Migrate Databases to new Mac .. Best Way?

(Apologies for the longish post…)

So, Apple finally released new MacBook Pros … hooray! Assuming it ever arrives, one thing I will need to do (of course), is transfer all my DT databases. In the past, that was easy: just copy them either using the network or a USB drive or any other means (like any other file really). But, now, of course, we have the brave new world of synchronized data, which does make things a bit more complex.

Setup: A bunch of DT databases on my existing MBP, all of them synced to my iPhone/iPad using Dropbox as the sync transport/store. Working great. It seems to me I have the following options:

[A] Copy them manually as before, then setup DT “fresh” on the new laptop, then add them to the existing Dropbox sync.

[B] Restore them as part of a full Time Machine restore onto the new MBP (the official Apple way). Presumably this will also transfer Dropbox and DT sync settings.

[C] Setup DT fresh on the new MBP and let sync pull all the data down from Dropbox.

Option [A] seems the safest to me, though I’m concerned if the new MBP (being a replacement) has the same computer name as the old one. Will the sync engine get confused by this? I have the same concerns with option [B], since then the new computer, being restored from a complete backup, will REALLY appear to be the old one. Again, with the sync engine get confused by this? Option [C] seems the least desirable (quite apart from the time it would take).

So, any advice? Anyone tried this? Am I worrying unnecessarily?


Please start a Support Ticket. I have some info and questions. Thanks.

Done … ticket number 145197


Like above, I bought a new iMac (Mid 2017) after my old iMac logic board failed and I now need to restore my DTPO files. I have continued to use my synchronized databases on my laptop, phone, and ipad. During the down time of my iMac they have been working well through Dropbox. With this system I have continued my work with some minor adjustments.

Some of my databases are not synchronized but backed up on TM and CrashPlan. These are databases I did not want to sync, but only use on my desktop iMac.

I have the SSD drive from the failed iMac and a copy of the SSD on a spinning remote drive. So, I guess you can say my data is preserved.

What is the best way to restore? TM or ???. Like the earlier post, I’m unsure if everything goes back to normal once TM restores the files to the time when the logic board failed. Will they simply synchronize with my existing devices as it did before therefore catching up with the work I’ve been doing over the last couple of weeks?

The new iMac obviously comes with Sierra. I ran El Cap on the dead iMac. My laptop also runs El Cap. Phone and iPad are running the current version of iOS 10.

Please advise. Thank you.


I’m a little confused. You have unSynchronized databases backed up with TimeMachine. If you restore them, how would they begin to Sync?

Sorry for the confusion.

I have both synchronized and unsynchronized databases. If I restore my files from TM will the synchronized databases continue to be synchronized and the unsynchronized databases continue to function as they were before the malfunction in my iMac?

I am most concerned about the synchronized databases. Will I have to do anything after installing the TM backup on the new machine. Will the synchronized databases “just work” ?

With the new iMac I am forced to use Sierra, my previous machine was on El Cap. I don’t know if that bit of info is important.

My new machine doesn’t arrive for a few days so I have time to think this through.

Thank you for the support.


On Sierra, we advocate putting the databases in a folder in the Home directory, like ~/Databases.

You can restore the databases and put them in the safe location. If you restore the ~/Library/Application Support/DEVONthink Pro 2 folder, the Sync locations should come with it. The databases use the unique identifier, not the name or location, so they should Sync as expected.