Restore with Access to DB Shards but no Sync Key


I have been tasked with restoring a family members database after they lost their phone. Happily they have backed up to dropbox, I have access to the DB shards, but am unable to re-sync the phone without access to sync keys. They have their master password but seem to not have their sync key.

Given I have access to the physical DB shards in drop box, how can I manually “Sync” the database over, that is copy it across? Forgive the question but having checked the documentation I was non the wiser,

Thank you

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Hi @lkjh

Thank you for your support of Codebook and for posting to the discussion forum.

Your family member’s Codebook Sync Key is used to encrypt their synced data. Their synced Codebook data in Dropbox is encrypted with the previous Sync Key (the one on their previous phone before they lost it). When they first created your Codebook Sync Key, they were prompted to choose a backup option to backup your Sync Key (either printing out a backup Sync Key QR Code or writing down a Sync Key Word List). Do they have a backup if their Sync Key? If so, this could be used to import into the new phone and restore their previous data.

If they don’t have a copy of their previous Sync Key, do they happen to have a backup of their phone from before they lost it (i.e. iCloud, iTunes, etc)?

One last thing I’d like you to check: Login to the family member’s Dropbox account via a web browser and see if there is a strip.db file present in the Zetetic folder or in the trash of Dropbox. This would be a legacy encrypted Codebook database which may be quite old, but may potentially contain some of their data.

Some links about the Sync Key:

Sync Key: Codebook Help - Sync Key
Backup Sync Key: Codebook Help - Backup Your Sync Key

Let me know if you’re able to locate a backup if your Family member’s Sync Key, if they have a backup if their old phone, or if you’re able to locate a legacy strip.db in their Dropbox account.


As an update, the backup from iCloud wasn’t successful so all was riding on, your genius idea incidentally of, finding a deleted old strip.db database in Dropbox. Alas this was not to be as nothing was available. Thank you for the suggestion as that was an avenue I had not considered. It would have been perfect for it to have come off but in the end we had to admit defeat. What saved us was my family member could remember the key passwords, making setting them up again from scratch in CodeBook possible.

To improve the availability of data for future I implemented the following,

  1. I hold the backed up sync key for the family member not them
  2. I bought an iPad for them and installed Codebook on it. Now there are two physical devices with the database for them to use. Where the iPad “Never leaves the home” and “It should never accompany the iPhone”. In doing so the family member has redundancy should the iPhone get lost
  3. I spent the best part of a weekend demonstrating, syncing via drop box the database between the iPad and iPhone repeatedly so point 2 remains credible

Thank you for offering your advice. For others on the forum, I felt a bit green when I realised the extent of potential data loss. Do yourself a favour and backup your sync key, even if my never again strategy above is too paranoid for you,

Thank you