Automatic Task Import from Reminders, without opening OF

I love that I can import tasks through Siri via the Reminders list; however, if I log a task in reminders I must then open Omnifocus in order for it to get added (or else the task will not show in OF on my iPad.

Is there a way to automate this pull into OF, or is it a limitation of iOS?

As far as I know, this is a limitation of iOS, and applies to pretty much every third-party app out there. Apple’s own apps get special privileges, but pretty much nothing else gets to just run in the background whenever it feels like it.

OmniFocus will start up in the background occasionally, but only when it either receives a push notification because something has changed in the OmniFocus database on another device (Mac or iPad, for instance), or when iOS decides to let it start up in the background to do a quick update. The latter is scheduled by iOS arbitrarily based on how often your iPhone thinks OmniFocus needs to run, and I don’t think it happens any more often than once per hour, but could be even less. Apparently the more you open OmniFocus manually, the more often it will happen. This was kind of Apple’s foundation in iOS 8 for what has become the “Proactive Assistant” in iOS 9 – learning your behaviour and updating things in the background when appropriate. I think OmniFocus will also start up based on location changes – I know it used to as that was the only way to get any kind of background updates before iOS 8 came along (it was a trick a lot of apps used – hooking into location services to trick the iPhone into letting the app do background updates when you’re moving around), but I’m not certain whether it still does this or not in light of the new background updates capabilities.

Chances are if you left your item in Reminders for long enough, OmniFocus will eventually suck it in when it starts up for one of the above reasons. It’s not ideal, but it does work, and I often find that as long as I’m not in too much of a hurry to get things from Reminders into OmniFocus, they’ll eventually get there. You can also get stuff in by triggering a push notification from your Mac – simply change something in your OmniFocus database, hit CMD+S to trigger a sync, wait a minute or two, and hit CMD+S again, and the newly captured Inbox items will likely appear, as the Mac sync will trigger a push notification on the iPhone that will cause OmniFocus to sync up and then in turn push the new Inbox items back up to the cloud.


Thank you for such a detailed response. If the reminder eventually gets pulled in by the background sync via a location check, I think thats good enough. Good to know that this is all based on the internal workings of iOS. Thanks again.

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