Dropbox sync - instructions unclear

Hi, I’m setting up a database which will used (serially!) across 3 Macs - 1 fixed at each of 2 locations and a laptop. I know I need to close the DT app on each at end of session so it will synch reader for use from another location/Mac. I’m using DTPro

I followed the Dropbox Sync video on the DT tips-and-tutorials page. I’ve now got a new blank database synching from all 3 Mac. I’m now trying to understand the instructions at c.2:28 in the video. However, I see no DTStore files/folders just long number strings which I assume are the current way the info is stored (the video’s not recent). How do I find which number relates to which database?

Not explained in the video is do I untick the database folder on all Macs. Also, Dropbox says if I untick a folder in the DT section of its prefs that folder will be removed. So does than mean each Local to dropbox sync is the entire database (which is doing to get very big)? Do I have to change the Dropbox setting on each Mac or just one?

The tutorial doesn’t make clear if, after importing the database on another Mac if I then have to set its sync settings.

Is there perhaps a more comprehensive tutorial on Dropbox sync? The whole point for me is that I have the same set of data when I open DT (I’ll be using different Macs/locations most days). It may be Dropbox sync isn’t for this, in which case what should I use!

This is frustrating as I don’t want to start committing data to DT until it’s properly set up and the data for import is meanwhile piling up. :frowning:

Thanks in advance…

  1. NEVER put your database in a Dropbox (or other automatically cloud-synced) folder or you could irreparably damage it.

  2. When using our Sync plugin, DEVONthink does not need to be closed on any machine (and shouldn’t be in the case of Direct Connection Syncs).

  3. The best way to start is with one machine having the most up to date version of the database and the others that will Sync having no copy of that database. Once the initial Sync push to Dropbox is done, you will do an “Import Database” to Sync pull from this Dropbox account. Nothing else needs to be done on the importing machines as the connection to Dropbox will be established automatically (ie. it checks the box for you in Preferences > Sync).

  4. Note: The Dropbox Preferences > Account > Selective Sync location has changed.
    The /Apps/DEVONthink should be unchecked on each machine linked to the Dropbox account.
    The DEVONsync technology does not use the Dropbox application at all. It is also not Syncing the files as you’d see them in the Finder. It is Syncing the raw data necessary to reproduce DEVONthink databases and their files on other machines running DEVONthink.

  5. Note that Dropbox is not the optimal Sync location for all situations. Thoughtfully consider this.

Thanks for the rapid help. To Clarify, I’ve set up a new empty DT database on Mac #1 and synced it to Dropbox. I then imported the database on each of the others. I understand I’m replicating the data via Dropbox, such that the DT database is correct/up to date on each Mac I use. In my case I’ve stored the database in the same place inside ```


So, to do:
* In Dropbox settings, in [b]every[/b] Mac being used for this sync (3 in my case) uncheck the /Apps/DEVONThink folder check-box.
* In extra Macs (#2, #3) as well as importing the database from Dropbox, ensure the sync settings (i.e. timings) are also set. The latter are set per Mac as opposed to being synced settings common to all, i.e. imported as part of the database (the tutorial's not totally clear on that).
The DEVONsync technology does not use the Dropbox application at all. It is also not Syncing the files as you'd see them in the Finder. It is Syncing the raw data necessary to reproduce DEVONthink databases and their files on other machines running DEVONthink
This is useful, and is worth stating more clearly in/alongside the tutorial. But if I add 500Mb [i]into[/i] the database on Mac #1 (as opposed to link to those assets) how does the data get to Macs 2 & 3 if not via Dropbox.

If Dropbox isn't optimal what should I use? To be clear this is [b]not[/b] a multiuser d/b scenario. Rather it is single, serial, access to the same data from different DT clients. Ergo the data has to be in the cloud and/or replicated to local copies. I'm working in the University research Lab in the day and at home the rest of the time (on on a laptop if travelling), so on a workday the d/b will be accessed (serially) by at least 2 different Macs; there is an assumption that my places of work will have WAN access. Still, an 'everything bucket's no use if everything isn't to hand. So I'm confused by your closing comment. Are you saying I shouldn't use DT at all and use something like Evernote? Thanks again for your help.


Yes, each Mac would have its own Sync interval set. It is best to stagger them since the Sync location will be locked while one machine Syncs.

:open_mouth: Umm, no. Dropbox (or any remote Sync location) is not necessarily optimal due to network inconsistency/bandwidth throttling/etc. Having a Dropbox account does not make it optimal. You having a laptop makes Direct Connection Syncs a viable option (assuming this laptop travels with you to the locations of the other Macs). If any of the Macs are on the same network, a Direct Connection Sync is faster and more reliable than a remote Sync. Also, a local syncStore on an external drive / thumbdrive is a faster and more reliable option than a remote Sync. Since these machines are geographically accessible, the local syncStore is a viable alternative as well.

Ah, useful point about staggering syncs now the reason’s made plain - I’ll amend my settings. I think it’s worth adding this aspect as a note to the tutorial.

For me networking isn’t really an issue. My home b/band is reliable (it’s a on-consumer connection) and the Uni is pretty solid outside advertised outages. Thus, for me, network persistence isn’t an issue. I’m far more likely to drop/lose a thumb drive.

Basically I have a 2015 Mac Mini in the University research lab. At hope I’ve a 2011 MacBook Pro and external 27 Mac screen which is my home ‘desktop’. A 2013 MacBook aIr travels with me most days as I has some personal data on it that doesn’t go on the Uni system. I’m taking responsibility for remembering to only use DT client at a time for both licensing and edit collision reasons. My problem is ‘just’ ensuring that whichever Mac I use is seeing the whole database. Obviously, if I was in a place with less persistent/available WAN connections the picture would be different.

Using the MBAir as a portable local sync is a pain as it’s not always powered up/on when I’m shifting locations. I figure I just need to close DT 5 mins or so before departure so sync finishes before moving. The Mac Mini is closed down when out of the lab, the MBPro is left to go to sleep.

Would it be more efficient if I put the assets (e.g. PDFs) in drop box and links to them there. That way they’d be sync outside DT and there would be less DT database data to sync.