Looking for advice on Sync between Mac and iOS

I have just purchased Devonthink To Go, as it sounds like it might be helpful for me.

Currently, I have all my documents stored on the “iCloud drive” folder on my Mac. I believe that this syncs all the documents in my iCloud space. I can then use the “Files” app on iOS to access these documents. It doesn’t seem to download them all to the iPhone automatically, presumably to save space, and instead downloads (at least the larger ones) on demand from iCloud.

My question is, will Devonthink To Go offer improvements over this setup, and what is the best way to go about syncing my databases? Obviously I don’t want to have the same documents duplicated in the Files app and on Devonthink To Go.

Many thanks!

The synchronization doesn’t support iCloud Drive on iOS due to its limitations, we might support iCloud directly some day but not anytime soon. Therefore Bonjour, Dropbox or WebDAV sync locations are the way to go at the moment.

Thanks cgrunenburg. Does this mean that I have to turn off iCloud syncing for my documents so as not to have doubles?

Yes, you should clean the iCloud Drive sync store and remove it.

Thanks. But if I delete the documents from my iCloud folder, won’t they disappear from Devonthink too (as that is where I imported them from).

If you imported the documents into a DEVONthink database on the Mac, the files were copied into the database. This means you already have doubles on the Mac, if you left the originals in place.

What Criss is referring to relates to if you had Synced DEVONthink on the Mac to your iCloud account. If you haven’t, then there’s nothing to clean Sync-wise.

However, since the files are copied into the DEVONthink database, you could remove the originals from iCloud Drive and Sync the DEVONthink database to Dropbox, WebDAV (as Criss suggested). In iOS 11, you should be able to access the contents of the DEVONthink database in Files.app.

If you indexed the files from iCloud, then you’d need to leave the originals where they are or you’d end up with missing files in the database.

Putting it another way, it is perfectly fine to have documents stored on iCloud drive that are indexed in DEVONthink. It is the sync store with iOS and macOS that does not work with iCloud Drive, nor does storing DEVONthink databases on iCloud Drive.

I, for example, have all of my research and work documents stored in iCloud Drive. Many of these documents are indexed in a DEVONthink database which is synchronized using Dropbox.

I can access my files by navigating to their directory in iCloud Drive>Documents>Academic Literature>[insert topic here]

or I can open the DEVONthink Pro Office (or To Go) applications and access the files in those applications (or via the document provider/Files App if I am using a third-party application to view/edit a file in my DEVONthink Database).

Thanks for these thoughtful replies.

I believe that I indexed my files rather than imported (as I did not want duplicates taking up double the space).

So according to Bluefrog, if I move the files from the iCloud drive folder to a local folder, Devonthink won’t work anymore as the links to the indexed files will no longer be valid - correct?

What Greg Jones mentions is that it is OK to have the files on iCloud drive. Does this mean that if I index with Devonthink, and sync with Devonthink To Go, there is no duplication of files? What about the iOS Files app?

Correct, as the links in DEVONthink are pointing to an absolute location and those files would no longer be there.

From one perspective, that of indexing files in iCloud Drive, there is no duplication.

From the Sync perspective, yes files are duplicated on the mobile device as DTTG2 does not support indexed files. (It has no access to other filesystems or the data in other apps / servers.) So you’re not duplicating content in iCloud Drive by indexing into a DEVONthink database, but that indexed content will be taking up space in DTTG2 on the mobile device.

(As an aside, the shallow Sync (or metadata only) option in DTTG2 can preserve some space but it still is not pointing at files in other locations as DEVONthink can.)

What you can do to ensure that existing links remain, and this is a bit complicated, is the following:

In Finder: Create a new folder in the directory you want to move your files to. (We’ll call this Destination)
In DTPO: Index the Destination folder.
In DTPO: For any indexed groups or documents you want to relocate, select “Move into database”.
In DTPO: Move those groups into the Destination folder
In DTPO: For those re-located groups and documents, right click and select “move to external folder”

The result will be that the files and groups will be relocated on your computers disk, but DEVONthink has not needed to re-assign UUIDs and so should preserve all of your previous item links.

You’ll basically have to do this for every “root” folder you have indexed so you don’t accidentally add another directory level.
In my example above: iCloud Drive>Documents>Academic Literature>[insert topic here]
/Documents was not indexed but Documents/Academic Literature was indexed,

so if I wanted to do what you hope to do, I’d only have to make one move. Create a new Academic Literature folder in the new location on disk, index it, move the sub-folders into the database, move them out of the original Academic Literature folder into the New Academic literature folder, and “move to external folder”.

Hope that gives you some direction!

Thanks, all this sure does help! Think I am getting there with it :slight_smile:

This got me a bit puzzled:

Why also synchronise the indexed documents with Dropbox, when they are already being synced via iCloud Drive?

Scott will have to chime in on this, but I suspect he has unchecked Synchronize contents of indexed items so only metadata is being Synced through Dropbox. The receiving Mac would have local links relative to its iCloud Drive.

The other consideration here (and again, not sure of Scott’s setup)… The unchecking of that option would not be a feasible solution if DEVONthink To Go 2 was in the mix. If DTTG2 was Syncing to that Dropbox location, it could NEVER download the contents of the files as the content wasn’t Synced. It will not (and cannot) point to iCloud, nor Dropbox’s contents, nor files on another device.

My setup is perhaps, not the most optimized, and with iOS 11 and some other considerations that have recently changed in my workflow, I am trying to seriously rejig things.

I actually do synchronize indexed content.

My setup is, perhaps, a bit of a “legacy setup”. The reason I had it set up this way was because I wanted to have easy access to my files with applications other than DTTG on iOS. However, I still wanted complete access to those files in DTTG. I wanted my cake (DTTG) and I wanted to eat it too (access to my indexed files outside of DTTG on iOS).

Before iOS 11, this either required round-tripping a file out of DTTG–into Other App- back to DTTG. DTTG made this easier than many but it was still a hassle. Instead of round-tripping, if I wanted to view or modify a file I could either access it in DTTG or using any third-party application.

With iOS 11 and the Files application, it is monumentally easier to access files in DTTG via any application that uses the Files API, so the need to have a file in both DTTG and some other sync service is considerably reduced. Using my current “legacy” setup actually creates some new problems since searching in the Files application will now return duplicate files, since it will search documents in DTTG and in iCloud Drive (and others), so since a file currently lives in both iCloud Drive and DTTG, both copies are returned when searching.

I haven’t figured out exactly what I’m going to do moving forward, but the days of this extraneous duplication will likely end soon.

Interesting behavior, and something I am not seeing with the Files.app here. I actually have a frustration with Files.app that, on my devices, it searches ONLY iCloud Drive and local files on the device. Searches do not return any results for documents in other locations, including DEVONthink to Go, Dropbox, etc. DEVONthink to Go documents are, however, located when doing a Spotlight search on the device.

That’s a common lament in the universe right now (and still) :mrgreen:

Come to think of it, I think I was seeing the duplicates using iOS Spotlight search. In general, I see the same behaviour as you do when using Search in the files app.

I’ve changed my setup a bit now so I can’t test it any more to see if what I was seeing was in Spotlight or in Files (if it was, indeed, spotlight, then its a testament to Spotlight, being able to do what Files really ought to be doing!)