Overview

Syncing across devices

Actual is a local app and all of your data is stored locally. That means you can use Actual without a network connection, the app is super fast, and you own your data.

We provide seamless syncing across devices so that you can use your data from anywhere. You get the benefits of the cloud without paying the cost of unreliable network connections and relying on servers being available.

To enable syncing across devices, we upload your data to the cloud. We call them cloud files. When stored, it is always encrypted with bank-level 256-bit AES encryption so unauthorized access would not be able to read it. On top of that, we provide optional end-to-end encryption if you want additional security. If end-to-end encryption is enabled, we can't even read your data.

Cloud files also provide a natural backup of your data. If you lost all of your devices you would still be able to login and download your data.

Using a file on multiple devices

If you are logged in, creating a new file will automatically make it a cloud file. On any device, when you log in you will see that file available for download.

In the above image, "Personal" is a file available for download. The status of a file is indicated by the icon, and you can get more details by clicking the icon. It will indicate if it's successfully syncing, and if not provide actions to fix it.

End-to-end encryption

While your data is fully encrypted at rest and in transit on our servers, we have the keys and are still able to read your data. End-to-end encryption offers the ability for you to generate a key based on a password and encrypt it so that we can't even read it. Before your data leaves your device, it is encrypted using keys only you have.

This guarantees that only you will ever have access to your data. This is optional and using it requires you to enter a password whenever downloading cloud files (this only needs to be done once per device).

Data on your local device is still unencrypted. We recommend full disk encryption if you are interested in local encryption.

Note: we are still working on fully implementing end-to-end encryption and certain changes are still transmitted without being encrypted with your key. This is a new feature as of version 0.0.109 and will be improved.

Setting up end-to-end encryption

You can enable end-to-end encryption by clicking "enable encryption" in the file manager or by going into the Global tab of the settings and clicking "enable encryption" in the Privacy section.

Create a password and all of your files will be encrypted using the key generated from it.

Resetting your password-based key

Since local data is unencrypted, if you forget your password you can generate a new key as long as you have a copy of your files on one device. On that device, open the settings and in the Global tab and click "change key password".

Enter a new password and all of your files will be re-uploaded encrypted with your new key.

Migrating old files to cloud files

Cloud files, introduced in version 0.0.109, are a new way to set up syncing across devices. Older files are not automatically converted to cloud files, and while they will still see changes from any devices, it is recommend to update them to be cloud files.

To do this, you need to set up syncing again. Make sure the file is up-to-date on all devices, and on one device upload the file to make it a cloud file. The new system will treat the file as a local file and will show this icon: . Click on the icon and you'll have the chance to upload it to the new system..

On all other devices, re-download the file as a cloud file. You will need to delete the existing file first. If you don't, downloading will fail as the file already exists.

Troubleshooting

If you are having trouble getting files to be fully in sync, you can reset syncing under Advanced in settings. This will wipe the sync state clean and each device will need to re-download the file. You shouldn't have to ever do this.

If you are having problems with syncing, please contact us!