Make Obsidian Sync work in background (on Mobile)

I’m aware of this, but I paid for Obsidian Sync for a reason. It is seamlessly integrated, works well, and has version history.

“Set up and use a completely different sync system” certainly does not address or excuse the poor UX at hand, and sync is only half of the problem of mobile usability.

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I know it might be difficult to set up Sync to work in background, but what about increasing the speed of syncing? I think there should be a way to make the process work faster…

Apologies if this was mentioned already, but I’m surprised Obsidian Sync isn’t requesting to use iOS native “Background App Refresh” access to accomplish this. See for example that Obsidian doesn’t request this:

Whereas similar apps like Evernote do:

This isn’t bulletproof (iOS still algorithmically allows background access based on how often the app is used, battery impact and various other factors) but it’s the “right” way to do it on iOS.

I can’t speak to Android but I believe it offers similar APIs.

I’m not sure what underlying development platform obsidian is using but React Native offers this with APIs like react-native-background-fetch (react-native-background-fetch - npm) to do this.

Evernote is also a cross-platform mobile app, I believe written in React Native.

So I believe iOS offers some opportunity for this to be implemented for Obsidian Sync in a “native” way. This would apply to iCloud Drive sync which, as mentioned, handles background already at the iOS level.


Since it takes so long to sync it ends up causing conflicts so i just end up stop using sync.

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Could you elaborate on what you mean by and how to put in picture in picture mode, and slide it off screen?

I saw that your question was answered in this thread but for others interested that have an iPhone:

  • you embed a video that you have in your vault into a note
  • tap play
  • in the top left, next to the “X”, is the “picture in picture” button. Tap it.
  • slide the video to the right. It will disappear, and a thin ‘stripe’ remains, indicating that there is a video off screen.
    This trick won’t prevent iOS from killing Obsidian but it might keep it open a bit longer.

More reliable than the video trick is to play a many hours long silent mp3 file inside of Obsidian. PM me if you’d like a 6hours long silent mp3 file.

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I haven’t seen @Gremlin15 's suggestion from the first post addressed anywhere in this thread:

“Expose an intent/activity, which I could then hook into using Tasker. So I would implement my own cron job with Tasker that would just use the hook.”

I’m struggling with sync on Android, and adding the intent would be so useful to be able to initiate a sync ourselves on a schedule.

Nice. And hilarious. The iPhone is 15 years old and we have to resort to these tricks. SMH

+1. This is super important for me as well. I have a number of Shortcuts I run from both iOS and macOS that write directly to my vault files (Inbox tasks, health tracking, quick journal add, etc). Obviously if files are out of sync, this can lead to data loss, which defeats the purpose. iCloud syncing allows for background sync, but the glacial startup and general slowing of Obsidian on iOS made that solution impossible for mobile. I subscribe to Obsidian’s sync, but as noted elsewhere, that requires the mobile app to be running to work. WHY IS THERE NO BACKGROUND APP REFRESH?, as allowed by iOS frameworks. Even is iOS allows for only “a little data” to to be synced in the background as mentioned above (which points to a 6+ year old stackoverflow thread), that’s 99% of use cases. The other 1% of initial setup and large files, I think is ok to require Obsidian to be active. I think both iOS and hopefully the Obsidian mobile and React developers have more tools to use by now, as soooooo many other apps sync perfectly well on iOS.

I think this is critical not just for my workflow, but for so many mobile users, especially when being charged $8/mo to have a functioning sync!


@ces I “solved” this specific issue for myself by launching Obsidian behind the quick add popup input box, so that it has time to sync by the time I’ve finished writing my task or journal entry.

It might be of help to you?

Details (for Android but it will be similar) here: Quick way to add or append notes without opening Obsidian (Android tutorial) - #6 by AlanG



Just a +1 from me on needing something better from Obsidian Sync on iOS. Any of these three things would help tremendously:

  1. An indicator I don’t have to swipe to see so I know if/when the app is done syncing and up to date.
  2. A way to manually trigger a sync so I can make sure things are synced up when opening / closing.
  3. Better background app refresh. For me, it would just be my daily note I needed updated in the background.

Hopefully we can see some improvements soon. Thanks!


For 1. see and upvote the feature request [Feature] Make Sync icon always visible which includes a snippet to enable that.


But it doesn’t sync when the app is not active even with Obsidian Sync, that is the issue at hand. The consensus seems to be, we’d love to have Obsidian sync in the background as well.

I believe we are saying the same thing.

+1 for me on this subject. A way to manually trigger a sync from a shortcut action would be tremendously useful!


Has there been any official update on background sync since this post in 2022? Has anything changed?

Background sync would solve a huge pain point for working with Obsidian on mobile (particularly when taking quick notes on something).

This should definitely be implemented!

I’d also love this - only just realised that it doesn’t background sync and that it’s a huge pain, especially as there’s no easy way to see whether synchronisation has completed or is out of date.

The Sync status icon is in the right sidebar. If that’s not convenient enough, there’s a feature request you can upvote and a CSS snippet to make it always visible. [Mobile] Make Sync icon always visible

How do I make the right sidebar visible on the iPhone?

Is there any hope that background sync will be added? That would solve the underlying issue.