OmniFocus – Syncing Faster

I like OmniFocus. A lot. The sync service works really well. It didn’t seem quick, but it was reliable, and seemed to remain reliable when the connection wasn’t great. That’s handy when I’m syncing my iPhone on the way in to Tesco – the signal isn’t very good there, but I need my shopping list to be up to date. Otherwise, I might forget to replenish my stocks of Cherry Garcia, and that would be bad.

While reading the forums for something else, though, I just discovered the secret to faster syncing. Sync all devices often.

I have OmniFocus installed on my iPhone and MacBook Air. It’s also installed on my iMac, but rarely used on there. Because I don’t use it on there very often, that copy doesn’t sync very often. OmniFocus uses a transaction-based system for it’s sync files, where every change (or small set of changes made together) are turned into a zip file and uploaded. They get deleted when all known clients are up to date. I had over a thousand of them, and syncing was getting a bit slow. After syncing my iMac, then letting the other devices catch up, they all cleared away, and my iPhone now syncs in a couple of seconds.

On the Mac, you can check in Preferences, Sync for a list of the client machines it knows about. If you have any listed that you don’t use any more, you can remove them from there. You can also see from there when each copy of OmniFocus last synced. Once they are all recent, the zip file count (shown in iOS in OmniFocus Settings) should drop over the next few syncs.