Purchased Sync: Need to resolve conflicts before setting up remote vault

I have been using Dropbox to Sync, but have decided to purchase Obsidian Sync following the release of the new plans. Before I finish the sync setup, I’d like to resolve a conflict issue I’ve been having, as well as get some clarity on the way sync and Dropbox interact.

1. The pre-existing conflicts

I noticed these before I purchased sync (I have not set sync up yet).

I have multiple workspace.json files in .Obsidian, that keep growing (64 and counting). I am unsure if this is a problem, but I suspect this is not working as it should.

I have been using Dropbox to sync between two Macs (MacBook Air and Mac mini). I haven’t used the Mac Mini for a few weeks, I’m working from home and it is at my office (likely asleep, but may have powered itself down).

  • Basically, do I need to be concerned about these conflict files before setting up Obsidian Sync?
  • Will I encounter an issued when I get back to the office and start using Obsidian there?
Open to see my current .Obsidian file tree (that level only)

── Sicajes’s Vault
|── .Obsidian
+├── icons
+├── regex-rulesets
+├── snippets
+├── themes
|── appearance.json
|── app.json
|── backlink.json
|── bookmarks.json
|── community-plugins.json
|── core-plugins-migration.json
|── core-plugins.json
|── graph.json
|── hotkeys.json
|── templates.json
|── todoist-token
|── types.json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-03-11 1).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-03-11 2).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-03-11 3).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-03-11).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-03-17).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-03-19 1).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-03-19).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-03-28 1).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-03-28).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-03-29 1).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-03-29 2).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-03-29 3).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-03-29 4).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-03-29 5).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-03-29).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-03-31).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 1).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 2).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 3).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 4).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 5).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 6).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 7).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01).json
|── workspace (MacBook Air’s conflicted copy 2024-04-05).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-09 1).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-09).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-10 1).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-10).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-11 1).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-11 2).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-11 3).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-11 4).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-11 5).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-11 6).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-11 7).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-11 8).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-11 9).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-11 10).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-11).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-19 1).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-19 2).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-19 3).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-19 4).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-19 5).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-19 6).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-19 7).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-19).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-29 1).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-29 2).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-03-29).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 1).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 2).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 3).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 4).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 5).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 6).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 7).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 8).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 9).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 10).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 11).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01 12).json
|── workspace (Mac-mini.local’s conflicted copy 2024-04-01).json

2. Is there a way I can use Obsidian Sync and continue to use Dropbox?

Dropbox is the root folder for all of my files and folders. I don’t want to have to start making exceptions to how I manage my data, as this is how I make errors and lose stuff.

When I go into settings to setup sync, I get the below message saying I may run into conflicts, file corruption, or data loss.

Screenshot 2024-04-06 at 14.25.27

I already have conflicts, so I would obviously like to avoid this. However, when I follow the ‘Learn more’ link, the information isn’t about conflicts but rather the difference between backing up and syncing.

Before I proceed, I’d like to clarify:

  • Why would having my Vault in a Dropbox folder result in conflicts, file corruption, or data loss?
  • How do ensure that I don’t run into these issues without abandoning Dropbox altogether?

Thanks in advance!

Smart sorting this all out before setting up a remote vault.


  1. All the workspace XYZ.json files are saves of 1) your open tabs and workspace layout 2) your ribbon order and hidden state and 3) your recently opened files. You can verify by opening one in a text editor. All the stuff at the top is open tabs/sidebars/etc., then ribbon, then recently opened files.

You can safely remove all of the duplicates. If you remove the last workspace.json one, Obsidian will just open to a clean state and a new file will be created.


No. This would most likely cause more issues than the dupe workspace files. You can have some vaults in Dropbox and some vaults using Obsidian sync, but you don’t want the same vault using both services.


This is what I would do:

  • Using the Finder, make a folder in your user directory. e.g. /Users/Sicahjes/ObsidianVaults/. The name can be anything that’s clear to you; we just want to make sure it’s not in Dropbox, iCloud Drive, etc.
  • Again, with the Finder, right-click on your vault folder in the Dropbox location → copy.
  • Paste that into the folder you just created. It ends up being: /Users/Sicahjes/ObsidianVaults/Sicajes’s Vault.

Now you have a choice. As we left the original vault in Dropbox, we need to rename the new copy or rename the original vault. I would personally rename the new copy using the Finder before opening it in Obsidian. e.g. /Users/Sicahjes/ObsidianVaults/Sicajes’s New Vault (or whatever).

  • Using the Finder, remove all those extra workspace XYZ.json files.
  • Now, in Obsidian’s vault switcher, Open folder as vault and choose the Sicajes’s New Vault folder.

Now you have a new vault, not in a sync service location, ready to setup Obsidian Sync and create your first remote vault:

https://help.obsidian.md/Obsidian+Sync/Set+up+Obsidian+Sync

And when you get to the Mac mini, create an empty vault and sync it with the remote vault:
https://help.obsidian.md/Obsidian+Sync/Set+up+Obsidian+Sync#Connect+to+a+remote+vault

Once that’s all set up on both devices, you can remove the original vault in Dropbox, zip it, archive it, whatever.

Hope that helps a bit.

Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.

I’m happy to hear that I can safely remove the duplicate files, but sad to hear that I can’t use Dropbox.

I had read this on the support page before buying the subscription:

To avoid these issues [Obsidian thinking a file has been deleted], disable on-demand downloads when using Obsidian Sync with services like OneDrive or Dropbox. You will need to ensure that the third-party service settings are configured to always keep files on the device.

I am glad I double checked when I saw the message in the sync settings. Unfortunately, I think I will cancel the subscription. The main benefit for me is to be able to access my vault from iOS, but I don’t use it enough to justify cutting my data off from Dropbox completely.

Thanks again for the help :smiling_face:

You can definitely sync the vault to iOS using Obsidian Sync. That’s easy. But the vault needs to be in On My iPhone/Obsidian/{VAULT}. Obsidian can’t access the Dropbox location on iOS.

Either way, good luck. :muscle:

Thanks, that’s why I thought the plan would be a good workaround. I didn’t realise it couldn’t sit in Dropbox.