Getting iPad to sync to MacOS after long lapse of syncing

Dear DT community,

Short story
I’m using DT to house and annotate PDF research papers. My remote work environment only has an intermittent internet connection.

DT on my MacOS was originally set as the source database for sync, but I’ve been using DT on iPad for many months now and am unable to get sync working again.

For now, I’m trying to get all the work from iPad synced to MacOS, then to make sure sync is working properly.

I’d greatly appreciate advice to troubleshoot so it’s running smoothly again. I was afraid to run through the basic setup again, in case I could risk losing my many months of work.

1. Sync between devices when I’m without internet-connected wifi.
2. Ensure iCloud backup is completed. This feature is toggled on already, but is there a way to determine when iCloud backup is completed?

Currently on MacOS
I find two locations in the sync settings, named as follows:
A. iCloud (CloudKit)
B. mobile@iPad Local Network (Offline)

When launching DT on MacOS, iCloud (CloudKit) was ticked on, but nothing was happening.

I then ticked on the mobile@iPad Local Network (Offline) then a “Direct Connection” prompt appeared on iPad requesting a password to “Pair this device with the host on the local network”. Entering the password there didn’t do anything and the prompt just appeared again a few seconds later. I tried resetting the password in DT on MacOS but was caught in the same loop.

Currently on iPad
A. Local network is turned on, and it had found and connected to my MacOS laptop.
B. Bonjour is turned off.

When toggled Bonjour on, an alert appeared about “Purging older contents was disabled…”, which sounded alarming so I switched that off quickly again.

I regret adding another syncing topic to the forum, but appreciate any advice you all can support me with. I’m happy to upload screenshots of settings panels if that’s useful.

The first thing I notice is you don’t mention backups at all. If your data is important to you, you should backburner sync and get your backup strategy defined and running first. And no, sync is not a backup.

2. Ensure iCloud backup is completed. This feature is toggled on already, but is there a way to determine when iCloud backup is completed?

That would be an Apple question, but no.

Entering the password there didn’t do anything and the prompt just appeared again a few seconds later.

Things aren’t going to magically start syncing when you connect to a sync location. Sync is always optional. You need to decise what syncs and what doesn’t. That’s not a decision for software to make.
Once you have a sync method chosen, and the sync location set up, you need to select it and enable the desired databases to sync. And I suggest you don’t just sync everything because you can; determine your actual mobile needs and sync with that in mind.

A. iCloud (CloudKit)

  1. I wouldn’t be using a remote sync option if you have Internet issues.
  2. I wouldn’t use CloudKit, if I actually needed to use a remote sync option.

There is a forum post on syncing: Sync Types Explained. This is a good place to start.
There is also one specifically about Bonjour: Bonjour Simplified

Hi @BLUEFROG! Sorry for my basic question, and thank you for your reply.

I understand sync is not a backup. Fwiw, I’ve found where the ‘last successful iCloud backup’ can be confirmed with a timestamp: settings > Apple ID > iCloud > iCloud Backup.

I have a thorough backup strategy on my MacBook (HD and cloud), which is why I’d like to get the data there.

Thank you for your advice and the links! I’m working through it now.

You’re welcome :slight_smile:

Just be aware Bonjour will take a while the first time, but it is normal and don’t be alarmed!

I had a couple of thoughts reading through this thread. Just going to briefly dump them here for you to consider (or not!):

  • I am scared of your references to “iCloud backup”. Set up a proper back up once your Mac is synced.
  • you mentioned your iPad has been your primary device for a few months now. It sounds like you hadn’t intended that to be the case, so it might be worth thinking through and making clear in your mind which device is your source of truth. (It shouldn’t really matter in the end, unless something goes wrong, but I’ve found it’s very helpful to be clear which device is the source of truth or “primary” in syncs and backups.) I do a lot of my research reading on my iPad too, but I consider my Mac my source of truth, and thus iPad changes sync back to the Mac, and it’s the Mac that’s backed up. You might feel your iPad is best as a primary.
  • As Jim said (rather amusingly I thought :joy:) don’t use Apple for your sync if you have internet issues. It doesn’t work properly if you do have reliable internet, and the experience without reliable internet must be even more miserable. (I’ve reverted back to CloudKit for reasons, but I’m never offline and even I am getting almost daily errors. Apple have really messed it up :unamused:)

@MsLogica Sorry for my lapse in reply!

The iPad is the only device being backed up to iCloud. I have a robust backup solution for my laptop, both online for key files and a local bootable HDD.

My iPad is set as my primary / source of truth now. Based on my workflow, that’s where I have the potential of losing the most work. I’m regularly offline with my iPad, but I’m nearly always online with my laptop.

Thanks for your thoughtful reply and support!