My Obsidian Vault has disappeared

I have been having A LOT of problems with my mobile app being stuck on the “Workspace Loading” screen indefinitely. I tried deleting the app and reinstalling with no luck. So, I tried deleting my vault, which I thought was only locally.

I have two vaults. One for personal notes and another for a writing project. The writing project has sync/publish. I deleted the personal one and it was synced via iCloud.

The vault w/ sync/publish is loading fine but the one with all my personal notes is now gone. I am freaking out a little that I deleted my entire vault forever. Please tell me I did not do that. I thought I was only deleting it on my phone so that I could log back in and set it up with a fresh install in the hopes that I could actually use my iOS Obsidian app…

Now all my files are gone on my Mac Obsidian app too…

The files are local but if you delete them, the sync service you use will take care of propagating the changes. So in this case you delete the vault on you phone and iCloud erased the copy you had on other devices.

You need to look if iCloud has some backup/undo/time machine system.

1 Like

I just deleted an Obsidian vault in iCloud Drive using the Files app on iOS.

On, it showed up after a browser refresh under Recently Deleted.

Hopefully your vault is there as well.


I was able to do a partial restore using iCloud data recovery feature Recover files deleted from other apps.

I kept getting a message that the items were unable to be restored but when I’d check the iCloud folder I could see some new items were added. So, I kept restoring and getting the same error message. Eventually though I was able to restore my vault.

CleanShot 2024-03-11 at 09.27.18

Now my vault shows folders and entries but when I click on them I get an error message saying that the item(s) are not there. When I check with the command line I can see that indeed they are not there. I also checked the iCloud Vault using Shift+Cmd+Period to see hidden files and they aren’t there.

So, how is that Obsidian is showing folders and entries as being there but they aren’t? Is there a cache somewhere? It appears that the iCloud backup was not backing up all the files… :man_shrugging:t2:

It seems kinda crazy that deleting a vault triggers iCloud to delete the entire vault. I think if I wanted to delete my vault I should only be able to do that through iCloud not through Obsidian. Seems like a security risk to me…

I have been paying for Backblaze since 2020 and today it finally paid for itself a thousand times over. I was able to download my vault from their backup and restore the entirety of my vault. Even the files/folders that iCloud had “lost”. I’m gonna have to look into a more robust backup solution than just iCloud. Thankfully I had Backblaze


I’m confused by what you mean. Or possibly by what you are assuming.

iCloud doesn’t know what a “vault” is. If you deleted the files, you deleted the files. You’re just interacting with the folders and files from a different place.

I’m very happy you had a backup with Backblaze! Sync tools are not meant to be full backups, precisely for the reason that if something goes wrong, they just sync the change. Sometimes they include history and reverting, but that isn’t their purpose. And sometimes those tools are limited.


I see what you are saying @rigmarole I wasn’t being clear in my previous explanation.

To give an example that might help clarify my line of thought.

I perform weekly backups of my iPhone using iCloud. Sometimes (especially back in the day not so common now) my phone would start to get buggy, freeze, and in general not work right. One way to fix this (and was often prescribed by Apple tech support) was to reset the iPhone. Reseting would delete the entire contents of the phone. Reseting the phone though would not delete the backups in iCloud. I could choose if I wanted to - to go back after the phone had been “refreshed” and install the backup (or not).

I was thinking that I was doing something similar be “resetting” the vault settings in the Obsidian app. I thought that I was deleting the app and vault from my iPhone. After I had done a fresh install of the app I would re-sync it with the vault stored in iCloud and hopefully the problem I was having would be resolved.

However, I ended up deleting the vault from iCloud, my phone, and my Mac, which is what initiated this desperate call for support in this thread :rofl:

Ah! I see what you are saying now.

In that case, when you reset the phone, you are also completely disconnecting from iCloud, and it never learns what happened to the files. To iCloud, it would look the same as if you just turned your phone off, except forever.

On the other hand, if you deleted all the files from your phone before resetting it (and waited for it to sync), they would be gone.

This is why a sync service is very different from a backup service. A sync service is meant to sync all changes, including destructive ones.

1 Like

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