All My Obsidian Files Are Now Blank

I’ve been using Obsidian for two years+. I just opened my vault and all of my files are completely blank — as if I haven’t written anything to the body of the files, just title pages.

I’m at a complete loss. I thought this is why markdown is so great. It keeps separate files that are always retrievable. I’m confused as to what happened and how to fix it.

Please help.

What I’m trying to do

Things I have tried

Take a deep breath.

For something like this, we’re going to need a lot more information before folks can start to help.

  • What’s your OS? (e.g. macOS 13.4)
  • What version of Obsidian are you using (Settings > About in Obsidian)
  • Where did you keep your vault? (e.g. in Documents? on the Desktop?) Can you remember? If not, in Obsidian’s vault switcher, the path (location) of your vault will be shown next to the vault(s) name.

  • Do you have/keep backups of your main drive where the vault is?
  • Do you use any sync services (e.g. Google Drive, iCloud, etc., where your vault might be?)

That can hopefully get us started.

1 Like

Have you looked at any of the files with a plain text editor or the Preview app? Were the files intact when you did this?

Ok great. Taking a deep breath. Answering the questions below.

MacOS = 10.12.5

Obsidian = 1.3.4

And I keep my vault on Dropbox.

I don’t keep backups as much as I should.

It does appear that when I open some files in TextEdit, the content appears. Thankfully.

But not for every file. That said, there are some files I have created that just have titles and no content — as I have previously created the file, but haven’t added any details/notes to it.

Just to add:

  • there is version history on obsidian, check there, there’s a big chance all your files bodies are there.
  • your Mac create by default backups, even if Time Machine is disabled. Search on internet where to find the location of these snapshot, navigate to one snapshot somewhat recent and retrieve your files. It should be somewhat buried in the library.
  • another way, with Preview app there’s file-> version history (or it’s edit-> version history) I don’t remember well, but it’s there. I bet on text edit there should be the same option.

Lastly, I know this isn’t any helpful but take it as a lesson for the future… always do backup, cloud services is not equal to backup because corruption/overwriting can always happen. Buy yourself an external hd and do a weekly backup with Time Machine, or leave the external hd always attached.

Hope any of these hints may help and you will retrieve your files, good luck fella

It’s hard to say what happened. It might be something a plugin did. It might be something to do with Dropbox. This isn’t a Markdown issue.

  • Check your Dropbox settings. Make sure you have your vault folder to be available offline. If you have it set to “online-only”, it might cause issues.
  • Would you run the Obsidian command “Show Debug Info” and show the results here? There might be a clue in the community plugins you use.

@ironhak I’ve never heard of this. Can you explain what you mean? What are you proposing people search for?

  • Obsidian does have snapshots. In the “File Recovery” default plugin.
  • “Version History” will be found in your Dropbox folder, in the “Finder” app, not the “Preview” app. That’s not a MacOS thing. It’s a Dropbox thing.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

As hypothised the command is also present on TextEdit: (here’s greyed out because I just created the file)

Regarding the automatic macos temporary backup, it’s something designed not to be disabled by the user and it’s basically the system allocating some free space to the creation of recent snapshot of the system.

This is what I’m talking about: About Time Machine local snapshots - Apple Support
I remember some years ago I was not doing backups and my internal macbook HD was full of these snapshot that I did not wanted… I don’t know if new macos versions has modified it, and I can’t really give any input because:

  1. I’m on an older macOS version.
  2. I have an external hd always plugged in as Time Machine so my system does not create these snapshots.

You mentioned you have your files in Dropbox.

Dropbox offers the ability to “rewind” a folder and all its contents to a previous point in the last 30 days. You can get to this by visiting the folder in the website, and in the right-hand tab clicking “Activity” and then the “rewind” button:


I hope this is helpful in getting your files back!




The good news is that the files do seem to open in text edit and appear to have all contents. I would just like to have it all working in obsidian as it previously did. Would delete 1.3.7 and downloading 1.3.4 work for me?

Here is the “Show Debug Info” requested.

Obsidian version: v1.3.7
Installer version: v1.3.4
Operating system: Darwin Kernel Version 21.6.0: Sat Jun 18 17:07:28 PDT 2022; root:xnu-8020.140.41~1/RELEASE_ARM64_T8110 21.6.0
Login status: logged in
Catalyst license: none
Insider build toggle: off
Live preview: on
Legacy editor: off
Base theme: dark
Community theme: none
Snippets enabled: 0
Restricted mode: on


This didn’t work @Siiraa

What about this, suggested above?

I think this was the trick @rigmarole

Thank you for the replies and for helping me solve the problem…and everyone else who weighed in previously.

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