. This wold be amazing.

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I would like to see the basics work.

Select items per search box and then be able to do something with the results.

There is either NO way to handle them - beside touching them to have them opened on the right now,


there is an “Edit” button, but you need to select those 1000 items manually, one by one. Without a simple “select all” button, this will just not work.

Also, this “Edit” button, where you can select things at all, does not appear for results of a search!

That is the most basic thing you want to do thing “something” that is in a database of some kind.

So, please add those realy needed basics.
And then remore the crashes!
Today alone i had 2 or 3.

Everything else is just not important, compared to those.

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If you’re having crashes, please select Help > Contact Us in DTTG and tell us what you were doing when the crashes occurred.

Mail is out :slight_smile:

Sorry to reawaken this thread! I’m only here to check if I’m missing something obvious when dragging-and-dropping in iPadOS split view, which apparently I’m not.

My idea scenario: I have an iPadOS split view, with DTTGo on one side, and I have a search set (or any list of items) in the view. On the other side of my split view is MindNode, LiquidText, or some application where I want to be able to collect relevant results into a more visual layout.

DT’s magic is in the DEVONthink UUIDs, so all I really need is to add a title/URL(DEVONthink link!) combination into mind maps or similar. The diagrams and documents will work beautifully when I sync back to my mac, as well.

I was kinda surprised this wasn’t already in there as a feature, though I hadn’t tried to do it on iOS in the past. I think it would be extraordinarily useful, and would love it if the team could pick it up as a feature in the future. I appreciate @hshinde’s approach of using Workflow (Shortcuts!) to achieve this, but I can imagine this becomes messy and hard to manage when dealing with more than a few linked items at a time.

Also Happy† New Year, everyone!


† I appreciate 2020 is doing everything to make this impossible so no need to feel an obligation

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This would require the receiving apps to interpret and process the dropped data in a specific way. That part would be up to those developers to implement, though @eboehnisch would have to comment on specifics of what data is passed on the drag.

And a safe and prosperous New Year to you and yours as well! :slight_smile:

@davem DEVONthink To Go passes a lot of data in the drag, from the actual file to metadata such as the item link. However, just as @BLUEFROG already mentioned, it’s all up too the receiving app to determine what to do with it all.

DEVONthink To Go wishlist!

  1. CSS support — so I can control appearance like I can on DEVONthink Pro for macOS, including referencing locally loaded typefaces, of Markdown files, code, webarchives, etc.) While the system font (San Fransisco) is much better than Helvetica (:face_vomiting:), I have my own fonts that I rely on for legibility and consistency with my macOS setup.
  2. Better sync interface & control — current sync status indicators are utterly baffling and frustrating — from the icons to what their intended behaviour is (the more I try to suss it out the less I understand). Having a Group open and needing to access/edit a file from it but having instead to wait for hundreds or thousands of other files to sync first makes me want to throw my phone into the ocean. I get that this may be on  since I use iCloud sync, but while this may not be your fault it IS your problem. :slight_smile:
  3. Smart Groups — my 2018 iPad Pro has a much faster CPU than my 2012 MacBook Pro. (I know iPadOS restricts your CPU access more than macOS does. Unreasonable? Maybe. Still… :slight_smile:)
  4. Shortcuts — I never want to see another x-callback-url as long as I live. Being able to more-easily integrate with apps like OmniFocus and Drafts via Shortcuts would be wonderful.
  5. full Dark Mode support — I can’t use DEVONthink To Go at night on my 13-inch iPad Pro without lighting up the room.
  6. Split-screen support on iPadOS — let me have two DEVONthink To Go windows open at once. Yes, I know what a nightmare this must be. Nevertheless… :wink:


  1. “Select/Deselect All” buttons in Groups, please. Tapping “Edit” then tapping dozens or hundreds of files individually gets old really, really fast. It’s also highly error-prone.
  2. This may be more of a question, but maybe also a request? When dragging items from iOS’s Files app, the folder being dragged gets deleted, spewing its content (files & sub-folders) everywhere. My understanding is that the receiving app in an iPadOS drag operation gets to decide how the data is handled, so maybe you can change this, but maybe the Files app is just a terrible iOS app?

It’s a combination between the two. It’s dependent on what information is provided when something is dragged out and the receiving application processes the info it receives.

Thank you for your thoughts :slight_smile: Most of them are, actually, already on our own to-do list for the next releases (or major release) of DEVONthink To Go.

Support for smart groups is less a problem of CPU performance but of the other technological differences between Mac and iOS. Shortcuts and dark mode: planned, definitely. And so are, of course, multiple windows.

As for the sync UI: What would you think how it should work, what information would like to see, how would you hope it should work?

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As we all know, there are 5 difficult problems in computing:

  1. Naming things
  2. Sync
  3. Progress bars
  4. Off-by-one errors

And sync that relies on 3rd parties — Dropbox, iCloud, whatever — has got to be frustrating. I am not a programmer, but I get it.

My biggest user-issue with sync is prioritization. I understand that Apple (I sync via iCloud) decides when things sync, but seeing a progress window (pop-over? not sure what to call it) that says it’s downloading 2500 of 4900 items when none of them are in the group I’m looking at and wanting to work on is crazy-making. Worse, it seems like iPadOS shoves DEVONthink To Go into the background during this sync operation, and when it reopens, a whole bunch of those files seem to be downloading again. And then they dribble in one, three, five at a time. And then once they’re downloaded it seems to start over, running each filename by me; I assume it’s indexing at that point, but it still says “downloading”. But I have no idea.

The little cloud icon is baffling. Its states tell me nothing (a dot? outlined? filled? who knows what these mean? I think filled represents a progress bar, but there seem to be levels of progress, so it’s unclear to me. I get that multilingual is much harder, but inscrutable little icons just aren’t that helpful when their meanings are unique to one app; text labels would go a long way. And yes, I get that the concepts are often highly nuanced to be clearly convey in just a word or two).

Those are my initial thoughts. Hope they’re helpful. I’m approaching it as much as possible from the point of view of here are the issues rather than here are my solutions. I may have missed the mark a bit in this, but that’s my intention.

Bottom line: I love using DEVONthink and want to see it thrive. I wish I’d found it earlier. :slight_smile:

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When you switch away from an app on iOS it is allowed to run for 180 seconds. Then it is killed by the iOS watchdog. So unless you make a sync one single download (like downloading a Zip file) it cannot run in the background on iOS (Apple, of course, can do this nevertheless).

The DEVONthink sync in general works by synchronizing your local copy of the database (only metadata or full documents) with the sync store or another device. It always brings the whole thing into sync, never just one group.The sync itself has three stages: downloading remote changes, applying them to the database, and uploading local changes.

Yes, the cloud icon fills like progress bar. You can long-tap it to show a more detailed progress sheet. The dots are similar to those in the Mac version and are explained more in detail in the documentation.

Same here.
Really every time I am using the app I have to concentrate on the cloud icon to understand what ist going on and to be sure that I am really up to date.

Sometimes I press it but just nothing happens or with a big delay. Long pressing not always shows a popup what IS or what WAS going on. Then I ask my self if sync failed or if DTG is already up to date. Hard to describe every constellation but I would prefer a status text and a small progress bar with a short description of the current task way more helpful than this gimmick like cloud icon.

Of corse when you have a stable connection it’s not a big deal but remember it’s a mobile version. If there is temporary no connection it’s kind of confusing what is going on.