Does using symbolic links reduce Obsidian Sync usage?

I’m using Obsidian Sync to sync my markdown notes which connect between annotated literature notes (a massive stash of annotated pdfs) between devices.

In my local vault which I merged into the remote vault, I was using a symbolic link to a google drive folder full of the PDFs.

I’ve heard that Obsidian Sync has a limit of ~5GB per vault, so I was wondering whether all of the pdf individual file sizes were contributing to this (which means I could be near the limit already) or whether the fact I was using symbolic links meant just the links were being synced and therefore nowhere near?

A user on Discord last year says, “I experimented a bit with symlinks, and while they appear to work well on a single Mac, or with a Dropbox folder synced between two Macs that have exactly the same drive/path names, Obsidian sync does not sync the symlinked files.”

A message in the mods-only area of Discord from 2021 says Sync “treats them exactly like the vault treats them”; I’m not sure what that means.

Also, the limit is 10 GB.

At the moment I’m just using symlinks to link my remote vault (stored in Google Drive) to my GoodNotes backup folder (also stored in Google Drive). It seems to work well on both my mac and iphone, I’m just wondering whether it’s eating up loads of storage

To be clear, are you using Obsidian Sync, the subscription service, or or you just referring to your sync system for Obsidian (apparently asked on Google Drive)?

If you’re not using the service, the limit doesn’t apply.

If you are, storing your vault in another sync service can cause duplication and data loss (if it’s only connected to the other service on 1 device as a sort of backup, that’s OK). And remote vaults are connection points that only live on the Obsidian Sync servers — you don’t access them directly and they can’t be stored elsewhere.

Yes I am using Obsidian Sync.

I’m just storing the vault in another sync service as a backup yes, I’m not modifying it directly through Google drive. I’m only accessing it through obsidian on my macbook or iphone.

I think the other advantage to using Google drive is that I can use a symbolic link to include GoodNotes within my Obsidian vault folder whilst the backups are actually to a separate folder (the folder my GoodNotes app backs up to on Google drive) via ./GoodNotes → …/Goodnotes/.

However, my actual question just boils down to, on the Obsidian sync servers, are these symbolic links being stored as tiny link files, or as the full pdfs? Also is there anyway to tell how much Obsidian sync server space you are using up to see if you are near the 10gb limit?

(Assuming your vault is only in Google Drive on your Mac, because you can’t do it on iPhone without extra help, and I’m not sure you can symlink there either.)

Do the symlinked files show up on your iPhone (like, can you open those PDFs in your vault on your iPhone)? If so, Sync is copying the actual files across. If Sync isn’t copying the actual files, they won’t appear as usable PDFs in your vault on the iPhone.

Yep I can see the actual PDFs on my iPhone. Okay that makes sense then, Thanks!

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