DevonThink but Not DevonSync - I give up

I have had enough I have invested a lot of work and money in DevonThink, but the sync to my IOS devices is just too unreliable. I give up. This is clearly a Mac-only app. Yes, I’ve gone to support and tried many things, but all of them only work for a day or two then sync stalls again.

I’m going back to Evernote. It may be ugly, but at least it works.


a pity. works just fine here for years …

I declare my iMac as the “server” by saying ‘enable incoming Bonjour requests’. On iPad and iPhone I DO NOT turn on (via empty checkbox) ‘accept incoming Bonjour requests’ and I add a ‘local network’ location and pick the iMac and select databases. when the portable machines are connected via WiFi to the ‘local network’ (at my global HQ), it just works. And quick.

I also have all devices running DEVONthink or DEVONthink ToGo to sync via Dropbox. that useful for “catch-up” when I’m travelling, but of course I’m not at the moment and probably won’t for a while.

Out of DEVONthink’s control, but using iCloud to sync the folders in iCloud that DEVONthink creates just don’t sync fast enough to meet needs. There are also indications of unreliability if the iCloud folders change while syncing. So, don’t depend on iCloud and don’t expect that you can bend iCloud to your will meet your needs. If you need to try, best to discuss with Apple to make their product more robust and fix your issues.


I’ve been syncing reliably with multiple computers and multiple iOS devices for years. But I don’t use any service like iCloud to do so. I do it all via WebDAV. Took a bit to get set up, mostly user cockpit errors but once set up has worked just fine without hassles.


Are you doing this with an internal network (i.e. 10.x.x.x or 192.168.x.x sort of thing) WebDAV server of some sort? Or are you actually running a public WebDAV server with your data?

Curious as to the setup, as this looks like it might be an interesting application - and I have a spare Mac Mini that could probably run it. :slight_smile:

Feel free to PM if you don’t want to post publicly.

I’m also in the WEBDAV camp. I had it working for years with my QNAP NAS, locally and remotely, but there were some QNAP updates that broke WEBDAV support for medium size files 15-20MB and up. Now I have switched to using Linode for syncing via WEBDAV and it’s been running flawlessly for the last couple of months. It’s a great use for their $5/month plan.

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I’ve also been experiencing the inability to sync DT to Go (I’m syncing with iCloud). I’ve been waiting two days for my databases to sync to my iPhone after nuking and paving my iPhone. It still is not finished. Making matters worse is trying to edit, select, copy anything using DT to Go. It is terrible. I really like DT on my MBP but on iOS and iPadOS it is awful. Evernote is not an option, been there done that, so I may end up once again reverting to putting all of my research files in folders in iCloud and forget about using a database at all. I only need basic search so for my purposes DT is overkill, though I like the app (at least on the MBP).

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Yeah, I paid the extra for DTTG, it won’t edit most of my documents and syncing is really slow. I started out with Circus Ponies Notebook about 15 years and that’s still my favorite. It’s a shame that he couldn’t make it work with the stiff competition from Evernote, One Note, etc… I switched from Evernote to DTPO because I was working for a company that outlawed Evernote for anything work related. I’m regretting my upgrade to DTP 3 since the iOS side is so bad.

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Agree about DTTG is way behind DT3. When was the last time DTTG had a proper upgrade? We only get those tiny bug fixes updates. Regret buying DTTG

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Internal on our Synology server.

Agreed. As I write these 6,700+ files are uploading to research folders directly in iCloud. From this point forward that is will they will remain. I’m tired of fighting apps to get my work done. Too much wasted time.


General comment about DTTG. I’ve never had a problem with it, it works just fine for my uses. I see iOS apps in general as for only 2 simple use cases, raw data capture (pictures, notes reminders and the like) and for consumption or look-up. I never really plan on any iOS device being a major editor of my data with the single exception of Scrivener and my iPad which works extremely well. What I think hasn’t happened (and to be honest I am not sure I even WANT it to happen) is that DEVON has not wanted to make the app behave the same on all devices. The push to make Mac apps work like iOS is, IMO a bad idea. They are totally different types of machines and I don’t want them mixed up. I am most firmly in the not going to use an iOS device as a main computer camp in part because I see no benefits and a lot of disadvantages. Just a simple one, I have a keyboard folio for my iPad. I decide selectively when I will put it on the device because it interferes with using it as a tablet. 95%+ of my use of the iPad is as a tablet.

