Questions and Answers
Can you merge multiple customer accounts?
If you have purchased licenses at more than one occasion and using different email addresses you have multiple customer accounts. We can merge them for you so that you will find all your licenses in one place.
Contact us with some proof that you owned the other email addresses. We’ll manually check your request and merge your accounts.
How do I get a password?
If you purchased a product directly from us then you already have a user account tied to the email address that you used for purchasing. Request a temporary password here. You’ll be sent a link that allows you to enter a new password for your account.
What do I do when I don't own that email address anymore?
When you already have a password for your customer account you can just log in and change your email address yourself.
If you still have access to the email address but have lost your password you can reset your password here.
If you don’t have a password yet and you don’t have access to the email address anymore that you used for purchasing we will need to update your account manually. Please contact us with as many details as possible that we can use to locate your account and verify your identity.
Can I buy already during the trial month?
No, our apps never ask for money while you still have a valid license or subscription. We have not added an option to buy while there is an active subscription to prevent accidental double purchases.
On iOS and based on how the App Store works, the trial time is simply a free month at the beginning of a regular subscription. To switch, e.g., to the one-time purchase, please cancel your subscription and let it expire. As soon as the app asks for a license again, choose your desired option.
Can I use family sharing?
Yes, DEVONthink To Go supports family sharing for subscriptions and one-time purchases. Make sure to enable sharing for the subscription in App Store > Account > Subscriptions. For one-time purchases install the app on your family member’s device not directly from the App Store but from App Store > Account > Purchases > (Purchaser).
Does my one-time purchase expire?
The one-time purchase for DEVONthink To Go is valid for the app generation you have purchased it for. You might need to buy an upgrade when a new major generation arrives.
How do I buy with education discount?
In the App Store education discounts are handled by Apple and your school. Please contact your school and ask if they enrolled in an App Store Volume Purchase Program and how you can participate.
How do I upgrade to DEVONthink To Go 3?
As we don’t want to force you to upgrade to DEVONthink To Go 3 we made it a new app in the App Store. If you purchased version 2 you can upgrade to version 3 for a reduced price.
For this to work make sure DEVONthink To Go 2.7.8 or 2.7.9 is installed on your device and opened at least once. Then install version 3 and buy the price-reduced one-time purchase. You can now safely delete the old version at your convenience.
Where do I find DEVONthink for Mac?
With DEVONthink 3 we have retired DEVONthink Personal. We may or may not bring DEVONthink for Mac back to the App Store in the future. We will let you know via our blog.
Where do I find DEVONthink To Go 2?
DEVONthink To Go 2 is no longer available in the App Store. But if you purchased it while it was still on sale you can reinstall it at any time on your devices.
Open the App Store app and visit your account. Tap Purchased, then My Purchases. Search for “DEVONthink”. Install it from here.
Where do I find my license code?
Apps purchased in the App Store are identified online through your Apple ID. Neither are you sent a license code nor do we receive any information about your purchase.
Why is an app not available in my country?
For varying reasons we do not offer our software in certain countries. If you are living in a country where our software is not available in the App Store you might be able to buy it with e.g. an EU or US credit card.
Do I need DEVONthink on the Mac too?
DEVONthink To Go can be used as a standalone application and we have many people using it on its own. However, due to iOS and mobile devices’ limitations, it doesn’t have all the same features and capabilities as DEVONthink on a Mac. It’s a functional application on its own, but it’s even more powerful when used together with our desktop application.
How safe is my data on my iOS device?
Data stored on your device is encrypted using iOS’ own encryption. So your databases are always encrypted and can only be read by DEVONthink To Go after you unlocked your device after a restart.
An additional app-wide passcode secures access to your data. Alternatively you can use Face ID or Touch ID.
What data is available in Spotlight?
Spotlight receives the name, the first 16 KB of text content, the comment, and the tags for each item as well as metadata like the item’s type, its icon, and the creation and modification dates.
16 KB seems to be the internal limit of Spotlight (as of today).
What do the shown storage sizes mean?
The sizes shown for individual databases, for DEVONthink To Go as a whole, and in iOS’ Settings can differ. Here’s how they relate to each other:
- The Info popover for a database shows the sum of the sizes of all documents in the database, regardless if they are downloaded to the device or not.
