Sync errors

When an error happens, unless it is due to the source or the destination being disconnected, the sync will try to continue until the end.

A common source of errors are hidden system directories like “.DocumentRevisions-V100”, “.Spotlight-V100”, “.TemporaryItems” or “.Trashes”. These directories are usually located at the root of a device or in your home directory. If the error is happening on the source, it usually means that you’re trying to backup the entire filesystem (which includes system directories like /Library or /System that usually don’t hold personal data) or your entire home directory. SyncTime doesn’t have enough privileges to access system directories and is not designed to do a full volume backup; it is recommended that you only backup selected directories inside your home directory. If you still think that you need to backup directories containing one of those system items, you can either exclude hidden files or manually select the system items in the Filter tab of the sync item’s settings. If, on the other side, the error is happening on the destination, it usually means that the destination is the root of an external device: in this case, in order to avoid those system created files, you can create an empty directory on the root of the external device to use as the destination.

Another source of errors can be missing permissions for files like your Photos library, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders and user directories like Desktop, Documents and Downloads. When trying to access one of these locations, you should get a system alert asking for permission. In case you denied any of them, you can enable them in the System Settings under Security and Privacy > Privacy. It is discouraged to sync the Library directory located in your home folder because it contains data managed by the system which often requires special permissions. If necessary, you can add the Library directory to the Filter tab of the sync item’s settings. (Note that this directory is hidden in the Finder by default. You can navigate to it in the Open panel by pressing the keyboard shortcut Command-Shift-G, which also works in the Finder, and which will open a dialog that allows you to manually enter a path to navigate to.)

Two-way syncs can produce a size mismatch error when files with equal modification dates have different sizes; the problem here is that it cannot be determined which file should overwrite the other. “.DS_STORE” files can cause this error when the same folder inside the source and the destination is opened in two Finder windows, in which case they should probably be excluded from the sync (see Filter files).

It is always recommended to have a look at the error log, which can be opened by clicking the error badge that appears on the right side of the sync item, or from the context menu. The error log provides information about which files caused the error. Particularly for two-way sync items, it is strongly recommended to sync again by carefully going through the confirmation dialog and making sure that no unique file is going to be copied or removed because of the previous error.

When you sync to another computer, such as a network attached storage (NAS), it can happen that the modification date of a copied file is reset by the destination operating system, which may cause subsequent syncs to report that the file still needs to be synced. In the past, making sure that the network volume has both SMB and AFP services enabled and it is mounted with the same username as the account that you’re currently using on your Mac has solved the problem.