Working reliably on mobile [iOS/iPadOS] without Obsidian losing foreground focus and quitting

Over the last year or so I’ve been using/testing Obsidian on Linux, Win10, and iPadOS, the latter being my go-to platform.
While you may not have issues starting out, when your note count hits over 10k and start installing plugins headlessly, Obsidian might over time start behaving less stable.

I have accumulated the following on dos and don’ts when it comes to a stable framework:

  • Don’t use too many folders 2/3 deep or deeper: Obsidian prefers your md files in the root directory or in a directory directly below.
  • Don’t use plugins that fight for the same resources or are not designed to work well on mobile. Usually, plugin developers point out the failings but sometimes they don’t even have a device to test their plugin on… Try to go for a selected number of must-install plugins and ditch the rest. If you start experiencing performance issues, overheating, or random quits, investigate. In this post, I mentioned a few plugins that needed to be switched off (at least under the current state of installations of Obsidian and the respective plugins). Kudos to the developers for the plugins, still.
  • Seems to me that Obsidian prefers a YAML format with multiline fields with dashes. See this thread. This is beneficial on PC as well.
  • I have jailbroken my device and am using the MilkyWay2/3 (either is the same) tweak that allows multi-tasking with resizable windows. I recently found that under my current setup, no matter how many apps I have opened and no matter how many times I’ve put the device to sleep, I can always come back to work on my vault when activating the app with the tweak again.
    • Now you are asking, should I really jailbreak my device to enjoy the uninterrupted functionality of Obsidian on iOS? I’m not saying this JB/tweak feature is responsible for making the transition back to the unused app this smooth. What I am saying is that the operating system handling of the Obsidian UI (the app window) still seems fragile. It was so fragile that a year ago I touched the screen the wrong way (used the pinch gesture or pulled in an app to slide-over mode), and the app exited instantly. Granted, it was before the mobile app was reworked completely.

As I said, my vault (which I have begun to prune here and there) is large. Startup time will of course increase over time but the quitting of Obsidian as I found is not proportional to the size of the vault or available RAM resources – see this thread, where they would advise you to buy a better/newer model! Moderators also point out the same thing: you’ve run out of RAM, and there is nothing we can do. Your fault.
But that’s not the point. Obsidian seems finicky with the structure of your vault and does not like duplicate/iffy/faulty code running against it.
If you iron the kinks out, you’ll be able to use Obsidian on older models with a huge vault too. I am not sure a shiny new device can counter the flaws or inconsistencies lurking in the background, either.
As a general rule, you are the maintainer of your vault, you are responsible for which Obsidian version and what community plugins you have on board.
BTW, you can downgrade Obsidian versions if you have JB…

Suggestions on how to make Obsidian run stable further are welcome. Android users also (I did not test on my older Android tablets myself).

Some other tips are mentioned here:


Interesting! I’m “only” at ~8,200 files and maybe 16 plugins (most of them not very intense — probably the biggest one is one of the “folder note” plugins), with folders generally 3 deep, and the app is pretty stable.


Life would be simple with a one-size-fits-all approach and all statistics about the unknown are based largely on extrapolations and generalizations. But there are certain trends and crutches.

So when I say “always,” (as in I can always come back to continue work even on a large vault without having to load up again), “always” is not always true. It depends on uptime of device (jailbroken or otherwise), whether you load huge webpages on Safari into the memory (because obviously RAM is a factor), but given my experience from where I was before, the improvement is huge and the experience is rather good, relatively speaking.

I know you are a bit of an ambassador of core Obsidian minimalism and on mobile it is a necessary approach in order to have a reliable, stable workspace.
All in all, I just feel grateful that an app with such customizability exists and that it challenges me to come up with solutions that is beyond arbitrary tinkering.

Yeah, I was just adding a data point, not disagreeing.


Interesting, indeed! Thanks for sharing.

I’m sure you’ve been following along, but this is exactly how Obsidian 1.4+ reformats the YAML if you use the new Properties interface.

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I am yet to receive the update but using Linked Data Vocabularies and Link with Alias I found that they both reformat YAML. I had an idea that maybe it was Obsidian under the hood that was making the change.