Use Obsidian Sync and .obsidian-mobile folder

What I’m trying to do

Trying to get Obsidian Sync to sync .obsidian-mobile folder so I can have different settings between my Windows 11 machine and my Android device

Things I have tried

On both devices, I am syncing to the same obsidian vault with no excluded folders. In the Selective Sync settings, I have “Sync images” and “Sync audio” selected. I have everything under “Vault configuration sync” turned on:

Apparently I am supposed to set things up manually with .obsidian-mobile as well, so I do the following:

On the Android device I set About > Override config folder to .obsidian-mobile. On the computer I added the .obsidian-mobile folder alongside the .obsidian folder and copied the entire contents of .obsidian to .obsidian-mobile. I restarted Obsidian on both the computer and the phone multiple times and the Sync log says they are both fully synced, but none of the settings or community plugins reappear on the Android device. The contents of my vault, the actual markdown files, are there, but it is just using application default styling, and things like “Show inline title” which I keep turned off. My core plugin settings are gone, for example none of my pinned commands in Command palette are there. With one exception that I can see - I do not lose any of my Obsidian Sync settings on my Android phone, everything is the same and it is still connected to the obsidian vault. None of my Community Plugins are there but Restricted mode for community plugins is still off.

If I change the config folder back to .obsidian on the mobile device, things are back to “normal” with Windows and Android settings the same.

I only have one Windows device and one Android device, and my vault is in just a plain folder on my computer which is not synced to any cloud or anything that would compete with Obsidian Sync. Any suggestions?

When I used iCloud to sync, there were no settings options (Vault configuration sync) of what to sync and not to sync - it was all or nothing - so I used separate config folders.

With Obsidian Sync you have options, per-device, on what you want synced or not. I would suggest using the same .obsidian config folder on both devices, but adjusting the Vault configuration sync (your screenshot above) toggles for what you want synced or not between your PC and Android device.

I’d make a backup of .obsidian on your PC (just to be safe), set the toggles of what settings you want synced, and close/open the vault. You can verify what settings are uploaded to your remote vault by looking for .json files being uploaded after you make a settings change.

Then on the Android device, set the config folder back to .obsidian, adjust the Vault configuration sync toggles as needed, and restart. I haven’t changed config folders in a while, so I’m not sure if when you change it to .obsidian from something else, if the Vault configuration sync toggles will be all off (the default) or whatever you have currently set. You’ll have to experiment a bit.

Making an initial backup of the .obsidian folder on your PC will give you the peace of mind to play around with it.

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Thanks @ariehen I have followed your advice above and I am back to .obsidian on both devices.

I probably have multiple misconceptions about this, seems to be a gap in the documentation and my brain is not filling those gaps right. I see so many posts here about the same topic, it seems everyone has their own workarounds.

One misconception I think I had is that I needed to have the same Vault configuration sync toggles on both devices for consistency and so that per-device settings could get synced to the vault. But, no, actually I have to turn off the most of the toggles on the phone for it to have its own settings. So for now I have kept only the first three toggles on my phone.

And initial setup of Obsidian sync is different, right? Because in the beginning I want to sync every plugin and setting I might want and then turn off the ones I don’t want, so I am not setting up plugins one by one all over again on the mobile device. So the right workflow seems to be: Turn on most of the toggles when first setting up Obsidian sync, let it sync, then turn most of them off on the mobile device. Am I on the right track?

One issue, for me anyway, is that I set up my remote vaults on my devices a while ago and didn’t remember the defaults. To check, I recently grabbed an old phone that didn’t have Obsidian installed and connected to a remote vault. All of the Vault configuration sync toggles are OFF by default (as documented below).

At the bottom of the Set up Obsidian Sync page, there’s a callout:

By default, Sync only syncs notes and images. For information how to sync other file types, refer to Select file types to sync

If you want to sync vault configuration, such as settings for Core plugins, Custom hotkeys, or Community plugins, learn how to Sync vault configuration.

with a link to the Select files and settings to sync page and the third bullet:

Sync doesn’t sync Sync’s settings. This allows users to configure Sync differently on each device according to their needs. This means, however, that you must configure custom Sync settings on each device.

Perhaps this needs to be more prominently shown on the main setup page, as how to properly “sync settings between devices” comes up over and over again here and on Discord.

As all the Vault configuration sync toggles are off by default, I would only turn on the sections I want to sync and then set those same settings on the other device(s).

Hope it’s all going smoothly on your end!

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I saw those points in the documentation, I just couldn’t understand HOW to “configure Sync differently on each device according to [my] needs.” In fact I still don’t have the intended understanding of the purpose of desktop and mobile having different Sync settings to meet those unspecified needs, unless I consider the remote vault as kind of a backup of the Desktop settings, but the docs also say not to consider it as a backup.

Everything is working fine, though, now, once I came to the head canon that there are two phases, once with everything in Vault Configuration Sync toggled on both devices. Then once I have my desktop configuration on my mobile, toggle most things off so I can adjust on the mobile without it syncing back to the desktop. I don’t know if this is right or not, somewhere down the line I need to create a test vault and see if it does what I think happened. If I really get stuck, I could always email official support, but I am always hesitant to do that.

Thanks for your help!

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