Obsidian Sync: ability to select a folder that syncs files between devices and then remove files from sync servers to conserve space

Firstly, the recent updates to Obsidian Sync have been fantastic. It’s wonderful to now have a combined storage limit instead of 10 GB per vault times 5. However, there are a few improvements I’ve always felt the Sync service could benefit from.

Use case or problem

The 250 MB limit is usually sufficient. Occasionally, though, I come across a file larger than 250 MB that I’d like to sync between devices. For instance, I subscribe to a local newspaper that allows me to download PDF versions of daily issues. Sometimes, if they contain lots of large images, the files can be quite large. I store these issues in Obsidian and sync them between my laptop and phone so I can read the daily issue locally on either device without needing internet access. If I want to make notes on anything interesting or important in each issue, it’s helpful to store them in my vault for context and future reference. However, continually syncing these large files could quickly fill up the 50 GB vault space limit over time.

Proposed solution

Similar to the current option to exclude a folder in the vault from syncing, introduce a new option to sync files and, once all of the user’s devices have received the file, delete it from the sync servers. By allowing users to choose which of their sync-connected devices should receive the file before its deletion from the sync server, we can solve the problem of files lingering on the sync server due to rarely used devices with Obsidian. This way, users have more control over the process and can ensure that files are properly transferred to their chosen devices before removal from the sync servers.

With this feature, the files end up on each of a user’s devices but don’t count against the storage space limit of Obsidian Sync. Each device could keep track of file modifications, and if a file is edited or moved, it could be reuploaded to the server to sync between devices again. Then, once it has been received by all the selected devices, it is removed from the servers once more. While I’m unsure about the implementation difficulty, I believe it could be helpful for users like me who wish to store libraries of larger files in Obsidian.

Current workaround

Currently, I avoid keeping many large files synced to prevent them from counting against my storage limit and causing problems for me later.

This might be a niche issue or one with other, simpler solutions. It’s also possible that the effort required for implementation might not be justified. I wanted to share this here and see what others think of it.

It might be possible to make a plugin to do this, or even to do something (maybe partly manual) with existing plugins. The approach would be to copy items from the special folder to another folder that’s excluded from Sync, and then delete it from the special folder once it’s been copied to the excluded folder on all devices. You could do this fully manually but it would be a bit tedious.