- The Help popover shows the total of the data store folder on the device, comprising of the downloaded document files, the metadata database, the full-text index database, previews, thumbnails, all the files needed by sync, and some temporary files.
- The iOS Settings combine the storage size used for all files in the folder shared by the application and all its extensions (the ‘shared container’), the files used to provide documents to the Files app, and the Spotlight index.
If you have just moved from DEVONthink To Go version 2 to version 3, the storage size shown in the iOS Settings also add the size of the old data store left behind by version 2. It will be cleaned up four weeks after launching DEVONthink To Go 3 for the first time.
Note that iOS is using the APFS file system. Copies of files and folders (‘clones’) are counted with their size but don’t take up any space unless one of the copies is modified. File and folder sizes on APFS therefore don’t necessarily represent the real number of bytes used.
What if Spotlight shows no results?
Check DEVONthink To Go’s settings in the Settings app and make sure that Search & Siri Suggestions is switched on. Check also DEVONthink To Go’s own settings and switch on Spotlight if necessary. Then try to search for terms that you know that occur in the document, e.g. in its title. If still no results show up rebuild the Spotlight index (see the build-in documentation, chapter Appendix).
Where are my DEVONthink To Go backups?
Unfortunately, there are no granular and accessible backups in iOS or iPadOS. The backup to iCloud is meant only for setting up or restoring a complete mobile device.
At this time, while sync is not intended as a backup, it may be used as a current backup of a database. There are no versions in the backup. The synchronization updates and replaces the sync data, so this method would only be useful in very specific situations. Also, since the data is only useful to DEVONthink and DEVONthink To Go, it is not a true, product-independent backup.
Until we add the planned export function you can also sync to DEVONthink on a Mac and export to files-in-folders there.
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.
Why is there no A.I. in DEVONthink To Go?
Like the human brain our artificial intelligence (AI) technology is based on connections between all objects. For this to work all these connections must be available at all times which requires a certain amount of memory (RAM).
Unfortunately, iOS does not use virtual memory and quits apps frequently when they use too much RAM. Therefore our technology can’t be easily ported to iOS and ARM processors at the moment.
Can I get an educational discount?
If you are a student or educator you might be eligible for an educational discount. Check out our Students & NPOs page.
For applying you will need a student or faculty ID or some other proof of your status, e.g., a letter documenting your affiliation with the institution. Please understand that without a proof of your status we can’t grant you a discount.
How can I use a coupon code as a student or educator?
Being logged in with student status blocks entering a coupon code as discounts cannot be combined. To take advantage of a coupon, log out of your customer account and empty the shopping cart. Then (re)add the product you’d like to buy to the cart and enter the coupon code.
Please understand that it is not possible to upgrade an existing license purchased as a student or educator using a coupon code. The standard students & educators discount is automatically applied in this case.
How do I enter my license into DEVONsphere Express?
When you launch DEVONsphere Express it shows up as a little leaf icon in the right-hand part of the menu bar. Click it to show the DEVONsphere panel, then click the gear ⚙︎ icon to show its menu and choose Enter License to enter your license code.
How do I get an invoice for my purchase?
How do I purchase an upgrade?
To upgrade an existing license please log into your account and choose the license you’d like to upgrade. Your user account is tied to the email address that you used for purchasing. Request a temporary password here. You’ll be sent a link that allows you to enter a new password for your account.
On how many computers can I use my license?
Licenses for DEVONthink 3 and later can be used on up to two Macs. When you enter the license code into the app an identifier for your computer is added to the license, occupying one seat. You can check on which devices a license is currently being used in your customer account. Here you can also remove devices from a license to free up the seat.
If you have more than two devices you can buy additional seats from your customer account.
Older licenses can normally be used on all computers that you own and operate yourself. They are not valid for e.g. a separate account on your Mac used by someone else.
Where do I find my licenses?
When you purchased your software from us we sent you your license codes by email. In addition we keep them in our backend system. You can access them at any time by logging into your account with the email address you used for purchasing.
Please note that in your account we can’t list apps that you purchased in the App Store. Apple does not share this kind of information.
Why am I missing features I purchased?
The trial version of DEVONthink features all the functions of our top-of-the-line edition, DEVONthink Server. This allows you to try out many powerful options, shown in the menus with a blue star, like the built-in OCR, email archiving, custom metadata, and more.
