Questions and Answers
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.
How can I upgrade to a higher edition?
According to Apple’s rules it’s not possible to cross-grade to a free world version or upgrade to a higher edition outside of the App Store. Sorry.
Where do I find DEVONthink?
With DEVONthink 3 we have retired DEVONthink Personal. We are now working on making the new generation of DEVONthink compatible to the sandboxing requirements of the App Store. We will let you know via our blog when it has passed Apple’s review.
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. a European or US American 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 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. 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).
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 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.
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 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 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 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.
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 do 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 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?