Hey, DEVONthink To Go is actually quite good now

The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he really is very good, in spite of all the people who say he is very good.
Robert Graves

I store my files within DEVONthink on my Mac. The professional version allows you to create multiple databases, which is really nice to have separate «spaces» for your files. Given that I use my personal computer for work, there are files I just do not want to be mixed up with my work files. So, using the databases essentially as separate Finder structures works really well for me. The work database contains all work files and when I search in it I just get my work files, and nothing that would be unprofessional in a professional setting.

The only downside so far was that the mobile version — DEVONthink To Go just did not work out for me. It required WLAN for syncing, the sync was slow and sometimes broke down, which is really annoying when you are working with thousands of files.

But recently I tried out DEVONthink To Go again and … waow, they did some nice improvements.

I’m still trying it out (started a few days ago), so there are lots of things I do not know.

But hey, setting up DEVONthink To Go with Bonjour allows me to sync my files via an USB cable (I think that did it). No more transfer of … personal files via WLAN. Yes, there are advantages for wireless sync, and you can even use Dropbox and the like, but I really prefer to have more control over the syncing. And now, DEVONthink allows for this control. Yeah.

Setting up sync on the iPad.
Setting up sync on the Mac — just use the same settings on both devices.

Only downside so far — it syncs the whole database. I was quite annoyed that it took so long when I was first syncing my databases. After all, there were only a couple of hundred MBs in my Mobile Sync groups. Then I noticed that it did not use the Mobile Sync groups, it did sync the whole databases (which was in the GB range). So far, I haven’t found out how to restrict syncing to specific groups, but that’s fine for now. It does make sense to have all my work files on my iPad. And I do use a separate database for specific information I want to have with me all the time.

But still, even trying out the app, yeah, that’s what I have missed from DEVONthink for a long time. It took them ages, but now it seems DEVONthink To Go is ready for everyday use.

Yeah. 🙂


  1. Hi Daniel!
    Yes, selective transfer via mobile sync does not work unfortunately. I personally asked the developer and he confirmed that to me. Too bad as I think that’s an important feature which I hope will be available in of the future app releases. You’re also correct the iOS app version works flawlessly otherwise.
    Kind regards,

  2. Yes, it is quite usable, however be careful, if you write text files in Devonthink To go – it crashes from time to time. Crashed on me leaving with lost hour of typing 🙁

  3. Hi Daniel!
    This is an update from my previous post.
    Searching through the DT forum I have realized there is actually an option for selective sync however at additional cost. Please see a copied text below:

    “You can do what we call in-house a “full” or “shallow Sync” to the mobile device. Full Syncs content and metadata. Shallow Syncs only the metadata.
    On order to use shallow Syncing, you need to purchase the Pro Pack (see DEVONthink To Go 2’s Settings > Manage). This will give you the option of setting a Sync location to Download Files: On demand (a shallow Sync). You can then set the Download option for individual databases, or even specific groups in a database to shallow or full, in their Info popup.”

    Kind regards,

  4. While selective sync is not possible in the *old* way you can sync every “shallowly” and mark individual groups as “download always”. This way you have the metadata of everything always at hand and select to download only what you need offline.

  5. Addition: Edited text files *are* auto-saved every 30 seconds. Only the entry dialog for creating new documents is not auto-saved.

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