Dropbox or CloudKit?

Just upgraded to the latest version of DT Pro. I’ve never heard of CloudKit but I see it’s touted as a new, shiny better sync solution.

I’ve been using Dropbox to sync databases on a Macbook Air, iPad and iPhone, and while there is an occasional hiccup after a device goes to sleep, it works without real problems. My Dropbox account is more than adequate for the storage required.

I am very much of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” school of thought, especially about sync processes, so I am inclined to stick with Dropbox. But maybe I am missing something? Is there a compelling reason (speed, reliability, security, something else) to switch to CloudKit from Dropbox?

I’d be grateful for any thoughts. Thanks, as always, to this community.


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My understanding is that it is, indeed, faster (I think I saw discussion of 2x faster).

Ahh, found it - in the release notes.

In this moment there are some problems with CloudKit syncing, not critical but you could wait a moment, especially when you have big databases with many files

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Thanks to all. It does seem prudent then to wait until we are past version 1.0 (as always).


I put files on dropbox and indexed them to Devothink.
I set dropbox with ‘synchronize content of indexed items’ and synced database to my DTG3 in my iPhone. That let me access the files seamlessly on DTG3. I also set iCloud w aithout ‘synchronize content of indexed items’ and synced the asme database to my another Mac mini. In my Mac mini, the files was on dropbox sync folder. That reduce the storage of iCloud and avoid duplicated by sync to the location ‘dropbox’ with ‘synchronize content of indexed items’.

Wondering if anyone else has migrated from Dropbox to CloudKit and can comment if there is any meaningful improvement … better background sync, faster on-demand sync, etc.

Been with Dropbox for years. No real complaints, but if there is a faster, more reliable method, I’m game to switch.

But if they’re comparable, then no need to pull the trigger.


I switched to CloudKit from Dropbox. It works fast and no issues yet. When I say fast, it seems faster to me. I don’t have an objective measure on that.

My reason for switching:
An odd error would creep in from DB stopping sync. According to Jim in DT support there is a difficult error in DB affecting some DB & DT users. DT is continuing to attempt workarounds but has not been successful yet.

My DT databases would not reliably sync on DB. They might work for a season, then stop. I would then clean the store or create a new sync store then start over. Things would be fine for a season, then stop. I even tried multiple sync stores spreading the sync load and again, it would work for a season then stop.

When CloudKit became available, I tried it since the most recent updates to DTTG and DT stopped my DB sync again.

My problem was somewhat complicated by the Ghost files DTTG 3.x created upon conversion. These also stopped my sync, even with CloudKit.

Once free of Ghosts, CloudKit has worked very well. It is important you sync only one DB at a time as suggested in the forum (Note from Jim). CloudKit will throttle your efforts if you try all your DBs at once.

I have one DB that would not sync with CloudKit. I have a 72 GB database with 852 scanned books. A few years ago I scanned all of the books in my library. They are now all searchable in DT. This process is a subject for another story. While CloudKit would stall syncing this to my iPad, I was able sync on DB (go figure). I give this database its own sync store. We will see if this sync will stall like the rest but for now it works. It is fun having my library available on my iPad.

One additional note. All my DBs are indexed. The files live on my iMac but the folders are also synced to my DB account. I had several reasons for indexing. One of the reasons for my shift to indexing was to remedy the issues I was having with the DB sync. Like all my other efforts, sync worked for a season, then stopped.

I hope my story helps you in your evaluation of CloudKit. I had great help from Jim with DT support in understanding the issue with DB. He also gave me advice on sync with CloudKit.


I would say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” :wink:

However, we have been hearing very good reports that conform to our experience in testing. And as @GuernBlanston helpfully pointed out, being patient with the initial push is seeming to help avoid some of the throttling we’ve had reports of.

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Thank you! This is very helpful. I think perhaps I will test CloudKit sync on a small DB and if I find it works without problems, move the main ones over.

How do you assure that you are syncing only one DB at a time? If 2 are open, both will sync, won’t they? So does “make sure you sync one at a time” = “only have one database open at a time”?


We believe in opt-in processes as much as possible. This means just creating or opening a database will not sync unless you explictly enable it. (That’s a decision for the user to make, not the software.)

Just check the checkbox for one database in the sync location in DEVONthink’s Preferences > Sync. Wait for it’s activity to finish, then enable the next, if needed.

@Dberreby Follow Bluefrog’s recommendation, this is exactly what I did.

DB allows for multiple sync stores where Cloud Kit only allows one. Bring up everything slowly, one database at a time. I made a mistake once and thought a database had uploaded and checked off the next box. Sure enough, CloudKit throttled the upload. I noticed my CloudKit databases uploaded quickly when taking this measured approach. I have pretty fast internet service so it may look a little different for you.


Got it!

I gather this this a one-time thing, when one is first syncing big databases? If I had to do this every time I opened databases, I would certainly lose track (forgetting to check and uncheck the boxes). But if it is something to do once when first starting the process, I can live with it.

Thanks, as always, for the quick and useful answer!


You’re welcome and yes, if you enable syncing a database, it stays enabled unless you disable it or clean the sync data.

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Just a postscript to say that after much hesitation I finally switched over to CloudKit. And, as others have mentioned, it is faster and smoother (far fewer “timed out” messages or other hiccups). It’s a real improvement! Thanks for encouraging me to make the jump.

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Glad to hear it and you’re welcome! :slight_smile: