For a "returning user": Bringing in databases to IOS


I’m a DEVONthink user from many years back, then moved over to Evernote for the easy synch. Now I’m back and have what I hope is a simple question about using the DESKTOP version with iOS DEVONthink 3.0 on an iPad. Unfortunately, instructions are oblique.

• My iPad version of DevonThink has two of my Databases on it. I have no idea WHERE these databases actually “live”. I don’t want to delete them, obviously, without knowing if these are the “real” databases.

• MEANWHILE, I have DEVONthink 3 on my Mac, and it is accessing databases from a “Database” folder in my home directory. It will NOT ALLOW me to put databases in any cloud folders like Dropbox and iCloud.

So - -

A. What database files are my iPad app opening?
B. How do I synch my desktop databases to my iOS app?
C. Can I safely DELETE the databases on my iPad?


Check DT preferences on MacOS (sometimes sync is not visible, is the one of the tabs on the right), you could choose which databases you want to sync (and if you you want to use icloud or dropbox etcerea), then you need to choose the same options in the DTTG settings (if you want to use cloudkit you need to update mac app to 3.6.2)

Thanks for taking the time to answer, This is encouraging!

I have the 3.6.2 app version - - I see the preferences. Is iCloud (Cloudkit) the preferred location?

I assume I then MOVE the databases I’m using to a folder I create in iCloud called “Databases,” correct?

Right now my IOS app is accessing Apps > DEVONthink Packet Sync inside my Dropbox. Do I want to change that to accessing the folder I create in iCloud called “Databases”?

No, you dont need (and you shouldn’t) to move anything. You only need to change method of sync to icloud. The database you choose to sync should appear in the sync menu on the ios device. It could take a moment (also the initial sync of databases - my were around 15gb took me several hours today)

With icloud you dont need to create manually anything. Before you start syncing with cloudkit, you should check if the database you have in dropbox are synced on your mac - but probably this unecessary :stuck_out_tongue:

This changed a little bit bit still is a worthy advice, someone will probably post detailed advice how to do it with cloudkit soon too Setting up iCloud sync

You cannot put your databases in any cloud-synced folder.

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I have to say, for all of its promise, this is the most frustrating software I’ve ever dealt with. Thanks for you patience.

Interesting thing: My database icons on my iMac changed color and updated their appearance a bit in my old DATABASES folder.

I changed iMac app preferences to iCloud (Legacy). Opened a small Database (11gb). It opened fine. I have no idea where the database is, because I see nothing in my iCloud folders.

Opened a bigger Database (18gb). It asked if I wanted to “repair.” I did so, and now I have the spinning rainbow globe and cannot use the app. Don’t know If I should force quit.

This is a REALLY hard program to make work, I’m afraid.

Honestly. NO WAY it should be this oblique.

What is oblique about it?

  1. Why did you choose the legacy sync?
  2. Your databases aren’t stored in iCloud so no, you’re not going to see them there.
  3. Where are your databases located - the file path in the machine?

DT just have a little bit steeper curve to learn but also a great support form Devs and on the forum.

You need to wait a little bit, probably you have window in the background showing you progress of repairing.

Now I wonder if I “force quit,” or is the spinning rainbow mean it’s performing a function. No progress indicators at all.

On my iPad, two databases magically showed up when I opened it. I have no idea where they live. I changed the iPad Sync “locations” to “iCloud (Legacy)”. What did this do? I have no idea. I just want the iPad to use the same databases as my iMac. I have backups all over the place because I had an iMac meltdown a couple months ago, and these are database files from years ago I’d like to preserve and use.

I can DELETE the databases on my iPad app - but then are they GONE, wherever they’re stored?

On my iMac, I changed preferences so I could store databases on iCloud legacy. One opened. One just caused the rainbow beach ball.

Long story short: I have older databases I want to use, on iPad as well if possible.
They open on desktop.
There are two databases on my iPad - I have no idea how they got there, where they are stored, etc. What do I do to open the two databases that are in my iMac, and then have them – and only them – work with the iPad?**

It’s the old confusion between iCloud and iCloud Drive. The latter is a drive the user can see and has access to.

ICloud is (amongst other things) a way to sync data between devices. What’s going on here is not visible for the user. This goes for all apps, not just DEVONthink.

DEVONthink does not store databases on iCloud Drive because it is, like Bluefrog said, not recommended to store databases on any cloud drives. DEVONthink can use iCloud to sync your data if you pick one of the two iCloud sync methods: iCloud (legacy) or CloudKit. Whichever one of them you choose—CloudKit is the newer and improved one—or if you go for a third one your databases will still be in your Databases folder.

And as for the change of the databases icons: It is common when an app gets a new app icon its affiliated files get updated icons too to keep the affiliation visually recognizable.


And, again, I appreciate your patience.

I messed up with iCloud (Legacy). I switched to iCloud (CloudKit).

  • I don’t pick any databases at this point, correct? It will extract info from my Databases stored on my iMac and create a synch file on iCloud?

This is where I’m at.

Did you opened all your DT databases on your mac (Open> Database…) ? Because you force quit the app it probably doesn’t remember what was open

Well, I can PICK databases to open now that none are there.

Potential strategy:

  • I renamed my databases with “2021” at the end, so I know they aren’t backups or other copies.
  • I open the databases I want to use here on my iMac, and the program synchs them to the iCloud?

My iPad still has two databases stubbornly open (and you can’t see their whole names because the window is too narrow). How do I close them? All get its a “delete” option, which sounds frightening.

What info does say about those ipad databases? (this is the way you could see the name)

You could look here, around page 203, 212 and 217

Basically you need to to choose first on your mac which database to sync, sync them to icloud, and then pick the same database in sync>icloud menu on your ipad, everything automatically appear

The databases from your mac appear at first as remote on ipad, the if you pick them to sync they will be downloaded to your ipad

The same will be with database from your ipad, if you enable the same sync method on both devices they will appear as remote on your mac, and automatically download if you choose

I’ll pick info on one of the two databases:

[Name of database]
User name (blank)
Password (blank)
Download files: On Demand
Kind: Database
Size: 7.4 GB (2698 items)

NOW I see I can SLIDE the database panel to the left and get a chose to MOVE, REPLICATE, ADD TO FAVORITES, DOWNLOAD or MOVE TO TRASH.


Did you check settings?