Drag-and-drop or iCloud sync for new install?move

I’ve read this post (and the series of posts linked to within) and found it extremely helpful—and I have just a couple additional questions:


I’ve finally gotten a new MacBook Pro, and want to move DT3 from my old MacBook, which also syncs via iCloud with my iMac.

I removed the license “seat” from my old MBP and installed it in the new one. And I had assumed that I should just sync the new MBP install via iCloud, which has been super-reliable and I assume would download my .dtBase2 files… but then I realized it might be beneficial to bring my current Settings from the iMac, too, which is when I found the above thread. As a result, I have a couple outstanding questions:

  1. Will dragging and dropping the Application Support/Devonthink 3 folder remove newly-authenticated licensed seat from the new install? I tried to remove it, but it’s been too few days to remove. The prior thread(s) mention this being a concern, but I couldn’t find a definitive answer; it was clear that copying the folder wouldn’t automatically license the new install, but not whether it would unlicense it.

  2. I read about someone who experienced hundreds of files with changed “Modified on” dates, and would very much like to avoid that. Is that an issue when drag-and-dropping—and if so, would downloading via iCloud sync be less likely to cause it?

  3. Other than the need to reset Settings, is there any reason not to sync via iCloud rather than dragging and dropping the folder?

I so appreciate any information in advance—this is without question the best-run software forum on the web!


The new computer can’t and won’t use a registration copied from the old computer, meaning that the old seat has to be removed on the old MacBook or via your user account on our website.

Drag & drop (basically moving or copying files/folders) doesn’t change dates nor does importing a database from a sync store. But I’m not sure what you’re referring here and how old this information is (or whether it’s indeed valid).

Thanks so much for the prompt and helpful reply, as usual! Just two things, to clarify:

  1. I understand that the registration won’t be copied over from the old computer. But will copying over the old folder from my (currently registered) iMac install screw up the registration on the new install (I already registered before transferring the databases)? Someone here said doing that erased their new registration. Unfortunately I just registered the new install, so I can’t unregister it (to transfer the folder, then reregister it) for several days.

  2. Will it work just as well to download the databases to the new install via iCloud sync? Or is that more likely to cause issues? Just curious if there are any advantages or downsides to either method (other than that copying the folder retains the old Settings).

Thanks again!


PS: the “Modified on” date issue was referenced here. I couldn’t find a response, but also didn’t see anyone else report the issue.

Just ensure not to copy/migrate the file ~/Library/Application Support/DEVONthink 3/Registration.plist.

As long as the sync store is fine and up to date, it doesn’t really matter how you’re transferring the database. Importing it from the sync store might be more convenient though.

Anyway, as usual ensure that you have good (and tested!) backup strategy before migrating computers and you don’t have to worry.

Thanks a million — this makes perfect sense! And I appreciate the heads-up about the registration file.

I do have a pretty good backup strategy, I think: Time Machine, archived versions to a local HDD using Chronosync, and a cloud backup service.

As always, I so appreciate your expert help!