How to sync a specific folder in macOS

Hi All, I’m very new to Syncthing (about 30min). I have ,for me, what seems to be a simple question. I have watched a video on YouTube and have set things up on two Macs on a local network. Unfortunately, the video just showed creating a new folder and adding files into it, and, as if by magic it appeared on the other computer. However, what I would like to do is sync an existing folder on one Mac to the other Mac and I can’t seem to get the folder to be shared. What have I failed to do? My installation was done using the .dmg file and all went well. I then selected add new folder, which I did but the label just says “Unshared”. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Kindest regards Jeremy

What video are you referring to specifically?

I’d suggest checking first, and if you prefer video content, then there is also

Hi tmasz, Here is the link to the video

Hi tomasz, Thanks for your help. I think I’ve sorted it out. I missed the crosslinking check boxes in the advanced section when adding the new folder. So far it seems to be working. However, what I’m trying to do is a bit risky. I want to be able to access my email via Thunderbird on both Macs, which is normally not possible due to Thunderbird not supporting two machines logging in to the same profile at the same time. So I figured why not just duplicate the profile on each machine and then sync them using Syncthing. It will either work or fail possibly by ending up which duplicate messages, but, with luck Syncthing may not be aware of how the files got there and won’t copy them back. Or something Like that. I shall investigate later by comparing the messages when I get the Macs side by side. Once again thanks for your help. Kindest regards Jeremy

I can tell you right now that this isn’t going to work. If you open the same profile on different devices at the same time, you’re basically bound to end up with conflicts. The only way for such a synchronisation to work would be to completely close Thunderbird on the first machine and let everything sync first, and only then open it on the second device, and vice versa.

You could theoretically sync only your local e-mail account folder (when using POP3), but Thunderbird doesn’t support that either. Mainly, it’s incapable of detecting changes that happen on the disk while the program is still open. It needs to be closed and re-opened in order to do so (or you could use the “repair folder” button, which is still too cumbersome to be practical).

You can also check my older thread about the very same problem at

Hi tomasz, In a way that’s really the way I want to use it. What I don’t want is to have go to one machine to check or send emails, I want to do that on the one I’m working on a the time. I never keep Thunderbird open all the time so as long as the syncing is eventually sorted out, then that’s okay. Anyway, I’ve never wanted to use Thunderbird on two machines simultaniously. My arms aren’t long enough. Regards Jeremy

Yeah, that should work, although it’s not really that much different from just using the profile located on the network drive :wink:.

If you do decide to head this route though, I’d still suggest to sync only the emails, and not the whole profile, just to reduce the scope of possible breakage. Also, having a proper backup is a must in this case.

OffTopic: Maybe stating the obvious, but anyway: Switch to IMAP and you don’t need to sync at all. And you don’t have to shut down Thunderbird on any computer anytime.

Hi Martin, I do use IMAP I just don’t like leaving loads of emails on the server. I’m just strange like that.

Hi Tomasz, First backup is handled by Carbon Copy Cloner, so I’ve got that covered. Secondly, is it possible to not have auto syncing but only do it manually? if that is possible then that would be a perfect solution. Check emails on one computer then terminate thunderbird followed by a sync, and vice versa. In that way there would never be a situation where either computer was out of sync and there would be no possibility of creating conflicts (which I have already managed to do). Regards Jeremy

Yes, you should be able to achieve this by keeping the folder paused, and then unpausing only when you want the synchronisation to happen.

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