Obsidian for slightly technophobe wife, mobile first on iPhone switching from Apple Notes?

My wife primarily uses Apple Notes on her iPhone for her notes.
I appreciate the simplicity and actually, the search function seems better than Obsidian on mobile.
She’s asking me about my note taking.

I chose Obsidian because the notes are on my filesystem.

  1. would she even benefit from file system access? I though iPhone blocks this?

  2. be honest. Perhaps obsidian is a bit clunky on mobile for fast access? Personally, I use the drop down menu, but keep accidentally making new fields instead of selecting the first search result.

I have a feeling things could get messy of I introduce her to Obsidian.

What do you think?
I don’t want to be on the hook for messing up her syncing and losing all her notes, or struggling to adapt.

Get her onto Roam instead and just get it backing up well?

iOS is more flexible about this than it used to be. You can add your vault folder to other apps that support it and edit the files in place. You can also use Shortcuts to act on the files. That obviously has uses; whether it’s useful to your wife specifically depends on what she wants to do.

I don’t consider Obsidian clunky on mobile, tho I’ve seen a few people who disagree. Loading time increases with vault size and plugin use, so that can be an issue for fast access. On an iPhone 13 my vault of ~8,000 files, 900 folders, & 16 plugins takes 5 seconds to load. I can tolerate that but it’s not ideal. This is where the filesystem access can be useful — you can use a faster app to add notes (and access them if you just need to quickly check something). I don’t, so far, but some do. With smaller vaults the loading time is smaller.

It would probably help to find out specifically why she’s potentially interested in Obsidian. What is she lacking in her current setup? What does she want to do? Then find out how Obsidian handles those things.

She could also just try Obsidian without completely switching. Maybe export a subset of notes to Obsidian (save a copy of the originals!) and she can try it for a week or something to see how it feels. If she doesn’t like it she can copy the changes back without too much trouble if the trial isn’t too long.

I’m not sure what your describing here but maybe there’s a way to work around it?

1 Like

She’s just using Apple Notes at the moment.
But her notes are getting bigger, and folders are hassle. It’s all getting a bit unwieldy.

I showed her my backlinking system and she’s converted.

I think backlinking is the main thing she really needs.

Using a calendar and daily notes wold be good too, but that would be the next step. I’m not sure if she can really work in such a messy way as I do. This thing has been a god-send for me. She’s the more organised type, so she might have a different workflow to build.

I’ve put it on her phone and it’s using iCloud to sync. That’s very nice & generous of Obsidian to allow that!

Personally, what I find a bit awkward with the app is that swipe from the hard left is BACK, but swipe not so far from the left brings the sidebar out. Plus, if I want to check my notifications, I have to not trigger the command palette.
But I guess iPhone has less of these issues.

The other thing is all the menu options. So many. If anything, I’d like to reduce those down. Cognitively, we should aim to limit menu items to max 4 at a time.

But yes. I guess we’ll give it a go. Having control of the data always trumps all else, so better try it, since it’s the only option AFAIK

If she feels comfortable with apple notes and she can achieve everything she wants, then there is no reason for her to switch.

Why don‘t you show her bear? In a few months the public release will be finished. It is a polished and simple app with backlinks implementation

1 Like

Obsidian can be very complicated but basic usage can be extremely simple, so that’s something in its favor.

Yeah, swipe from left doesn’t go back on iOS. I wish it did because I keep trying to do it (because it works in the web browser), but I guess it doesn’t mix well with swipe-out sidebars, so…tradeoffs.

If you don’t need the swipe-down command palette, a workaround to avoid triggering it is to set Settings > Mobile Quick Action to “Save”, which effectively does nothing. The palette is already available on the ribbon, and can be added to the mobile toolbar if wanted.

In terms of limiting the interface you might look at the Commander community plugin, tho I’m not sure if it can affect the menus.

1 Like

Thanks. I’ll check out Bear. It doesn’t seem to silo the data too badly ( GitHub - mivok/bear_backup ) , so it’s definitely and option.

Commander as well, an interesting option too,
thank you

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