What's the best sync setup?

I’ve been using Dropbox sync ever since it’s been available. It works okay. But it never syncs as quickly as I would like. I can create a file on one computer, manually synchronize, then switch over to another computer and manually run synchronize, and the file doesn’t appear.

Using Dropbox (directly, without DT), creating a file on one machine makes it show up on other machines in a matter of seconds. Same with iCloud files.

Is DT iCloud sync better than Dropbox? Just wondering what’s the best & fastest sync setup these days.

(I have my DT machines set to sync every minute, which means a file could theoretically sync between two machines in two minutes, but even then it’s usually not that fast.)

There is no best option and you have to account for network conditions and server responsiveness. There is no reason to assume iCloud will be faster than Dropbox, and honestly, it could be a bit slower.

You also cannot compare what Dropbox does with what our sync engine is doing. They are technologically not the same thing.

I’m curious why you need to make a file and have it “instantly” appear on another machine.

I make a file on my desktop and add it to DEVONthink. I’m going to leave the house with my laptop, and I don’t know when / if I’ll have wifi access, so I want to make sure the file is available on my laptop before I leave.

With Dropbox / iCloud, I open my laptop, open the sync folder, and the file is there. Shut the laptop and walk out the door.

With DEVONthink, I open my laptop, see that the file isn’t there. Manually sync, still not there. Switch to desktop, manually sync, back to laptop and manually sync, still not there. Sit around and wait and hope it shows up at some point.

I can appreciate that DEVONthink does something more complex than Dropbox / iCloud. I guess it’s more about the frustration that manually syncing doesn’t seem to do anything. I would be perfectly content with pressing “sync” on the desktop and “sync” on the laptop and seeing things show up (and letting it automatically sync the rest of the time), but that’s not how it works.

I am using MagentaCLOUD to sync my different devices. For me it is fast and reliable, files transfer very fast.


I have the same situation with a computer that is in my work office and one in my home office. I have a laptop and iPad Pro that I take to meetings and travel with. Neither the laptop or iPad Pro can be depended on to sync quickly and consistently with the office or home computer either via dropbox sync or icloud sync. The only reliable way I have success with every time is to use bonjour to sync them before I leave the room. The laptop and iPad Pro are then for sure in sync with the computer that stays in the room. I check the databases before I leave the room and they are always synced this way.

If Bonjour traffic is allowed on the network, it will always be faster and more reliable than any remote sync location.

Sweet!!! I didn’t know this existed. It works PERFECTLY for what I want. Thank you!

Out of curiosity, does this essentially double the storage requirements, like the other sync locations? It seems like it… I started with a 291 MB database, and the sync store is 265 MB.

(Bonjour sync is SO FAST)

There is no sync store with a Bonjour location. It is a direct connection between devices.

Indeed. Bonjour and (local sync stores for Mac-to-Mac syncing) are the fastest method. This is why I ask people what their sync needs are. If you don’t have a compelling reason to use a remote sync solution (and just because someone has a cloud account, it does not make it an optimal solution), do local syncs on your network via Bonjour!

Ah interesting. I must have misunderstood. I created a local sync store after setting up Bonjour (or DTPO prompted me to create it? I’m not sure).

In any case, it seems safe to delete that sync store I created and recover that space.


No problem.

Apologies to other readers if I’m bumping this thread, but it’s better than creating a new one.

So in other words, regarding bonjour sync, you would need to actively run DTTG on your iPad Pro, sync, and then walk out the door?

Yep. Bonjour sync requires that both devices be up and running on the same network. Once you’re off the network, bonjour sync is no longer available.

I assume the automatic sync still works, but I like to do a manual sync just to make sure I have what I need.

Padillac is correct. I do a bonjour sync before I leave the office or home. It generally takes only a a minute. I still have icloud sync running as it works fine if I am not time constrained.

I have syncing set up between my Mac, iPad and iPhone through DropBox and everything is working fine. However, I am trying to set up a Mac for a colleague that lives far away (Bonjour won’t work in my case).

I’m having all kinds of trouble getting her copy of Devonthink to sync to my sync packet on Dropbox.

  • do I need to share the sync store in dropbox with her dropbox, or are we all supposed to be syncing from the same dropbox account? When I shared my packet sync files with her I got all kinds of missing file errors on her copy of Devon.

  • do I try to sync to the same dropbox file in my dropbox account? This would make sense, but I can’t seem to figure out how to do this. Her computer is tied to her dropbox account.

I hope someone can help. Thanks.

You cannot sync across accounts. You need to be using a common account for collaborative syncing.

For syncing, this doesn’t matter as our sync engine does not use the Dropbox application.

Do note: You cannot use multiple Dropbox accounts with sync. It is disallowed by Dropbox’s API. This means you can sync to the common account for collaboration, but you can’t simultaneously sync to your own account for personal use.

So if I’m understanding you correctly, I need to create a new Dropbox account where we both can access the same sync store.

What is the best way for me to move my existing sync store on my personal Dropbox account to my new shared business Dropbox account?

Yes, but it’s going to be an account you both use the same credentials. It would not be sharing a folder in your Dropbox account.

I’d suggest opening a support ticket to talk over options.

Thanks @bluefrog. I got it to work finally. I had to “unlink” Dropbox from her computer first, and then I went to Devonthink and signed in with my login ID. Before I unlinked the dropbox account, it kept defaulting to her dropbox account. Everything appears to be working as it should now.

Glad to hear it! :smiley:

As Jim N. said, there is no universally “best” setup. However, I can attest to iCloud working consistently across a Mac, iPad and iPhone–at least for me. I don’t think the timing of sync is deterministic, as it would be with Bonjour, but I’ve never experienced a delay of more than about a minute before sync occur. The initial sync took a while, but since I had three large databases, that seems reasonable.

After a few hiccups with initial setup (mostly caused by not clearing out prior sync stores), it has been transparent and reliable.

The main advantage over Bonjour, I suppose, is that I never have to remember to sync. If I’ve given things a few minutes to sync after adding them to one of the databases, it will be in the cloud for me to reach from anywhere. Well, anywhere that I have internet access–a limitation that direct Bonjour syncing would avoid.