Items disappearing on slow WiFi

I’ve been using DEVONthink on my Mac for a few months. Just got an iPad this week and installed DTTG. Throughout the day I’ve been browsing the web on my iPad and adding web pages to a DEVONthink database. Meanwhile I’ve had my computer running with DEVONthink open. But the wifi is very slow at home. It sometimes takes a very long time to sync.

When I checked my computer after adding many items to DEVONthink on my iPad, i was disappointed to realize the items I added with my iPad had vanished. They aren’t appearing in my inbox or my database or the trash on either my iPad or my Mac. They’re gone without a trace, it seems.

It might be worth noting that I’ve been adding these web items to DTTG by clicking the ‘share’ icon on my browser then choosing DTTG from the list of apps. I usually select Markdown (clutter-free) as the format. After the first few times I added items in this manner, I would open DTTG to check that they had successfully been added to the database. But after repeating this process a couple times, I became comfortable enough that I stopped checking DTTG to confirm that it was added successfully. I would add an item to DTTG from the browser’s share sheet and then carry on my business without leaving the browser to check that it had been added successfully to DEVONthink. Could that explain why the items I added disappeared?

  1. Have all the records disappeared, so including those which you can be quite sure were actually in DTTG?
  2. Have you got any smart rules active in DT on the Mac which might be handling these records?
  3. Have records which were not clipped as clutter free disappeared too?
  4. How are you syncing?
  5. Have you tried using search in DT on the Mac to locate any of these records?
  6. And, because Jim will ask, is anything reported in the log in DT/DTTG?

Thanks for taking the time to help me deal with this, @Blanc.

  1. No. The only ones that disappeared were the ones that I added to DTTG via the share sheet and then never opened inside DTTG.

  2. Yes. I have a smart rule that converts HTML items or bookmark items to PDF. But it didn’t run on these items.

  3. I don’t remember. They’re gone so I have no record of it.

  4. iCloud (CloudKit)

  5. Yes. Couldn’t find any of the missing files.

  6. Nothing that seems unusual in the log.

Re 1.) FYI, when using the clutter-free option the website is prepared by sending it to DEVONtech’s servers (that’s to the best of my knowledge); but I have just tested to see what happens if the servers cannot be reached (by putting my phone in flight mode) and I got a brief error message superimposed on the website I was clipping and a bookmark was placed in DTTG (rather than a clipping of the page). I had been wondering whether your slow connection was actually causing a problem when clipping the page… still it might be worth experimenting, leaving out the clutter-free option (as I can only simulate internet on/off, but not internet dodgy).

Re 2.) Hmmm, see above, the items might have been clipped as bookmarks; does your rule only change the bookmarks to pdf or does it maybe move the pdf to somewhere? Again, in my brief test converting a bookmark to pdf via the context menu did what I expected, namely to download the link and convert the contents to pdf.

Re 4.) I think I would recommend using Bonjour (possibly in addition to iCloud, if you need on-the-road sync); this assuming that it’s not your wifi, but the internet connection which is slow. Not that I think the problem you are describing would be solved this way.


Do you have an active search in the DEVONthink window?

Not DT related, but WiFi needn’t be slow if it is properly installed. But the quality obviously depends on the possibilities you have available to make adjustments and the costs you are willing to make or can afford.

Some tips that might increase your WiFi speed:

  • Use 5GHz WiFi (802.11ac or 802.11ax) where possible (2.4 GHz WiFi is much slower and usually has more interference)
  • Consider using 80MHz channels on 5GHz if possible, but be aware of overlap
  • Use a connection of -70 dBm or better (-70 dBm equals three bars on iOS devices)
  • Take note that WiFi is a bidirectional protocol, so small devices might receive a strong signal, but the access point might not receive a strong return signal from the device itself (check RSSI from the access point if possible)
  • In busy surroundings use access points that are DFS certified to extend the possible number of 5GHz WiFi channels (be aware that nearby radar might block those DFS channels upon detection)
  • If 2.4GHz is your only option, preferably use channel 1, 6 or 11 (non-overlapping channels, but be aware of interference from nearby neighbors or microwave ovens for example)
  • If 5GHz coverage is low, use an an access point connected by ethernet and preferably avoid powerline adapters or WiFi ‘mesh’ systems
  • If you happen to have coax running through your house to applicable locations, consider MoCA instead of ethernet and attach an access point to a MoCA adapter
  • Take note that some countries limit the use of certain channels or output power you are allowed to use
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