Recommended multi-PC configuration (without Sync)

I have been using and greatly enjoying Obsidian over the last couple of months. I am now looking to expand my use, both functionally and in terms of where I use it. This post is about the latter.

I have Obsidian installed on my main PC, which is a laptop. I use a plugin to backup to GitHub. All is working well, in that regard.

I am currently sat at my desktop and don’t have Obsidian installed yet - and I am missing it! I would like to know if there is a reliable, safe way to sync with my GitHub repro. For my use case I am perfectly OK accepting that I can and should use Obsidian from only one device at a time, so there should be little chance of conficts.

Anyway, signing up for Sync - to basically share with myself - seems overkill, especially when I would be comfortable accepting the requirement to only update from one device at a time.

Is there a simple/recommended way to set this up?

PS : I would like to access from mobile (Android) too but that is a very low priority, for now.

For multi-PC syncing, you can use the Obsidian Git community plugin! You can set it to auto-pull/commit/push every X minutes

I use it between two computers right now, but it’s not ideal for accessing from mobile just yet…

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Thank you, @ankushg. That’s the one I am using to sync to GitHub, just from my laptop for now. The fact that you are using it without issues is encouraging since it’s the way I had in mind. Mobile can wait, for me, but having this working between my laptop and my desktop would be cool.

Thank you again.

I use Syncthing, a cloud-free continuous file synchronizer, since ever so many years (syncing ~1.3 mio files currently, between 13 devices) so I can work on my desktop at home and on the laptop when I’m away. It also syncs with my Android smartphone.

It syncs between my laptop and desktop Obsidian vaults. The Android phone is just for quick notes, I sometimes even dictate into it, so it has no Obsidian (yet?) but just syncs into an “Inbox” folder within my Obsidian vault.

So I can take quick notes on the road, and later edit/move them within Obsidian on my laptop or desktop.

Be aware that on Android, SD card file systems often get initialized using some FAT file system which might cause problems when “the other end” is MacOS or Linux. The safest bet is to use the phone’s “Internal storage” for syncing with Obsidian.

Oh, and Linux/Android file systems are mainly case-sensitive, while Windows and MacOS (I think?) are usually not. This might turn out to be a caveat.

There is, unfortunately, not yet an official Syncthing client for iOS devices.

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Many people find it convenient to keep their vault folder within their Dropbox folder and let Dropbox handle the computer-to-computer syncing. You could use this in addition to the git repo strategy, but it would work independently of it.

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For mobile (at least for Android) the author of GitJournal has said he is working to make the app as compatible as possible with Obsidian files. However, the premium features of that app are not free.

Overall on Android I’ve found the easiest solution is to use DropSync (or possibly another Dropbox-based sync app) to sync your vault folder with your phone and then use either Markor or the Obsidian Mobile beta to edit it. As @Moonbase59 pointed out, SyncThing is another option, though due to the lack of a central server the two devices (e.g. desktop and phone) must be on at the same time in order to perform a sync.

That’s true. I always forget to mention it, because I have so much machinery running 24/7 …

I’m switching away from using Git to using generic cloud software (Nextcloud in my case).

Two major reasons you might want to take that into consideration:

  1. .git folder just explodes in size after a while (with automatic pull/push set up). My entire vault contains 125.3 MB, out of which approximately half is used by .git (65.2 MB).
  2. It’s easier to sync that folder into Android. Plenty of apps to do that, FolderSync was the first one I’ve tried and works just fine. With mobile apps on the way, this is easier than finding a way to automatically pull/push on a phone. Tried with the latest Android version (0.0.17) and it works fine, you just gotta make sure to place that synced folder into a location Obsidian prefers (something like /storage/emulated/0/Documents/Obsidian/Notes).

Syncthing also supports untrusted folders now. So you can use your vps or a friend to sync stuff without them being able to access the files.

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