Meta Post - Syncing between Devices

It should be pretty straightforward to get a sense of it by using your operating system to tell you how much space the vault is taking up on disc, but if you need something more granular maybe file a feature request.

a) True
b) A FR seems like a good idea. For those using a lot of space, an indication of how close they are to approaching the limit could be reassuring.

Just wanted to write down an issue I faced and how I solved it in case anyone in the future experiences the same.

I’m using iCloud sync between my macOS and iOS devices and even though it was working fine at first, somewhere along the line iCloud started having trouble with syncing Obsidian folder and files. I’m not really sure what caused it (maybe uninstalling and reinstalling on my phone caused some weird bug) but everything on iCloud was syncing without a problem except Obsidian folder.

If you ever have an issue like this, the solution is updating your Obsidian installer on your desktop. I tried all kinds of troubleshooting for iCloud without any luck but downloading latest Obsidian installer from the website and updating the Obsidian and the installer solved all the issues and now sync works instantaneously.

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Hi, I developed a new unofficial sync plugin remotely-save that allows users to sync their notes between their Obsidian (iOS version included) and third party services (currently S3, Dropbox, webdav). The plugin is still in beta, but anyone is welcome to give it a try. More information is here: New plugin: remotely-save

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Does anyone know if you can continue using icloud sync BUT, like i have, on a mac use nextcloud sync client to sync the vault folder specifically to nextcloud? Would this technically be me having multiple sync clients even if I am using only icloud for my obsidian folder across devices (1 mac, 1 ipad, 1 iphone)?

Adding a sync option I’m using: mega.nz

It’s a New Zealand based cloud service that gives 20GB of storage to a free user, and the files are encrypted while they’re on their servers. I only have experience with their web, Windows and Android apps.

My use case is that I mostly use my vault on Windows and sometimes on Android when I’m on the move or don’t want to get up. I also used to sync between two laptops (home and work), which went really smoothly using the MEGASync Windows app on both.

On the Windows laptop, I have the MEGASync app always on and it uploads all my changes to the cloud as they happen.

The Android MEGA app doesn’t do the sync automatically, you have to manually trigger it - so I’d do a download before leaving, and upload my changes later.
A warning though - there’s been a recent change in Google storage access requirements so you can’t upload the whole folder at once anymore, it needs to be done file by file… but the Mega support said they’re working on a fix (as of today, said to be back very soon), so it’s hopefully only temporary. The download still works for the whole folder.
That’s also why you can only save the vault folder under the default download location for your phone on Android 11, unless you have an SD card.


Specific settings:

  • you can enable File Versioning in your settings on the mega.nz website, under File Management, in the desktop app settings, General tab → File versions, or on the Android app in Settings → Storage → File Management
  • to sync files and folders starting with a dot, like “.obsidian”, open the settings on the desktop app, go to Folders tab → Excluded file and folder names, and delete “.*” that they put in by default
  • to add your vault into MEGA cloud and keep it synchronized, go to Sync tab in desktop app settings and add it to Synced folders. Then you can just keep the app on and it’ll sync it automatically
  • if you set a folder from your vault to be Available Offline on Android, it’ll be read-only - you should use Save to device to get a local copy
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Everything stops for me at iPad. I have linux, android and ipad. I happen to have an account on MEGA for 50GB free storage (accidentally made one in 2013 or something).
GIT seems to be the only way there other than official sync.

Just to put it out there, GitLab offers 10GB per project storage while GitHub offers about 500MB. ALthough, Git is not supposed to be used as a mere cloud. :slight_smile:

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  • Here’s a guide that explains how to sync Obsidian on iOS via Rclone. With Rclone you can sync files to remote SFTP servers, WebDAV servers, Google Drive, Amazon S3, and many other providers. (via agmm#4110 in Discord)
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I tried some of the above mentioned approaches and finally settled on Self-hosted LiveSync - running that without issues since a couple of weeks now.

You need to host your own CouchDB somewhere, though. (any low budget VPS works for that - setup is dockerized)

This also made it possible to build an “extension” with which I can easily send text form any device into a document in my synced vault → ObsidianReceiver by just using iOS or Android send-to.

I’m using pCloud. Create a local folder on the desktop or laptop, for instance “D:/Zettelkasten”. Create a subfolder with the same name on pCloud Drive, but this has to be a subfolder in /pCloud Sync; so “/pcloud Sync/Zettelkasten”. Go to pCloud, click on the Sync icon and click on the Add New Sync button to sync the 2 folders. For me this works very well.

But if you delete something, it disappears both in the local and pCloud folder. So I also regularly make a backup by compressing the local Zettelkasten folder in a zip file and storing the zip file somewhere else. I keep the last three zip files, so when I make the fourth backup I delete the first.

