Difference between saving a DB directly on Dropbox and Sync

What is the difference (= Pros and Cons) between saving a DevonThink DB directly in a Dropbox folder and accessing it with several devices from there or saving it locally on each device and syncing it.
Syncing from a Dropbox folder is not possible, isn’t it?


There’s no advantage of storing a database in a Dropbox folder, it’s not even possible anymore to create databases in cloud folders. Such a “synchronization” is slow, error-prone and doesn’t support concurrent access or iOS. Sooner or later you’ll lose data or the complete database in the worst case.

Thanks for the advice.
In fact I DO store currently all DB files in a Dropbox folder. Till now without any problems.
But I will follow your advice and change.


I jump on the conversation as I am/was in the same boat. I used to have all my databases in my DB folder and access them directly from my different macs. I had stopped using DTG as version 1 didn’t do the job. Now with Version 2, I have given it another go and the new sync method obliged me to bring first my database to a local disk before rey-loading the whole lot to the DB sync directory.

Am I correct in assuming Devonthink now occupies twice the previous space on my drive: The original database stored locally and the synced database in my DB automatically replicated in my DB folder on my disk ?

Or am I missing something ?


  • You should always have a local copy of your database on each device. (And this is how Sync is built, to ensure this is the case.)
  • You should never put your databases in a Dropbox (or other cloud-synced) folder or you could irreparably damage them. ​Never. If you have, you ​must ​relocate them immediately. The safest location is somewhere in ~/Documents.
  • You should never see anything for DEVONthink in the local Dropbox/Apps folder.
    In the Dropbox application’s Preferences > Account > Selective Sync, make sure you uncheck the Apps/DEVONthink Packet Sync.
  • Sync is not copying your database. It is transmitting DEVONthink-specific, raw data to be used by devices running DEVONthink To Go 2.

Thanks for the fast and detailed answer.

I’ll follow your advice to the letter. I must admit that I have had my databases in my DB folder for about ten years now – and never lost anything.

I also sync between Macs. I’m not sure how to proceed here: copy the databases on my local HD on computer B and then initiate a sync with the Sync repository that is in DB or configure the sync and then use the Import database command ?

And last, Is the process able to follow if I move the local databases somewhere else (within the ~/documents folder) ?

I smoked for 25 years and am still healthy, but I wouldn’t advocate that either. :mrgreen:

Yes. Moving the databases shouldn’t inhibit Sync.

Shoot me a Support Ticket. I have something that may help clear things up.

No to be negative, rude or mean, but here we go again. After 7 yrs of using DTO, you still can’t use DB to do syncing. I going back to one computer that holds my DB database and then use SuperDuper to make sure it gets backed up one bootable drive.

If you mean, putting your database in your Dropbox folder, then no (and this isn’t something we’re trying to “fix”).

If you are referring to using our Sync plugin, it is entirely possible to use Dropbox as a Sync location.

can you please send me a link on how to do this?

Please start a Support Ticket. I have something I’m working on that may help.