iCloud aggressive storage optimisation vs DevonThink/Dropbox or other third-party storage solutions?

So, with the untimely death of my iPad Pro (A Tale of Two Woes: Reckon my iPad Pro is done for?) I’m back to working between an iPad Mini 5 and a 2015 MacBook.

Lost a lot of time this morning when I decided to try to understand the way that iOS offloads files in the background (Files.app/iCloud Drive). I realised that most of my documents and files actually require download for access on the iPad Mini, even those I’ve accessed on the same device recently. Seems to be no rhyme or reason to which files are left on device and which files are booted to the cloud, and I’m seeing files I access daily being offloaded. Totally appreciate the value of storage optimisation, but I find it somewhat infuriating that I can’t set what can be offloaded and what should definitely stay at hand.

I’ve seen this: iCloud download everything - but I’m surprised I haven’t yet found more discussion here on this front. Maybe strong wifi is so ubiquitous that many iOS users don’t register it as an issue? Or perhaps it’s just less of an issue under different conditions…

Regardless, I’m experimenting with DevonThink ToGo as a file storage solution again, since the new release is out. I’m assuming that DevonThink would allow me to store files and specify which files remain synced to other devices but also always available locally (on device)?

Something I don’t understand (separate from the DevonThink question): if I mark a Dropbox folder for offline availability via the Dropbox app, the files in that folder can still be displayed as requiring download if viewed via Files.app/iCloud Drive. That confuses me! Aren’t they the same files? If anyone can point me in the direction of any resources that help explain the way that third-party storage works on iOS, or otherwise help me make sense of that, I’d appreciate it.

Thanks in advance.

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This is the main thing I use DTTG for. You can set the “always download files” preference per-database or per-folder. The Info pane gives you the option.

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All good. Looks like I’ll be joining the DevonThink clan…

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You might want to check out the DEVONthink to Go 3 manual here. The accompanying DEVONthink desktop manual, same site, will further discuss sync from the desktop perspective.

FWIW, in the new DEVONthink to GO 3 I switched the sync from iCloud (Legacy) to iCloud (CloudKit) and have found it faster.