What is the fastest way to move scans made by iPhone into Devonthink?

Hi everyone,

I’m a historian, and my workflow in the archive consists of:

1 scanning relevant documents as pdf’s with Adobe Scan (with my iPhone)
2 adding them with Airdrop to my Finder
3 from there, opening them in Devonthink and finally I can start annotating, taking notes etc.

That works well, but consumes a lot of time. I was wondering if there’s a faster way in storing the relevant archival documents directly in Devonthink. Would it be possible to skip or shorten step 1 and 2 and having the pdf’s directly transferred from my phone to Devonthink? For instance, is Devonthink To Go capable of doing this (in that case I would consider the purchase)? Any other suggestions?

Many thanks!


Works for me

My steps are
1 Scan using a scan app on my iPad
2 Send to DTTG using the share menu
3 Process in DT on my Mac; Name, Tags, database/group

The DTTG > DT sync is automatic

See this discussion for scan apps that interface directly with DTTG


I don’t use Adobe on my phone, so I’m not sure of functionality, but I’m sure it will work with a file syncing service such as Dropbox. If so, you could set up a DropBox folder and, on your Mac, have Hazel pointing at that folder, sending any documents to the DT inbox. Not saying it is as straight forward as the very good suggestion by @DTLow, but it is another option.


I use both SwiftScan and Rocketbook on my iPhone. New scans from either app are saved to a OneDrive folder that is synced to my server at home. I’ve indexed that folder in a DT database, with a smart rule that checks for OCR on PDFs, conducts OCR if needed, then moves the document out of the indexed folder and into the Global Inbox. DTTG and DT on my MacBook get the files whenever they sync with the server.


So I have folders in iCloud, Dropbox, and Google Drive called “2DEVONthink”. The files on ios device go into one of those via IOS Share button.

On macOS Machines Hazel watches those folders, and when a file appears it will move it into DEVONthink’s Global Inbox. There other ways to automate this process, or do it manually.

From the Global Inbox, DEVONthink does Rules and AutoClassify which may may or may not kick off. I don’t go over-board on that.

While I do have DEVONthink To Go on my iOS devices, for whatever reason I don’t tend to save things there directly–no particular reason other than habit, I guess.

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I’m not a Hazel user
I’m thinking Mac OS Folder Actions / Watch Folders would also work, triggering an applescript

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try it. Let us know. I started using Hazel years ago and never really looked at “Watch Folders”.

That’s what happens with automation. Once done, then left alone with change avoided (mostly but for tinkering) and (sadly) sometimes forgotten how it all works!

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Many thanks for al the useful help!

The suggestion from @DTLow to get the scanned files synced from DTTG to DT on my Mac is something not to complicated that I can use straight away, so that’s great. I can already skip the Airdrop/Finder step. I will look further into the link you shared upon scanning with DTTG.

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Thanks for your reply. It seems very interesting. So instead of sharing your scans (through DTTG or Airdrop/Finder) you sync them with the help of One Drive, if I understand well. But it’s a bit complicated for me how you do this exactly. Could you please explain what this means: ‘I’ve indexed that folder in a DT database’. Does it mean that you can have a One Drive (or a Dropbox, iCloud) folder visible in your DT-sidebar? I wasn’t aware of that possibility.

The automatic OCR’ing is another interesting feature. Is it possible to share the smart rule you operates on your folder? I use DT3 on a daily basis, but I’m unfortunately not very good with the more complicated features :slight_smile: Thanks @rpallred !

An indexed folder must be part of a database, so at first pick a database you want it to belong to. If all the PDFs go to one database presumably that would be the one. Could be the Global Inbox too.

Select the database in the DEVONthink side bar and then go to Files/Index Files and Folders…. When you have access to One Drive via the Finder you can chose the folder your scanning Software saves the PDFs to. And that’s it. Then you can see the content of that folder in DT. And of course you can, either manually or by Smart Rule, process it.


I mis-remembered: I have two different folders with corresponding smart rules. iPhone apps that do their own OCR save to an import folder, other apps save to an OCR and import folder:

Screen Shot 2022-01-04 at 8.48.23 AM
Screen Shot 2022-01-04 at 8.51.11 AM

What I did was create a database just for these folders that is only open on my server instance of DT (e.g., I don’t sync it with DTTG or the MBP).

Screen Shot 2022-01-04 at 8.53.32 AM


And it all just works! Magically. Thanks @rpallred and @suavito

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My suggestion is to get DEVONthink To Go (DTTG) app on your iPhone (really good for many reasons), go to its Global Inbox in your iPhone’s native Files app and use the scan function there (click on the circle with three dots in the upper right corner and you see it). Voilà! Your scan is in DT. After setting it up it is just open Files app and scan with one clic. Can’t get faster than that.

I have a system where I use Scanner Pro. Scanner Pro does OCR on the documents.

This automatically syncs with the Scanner Pro iCloud folder.

I use Hazel to move the PDF’s to the Global Inbox.

It works perfectly. It also has the advantage that the OCR is already applied to the document. Therefore you could use this system with the standard version of Devonthink and still get OCR applied to documents.

I have evolved over time from a Fujitsu to only now using my iPhone. The iPhone is much quicker and better IMO. I just hover the phone over the documents it scans automatically and is sent to Devonthink automatically. No faffing about with the share sheet for each scan

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The problem with this approach is that OCR isn’t applied if you scan in the files app open iOS 15 for some reason. You will end up with a non OCR’d document in the inbox.

I don’t mind having to OCR the scanned pdf in DT, since it is so good at it. Just set up a smart rule (or a couple that also move the OCRed file to where you want it) and drag the files to it. DTTG is worth its money and more even without this workflow, and the native Files app is free. I am just saying…

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This is almost exactly what I do - except I made a shortcut to share the scan into that sets a few things automatically for me (tags, folders etc)

I have a rule that automatically performs OCR on any non-searchable PDFs that appear in the inbox to get around this.

I prefer to do that (tags, folders etc) on the Mac, assisted with an applescript

I use scanner pro actions to send pdfs to different monitored Dropbox folders where they receive automated tagging and sorting and so on. I press one button in scanner pro after scanning and a few moments later the scan is in the right place and smart groups.

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