Sync changes creation time of a file moved to new directory on Mobile

I rely on Sync to sync files between Obsidian mobile and desktop. When I move a file to a different directory on mobile while Obsidian desktop is closed (so that Sync is not working at the same time), Sync will delete the file and create a new copy in the new destination according to Sync activity. The content of the file will not be affected, but as a result, the creation time of the file on the desktop will be changed to the time when the file was moved. Meanwhile, the creation time of the file on mobile was unchanged (still the initial time).

This is really annoying because file creation times are valuable information to me, and to keep that information on Ob desktop, I have to either move files around only on desktop, or change the creation time back with Terminal (I kept a record of files creation time with Templater in YAML specifically for this purpose). Is there any way to make Sync actually move the file with its modification/creation time intact ?

I tested this with a brand new vault outside of iCloud, no community plugin. So I can safely presume it’s a problem with Sync.

Steps to reproduce

  1. quit Obsidian Desktop so that Sync is not running on desktop
  2. on Obsidian Mobile, move a file (say created on Aug 9th 10:05AM) to another directory (say I move this file on Sep 1st 11:30AM)
  3. wait more than 5 minutes
  4. open Obsidian Desktop and check the creation time of the file in Ob desktop

Expected result

Obsidian Sync actually moves the file to the destination directory, with the correct modification time and the initial creation time (Aug 9th 10:05AM), the same as shown on Mobile.

Actual result

Sync will delete the file from its old directory, and create a new copy in the destination directory. The creation time of the file on desktop will become Sep 1st 11:30AM (the time I move the file), instead of Aug 9th 10:05AM (when I created the actual note).

If you cannot reproduce it, give it a couple more tries or wait longer before you open Obsidian on desktop.

Environment

  • Obsidian v0.12.15, installer v0.12.3
    • as far as I know this bug is irrelevant to Obsidian version as I have experienced this for a while now
  • iPad Pro 2021 with iPadOS 15 beta (previously with iPadOS 14 too)
  • Mac Mini 2018 with MacOS 10.15.7

Additional information

  • this happens only if I move a file on mobile (and then the creation time of the file on the desktop is changed), but not the other way around
  • note that if I keep the vault open on Ob desktop, this bug does not occur. the initial creation time of the file on desktop will be kept.
  • if I open Ob desktop immediately after I move a file on mobile (within 1-2 minutes), it sometimes work properly, but not if more than 5 minutes (e.g. 5 minutes, hours, days) has passed
  • I don’t want to keep Obsidian desktop open all the time to keep Sync running because I’m experiencing kernel panics (as I reported here) and I don’t want to lose my work outside of Obsidian. So for now I either risk kernel panics by keep Ob desktop running all the time or use Ob mobile mostly and move files only on desktop / fixing creation times every time.
  • The modification time was changed too but I couldn’t see a pattern.
2 Likes

Thanks, we make not guarantees of preserving creation times. open a feature request for this.