Questions and Answers
Why can't I sync via USB?
For a long time the USB port in iOS devices wasn’t available to third-party apps. We believe that synchronizing via the local network provides a fast and reliable method even for larger data sets.
Can we put databases on a file server for our team?
No, this is not possible, we’re afraid. DEVONthink does not allow more than one person to access a database at a time.
DEVONthink follows a decentralized data model where each machine has a local copy of the database but syncs to a commonly accessible location. Collaboration via syncing may require special attention, like a shared account on a cloud service, ie. using the same credentials on each machine. Feel free to contact our support team for further information.
With DEVONthink Server, there is also a built-in web server that allows you to broadcast a database on your network. Users can access shared databases through a web browser, even on Windows machines. While it’s not as functional as DEVONthink itself, it can prove useful in an office setting. For more specific information, please refer to the built-in help or manual.
How can we use DEVONthink together in our team?
To work with DEVONthink in a team, you have two options, which both have their own advantages and disadvantages:
Install DEVONthink on each of your team’s Macs and synchronize your databases between all of them, either directly via Bonjour or via a storage location like a WebDAV server or a shared Dropbox account. Advantage: You can use the full functionality of DEVONthink at all workplaces. Disadvantages: You need a license with seats for all Macs running DEVONthink. In addition, a copy of the database is kept on every Mac taking part in the sync circle and occupies storage space. All participants have full access to all databases shared with them.
You run DEVONthink Server on one Mac which holds the databases. All other workplaces access your databases via a web interface provided by the server Mac. Advantages: User and permission management lets you control who has access to which databases. The number of workplaces accessing the server is not limited, and you can also use Windows or Linux PCs to connect to the server via web browser. You don’t need to buy additional seats to accommodate more users. Disadvantage: The web interface offers only a part of DEVONthink’s feature set.
DEVONthink Server is the same application as DEVONthink but with an additional server component. Its license comes with two seats so you can install it on up to two Macs and use it just like any of the other editions (you don’t have to use the server component on a Mac not being used as a server).
Can I use multiple Dropbox accounts?
No, we’re afraid. The official Dropbox API only pairs with one account at a time.
Can I use OneDrive, Google Drive, …?
Not yet. If you would like to use DEVONthink or DEVONthink To Go with a service that is not yet supported, feel free to let us know. We might add support for it in the future.
Do I have to sync whole databases?
DEVONthink for Mac always uploads complete databases. You can exclude indexed items, though.
DEVONthink To Go always syncs the metadata for whole databases but you can select for the location, the database, or individual groups if you want to sync their content files too. If you sync only the metadata you can download the actual content later on demand.
How do I switch sync methods?
There is no direct switching between sync methods, e.g., between iCloud and Dropbox sync locations. The sync data isn’t shared between locations.
In DEVONthink: Control-click the sync location in DEVONthink’s Preferences > Sync and choose Clean Location. This will remove the sync data in that location. Enable the new sync location, adjusting the options for the location as desired, then sync a database. Enable other databases as needed.
In DEVONthink To Go: Tap the Edit link in DEVONthink To Go’s Settings > Sync: Locations. Add the new sync method, adjusting the options, and saving it.
If you are using a shallow sync, i.e., Download Files: On demand, and you are not syncing to a new location already synced by your Mac, you must leave the old sync location active. Tap the new location and sync a database. DEVONthink To Go will pull the contents from the old location to upload to the new sync location. If you are syncing to a new location to which you’ve already synced your Mac, the contents of the files should be in the sync location already.
If you are using a full sync, i.e., Download Files: Always, the content of the files in fully synced databases is already local to DEVONthink To Go, so tap the new location and sync a database. Repeat as needed.
After you have synced successfully, you can left-swipe the old sync location, and choose Clean to remove the sync data from the old location.
How safe is my data during a sync?
If you set an encryption key for a sync store all data is AES 256 bit encrypted before leaving the device and is stored in encrypted form on the server. It can only be retrieved using the correct key. The same is true for direct connections where all data is encrypted using the key set in the Bonjour options.
In addition, the username and password you set for newly created databases is used as soon as you sync the database to another device. The database cannot be retrieved from a sync store or via direct connection without entering the right credentials.
I have lost my encryption key. Can you recover it?
Unfortunately no. The encryption key is never shared with us. If we could recover your encryption key anyone else could do this too. We’re using strong encryption to ensure that your privacy (at the time of this writing) can’t be cracked without substantial computing power, if at all. Are you sure that you don’t have noted it down on some piece of paper somewhere?
What is CloudKit and should I switch to it?
iCloud comprises several components. One of them is the file service with iCloud Drive being its user-facing part. Another component is CloudKit, a database service that works behind the curtain and can only be used by applications directly.
DEVONthink’s old iCloud sync was based on the file service which did not let it live up to the maximum possible performance. Contrary to that, the CloudKit sync uses the backend database’s capabilities for a fast, single-pass sync.
Why isn't sync working?
If you feel sync isn’t working correctly, these are the first things to check:
- In DEVONthink on the Mac, see what is reported in Window > Log. Then check the Troubleshooting > Sync Issues section of the built-in help.
- In DEVONthink To Go see if there is a triangle on the sync icon in the bottom toolbar of the database screen. If so, tap it to see what is reported. Then check the ? > Help > Sync > Troubleshooting section of the built-in help.
If you need further assistance than you can glean from the help or the downloadable manual, you will at least have some information to pass along to the support team.