Indexing iCloud Drive bigger than real disk space

My indexed files are about 700 GB in real iCloud Drive space. One of the advantage of this scenario is you can have bigger used iCloud Drive space than real one in the disk. What macOS do is left placeholders and delete local files, allowing transparently and “automagically” download the files as they are needed.

My current problem is once I enter in a indexed folder that has been “removed” by macOS, DT removes the not present files, and updates the database and the sync database, effectively removing those files.

Is there any way to tell DT “don’t delete removed files if there still is present the placeholder”?

1 Like

No. This is unsupported behavior. You should only index local resources.


Any idea if it will be added in any future release? Because could be a very interesting feature…

Is there any option to disable automatic indexing? I mean, when you clic in a indexed folder, the content of the folder is automatically indexed. Is there any option to disable this and only index on “Update Indexed Items”?

There is a hidden preference, discussed in the DEVONthink manual, that will disable automatic updating of indexed files. However, the use case for setting that preference is not to accomplish what you are looking for, so you would be on your own to see if it has any utility for you.

Won’t you have the same issue that the documents will be missing when you update the index manually?

Found the hidden option! Thanks!

And yes, you are right in relation to manual indexing of non-auto indexed items, but I have two kind of indexed items: I have a very large of facsimile PDF (about 600 GB, most of the used space) that I really don’t mind if they are really in disk or not as far as I’m able to reach them if I need one. I’m using DT only for search purposes.

And the second are Scrivener and other documents that DT does not know well and I don’t mind if they not are indexed in real time.

Most of my daily and accesible stuff is done via normal added items. Then perhaps this resolves my current problem.


I am just emerging from a whole night’s struggle to rescue my indexed files, and the integrity of my 3GB DevonThink index, from a voracious, raging iCloud Drive, which tried to devour my files. Here’s a summary of what happened, meant as a counterexample. The morale of the story is: do not use iCloud Documents sync for indexed content, with or without optimized Mac storage (“offloading”).

  1. Twenty (20) GB worth of searchable PDFs were initially grouped in two 10GB folders ~/Documents/Articles and ~/Documents/Books, both indexed in DTP. The Documents folder and its contents were synced by iCloud but stored locally in their entirety. (No “offloading.”)
  2. It dawned on me to merge the two folders into a single ~/Documents/Bookshelf folder.
  3. Following a common practice, I created this new (still empty) folder in the Finder, indexed it in DTP, and dropped the 20GBs of hefty content from the two original folders into the new one. I did this in the DTP environment, not in Finder, in order to be sure that the files would retain their x-devonthink IDs.`
  4. Once the files appeared safely stored in the new folder, I deleted the now empty Books and Articles folders, which where now empty, from the DT database and emptied the DTP trash.
  5. For a few moments everything looked perfectly in order. Verifying the database periodically, however, revealed a “leakage” of approximately 5-10 files per minute, which where being sent from the new Bookshelf folder to the Finder trash. (???)

I switched off my WiFi and spent the next hour or so reconstructing my database. Everything is working again now, and I have vouched to never rely on iCloud again.

1 Like