That has not been my goal either. But, it is a struggle to just select and copy text on the iOS and iPadOS versions. When I attempt to select text there is a significant lag (2-4 sec) before it will “engage” and then it will not select text seamlessly and smoothly. I don’t know a better way to describe it. It is so bad that it is nearly unusable other than as you say to capture material and view it. Trying to do anything with the actual text is nearly impossible. And, as noted above, the syncing is exceedingly slow. DT on the MBP, however, works perfectly. No issues. But, I use my iPad for 90%+ of my work (especially now that I have the Magic Keyboard) so having reliable iOS and iPadOS applications is essential for my workflow.

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If I had my druthers, I’d rip all the edit features out of DEVONthink to Go, focus on making it a cast-iron trustworthy and reliable repository and document provider, with sync that works flawlessly, and make sure it works as well as it can with other apps in the iOS/iPadOS ecosystems.

OTOH, there is a lot of self-inflicted tsuris with DEVONthink users sometimes – folks who want it to flawlessly sync multiple tens of gigabytes of data, behind the scenes, on any network. Not sure why that would ever be a good idea.


A lot of this really is not DT’s fault. We ask DTTG to sync huge volumes of data and metadata, but because of a number of restrictions it is only allowed to do any real syncing activity while the app is open.

Which is awful, because I share many of the frustrations posted here already. DTTG requires a lot of user maintenance… but I’m not sure an alternative that provides what we’re looking for exists, as any other option will suffer from similar problems.

I could be wrong. Maybe we should be using Dropbox’s app for this? Or Files?

(Also: DTTG’s beta is still looking great. If you’re frustrated but not willing to stop using DTTG, I would recommend signing up.)

I kind of agree. Mac apps becoming iOS is bad, very bad.
However, I’m an iPad-as-main-computer user, I just want Mac apps (like Scrivener) to get ported in all their glory to the iPad. Hardware is clearly not a limitation at this point, so I don’t see why it can’t happen.

Then again, I’m not a developer so :man_shrugging:

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What constitutes a major edit? I used DTTG for a lot of my continuing education and editing was what I used it most for. Highlighting and marking up PDFs just made the most sense with the pencil.

I don’t use it all that often any longer, but I keep it on my computer and index a bunch of files as I need them (i.e. writing a paper, open book exams, etc.)

FYI its sister app NoteTaker (it and Notebook were coded by two men for the original NeXT app, and they went their separate ways for their similar Mac apps, apparently with some similar code, or at least design idea) was revived for macOS. It started in beta in 2018, was released a year ago, and is in the Mac App Store. Just don’t ever expect an IOS app to complement it.

Interesting. I have to confess I don’t think I have ever tried to select and edit text in iOS or iPad but I decided to try it and it’s very fast and seamless. I had no discernible lag in time to get the selection bars and once I had it I immediately had the copy, lookup or share options. I’m curious about your different experiences. I tried it in a small database, only about 3600 items and in medium size one that is an index of my main file cabinet that is over 4GB and has about 22K items in it.

I just did a full sync of that medium size database to my iPad and it took just under 16 minutes total to get it onto my iPad. I didn’t have it on my iPad at all so that was a full download not just changed items. FWIW just to open that database up on my Mac takes over 10 minutes.

I’d like that as well.

Actually it is a limitation due to how the mobile systems handle things like background processing, what access you have to internal hardware, what you have to do for power management and more. I only dabbled in iOS development and immediately gave up as it’s impossible for a small developer to deal with all the restrictions Apple puts on you for no real reason unless you have deep pockets and a staff to handle the myriad of hoops you have to jump through now.

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i meant that the hardware is able to handle these things. But you make a good point; devs may or may not be able to take full advantage of it. However, certain features are not particularly hardware-dependent and I cannot understand why these have not been ported to i(Pad)OS.

Something’s wrong. I launch DEVONthink with 7 databases open, comprising 8 GB, in 1/4 minute tops. Assuming it’s not the Mac, your database is broken. Time for a rebuild? Big chunks of data indexed from a network disk?