"Waiting for iCloud to synchronise Obsidian configuration files…" - very slow every time you switch to Obsidian on iPhone

Things I have tried

Almost every time I switch to the Obsidian on my iPhone (14 Pro) I see this message that prevents you from editing or even viewing your vault items.

I’ve tried creating new vaults, ensuring nothing else is syncing etc…

If it was a second or so it wouldn’t be an issue but can be quite a long time (10-30 seconds), additionally it’s not just after force closing the app - it’s whenever you switch back to the app after a few minutes, it’s as if the app doesn’t pause / suspend properly when in the background.

Some environmental information:

It doesn’t seem to matter which specific extensions are installed.

I use a lot of different apps with iCloud (Bear (Bear (even with a large, 8,000 note, 2GB library), iAWriter, Reeder, Things etc…) and none of them ever have syncing / storage performance issues.

My internet connection is quick (1000/50Mbit) with a good ISP, low latency, and has good peering.

iCloud syncs files / other applications documents as quickly my internet connection can go.


  • 2021 MacBook Pro M1 Pro
  • 2020 MacBook Air M1
  • iPhone 14 Pro

Happy to provide any helpful logs, run tests etc…

I’ve seen another thread asking the same question that never got any responses but I couldn’t reply to it as it was permanently closed.

What I’m trying to do

Use Obsidian on iOS with iCloud.

Side note: I am aware of Obsidian Sync. While I want to support development of software I wish to use - $150AUD/year for a single application syncing service is a lot of money (for me) and I’m not sure that Sync would realistically be any faster.

Because collaboration with Sync also requires each other person to also pay $150AUD/yr - it’s a big investment compared to iCloud which costs $54AUD/yr for everything.

My current thinking is that if I can get Obsidian to iCloud to work without the performance issues I’d rather drop a donation to the project - but I want to make sure it works well first.

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This message will show up when files required for Obsidian’s operation need to be downloaded from iCloud.
Obsidian needs all files to be locally available on the device, so it forces iCloud to download these files.

How full is your phone storage?

Only Apple knows when and why it will unload a file from your device to save space.
This will happen more regularly when there is not that much space left on your device.

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It’s set to download everything offline, I’ve only used 342GB of 512GB.

Is there any reason the app can’t launch with whatever it thinks is the latest data, then reload config if there are updates?

I’m assuming this is what other apps must do.

I didn’t think there was a way on iOS to make iCloud keep things downloaded.

Oh sorry you’re 100% correct - I was thinking of iCloud photos where there is that option.

What I’m going to do now is buy Obsidian Sync just for 1 month and compare it to using iCloud drive.

I’ll report back after some testing.

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Well, almost two hours later it’s still syncing my 1.2GB vault… so far it seems Obsidian Sync is very slow compared to iCloud drive.

In fact - it looks like for the past two hours it’s only been uploading / creating directories:

2022-12-29 16:02 - Uploading _Bear/BearImages/81579925-3FD2-41EA-9948-4B837846C1CA-50511-0001BDCC22B8559C
2022-12-29 16:02 - Uploading _Bear/BearImages/815E24E8-7D52-4091-A85E-7C854D536523-50511-0001BDC8749C285C
2022-12-29 16:02 - Uploading _Bear/BearImages/815E514B-8E78-4171-872D-60D740C008CF-50511-0001BD8310326612
2022-12-29 16:02 - Uploading _Bear/BearImages/816379BA-0A83-4263-A517-EAA2EC99D4EA-50511-0001BDC4CE2EECA9
2022-12-29 16:02 - Uploading _Bear/BearImages/8167FCE7-004E-4469-9585-8B3077253EDE-50511-0001BDD5C76BC473
2022-12-29 16:03 - Uploading _Bear/BearImages/81685DD7-2D4F-43E4-A26F-F2828344EC0F-50511-0001BD847A1EC49C
2022-12-29 16:03 - Uploading _Bear/BearImages/8169FAB1-C488-4A99-81FD-BE3472A781B6-94459-0001E04BE47DC369
2022-12-29 16:03 - Uploading _Bear/BearImages/816A4C54-EC97-4656-93A3-A9782A11FBE9-50511-0001BDB39571C952
2022-12-29 16:03 - Uploading _Bear/BearImages/81706046-893D-4016-BC69-86D12A988F73-50511-0001BE15114A4AD2

Loading the sync’d vault on my phone only shows directories:

Sync eventually uploaded everything - took several hours though!

The app does start a lot faster than when it’s using iCloud Drive - but I have found it to be quite a bit slower at actually syncing / updating files.

iCloud is usually a second or two between machines, I’ve had Sync take a few minutes before files created on my alptop appear on my phone.

Interesting! I’ve found Sync to be pretty fast, and iCloud files occasionally get “stuck” (outside of Obsidian; I’ve never used iCloud with it). But my vault is smaller than 1.2 GB.

One thing to note is that on iOS, Obsidian Sync only works when Obsidian is open. So if you make a change and then immediately close Obsidian, the change might not sync until next time you open Obsidian.