Your maps can be synced automatically between iPad, iPhone and desktop (Mac or Windows) by using Dropbox and iThoughts Linked Folders.

The following screencast demonstrates how to do this.


There are some caveats to be aware of when syncing:

  • Syncing only happens on WiFi (by default.)
  • Local (iPad) changes are synced (up to Dropbox) 30 seconds after the app is closed (by default.)
  • Remote (Dropbox) changes are checked for when the app starts (but no more frequently than every 10 minutes)

NB: You can override all the above by selecting 'Start Sync' from the 'Cloud' menu.

NB: You can enable automatic sync using mobile data in the System Settings. This is disabled by default for obvious cost reasons.


How does it work?

On iOS, the basic concept is that you associate a local folder with a corresponding folder in the cloud. The contents of each folder (and sub folder) are then kept 'in sync' by software built into iThoughts. This is known as a 'Linked Folder'.

When configuring a linked folder you also supply a list of file formats to keep in sync. A typical configuration might be to enable iThoughts, Mindmanager and PDF file formats. In that case, whenever a local (iOS) change is made, all 3 file formats are uploaded to the cloud. You can then view the PDF version of the map or open the Mindmanager/iThoughts files using their respective apps on the desktop (Mac or Windows.) Changes made on the desktop are automatically uploaded to the cloud by the installed cloud sync software (Dropbox etc.)

When iThoughts (iOS) subsequently looks for any updates in the cloud, it will check the 'revision number' for both the iThoughts file and the Mindmanager file and download the most recently modified (ignoring the PDF version - which can't be imported.)

Multiple copies of your maps will reside in iOS, the cloud and the desktop. This means that maps can be modified when no network connection is available.


Why the 30 second and 10 minute delay - why not sync instantly and constantly?

I'm trying to avoid inadvertently creating a DDoS ! Having every installed copy of iThoughts constantly hitting the cloud servers asking for updates will not make me popular amongst my colleagues in the cloud! 



If you edit a map on your iPad then edit the same map on your desktop before it has been sync'd then you will get a 'conflict'. This usually happens when the iPad has no network connection. Unfortunately iThoughts cannot merge changes, so it needs to choose one version of the map to take forward.

It will always choose the version in the cloud.

On iOS, a copy of the previous version will be created and given a suffix of '(conflict)' before the cloud version overwrites it. On the Mac, a 'version' of the map will be saved before it's overwritten by the cloud copy. Dropbox also maintains a version history of files - so you should never lose any changes.


Renaming/Moving/Deleting Maps

Renames and Moves on iOS are NOT replicated up to the cloud. A renamed map is considered to be a 'new' map and thus uploaded. The previous map (in the cloud) is then redownloaded - resulting in a duplicate. This is a technical limitation with the sync logic. It's best to rename/move files 'in the cloud' then let the iOS version sync those changes down.

To the iOS version, a cloud rename/move looks like the original file is deleted and a new file created - so if you rename a map on Dropbox that is currently open in iThoughts, then it'll warn you that the file has been moved to the trash (deleted.) A new map with the new name will then be downloaded.

If a map is deleted in the cloud then the corresponding map (on iOS) is moved to the trash. Maps can be recovered from the trash (so long as the trash has not been 'emptied')


Only Dropbox? (what about, GDrive, OneDrive, SugarSync etc. etc.)

Currently, only Dropbox and WebDAV supported. WebDAV is a 'standard' way to connect with remote file stores and many services either have a WebDAV interface or can be accessed via WebDAV through some kind of gateway - for example.

  • (see here)
  • Omni Sync Server (see here)
  • Google GDrive (via Pocket DAV - see here)


Why so complicated?

Once configured, the syncing should 'just work' (tm) however, I will concede that it can be daunting to configure initially. This is, in part, due to the flexibility of the sync logic.

  • Multiple Dropbox and/or WebDAV accounts are supported (home and work etc.)
  • Multiple file formats are supported - some syncing one way, others syncing both ways - simultaneously.
  • Multiple folders can be synced - to multiple accounts in multiple formats - simultaneously.



This is all quite complex. If you're not clear or if something strange has happened, then get in touch with me direct and I'll do what I can to help.