Mobile, startup: Reduce the time until the user can write

Use case or problem

When you switch back to Obsidian from another app, quite often you have to wait a couple of seconds while it starts up (on Android). I already disabled all battery optimizations for Obsidian.

Proposed solutions

Start minimal

Just start a minimal markdown viewer and editor first. Do everything else needed for startup in the background, while the user can already work.

permanent notification

Try to avoid Android App Standby e. g. by creating an option to have a permanent notification. This would be highly useful because even just a couple of seconds startup time get annoying when it happens often. Because you often paste text from other apps into Obsidian, you have to switch very often.
Here is the relevant Android documentation.

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In the meantime, you might be able to adapt this iOS workaround for the same issue: [Feature] Background sync - #33 by chrsle

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Thank you very much for the hint!

Unfortunately, this does not work on Android.

Related: [Feature] [Implementation] Alternative to Nestled Vaults to Save on RAM resources

Yeah on Android, Obsidian relaunches then and when, this should not happen. I remember, very old versions of Obsidian were very stable, older versions of Obsidian relaunched very often, the current version relaunches sometimes (1.4.3)

The main reason for relaunches is, Android kills apps sitting for too long inactive in the backround to optimize performance - battery optimization helps a bit but is not enough to my knowledge. Maybe Android kills apps more often if apps consume lots of resources if too long inactive.

Maybe this relaunch is due to some plugins updating notes in the background.
I hope not, must check this one.

I know Obsidian relaunches if we share data, eg. pictures with Obsidian from another app.

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I second this issue!

Permanent notification would be very helpful not only to prevent lag when starting up but also to allow syncing in the background.

I’ve been looking into how to make a workflow for Automate that would run Obsidian every x minutes in the background as a workaround. So far, at least I’ve managed to get it to open the app in the foreground from time to time.

On Android DropSync works reliably in the background for me.

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Third-party syncing solutions work since they only need access to the folder where Obsidian files are, they are completely independent from the Obsidian app itself. The Automate workflow I mentioned was an idea for a workaround to keep the Obsidian app open in the background (which third-party syncing apps don’t need to do).

Hi, at first I was looking for myself in Droid, to have an app be persistent in memory. I have found url:

Yet on a board it was likely to be not working unfortunately:
https://groups.google.com/g/android-platform/c/YfUaru4yrSg?pli=1

I am not an Android developer, perhaps some dev would know more about this.

Hopefully someday someone comes up with a solution, will following this thread.

On Android (on Samsung at least) you can lock an app open which prevents it from ever being closed:

  1. Go to the Recents page (swipe up and hold if using gesture navigation, or tap the III button if you’re using navigation buttons).
  2. Tap the app icon above the app preview/card.
  3. Tap Lock this app / Keep open.

If you do this, opening or switching to Obsidian is always instant.

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Thanks, unfortunately it only prevents closing the app from the task switcher list when you press the close all button or swipe it away.
See: Reddit - Dive into anything
I have One UI 5.1 from Samsung on a A51 phone. I only tested the swipe away move, I didn’t want to close my current list because of remembering what todo.
It still worked even with the Good lock and Home up app from Samsung: I changed the Switcher to mini mode, to have a better one hand operation. Small trick to mention (I didn’t knew this until this year): double tapping the recent apps icon in the nav bar will switch between apps instantly.

Regarding the issue:
It will not keep it in memory either, I have set the developer options open in Settings. When I look at the Active services > tapping ellipsis > Show cached processes, you will find the cached processes (I have 2: around 140 MB, 40 MB) if you have Obsidian open.
When I open multiple somewhat heavy apps, browsers, messengers, it will push the Obsidian processes from the list, while I have the lock on.
When I tapped the Obsidian icon in the Switcher list, it had to start up, loading plugins, loading cache, loading vault, loading workspace etc.

GJ.

I can absolutely 100% confirm that is NOT the case.

Without doing this, Obsidian takes about 15 seconds to start up almost every time.

After doing this, Obsidian is instant, forever, until I restart my phone.

I have One UI 5.1 on an S22 Ultra. I have also whitelisted Obsidian from memory management and battery optimisation, but those steps do nothing without also locking it open.

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We really need a solution to this. The “lock app” workaround is great but only available on Samsung phones. I have a Google Pixel 6 Pro, on which I have tried the “unrestricted battery usage” setting for the app, which seems to prevent Obsidian from needing to be relaunched as often, but it’s still tens of times per day.

Bottom line, Obsidian is incredibly slow to start for large vaults on Android. If the vault is empty, the Obsidian startup time is blazingly fast, not even measurable with a stopwatch. But in my large vault, the app takes 4.8 seconds to start up which is unusably slow. This vault has 1406 files, total size is 705 MB consisting of 450MB worth of media files, a handful of ~30MB PDFs, and the rest are all small markdown files.

I tried disabling all core plugins except for Random Note and Bookmarks, this only shaved a couple hundred milliseconds off the startup time. Even with all Community Plugins disabled, I could never get the startup time on my Pixel to get below 4 seconds for this vault.

I would gladly trade some functionality off for startup performance. On my Mac & PC, I don’t care how long Obsidian takes to start because I leave it open all the time anyways. But on mobile, it needs to be very quick because I want to use it dozens of times per day to take quick notes, which I can’t do if it takes this long to start up.

I’m toying with the idea of writing a minimalist Obsidian clone Android app (with no support for plugins) if this doesn’t get addressed by the devs.

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an obsidian clone… interesting idea. thanks for that. I checked the Play store and there is one: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.eu.thedoc.zettelnotes

I tested it for 15 minutes, looks good. after being kicked from memory it loads my obsidian vault instantly. in obsidian takes a couple of seconds.

markdown compatability looks perfect on first look.

Well, Obsidian takes some time to start up, that’s normal.
The issue is when Obsidian needs to restart all times.
Surprisingly, optimization for battery leads to opposite results on my Android 11. Also allowing background activity seems not to guarantee Obsidian to stay open, so i guess that:

  • some community plugins could cause restart
  • sharing from other apps causes Obsidian to restart sometimes
  • Obsidian on phone needs an update

A good solution to implement would be to just start a minimal markdown viewer and editor first, especially when Obsidian is started from a link to a specific note. Do everything else needed for startup in the background, while the user can already work.

I have that as a workaround now, by having notes which I need often open in the app Zettel Notes. it starts instantly and I think it does this because it only starts a minimal viewer and editor. when I need full blown Obsidian I can always start it up and edit the same notes there.

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100% agree. Launching is so slow that I don’t even bother using it for notes on the go. I’m forced to use Google Keep, which is a real hassle as I then have to move notes from app to app. And if the vault I had open previously is not the one I need for the current note? Double that wait.

I hate this because Obsidian is so amazing. I want to use it all the time for everything.

@redhorse, thanks for the tip! I’ll give Zettle Notes a try.

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Well, you guys could download (on Android only) an app called Automate and install a community flow called quick capture for Obsidian
That flow should be under 30 blocks long, so you don’t have to buy for pro. Anyways, its a priceless application (not just some “app”) and it costs ridiculously little

Mobile quick capture is on the Roadmap as planned, maybe that will help in many of the mentioned cases in this thread.

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