Devonthink - Dropbox or iCloud sync?

Hi Gang, I use DT and been using Dropbox for sync. I’m thinking of moving sync to iCloud.

Have any of you had issues syncing Devonthink via iCloud?

I want to feel comfortable making the switch.

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I have been syncing DTP to iCloud since soon after it became an option, without a single issue.

If my experience is typical, then I would go for it.

You should create an archive before making the switch, just to be ultra-safe.


No problems for me after the beta.
I’m syncing about 2.6GB in five databases. Two of those have about 4000 items. I generally use aliases for everything (I.e. I don’t want 1500 PDFs in DT and Bookends, my ref manager, with different tags, highlights, etc. )

The databases are about 2.6GB on the file system on my MBP. My iPad Pro says DT is using about 600MB.

Same here. I switched my DT sync to iCloud as soon as it became available, and I’ve had no problems.

No issues here with a couple GB across several databases.

Sweet! Ima give it a try

I’ve been reluctant to use iCloud for syncing because my expectation is that the data will be duplicated on my Mac at both the iCloud sync location and in my main DT databases. Since I have about 55gb in my reference database, and only 1tb on my MBPr, I’d rather not double my storage use. With Dropbox, I use selective sync to not download the database folder. Maybe I’m wrong and iCloud won’t download it, but I haven’t been willing to try.

Hi Steve,

The location that DT uses for iCloud sync is not an area that is synced to your machine so don’t worry about that.

I also made the switch from Dropbox to iCloud syncing as soon as it was available and haven’t had any problems between my MacBook and iPhone. I also no longer have to worry about running out of space as my Dropbox account is the basic free one and I have the 200GB plan for iCloud. This is plenty enough to sync the family’s iDevices.

All other file data is stored on OneDrive or OneDrive for Business (1TB each).

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Keep in mind that DEVONthink DOES write files to be synced to a temporary location on disk whete iCloud can see it, which iCloud subsequently uploads and then purges the local temp storage at that point.

I just checked my local iCloud folder in the finder to see if this is true. I see the DTP database there, and it’s not a small thing.

Am I missing something?

Your .dtbase2 file absolutely should NOT be in iCloud Drive or Dropbox or anywhere that syncs. If, indeed, you store your .dtbase2 file in a synced location, move it.

The current implementation of iCloud syncing with DEVONthink does not produce any user-accessible files. If you navigate to ~/iCloud Drive, there should not be any DEVONthink related folders or files in there.

Previously, there was an iCloud Drive sync method in DEVONthink that did create a user-accessible file, but this system is deprecated. Make sure in DEVONthink’s sync preferences that you have “iCloud” and NOT “iCloud Drive” selected as the sync location.


I misspoke – I don’t store my databases on iCloud or dropbox, and I never would. I have already cautioned other on this forum not to do so.

I meant to say that I see the SYNC files in there.

But you are right about the sync method – I apparently set up the sync on iCloud Drive – and now that I think about it, I did so when I first set up sync for Devonthink. I thought I had changed to the newer iCloud method, but I guess I hadn’t.

Thanks for the heads-up.

Thanks for the clarification on that.

Ah okay, perfect, I figured your issue was linked to one of those two things! I’ve seen a lot of people get tripped up with the deprecated iCloud Drive Setting persisting for some reason.

Glad you’ve got some direction to move forward!

Just like walking on thin ice, just because you’re on it doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily fall in… but your odds of falling in are a lot higher than those who stayed ashore!

I am not willing to risk the potential for corruption by storing my .dtbase2 files in a synced directory, but if you are fine with that then more power to you! We all manage risk in different ways!

I hope you have backups. If something becomes trashed on Dropbox, etc. there’s no way back.

I synced one laptop and my primary iMac the correct way right after I posted. The first one went far more quickly than I expected. And the second was even quicker. Much better! Thanks again. I have no idea how I neglected this (probably a wetware failure).

I’m sure the next computers will go just as well.

Ah. Sync stores. Missed that.

Ah, sorry, I must have not noticed that little detail in my haste. Indeed, maintaining a syncstore in one of those locations is a bit of a different ballgame.

Carry on, carry on!

I use the basic plans for iCloud and Dropbox. My DT databases would push me into a higher tier, so I signed up for and only have my DT sync stores there. Works great!