When you purchase a license for DEVONthink, you will only have the features available to your specific license. If you want to continue using any of the features marked with the star, you need to purchase at least the Pro edition. When you do, you will also get the other functions except for the web sharing, unless you purchase the Server edition.
Click here for an overview about what functionality is available in which edition of DEVONthink.
Can I use Alfred, Launchbar, Hazel, etc. with DEVONthink?
It really depends on what you’re hoping to do. DEVONthink has powerful automation capabilities allowing it to interact with many other applications on your Mac, especially AppleScript-aware ones. Hazel and Keyboard Maestro are two such applications that many of our customers have integrated with DEVONthink. A web search or a search of our community will often turn up some great ideas!
Can I use DEVONthink for Mac also on iOS?
Unfortunately no. macOS and iOS are two operating systems for very different device categories. Where the Mac, e.g., has windows, a menu bar, and much more options for integrating apps, iOS is focused on simplicity and full-screen apps. Mac applications cannot run on iOS as they are built for very different hardware and a more complex user interface.
Can I use my scanner with DEVONthink?
DEVONthink Pro and Server can use any scanner that works with Apple’s Image Capture application (TWAIN is not supported). There is additional support for integrating with Fujitsu ScanSnap scanners through their ScanSnap Manager and ScanSnap Home software.
Regarding text recognition: DEVONthink Pro and Server has the ABBYY Finereader OCR engine included for converting scans to searchable PDFs directly in DEVONthink. However, lower editions still support importing files that have had OCR applied by third-party applications.
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.
Does DEVONthink copy my files and can I delete the originals?
By default, DEVONthink imports files which does copy them into the database. This creates a self-contained database that can easily be backed up or transported as a single unit. Whether to delete the originals is up to you, but many people choose not to keep the external copies.
Alternatively, you can index external files and folders which just adds references for them to your databases. In this case you must not move or delete the files outside of DEVONthink or you’ll break the references.
Do I have to worry about "corrupting" my databases?
DEVONthink databases aren’t specifically susceptible to “corruption”, but as with any files on your computer, problems can occur. We suggest following regular maintenance routines on your machine as well as your databases to ensure they’re healthy.
For your databases, a Tools > Verify & Repair on a regular schedule, perhaps every other week under heavy use, can keep your mind at ease. If you run into trouble, consult the manual or contact our support team.
Do I have to worry about getting "locked in"?
DEVONthink imports and stores files in their native formats. There is no conversion to any proprietary formats, nor do we have any. For instance, a PDF imported into DEVONthink remains a PDF.
Also, while files are stored in a proprietary folder structure internally, we provide many options for getting the files out. This includes simple drag-and-drop out of DEVONthink and the File > Export > Files and Folders command. It is also possible to access the internals of a database to access all these files in an emergency setting, but please contact our support team for assistance with this.
Do I need to make more than one database?
Designing a database is largely a preferential thing. A database can be very small or very large, depending on its use. However, smaller, more focused databases may generally perform better, sync faster, and be more data-safe in the event of a catastrophe (avoiding the “all your eggs in one basket” problem). They also give you the opportunity to close unused databases when you’re not using them.
How big can my DEVONthink database be?
The suggested size of a DEVONthink database is measured in words, more than in bytes. You can see this in File > Database Properties for each database. DEVONthink indexes the text of files and stores that in an index for each database. When you open a database, its index is loaded into memory for faster operations. The more unique words in the indices, the more memory is required.
Generally speaking, a modern machine with 8 GB RAM can easily hold one million unique words and 100,000 items in the database.
How do I completely uninstall an app?
To completely remove one of our Mac apps, please refer to the built-in help, Read Me section.
How do I scan with my ScanSnap scanner?
Unfortunately, ScanSnap scanners don’t work with Apple’s Image Capture and can’t be controlled by DEVONthink. Instead, create a scanning profile in the ScanSnap Home software with the Send to option set to direct its output to DEVONthink.
- Open ScanSnap Home and navigate to Preferences > Application.
- Press Add or remove, and add DEVONthink.
- Select ScanSnap Home > Scan Settings, then Profile > Add new profile.
- Select the ScanSnap Home profile and…
- change the name of the profile, e.g., to DEVONthink Scans,
- change the Type to Mac (Scan to file),
- change Send to to DEVONthink,
- and adjust any other settings, as desired.
- Press Add to create a new profile.
