Question Regarding: Obsidian Sync & Obsidian Configuration

:sun_with_face: Hello everyone~

I appreciate your time for reading my question, I try my best to keep it easy to digest:


Having had various issues in the past with the syncing service on iCloud Drive & OneDrive across my 4 devices for too long, I decided to try out the Obsidian Sync, as I have heard that it works really well, so I bought the service last week.

But after several days of playing around with its settings and my backup vault on my devices, there is still one thing that is confusing me a great deal:

It’s about How the Syncing service syncs my Obsidian’s Configuration (i.e. from general Options like Editor, Files & Links to the Plugins settings: Core & Community, etc.) across different devices.

What I Am Used To

I’ve used iCloud Drive to sync for months, it worked (-ish) by syncing the entire vault folder which includes all my notes and all the configuration files inside it, so, whenever I open the Obsidian App on my laptop, phone, etc., everything, including my latest changes with the .md notes AND with all the Settings & Configuration are synchronised.

My Confusion about How Obsidian Sync Does It

I’ve created a “remote vault” on my account, what it seems to do is that it pulls out all the content (.md notes & various attachments) to put in the remote vault and sync with other devices, and it ignores whatever Settings & Configuration I previously had in my vault?

Because after setting it up, with everything enabled in the Sync Options tab, I saw all my previous settings were gone and were set to default, all the “advanced” plugins were also disabled as default.

I was not sure about the reason behind this, I am still not, didn’t make sense to me
but I just spend like an hour or two trying to fix it on all my 4 devices.

My Devices

  1. Windows Desktop
  2. Windows Laptop
  3. iOS mobile phone
  4. iOS tablet

iCloud Drive was a sufficiently painful experience for me, and OneDrive can’t be loaded by the Obsidian App on the iOS devices… :man_facepalming:t2: it’s an awkward situation

What I Did

  1. I waited until the Sync Log on all devices said “FULLY SYNCED”
  2. I configured everything from the bottom to the top once again
  3. and it synced across all my devices

My Questions

  1. Is my assumption right that Obsidian Sync only, by default, pulls out and syncs the content (.md and attachment) from my Local Vault to the Remote Vault?

  2. Does that mean that the Settings & Configuration on my Local Vault (on my desktop) AND on my Remote Vault (on Obsidian cloud) exist independently ???

  3. If yes, is there a way to make them sync as well? I wish them to be identical, to be the latest version of my preference, otherwise, it will be quite confusing to me and potentially be inefficient when I work with my notes as I rely heavily on the Settings & Plugins

Thank you for reading this post! :grin:
welcome any relevant discussions, if you have any thoughts or experience on this matter,

Have a good day~

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You can configure what to sync (including obsidian settings) in the sync’s settings page.

This page should be configured for every device.


I have had similar problems. It’s very unclear to me how the settings sync flow is supposed to work (what overwrites what, what is tied to the device, what is tied to the remove vault, what is tied to the Obsidian account independent of any vault, what is the ultimate source of truth, etc). For me this is by far the most confusing part of Obsidian. Pretty much every time I set up a new device, it doesn’t work the way I want and I give up on tweaking it, because it’s too laborious to mess around with it and try to figure it out. I looked for a doc page about it in the help vault, but didn’t find one.


If in that device you enable setting’s sync, it will sync setting.

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Yes, I was aware of this and it was the first thing I did as soon as I created and set up my remote vault

What confused me was that this happened after I have enabled everything on this page for every device I use

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Hahaha, someone understands me here :handshake:t2:

I really do want to know about these things, so that I can use it with peace of mind

I would totally agree with this:
The rest of Obsidian is concise, minimalist, powerful and efficient, but this, does still have some room for improvement; but I will keep supporting them this way and wait for the improvement to come about;

I can understand that they wanna create an edge in the native environment that allows for customisation over “sync or not sync” of some stuff, compared to OneDrive or iCloud for example;

BUT at this point I would rather have it like in OneDrive, it’s low effort but it’s simple, easy to understand and less likely to have any issue LOL :

maybe try just enabling everything on that option page? never worked for you?

