Sync problem: "Data wasn't encoded properly?"

I’ve been using DEVONthink Pro Office for a few months and I’m now running into a problem with syncing a couple of databases. (I’m using a fully-updated version 2.8.2 on both my computers with a fully updated OSX Yosemite 10.10.1.)

In both cases the sync commences, and then I get the following error message in the log: “[foldername]: (Could not load a record (Could not scan data. Data wasn’t encoded properly?))”

It then cancels the sync and the whole database is not synchronised.

In one case it’s the tags group that stops the process. In the other it’s just a group within the database. In the first one, I have never been able to get sync to work. In the second, it involves a database I have been syncing fine for months, and it now suddenly gets stuck at a folder which has not been changed recently. (It started happening after I accidentally unchecked my Dropbox account in the sync preferences screen and had to re-sync all databases.)

Does anyone know what is going on here? Google doesn’t turn up any hits for the error message. I have tried the obvious thing of looking for files with bad filenames, or different kinds of file that might be causing the problem. For the most part the files are pdfs and various documents (Microsoft Office, Pages, Numbers) and a few emails.


This should be fixed in the next maintenance release.

Great - thanks.


Hi Bluefrog,

I’m having the same problem with databases that were once properly synching and a new one that I can’t sync at all.

Can you advise when we can see the next maintenance release. Sadly, since I travel so extensively, this sync problem has become a real show-stopper for me :frowning:



same situation as tomwujec.

Is there any workaround or if I downgrade to an older version would help?


Hi Bluefrog,

I experience this problem as well. I just recently bought DEVONthink Pro and although I love the product, syncing is important for me. Can you please provide some information on when the next maintenance release will be available?



Let me see if I can get a ballpark date for the release.

Any update on this? I just bought and now I am unable to Sync!!!

Please start a Support Ticket. Thanks.

Any word on this? We’ve been waiting a week and the only response so far is “Let me see if I can get a ballpark date for the release.”

What happened?

I’d be surprised if most of your customers didn’t use sync. It seems to be broken across several computers. Though I have a primary MacPro workstation, I need to travel every week and port my data on to a couple of laptops.

I am experiencing several different issues, including:

  • Sync button greyed out
  • Nothing happens when the non-greyed out button is pressed
  • A series of errors, including ‘data was not encoded properly …’

Can you recommend a workaround?


The 2.8.3 update from today should fix the issue. Note: It may require you to do a Clean Location to start a fresh Sync. Try a Sync first. If you run into a problem, then…

In Preferences > Sync:

  1. Select the database you want to Sync in pane 1.
  2. Select the Sync location in pane 3.
  3. Click the Action button (gear icon) and choose “Clean Location”.
  4. Okay the deletion of the Sync data.