DT0 2.9 sync questions

Many thanks to DevonTechnologies for DTO 2.9. It makes syncing so much easier and quicker.

Some questions:

  1. Does Synchronize Automatically mean the database will be synced immediately whenever changes are made. Under what circumstances is it preferred to synchronize automatically, verses every five minutes, or every hour?

  2. With the sync in earlier versions , Devonthink customer service several times recommended that it was much safer to export a database archive to Dropbox than it was to sync with Dropbox. Is that still true?

  3. What is the recommended best practice to keep a laptop and a desktop in sync? Is a local sync still much safer than a Dropbox sync?

Thanks to all for advice,


The database is synchronized after a small delay as soon as it’s idle.

A schedule can reduce the required bandwidth and make the interface less nervous in case of multiple users working on the same database heavily at the same time.

A database archive is recommended for backups but not for synchronizing.

Dropbox is actually the slowest possibility, local sync stores and Bonjour connections are much faster.

Got it. Thanks for the help.

The distinction between what is best for backups and what is best for synchronizing is helpful. I’ll do both.

Also, it is useful to understand the consequences of automatic syncing. Synchronizing once an hour will probably work just fine for me.

Warm wishes,


Just to clarify… “sync with Dropbox” here means putting your database in your Dropbox folder. You should (still) never put your databases in a Dropbox (or other cloud-synced) folder or you could irreparably damage them. Ever. The safest location is ~/Documents.

For a backup of your database, File > Export > Database Archive will create a ZIP file that is cloud-safe.

However, as with Sync 1, Syncing with Dropbox via our Sync plugin is still a safe procedure (though, as Criss noted, we cannot control the speed of any remote transfers).

Have just set up DTO 2.9 on my two computers, main and laptop.

My laptop seems to be synching with the dtCloud option, as a local sync store.
But I can’t get my desktop to sync. When I attempt to check my laptop as a local network sync, I consistently get a “server busy” message.

Has there been any post that walks through the logic of the new syncing functionality?

The logic is essentially the same as Sync 1. The only real large visible change is that databases are listed on the right instead of the left and the interval is a global choice now.

In Sync 1, there were three panes signifying:
Sync this database - at this interval - to the Sync location.

In our new Sync setup, there are two panes signifying:
With this Sync location, Sync this database (checked)


With a Bonjour connection, it is best to let one machine act as the server (host) and the connecting machine as a client.

  • Mac has database A.
    iPhone connects to the Mac via Bonjour and pulls a copy of database A. It is now a client of the Mac.
  • The iPhone has Bonjour turned On and has a copy of database A.
    The Mac connects to the iPhone via Bonjour and Syncs with its copy of database A. Now the iPhone is trying to be the server of database A. This is NOT what you want to do. The Mac is acting as the server for database A in this connection. There is no need for the iPhone to try and be the server too (especially as Sync is bidirectional - changes Sync both ways by default).

A Bonjour connection should be treated as no different than when you connect to Dropbox or other online services.
You connect to their servers and sync files with it. AT NO POINT, does Dropbox ever become a client to your computer. Your computer is ALWAYS the client.

Unfortunately, I don’t have access/permission to that link.

Thanks Jim I think I get it. One more question.
On my laptop (client) I have a location marked .dtClould “local sync store.” That is what I checked when I did my original sync, and what is synced now. The Master is synced with my laptop as “local network.” I’m guessing I have mixed this up, but don’t know what the original .dtCloud sync is. But they both did sync quickly and properly. So maybe should leave well enough alone.

It just sounds like you have the laptop Syncing to a local syncStore on itself, and another machine Syncing to the laptop via Bonjour Connection. That’s a totally acceptable thing to do. :smiley:

Thanks again Jim for your patience and helpfulness.
Now, to be dumb, but to try to understand to help myself, what precisely is a local sync store? what is a dtCloud designation?

A syncStore is a storage location for the Sync data generated by our Sync engine.
It is used in remote Sync locations (like Dropbox Syncs) and in local Sync locations (like one on an attached thumbdrive).

The .dtCloud is the syncStore itself and contains the Sync data.

A Bonjour (Direct) Connection Sync does NOT use a syncStore. Here’s a little more information on the difference there: Local Sync Store question for 2.9 (not getting synced back)