iCloud Drive iOS and MacOS Sync Inconsistencies - Serious

Things I have tried

I recently needed to disable iCloud Drive on macOS (12.3) to resolve a sync issue with Drafts. I then restored my Obsidian set up—14.2 macOS and 1.2.0 (50) iOS—and followed Obsidian iOS sync instructions.

I have not found this exact issue in the forums.

What I’m trying to do

Establish accurate, trustworthy iOS and macOS syncing using iCloud Drive.

Now, here is the sync pattern:

  1. Create new note in macOS. Syncs immediately to iOS.
  2. Edit note in iOS. This does not syncing back to macOS.
  3. If I edit same note in macOS, new content syncs immediately back to iOS but now iOS note has
  • original note content
  • edited iOS content
  • newly edited macOS content

whereas macOS note has only:

  • original content
  • newly edited macOS content
  1. Deleting this note from iOS first does sync and note is then deleted from macOS.
  2. Similarly, deleting this note on macOS first also deletes iOS note.
  3. Create new note in iOS. This does not sync to macOS.

So:

  • New notes and added content to existing notes are not syncing iOS > macOS.
  • But they are macOS > iOS.
  • Note deletion occurs in both directions, but again this can only be tested and confirmed with notes originally created in macOS since notes created first in iOS aren’t syncing to macOS.

Please help as now I can’t use mobile app due to inconsistencies. With gratitude,

-John

I couldn’t edit my own post. Additional info:

In iOS Settings > About > Advanced I set .mobile vs. .obsidian as config folder.

Did you have iCloud syncing already working before you took those steps: 1. Disabling the iCloud account. 2. Setting iCloud sync back up. 3. Changing the config folder.

Did you make the same change to the MacOS Obsidian, to set the config to .mobile? (Please backup first!)

I honestly have no idea. I’ve not tried overriding the config file. But I imagine they must match for it to work.

Also, I don’t trust iCloud at all, just for my personal two cents. Make sure you’re backing up somewhere else too.

Thanks for your reply. Obsidian syncing with iCloud was working prior. I definitely want different config files on macOS and iOS since not all of the macOS plugins, etc. are supported on iOS. This way, changing something on iOS, theme, plugin, etc. isn’t mirrored on macOS.

I’m not disagreeing with you, but as long as I’ve been using it, I have only had one sync issue with iCloud, mentioned above (delay vs not syncing) and Drafts developer had seen something similar with 12.3 update, so he suggested I try disabling/re-enabling iCloud Drive. It fixed the delay. When I then setup Obsidian again, I did a couple manual copies in Finder. For example, archived iCloud Drive Obsidian vaults copied to now active iCloud Drive > Obsidian directory (created in iCloud Drive when setting up sync on mobile), etc.

Not sure if this helps. Thanks again.

Unfortunately, the behavior you describe is kind of typical iCloud behavior. Many times sync is nearly instant. And it sounds like you’ve been lucky. But randomly, sync will lag, even in one direction. If you wait some indeterminate amount of time on order of 10 minutes, the changes on one device usually eventually show up. :man_shrugging:

(moving conversation from the Obsidian sync discord channel to here as this is off-topic in that channel)

Sync fron macOS to iOS is immediate—real time practically. iOS to macOS doesn’t happen at all . I created a test note last night on macOS, it syned immediately to iOS. I then added content on iOS and it hadn’t synced to macOS by this morning. If iCloud only, wouldn’t sync issues happen in both directions? Thanks. Next steps?

Honestly not sure. I would try starting fresh with your iCloud setup again.

  1. make a backup of everything
  2. delete the Obsidian sync folder on your Mac
  3. turn off iCloud sync for Obsidian on your Mac
  4. delete obsidian from your phone
  5. try setting everything up again. Sync your notes across devices

iCloud is kind of a black box. At this point I would nuke everything and start over.

Okay. This might push me to Obsidian sync. Related, if Obsidian directory exists in iCloud Drive with vaults therein, why can’t mobile app just point to a vault for sync vs. create new, copy files from former to new vault, etc? Grateful.

Agreed it should work. But as something seems broken with your setup, sometimes nuking and starting fresh is the fastest way to get things working. There’s nothing we can do to troubleshoot your setup as-is.

@pmbauer Grateful. Just so I understand Discord, why is my sync question off-topic in the obsidian-sync channel? Thanks.

The #obsidian-sync discord channel is dedicated to answering questions about the Obsidian sync product and not general sync questions. Just search back through the channel history and you will see this brought up many many times.

Truly sorry. I think my error, however, is understandable. Just adding “service” to the channel description might help.

Ask about the Obsidian Sync service and troubleshoot your setup.

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