Access sub-folder vault on mobile (added workaround with aliases on Mac)

What I’m trying to do

Open a vault on iOS/iPadOS that is a sub-folder of a bigger vault.

My normal vault includes some big files that have made working on mobile impossible. The Obsidian app will crash or freeze constantly. This doesn’t happen when I open a test vault that only has a few files. This vault and my experiments are located under “iCloud Drive>Obsidian>[my vault name]”

Things I have tried

I tested making a new vault on my desktop and splitting it into a folder with big media files and a folder for the rest of my notes. The idea here is I can still interact with and link to these big files on desktop but I won’t have to load them on mobile. Except… when I tried to test this out, I couldn’t find an option to open a vault that is a sub-folder within my iCloud Obsidian folder. I only see an option to open the new vault I just made, opening my usual vault, or creating a new vault. Old and new vault both crash since they both have large files.

I’ve read a few other threads and I’m not sure there’s a fix (feature request from July '21, “lazy loading” suggestion could work in future?). The solution to open files in iOS Files app to force them to be indexed and show up in Obsidian might not apply here? At least it didn’t help me and I think this was for a top level folder, not a sub folder.

Next Steps

Am I missing something to open a sub-folder as a vault? I’ll be honest, today isn’t an amazing day for me so if there’s a solution I’ve missed, sorry!

Or do I need to consider another application that would help me link to files on my machine that live outside my vault folder? I’m only vaguely aware that these programs exist.

Is there a way to link to a file outside my vault and when I click the link in my note, the file will open in the right application? On desktop, this works just fine if I link to a video file inside my vault for example. Clicking the link will open it in my default image viewing app or it’ll render inside Obsidian. Yes, use markdown link and drop in file path: [](<file:>)

Ok, after reading a ton more threads here and deciding I can’t afford Hook, I have found a possibly stupid workaround: Creating Aliases to files and folders on my MacBook.

I did a bunch of testing and put some notes together to share. I’ve had no issue dropping aliases into my vault folder and clicking links to open Finder windows or other programs.

On mobile, if I try to use one of these links I’m prompted to share a little file. So nothing crazy happens. Mobile screenshot

I do access some of these media files on mobile through other apps. Using aliases in Obsidian means I don’t have to move any folders around, everything is still in iCloud where I want it, I just won’t have every piece of content I ever touch living in one giant Obsidian vault (probably for the best). If there’s some reason this is a terrible solution because of something I don’t know, please tell me!

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