This will send new scans to DEVONthink. While all editions of DEVONthink receive the scans, remember that only the Pro and Server editions have OCR capabilities. Alternatively set ScanSnap Home to perform OCR.
How do I switch from application X to DEVONthink?
This depends on the specific application as not all applications share their data easily. Applications with drag-and-drop and extensive export options provide more potential for moving data between the apps. DEVONthink includes a few built in options in its File > Import menu. For specific applications, please check our community or contact our support.
Where are my DEVONthink databases?
DEVONthink stores the databases where you created them. We advocate using a folder in your home directory, like
~/Databases, and never put them in a cloud-synced folder. You can find your databases by searching with Spotlight for:
The global inbox is stored in:
~/Library/Application Support/DEVONthink Pro 3/Inbox.dtBase2
Where does DEVONthink backup my databases?
DEVONthink has no built in file backup capabilities. A proper backup strategy is up to the individual to implement and maintain. Due to the simplicity of Apple’s Time Machine, we suggest using it with local external drives. For an online backup, you can use a cloud backup service that uses a snapshot-style backup, ie. not “continuous backups”. Arq is one such service.
Where do I find system requirements?
You can find the system requirements for all our Mac apps either on the app’s product page or the Download page.
Where is DEVONsphere Express?
When you launch DEVONsphere Express it shows up as a little leaf icon in the right-hand part of the menu bar. Click it to show its panel. DEVONsphere Express stays out of your way and does not open a window automatically when it starts up.
Which is the right edition of DEVONthink for me?
While we can’t specifically answer this question for you, maybe the following summary gives you some ideas:
- Standard: A very capable tool for everyday personal use. Multiple databases, database and in-document searching, even automation is included.
- Pro: Stepping up from the Standard edition, the Pro edition has features more commonly needed in business and academia. Custom metadata, full text concordance, scanning with OCR, and email importing are some of the high-powered functions you’ll find.
- Server: With all the power of the Pro edition, Server has a built-in webserver made for sharing databases on a network with users on other platforms or Mac users not running DEVONthink. This edition is geared toward multi-user business and group collaboration situations.
You can find a list what differentiates Pro and Server from the Standard edition on the product page.
Why can't I import from Evernote?
With the release of version 10, Evernote broke support for inter-application communication. In order to use DEVONthink’s menu command File > Import > Notes from Evernote, you’ll need to download and use the legacy version of their application. You can find more information here: Install an older version of Evernote.
Why do the links for hidden preferences not work?
Why is Mail saying DEVONthink's plugin is incompatible?
When Apple upgrades their operating system, it sometimes causes an incorrect report that DEVONthink’s Apple Mail plugin is incompatible. This often happens when upgrading to major releases, e.g., from macOS Big Sur to Monterey.
The first thing to try is simply reinstalling the plugin via DEVONthink 3 > Install Add-Ons.
If that doesn’t work, try this to have a fresh installation of the plugin…
- Quit Mail.
- Quit DEVONthink 3.
- If you haven’t already, enable Full Disk Access and all automation requests for DEVONthink 3 in System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy.
- In the Finder, hold the Option key and choose Go > Library.
- Go into the
Mail/Bundlesfolder and delete our
- Relaunch DEVONthink 3 and install the Mail plugin from DEVONthink 3 > Install Add-Ons.
- Relaunch Mail and enable the plugin via Preferences > General > Manage Plug-ins.
Note: The name of our
.mailbundle file is correct as-is, even if it may appear incorrect for the current operating system.
Why should I give your applications Full Disk Access?
For best performance and operation, DEVONthink, DEVONagent Pro, DEVONsphere Express, and EasyFind should be given Full Disk Access in System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy. While this may sound more ominous than it is, our applications have been safely working this way for many years.
As of this writing, the areas protected by Full Disk Access are: Mail, Messages, Safari, Home, and Time Machine. Giving the applications full disk access allows for interactions like being able to properly install the Apple Mail plugin in DEVONthink Pro and Server, searching available disks in EasyFind, or importing Safari bookmarks into DEVONagent Pro.
Can't I use sync for backups?
While sync can be used to restore a database in an emergency, sync should not be your only backup. The sync data is chunked, DEVONthink-specific raw data about the databases and is only useful to DEVONthink or DEVONthink To Go. A proper backup should be application-agnostic.
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.