"Lazy" loading (load on demand) of the vault to improve mobile startup time for large vaults

Slow loading of large vaults on mobile devices

Loading time for large vaults on mobile devices is slow.

Proposed solution

Implement “lazy” loading (load on demand) of the vault. Using this approach, pages or folders would only be loaded when they are required. Have seen the strategy work well on a number of products.

Current workaround (optional)

  • Only sync a subset of the vault to the mobile device
  • Sync markdown notes only - don’t sync attachements
  • Use another app (iAWriter) that only loads a single note at a time
10 Likes

How would the app know about links to existing notes and files, as well as populate unlinked mentions?

1 Like

It could load these when the note is opened?

The first level of loading might be to display file and folder names in the file explorer. Links could be resolved when a file was opened.

I know that would mean that features such as graph view would not work but I question their value on a mobile device. Also understand the attraction of a single app across all devices but as it stands Obsidian is unusable for me with 5000+ notes and attachments so I will be need to use iAWriter, with no recognition of links, anyway.

2 Likes

Indeed. Users who don’t require graph view on mobile should at least have the option. Speed of opening the app would seem to be a much higher priority to me, regardless.

For me the mobile app is practically unusable. With ~4k items (500MB attachments) opening the app on a Samsung S20 takes forever 1-2min. On the phone I only need to view my notes. I am considering keeping a full copy of the vault imported to Joplin just for that purpose… That cannot be the final solution though.

I second this. A workaround could be to store all the attachments outside of the vault, so they’re not synced, and use absolute links for them, maybe with the help of a plugin like “Better File Link” to speed up the process.

I use Obsidian almost exclusively on my iPad. I also use graph view—occasionally (and it’s quite useful). But the fix here is easy—if graph view is visible, then load everything. Otherwise don’t. Alternately, load what is needed immediately, then load everything else slowly in the background.

2 Likes

I have this problem with my archive of 25k+ files. I have periodically tried mobile, but I don’t even think I’ve seen my vault open. My current workaround is the same as what you note - on mobile, I just use a completely different application (MdNotes).

I also tried smaller sub-vaults for mobile, but even with a few thousand files it slows to a crawl.

1 Like

Even as my use of Obsidian grows daily, I am still finding Obsidian mobile totally unusable.

But… having said that, the fact that the vault consists of folders of markdown files means there are alternative solutions.

One of the most common use cases for mobile, is to take a quick note. iAWriter (other markdown editors as well) is ideal for this. If I want to save an image to the vault I simply download it and copy to the vault. I can share (Android) URLs to my file manger and they will be stored in text files that can be later renamed as markdown files. Otter (https://otter.ai/) works well for voice to text and its its files can be exported to iAWriter and saved as markdown files. As a heavy user of the Excalidraw plugin, being forced to use Squid (https://www.squidnotes.com/) for sketches is far from ideal, but at least I can share sketches to the vault as .pdfs or .pngs. The web version of Excalidraw is another possibility but seems too much fiddling around to save and import into the Excalidraw plugin.

For me this hybrid solution works well and I am close to uninstalling Obsidian mobile.

I know Joplin is another option that would leverage markdown, but seems too much effort to learn two note taking apps, especially when I already have all the other apps I mentioned.

Fortunately, there is a Llinux (as opposed to Android) option for ChromeOS. I installed Obsidian using Flatpak/Flathub and it works really well. This might be an option for those wanting to use Obsidian on a tablet. But pay attention to the Chromebook spec, mine is an i7 with generous RAM and the performance is very acceptable.

3 Likes

At what point does it start to noticeably slow down? With 1K files it is 1-2 seconds on iOS for me and other than some quirks with the editing it works great. Wondering for future planning purposes.

My 3,700 files take 1-2 seconds on iOS (iPhone SE 2020), so you’ve got some breathing room. I have Graph View disabled, but I don’t know if that matters when you’re not viewing the graph.

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.