Quicken on my Macs - Data on iCloud

vernea
vernea Member ✭✭
I have Quicken installed on my iMac, but would also like to use it on my MacBook Pro when I'm away from my desk.

Has Quicken evolved to the point where I can store my data in iCloud yet?

I *think* there was a problem with doing this in the past, but am not sure if that's still a problem.

This would allow me to use my iMac at home (with superior screen real estate) or have full quicken with all my data on the road.

If this isn't possible, I'd like to propose it as a possibility for future versions of the software.
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  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    It's not supported as a solution because odd problems invariably develop. The issue is that a database like Quicken writes records to the database, which updates various indexes, in a way that doesn't mesh well with how a cloud sync service like iCloud (or Dropbox) tries to sync blocks of data from a file. I just don't know if there's any easy way they can change the record and file locking of the database to make it work cleanly with a cloud sync service.

    That said, you're clearly not the only person who wants to use Quicken on more than one computer, and with just a little work, it's quite feasible to do. They key is to have a location on your Mac which is not synced with iCloud here you can temporarily place your Quicken data file 

    What you'll want to do is move only a compressed copy of the data file between your local hard drive and a location which is stored on iCloud. (A safe location on your hard drive would be to put your Quicken folder inside your User Home folder (the same folder which holds Pictures, Music, Desktop, Documents, etc._ A compressed file is either (a) one you create by selecting the file in the Finder and doing File > Compress, creating a .zip file, or (b) a backup file created by Quicken, which ends in .quickenbackup. (Why? A Quicken data file is actually not a single file; it's a Mac "package" file, which is a wrapper around a collection of files and folders to make it appear to users like a single file. Control-click on your data file and select "Show Package Contents" if you want to peek inside the wrapper. Every Mac user account has a unique User ID number, and when you move files and folders around, permissions can be changed -- the result of which can be getting locked out of your data. Moving a compressed file and opening it on a different Mac will not  result in permission problems.) 

    This may sound like a pain, but it really needn't be. After each time you use Quicken, move your backup or compressed file to a location on iCloud or synced with iCloud (such as your Documents folder, if you've enabled iCloud to store your Desktop and Documents folders on iCloud). The next time, and every time, you use Quicken on either computer, you'll simply drag this compressed copy of the data file to the location on your local hard drive. Use the data file, quit Quicken, and again save the compressed file back to the same iCloud location. As long as you always start from the same location and replace a file to the same location -- which takes just a few extra seconds -- you will always be assured of working on the most current file and not having permission problems, no matter which computer you're using. 

    You can simplify this further by setting your Quicken backup location to a folder which is stored on iCloud. (For instance, in a Quicken Backups folder in your Documents folder, if Documents is stored on iCloud.) Saving a backup to iCloud is not a problem — only trying to use a live file stored on iCloud is a problem. So every time you quit Quicken, it creates a backup in a location both computers can access on iCloud. The only manual step is that to start your next Quicken session, from either computer, you need to drag the backup file from the iCloud folder to your local hard drive and double-click it to launch it. When you quit Quicken, a new backup is created in the same place on iCloud. (You also have to delete the working copy from your local hard drive, and make sure you always grab the most recent backup file on iCloud.) so this way, you're only manually drag-copying it to your hard drive to start using Quicken, and the return copy happens automatically when you quite Quicken.

    I know the need to move your data file back and forth may seem a bit daunting. But once you set-up a system that works for you and get the workflow worked out, I think you'll find you can make this work spending only a few extra seconds each time you use Quicken. 
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • vernea
    vernea Member ✭✭
    I would be perfectly happy to have Quicken do the mechanics for me - pick the compressed file off iCloud (or some other network location), uncompress it to a local hard drive, work with the file, and compress it back to iCloud on quit.

    It might take a little longer, but at today's network speeds the transfer would be negligible.

    I regularly back up a compressed password protected zip file first to a Thunderbolt Drobo 8D, then to a network connected Synology Disk Station. The zip file is about the same size as a quickenbackup file - about 9.1 MB.

    Alternately, can a Quicken data file - I guess it's actually a directory - live on an SMB or AFP connected network share? I guess I could activate an OpenVPN connection and reach out to my home network through the internet from my MacBook Pro.
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    vernea said:
    I would be perfectly happy to have Quicken do the mechanics for me - pick the compressed file off iCloud (or some other network location), uncompress it to a local hard drive, work with the file, and compress it back to iCloud on quit.
    That sounds like a feasible way they could approach it. But for now, no such functionality exists.

    vernea said:
    Alternately, can a Quicken data file - I guess it's actually a directory - live on an SMB or AFP connected network share? I guess I could activate an OpenVPN connection and reach out to my home network through the internet from my MacBook Pro.
    It's again not recommended or supported. From my experience reading this website, some users do it and have problems immediately, and some users have no problems for awhile and then suddenly do.

    Here's what's posted on the Quicken website:

    We don't recommend sharing or attempting to sync Quicken data files between computers on a network, as this may lead to data file damage.  We also strongly advise against installing Quicken on a network. Quicken is not designed to be used over a network or shared drive.

    Quicken incrementally saves your data as it's entered. Saving Quicken data files locally (directly on your computer's hard drive), and not over a network, decreases the risk of data loss. Network instability or the use of a single data file by multiple people at the same time will often lead to data integrity issues. Due to the many possible network configurations, Quicken doesn't offer technical assistance for this type of configuration.


    In my opinion, your Quicken data isn't worth putting at any risk to save a few seconds. You can create an alias your network location or iCloud location so that you can get to and copy your compressed data file to your local Mac in just a few seconds. Why temp the fates when there's such an easy alternative to keep your data safe?

    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993
  • Gilles9
    Gilles9 Mac Beta Beta
    @jacobs

    If the fil eis encrypted ( using Password in Quicken ) is it the same as "compressed" so it could be use with iCloud or Dropbox to store the data file ?
  • jacobs
    jacobs SuperUser, Mac Beta Beta
    No, not to my knowledge. Using cloud or network storage is not supported or recommended, as discussed above.
    Quicken Mac Subscription • Quicken user since 1993