Weird sync between DTP and DTTG: any fix?

I use DT on my Mac and DTTG on my iPhone, but sync is very weird.

The scenario.

I use DT most of the time, but here and there I need to get infos on the go when I’m on my iPhone.
But when I’m on DTTG and try to download a new file to open it, it usually takes long time before having access to it.

Usually I first need to wait for DTTG to sync the whole database: sometimes it takes minutes, because I’ve put lot of content when on my Mac.
Only after I can download my specified file and open it.

The problem is I need the info and the fly, maybe a colleague of mine asks me for a simple data about a project: I can’t say “Ok, wait some minutes because I can’t open the file right now”.

Many times the file is a simple MD file, less than 200 bytes…and I have to wait tens of seconds, sometimes minutes, in order to open it.

Furthermore, often it takes many attempts before having DTTG fully synced before I can access such small file.

Today I wasn’t able to open the file: I tap the file, the wheel starts to cycle, then stop but the file is still grayed out. I tappet it several times but nothing.

Any fix to suggest?

I sync via iCloud, Dropbox is not a viable solution because I don’t want to pay for another service I’d use only to sync DT.
I have Google Drive, too, that I can use, if needed.

Bonjour is a “so and so” solution: many times my Mac and my iPhone aren’t on the same network, sometimes they are under VPN, and it’s not automatic.

It’s very frustrating.
Think of a common situation of mine: I’m on the rush, I’m flying to a school for a classroom, and while reaching the school I ask myself “Ok, what did I do during the last session? Did something notable happened during the last session?”.
So I catch my iPhone, open up DTTG, select the Markdown file fo the last session, tap it to download, but…I can’t because I need to wait for DTTG to complete its sync.
In the meanwhile I’m arrived at school and have to enter the classroom and start my training.

Having an always downloaded group on DTTG is not a viable solution because sometimes I need data from old files, even years ago.

As reported here so many times by many people, Apple’s Cloud Kit and iCloud are often unreliable.

Dropbox is reported more reliable. That certainly is the case I experience.

Bonjour is automatic if you have both machines “on” and connected to same network. And it is considered the quickest and most reliable sync method. Perhaps do a full sync before leaving the local network.

For this, I’d recommend getting a macOS device to put everything on it and to carry around. Apple now sells some very portable and light Macbooks.


If this is a common situation, why don’t you check the document before you leave?:thinking:

That’s exactly what I experience regularly with a Cloud Drive folder, well outside of DT. Apple’s cloud stuff is neither fast nor reliable. So, if fast and reliable sync is important to you, use something else.


I’m sorry but I don’t understand for:

Ok I may try Bonjour and see it’s better my use case.

Just a question: how do I set it up?
I mean: I have Bonjour activated in the settings of DT on my Mac.
What do I need to do on DTTG in my iPhone in order to sync the databases?

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See this post from Jim.



To see how to setup, see chapter called “SYNC” in the “DEVONthink ToGo Manual”, page 35 of the 3.7.1 version.

But, from the problem you posted on your original post, this doesn’t fix your need to have quick and reliable download as you probably won’t have Bonjour available to bring in un-loaded files in front of your colleague. It will help getting everything onto the iOS device while both devices on the local network.

This also discussed in the “DEVONthink ToGo Manual” in the section called “EVERYTHING OR JUST THE METATADA” on page 38.

If you don’t put everything on the iOS device, then when out and about and not everything previously synced, getting an un-synched document depends the sync service to get more on demand.

Dropbox is certainly more reliable than Apple’s services, but it still might be too slow for you in front of colleagues. Perhaps try Dropbox with a database or two that can fit inside Dropbox “free” account if money an issue. Or, set your iOS device to sync everything with Apple’s Services and hope for the best.

Me … I’d get a MacBook Air and load it and keep up to date with everything and use it with colleagues. I don’t have one of those yet, but I do sync routinely with Bonjour, Dropbox, and WebDAV amongst four devices.

DEVONthink Manuals at: DEVONtechnologies | Handbooks and Extras

Numerous postings here how on to setup us Bonjour, findable by search. One that keeps popping up is Bonjour Simplified

Therefore, no need to repeat all that here.


Another very well working sync service is WebDAV. I have it in my NAS and when inside the local network, it is faster than Dropbox sync.

What you are experiencing, if I’m not mistaken, is DTTG first synchronizes all databases and then downloads the ordered document.

I think there is a solution to your problem, but it is a little bit dangerous. Set DTTG to manually synchronize (Settings → Schedule → Manual). Then you open DTTG, select the document, download it and then manually press the sync button.

What are the potential issues? You can get an old not updated document, and if you modify it, you will get a duplicate if you have that option enabled, or a new modified document without the updated changes in other places.

If this way your documents still download slow, well, blame iCloud and no other, but be aware you risk losing non synchronized data.

I am not experiencing any issues with syncing. I think you meant to reply to @IvanPsy

I do indeed use Webdav on the Synology NAS available on the local network. Webdav, Bonjour, and Dropbox on turned “on” and DEVONthink takes care of the details whether on the local network or “out and about”.

Yes, sorry, I meant reply to @IvanPsy.

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You mentioned you get to a location then check a document about your last teaching session.
Since it seems to happen regularly, I was asking why you didn’t download or examine the document before you leave.

I’ve kept and eye to a private network many times, but I didn’t go on with the plan because sometimes I leave home for some weeks, so I turn off the router.
I’d stay without my files for weeks.

May I ask why you’re using a shallow sync, downloading contents on demand, instead of using a full sync and carrying a complete database while you’re out?

  • How large is your database?
  • Why not create a smaller, sync-only database with the appropriate materials for the current situation?

I see, thank you for the explanation.

Well, I already have a kind of hybrid strategy: I have a “Projects” database where I keep the projects I’m working on: this database is on the Mac (other databases are on an external drive), so that I can get infos fro them at hand.
Also, this database is automatically synced on DTTG and always ready on the device.

I should extend the strategy in order to include files that MAY be of interest.

Your advice is good, simply put I know how I am, and probably I’d forget to check the files before leaving a local network :smiley:

Are you using Apple’s Calendar application?

I do. Why are you asking?

Just curious, why store databases on an external drive?

Over the years, I’ve had more external drives (USB connected) crash than internal drives. While I partially depend on USB Drives for system backups and places for DEVONthink archives, I prefer not to put any databases on such devices. Just me, perhaps.

And, are the files that you can’t get while with colleagues on databases on the external drive?

Because I haven’t enough space on my machine, and buying a new Mac is out of budget nowadays.

I have some databases on my Mac. The files are there.

Make sense. I’m sure you have thought of this, but for people reading this thread, don’t forget to make routine/automatic backups of those external USB drives–onto another external USB drive and/or an online/offsite service like BackBlaze or something.

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