Manually update DEVONthink if it “crashes” on launch

macOS Sierra LogoYesterday DEVONthink began to no longer launch for some people. The issue is related to an expired Apple provisioning profile and already hit many other applications earlier this year. Apple now provides profiles with a longer life period. This doesn’t do away with the problem forever but at least delays its next occurrence.

If, for whatever reason, you didn’t update to the latest version the application is no longer accepted by macOS. Unfortunately, the operating system pulls the fuse already on the runway instead of showing a proper error message.

If your copy of DEVONthink no longer launches please visit our Download page and get a fresh archive for your edition of DEVONthink. Then trash the old application package on your computer (it’s usually located in your Applications folder) and replace it with the new one from the downloaded archive.

22 Responses to “Manually update DEVONthink if it “crashes” on launch”

  1. ROBERT M POTTER says:

    ERIC, AS IF WE DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH ON OUR PLATE TO WORRY ABOUT. I HAVE BEEN CRASHING FOR THE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS, BUT I HAVE NOT HAD TIME TO CONTACT Y’ALL ABOUT THE CRASHING. HOWEVER, AFTER READING YOUR NOTE AND SOLUTION, I HAVE ANOTHER WRINKLE TO ADD. FIRST I AM STILL RUNING EL CAPITAN VERSION 10.11.6 AND FOR SOME REASON THE LAST TWO UPDATES FOR DEVONTHINK PRO OFFICE I HAVE HAD TO INSTALL MANUALY, SO I AM CURRENTLY RUNNING 2.9.11 of Devonthink Pro Office ON THE OLD POWER MAC. So this is not just Sierra.
    Second, I have devonthink Pro office on my Mac Book Pro.
    El Capitan Version 10.11.06 and Devonthink Pro Office version 2.9.13 and have not had a crash on Boot yet. Also do I need to delete the Time Machine copy to keep this from being reintroduced Enjoy, Robert M. Potter

  2. @ Robert M. Potter: The “crash” was caused by an expired Apple provisioning profile. Nothing we could do here except for switching to an updated profile when Apple asks us. It happened to many other apps too.

    I’d definitely recommend to update to version 2.9.13 or 2.9.14. That’s why it didn’t happen on your MacBook Pro.

    Time Machine is not in the game here. When you updated your copy of DEVONthink Pro Office it’ll pick it up and add it to its archive.

  3. MB says:

    What do you mean by ‘get a fresh archive’ of your edition of the program. My devon think pro office will no longer open. Should I just download the new one off the downloads page, or is there something I need to archive FIRST? I have years of information in the program and it is my full professional work and I CAN NOT afford to lose it. I need to open this today to get to work asap. Please advise as soon as absolutely possible.

    Thank you.

  4. @ MB: Just replace your copy of the app with a new one. Your databases will not be affected as they are stored independently where you chose to store them.

  5. Yes, I have the same concern as MB — how do I get years of data back if your system fails for any reason ( developers on vacation so can’t quickly create new profile, company goes out of business, etc)

    I’ve realized from this minor (because it got solved quickly) issue that there’s a HUGE potential for data loss here.

    (I’m wondering if you should provide a version of your system that does NOT require a code signature. Obviously users would have to disable/adjust GateKeeper to allow it to run but it would remove a serious concern)

  6. @ David Jameson: That’s why we include functionality that you can use to export all your data as files-in-folders. You can also open the database packages manually and at least rescue all your files but you’d lose the group hierarchy. And unfortunately we have entered the time of App Stores and code signatures. This scenario hit many apps this time and we hope that Apple finds a way to make sure it doesn’t hit again.

  7. Understood but you don’t HAVE to have a code signature so you could optionally (as a backup approach) provide a means for users to run the app even if there’s a problem with Apple or App Store.

    It’s good to know that there’s a way to get at all the data manually but realistically, without the text search functionality made possible by the OCR of scanned documents, dealing with many thousands of documents manually would be a nightmare.

  8. Robin Kendon says:

    The issue of potential data loss if an app stops working (regardless of whether it has to do the with the system it runs on or whether the developer goes bust or for some other reason) is one that we should all keep in mind, always. For the same reasons I would also not have my only data backup online – the provider could go bust. Even paper archives can be destroyed – fire or water are two obvious causes. We don’t blame the paper suppliers…
    We should all make our own decisions and provisions for such eventualities – backups and redundant copies as needed – and by doing so make sure – as far as possible – that we are independent of the tools we use. And: we should avoid blaming the makers of those tools. It’s our data and it’s our responsibility to look after it.

    Sorry for moralising – I’m just being pragmatic.

    Thanks to DEVON for being transparent about the current problem (not of their making) and for suggesting solutions for it.

  9. micmac says:

    thanks for the fast answer and fix. Although it would be a mess if Devonthink would stop working for ever, now we know that our data is not lost, files are there. We would only loose Devonthink interface. Hope it will never happen though …

  10. Bob says:

    In your blog post you wrote that “Apple now provides profiles with a longer life period. ” What’s the expiration date of the latest profile?

  11. Dale Steele says:

    Hi,
    I was glad to get the instructions on how to proceed. I’ve downloaded and installed the new app after deleting the old one. The new app apparently doesn’t see my database and I’d like a little more guidance to be shared on how to proceed. I don’t want to make a misstep now.

    Thanks, Dale

  12. Dale Steele says:

    Oops, disregard last post. User error problem now resolved…

  13. Agam says:

    Thanks for the update, re-downloaded and it worked perfectly!

  14. cavenewt says:

    I’m still on Yosemite, and my Devonthink Pro Office stopped launching on that date. The new copy works fine. What about my other Devon apps? Same problem?

  15. @ cavenewt: Possibly, simply check by launching them. If they show the same symptoms, replace them with newer copies from our website.

  16. Gerold Porenta says:

    Manual update – SUPER retro, but it worked for me and saved my day. Thank you for the post – no more hassles for the next 18yrs then – unless Apple chances policies.

  17. Stephen Goodenough says:

    Thanks for this. I was thinking I was going mad when DevonThink Pro Office was simply not starting at all after I’d been away for a few weeks and not used it …. On downloading the new version I realise I must have missed a few updates – it would be useful to have the programme prompt to let one know that updates are available (like most other software does these days) or have I missed that somewhere?

  18. @ Stephen Goodenough: It should do so when you allow it to check for updates (in Preferences > Update).

  19. Robert Leventhal says:

    I was wondering, if one were to turn off Gatekeeper, will a program with an expired certificate launch. I understand the risks involved, but in an emergency, would this be a way to launch a program and export the data?

  20. @ Robert Leventhal: Unfortunately no. macOS Sierra doesn’t even attempt to launch an app with expired certificate, regardless of your settings.

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