It will be very nice if this post can attract the dev team’s attention!

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Yes, I understood this when I did that, but that’s the thing, it didn’t sync my Local Vault’s original settings to the Remote Vault after I enabled everything on that page, that’s why I am confused, like I described in my post

I am now wondering if the Config of my Local Vault and Remote Vault exist independently

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I don’t understand it.

Why don’t you make a change in the settings and have a look at sync logs? Does it get uploaded?

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It does get uploaded
very fast, which is pretty impressive
but I guess what I am trying to understand is:

Does it update/sync the config files in my Local Vault (on my harddrive) or my Remote Vault (to which every device I use is connected) ?

There are some knobs, but they are there to cover use cases iCloud, OneDrive just don’t touch. It’s worth reading the docs and understanding what settings exist and why.

This is what you want to find Introduction to Obsidian Sync - Obsidian Help

That page links to detailed instructions and it’s worth a look. There’s some fresh new docs in there the devs added recently. I think you’ll find most of the answers to the questions you have here if you go over them carefully. Good luck.

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It gets uploaded to the remote vault and when your other devices are online, it will get downloaded from the remote vault to there.

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Could you explain? What is a knob?

I could only have iCloud to work with my iOS Obsidian App, and I was using OneDrive for a while before I switched to Obsidian Sync bc iCloud was having too many sync errors on my Windows

I will carefully double-check tmr during lunch break, Thanks

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Sorry for using English slang. A knob is just another word for a setting. Sorry to hear about the iCloud issues. I had them myself … on a Mac no less. A big part of the issue is Apple won’t let you control sync on individual folders and files. It’s all or nothing.

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ohhh??? So, if, on any one of my devices, when the Sync Log says “FULLY SYNCED”, it means: the entire Vault Folder :open_file_folder: on that device is identical to the latest version of the Local Vault on my desktop (where the Vault Folder was originally stored before enabling Obsidian Sync) ?

Fully synced means that everything that you enabled in sync settings has been synced with the remote vault.

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Hah, i see, a knob as in a physical knob used for adjustment, right?
It’s all good, i am glad to learn

Really?? I did not expect iCloud to suck on Mac with Obsidian as well, well, that’s too bad. I was even considering a new MacBook for my next hardware update just to not have all the “incomplete eco-system” issues like this one with Obsidian, but from what you shared it seems like it would require further investigation & consideration🤦🏻‍♂️

Honestly I kinda like that, my need for the sync function is to simply make it identical everywhere

OneDrive does it the same way as iCloud, and it is A LOT better (on Windows), I can see which specific files have been edited on the current device, which ones are being uploaded, the progress bar of upload, sync conflict, prompt for resolution of sync conflict provided with simple choices, data loss (deleted files) warning prompt, etc. etc. :sob: so much nicer overall

With iCloud there is nothing but “X amount of files is being synced”, and it creates so many duplicates, sync errors, data loss, etc. When they happen I have absolutely zero idea of what the hell is going on, especially when I am in urgent need for the files to be synced, so then I avoided using Obsidian for Work, then I avoided iCloud altogether and downgraded my plan, it’s totally not worth it :rofl: LOL - cost me more time fixing it and waiting for it than when i actually enjoy the functionality of it, what kind of service is that

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and so, if i enable everything on that page on all my devices and the logs on all my devices say “fully synced”, does that mean i have identical Local Vaults across all my devices?

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yes, they should be identical.

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i will keep an eye on that while using
thank you very much!

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I am going the leave here for posterity some troubleshooting ideas if you have issues with sync and especially with syncing config.

  1. Sync hasn’t finished syncing yet
  2. You didn’t enable sync of settings or plugins in one of the devices involved
  3. You didn’t restart Obsidian on ALL involved devices after enabling/disabling any of the sync options
  4. You didn’t restart Obsidian on ALL devices involved after making any change to a plugin configuration (obsidian’s own setting live reload but the plugins’ settings do not. They change on restart)
  5. Sync is stuck on some file (Does it say fully synced on ALL devices)
  6. You use different settings directories (.obsidian)

I am going to close this thread. If you have issues with Sync open a new thread.