To sync with my mobile or tablet (both Android), I’m using Foldersync (the Pro version, it’s about 5 € and you get rid of annoying adverts). It’s straightforward to use, just create two paired folders, the one on pCloud sync and a local folder. I only sync in one direction, from the cloud to the mobile or tablet. I find it easy and efficiënt to write notes on desktop or laptop, find references, embed figures or pdf’s, … and see relations in the graph view on a big screen. On tiny mobile screens this would cost me much more energy and I would lose my focus. If I want to write a quick fleeting note on mobile or tablet, I use Standard Notes. I convert those to permanent notes in Obsidian with proper backlinks and embeddings when I’m back behind the desktop.

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Here’s a hint for how you can use a shared .obsidian settings folder on multiple Macs, but selectively exclude individual (setting) files from syncing with iCloud.

Something to be aware of when using Mega is how it handles file conflicts. I ended up switching to OneDrive for my use case since I can’t handle Mega’s silent failures.

From my testing, and what I’ve seen online, Mega will silently overwrite files with whatever it thinks the latest is. I sync between 2 machines, and at various times I end up having to work without wifi - I started finding changes in my Obsidian vault not persisting, including not just regular files but also some of my changes to settings which had previously persisted.

OneDrive will save copy of both files if it hits conflict, then pop notification for me to deal with it (and I heard Dropbox does as well, not confirmed).

It seems like if you can ensure to always follow ‘edit->Mega syncs → other computer gets latest → make new edits’ then Mega works perfectly, but at least for me I can’t trust it after testing and seeing it blow away my offline edits without any indicator they’d be gone.

Mega has file versioning, so if you have a situation like that, you can usually recover the file without much trouble.

Of all the sync solutions I’ve seen, WebDAV is #1 with me and Mega is #2.

I use Linux, Win10, and Android.

I use WebDAV hosted on my Synology NAS, and then on Android, user FolderSync to keep the synchronization happening (even when Obsidian is closed), and on Linux, have just mounted the WebDAV point, and similarly for Windows, I use the directory directly.

For extra safety, though, I also have Mega running on my Win10 box (since it’s almost always on) and it sync’s my entire Vault (dot files included), just so I have a version-controlled backup offsite, in case disaster strikes.

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I haven’t seen it mentioned here, but syncing between Windows devices works well with OneDrive so long as you mark your top level vault folder as “Always keep on this device”. Otherwise OneDrive will only download files as you specifically request them, so Obsidian will think your vault is empty. I sync between Desktop and Laptop happily.

Unfortunately OneDrive for Android is as much use as a chocolate cheese grater and wont actually download the files even if you “make available offline”.

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Hi everyone:

What’s the best way to sync between Mac, Windows, and IOS?

Heya @EleanorKonik I am the one who posted on Twitter and you sent me this thread.

Just to clarify on what I meant. I was just commenting that I wish the prices for syncing were lower because I actually WANT to give Obsidian money. However, $10/mo is just kind of steep and turns me away. Storage is really cheap.

I mean, like… I’m the kind of person that would pay $5/mo or whatever the yearly cost would be for syncing at that price and then also turn around and donate on Patreon.

I already have an efficient sync setup with Google Drive since the first day I started using it, but that doesn’t put any money into Obsidian.md.

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Reading about all the issues they have to tackle, here and on Discord, I suspect that storage is the least of the associated costs.

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Totally fair. I’m an engineer myself and I understand that there are other issues that come into play. I am honestly not read up on this thread or any of the other conversations regarding this.

I just kinda want to give them my money. lol

I am still pretty new to Obsidian and if I keep using it, I’ll bite the bullet and do the $100/yr plan. But, I’m still not 100% sold on the software for my needs. However if It were $5/mo or ~$50ish a year, I would have already bit that bullet regardless of not being 100% sold on it yet.

I am trending that way though. Maybe I’ll just do the $25 thing. Even though I would like some native syncing. I’m not a big fan of the syncing app I am using on Android.

Which Syncing App are you using on Android? I’m currently using SyncThing on (1 NAS,) 1 Windows and 2 Android devices and it works okay. On Android I use MacroDroid to automatically start SyncThing when I start Obsidian (maybe I will post this configuration to this forum). But in the future I want to use Git and hope, that this will feel more “native” inside Obsidian.

Hey Eleanor,

I have a question you might be able to help me out with. Me and my business partner want to use sync for our various notes and to dos. But we were wondering if it is possible for 2 people to work within the same vault on 2 diffrent devices at the same time? And if such is possible, does sync will update my inputs onto my partners laptop in real time?

This would be crucial for our purchase descision and if you could help us I would really appreciate. Thank you so much!

Best,
TR