Folder syncing between Macs and optionally iOS

I have a folder ~/org and potentially a couple of others with a couple of files (out of hundreds) that I want to sync between computers.

I was using ChronoSync, but it lost its mind this morning, and was going to sync all the files that I had excluded.

I’m using BeyondCompare as a temporary solution, but it requires going through the Network and opening the iMac from my laptop so the ~/org folder will be available. It also requires opening a session of the folders, and syncing each one.

One absolute requirement is collision detection so I don’t overwrite changes on one machine with changes from the other.

One possibility is using git, but I’d rather it be automatic. There are also the two folders where I only want a few out of the hundreds of files.

Long story short, if it worked like iCloud syncs the Documents folder, that would be excellent. But I’d rather not have my org folder in Documents, and I certainly don’t want ~/.emacs.d and ~/.doom.d in Documents.

Edit: oh yeah, the iOS part would be syncing ~/org to and from /Users/john/Library/Mobile\ Documents/iCloud\~com\~appsonthemove\~beorg/Documents/org for use with beorg.

Would appreciate suggestions.

I haven’t used in a while so don’t know the state of play, but Resilio Sync was a tool I used for a while to sync two folders between my and my wife’s Macs. It was originally BitTorrent Sync.


Would it work to use symbolic links referenced to folders in iCloud?

  • Make the folder in iCloud
  • Create a symbolic link for that folder
  • Put the symlink in your local volume where you want it

You cannot go the other way because iCloud flattens the symlink and attempts to access into it from your mobile device will fail.

You can subsequently create a sync service to copy/duplicate all files in that one iCloud folder to a local volume on your hard drive (presuming that you have a solid state drive, just make a new volume called something like “iCloud Backups”). I have yet to get this far but expect to do something like this perhaps using CarbonCopyCloner.


What happened with Chronosync? I’ve used it off and on for 15 years without issues

I had a bidirectional sync task set up with most everything excluded, except the org folder and a few other files. I had suspended the scheduler te night before.
Opened the sync task and clicked Analyze and it show that it was goi g to move practically everything in my iMac’s home folder to my laptop.

Ok…why would the exclusions have reset? Do you have a backup of your synchronizer document? It seems easier to fix CS than to start anew.

I’ve used ResilioSync for years to sync folders between my iMac and MacBook Pro. It also syncs to my server Mac so that the iMac and MacBook Pro do not have to both be on for syncing to occur. It has an advantage over Chronosync in that the syncing is continuous and works even if the systems aren’t on the same LAN.

My understanding is that collision detection is a problem with MacOS because it wasn’t designed to handle shared data resources. Applications must set up their own protection scheme (usually semaphores) to avoid collisions. Since I don’t use both computers simultaneously, this isn’t an issue for most things, however my wife and I do share a Quicken database and this was an issue until Quicken addressed it a few years ago.


I’ve always used rsync to mirror folders, but never needed a 2 way sync. At first read, it appears you might be able to rework this to accomplish your task.

I’ve used Resilio Sync for years now. I use it to sync folders between my iMac @ work and my MB Pro . It has reliably synced multi gigabyte folders .

Resilo is good - I use it. However, the collision detection is basic. It’s a newest overwrites oldest. So if you’ve updated on one device and then the other, but they haven’t synced, the newest version will always sync across.

There is the local archive though, as it saves files locally in an archive folder for 30 days (by default).

It’s been years since I tried it to sync to iOS however, though it seems you’re using iCloud to sync to iOS, so Resilo might work, as they’ve recently introduced local folder share.

I’ve been researching the same thing lately, but I would love to have end-to-end encryption.
Cryptomator seemed like an option, but their iOS app doesn’t integrate with files. The cloud storage provider Tresorit allows up to 3GB as a free user, which is plenty for text files and their iOS app integrates with the Files app natively, which is great, because you can use apps like 1Writer that index whole folders via the Files storage provider API.
However, the big downside right now is that both use Fuse to be able to write to the mounted local encrypted volume managed by their app on macOS and Fuse hasn’t seen an update for Big Sur. I think there wasn’t even one for Catalina. :confused:

Any other ideas in regards to an encrypted solution would be very welcome. Thanks a lot!

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Thanks everyone for the input!

I went with Resilio Sync.

I use it for a couple of giant folders (1.4T and 0.8T) of research data that are synced to my NAS, and have been for the last year.

The config files in .emacs.d and .doom.d don’t change often, so I might just use Beyond Compare for those.

Skimming the docs, looks like Resilio is E2E encrypted.


Resilio Sync doesn’t look bad at all! They even offer native NAS clients.
Sync works if the app is opened, but there doesn’t seem to be background sync? And for me the Files app integration is broken. It doesn’t show any files and only the folders that I create through the Resilio app on the iPad, but not the sync’d ones.