I am having a heck of time syncing my databases with Dropbox. I have removed the my account as a location and tried to sync again but the sync usually craps out with errors even though verification of my locally stored databases check out fine. Not only that, sometimes a sync wipes out data that is on my locally stored drives as it is updating to the version on Dropbox. Why can’t DTPro’s UX make it clear to tell Dropbox to always default to the local version (the most current) and why can’t it be easier to do a clean wipe of all previously synced databases on Dropbox to start afresh. This is great software but maddeningly not straightforward. Any ideas would be much appreciated.

There is an encoding error we are working on at the moment.

great. let me know (and others) when this is resolved. I think a more transparent UX for syncing (i.e. what is actually happening/more user control) should be considered for future versions.

Is there any news on this fix?

I purchased DEVONthink Pro only yesterday, and very disappointed with the synching, which fails every time with claims that data wasn’t encoded properly, therefore the operation was cancelled.

Synching really should be a straightforward process, and is something that happens transparently and accurately every time with my other apps (Notebooks, 1Password etc).

In the meantime, I guess I should just work on one database on one mac only for the time being.

The 2.8.3 update from today should fix the issue. Note: It may require you to do a Clean Location to start a fresh Sync. Try a Sync first. If you run into a problem, then…

In Preferences > Sync:

  1. Select the database you want to Sync in pane 1.
  2. Select the Sync location in pane 3.
  3. Click the Action button (gear icon) and choose “Clean Location”.
  4. Okay the deletion of the Sync data.

Hi there

I’ve tried your suggestion, but synching still doesn’t work - both my Macs have the database in different states. I’ve researched this and have discovered I’m not alone. The posting at https://strauser.com/making-devonthink-sync-between-computers/ seems to articulate the issue I’m facing.

I actually suspect there is a deeper misunderstanding as to how synchronisation actually works, versus how people think it should work.

Can someone just point me to a step-by-step approach on how to get two Macs to be perfectly synchronised. And when changes occur on either Mac, the changes are reflected in both Macs.

This is not how Sync 1 works in any scenario, not in an automatic fashion. You Sync to a common location the holds Sync data. It is not transmitting it. (Actually, no service works as you’ve described in reality. Some just have more automatic transmission mechanisms - but also consider these services are doing simple file sharing, whereas we have a lot more bookkeeping to do with the data we Sync.)

Thanks for getting back to me, however I remain confused - so bear with me.


I can’t believe I’m alone with this issue. From your response I can deduce that I can’t achieve what I need to do in order to work on two Macs at different times, and maintain a consistent database between the two machines.

What I need to understand fully is the purpose behind DEVONThink synchronisation and what it actually does achieve (because all I get are errors and data that is in an “incorrect format”).

Is there a technical spec you can refer me to that describes exactly what happens when you invoke synchronisation between Macs? Or am I barking up the wrong tree entirely?

I’m a student and am just about to embark on a heavy semester of work. I want to use my Macbook Air to work on the course material, take the required notes and gather info during the day. When I return home, I want to continue my research on my desktop Mac (after first synchronising against my Macbook Air - which ideally should happen automagically) and then return the next day with my Macbook Air to pick up where I’ve left off (after synching my desktop Mac with my Macbook Air first of course).

Can I do this, or not? It’s all pretty simple in terms of what I want to achieve. Is there anyone out there having the same issue?

The only automatic Syncing is done by setting an interval for the Sync. Otherwise it is a User-initiated process.

This is not a simple file syncing mechanism. There is a lot more transactional data involved.

I too am searching for answers, and not finding any in this thread. It is all well and good that there’s a database backend, but it is my understanding that some allowance was being made for Dropbox’s stateless syncing, so that the same DT backend could be used at a distance. Manual syncing is ok, but I take it if either client has it open, you’re not getting a successful sync? Are you having any luck yet?

A DEVONthink database should never be located in a Dropbox folder. Dropbox’s mechanism is not made to properly Sync our database files.

Manual or Syncing on an interval are the only options currently.