OmniFocus 2 on iPhone 5 will not sync automatically ever [solved with the introduction of push-triggered background syncing]


If there’s anything I/we can do to resolve this issue (like sending logs via iOS Testflight or something like that), feel free to ask. I just had to disable the alerts on my iPhone (6, iOS 8.1.2) anyway because it always nags me about actions I had already marked as ‘completed’ on my iPad (an Air 2 with iOS 8.1.2 that is) :-(


2.4.2 is out, but the release notes doesn’t say anything about fixing sync issues :(


@kcase or @omnifocus (I can’t remember who) tweeted that 2.4.3 has sync fixes for issues discovered after 2.4.2 was submitted. So that should be the thing to watch for, I guess.


it’s also mentioned in the iphone release notes


Unfortunately I still have this problem with the current release. Are currently any solutions?


Is Background App Refresh enabled for OmniFocus? (In the system’s Settings app, under OmniFocus settings.)

If that’s not the issue, please contact our support humans at or 1-800-315-6664 so we can diagnose and fix the problem. We strive to give individual, human responses to every support request within one business day.


I can confirm the findings of wendellpblyod.

Background sync is still not working. With luck it syncs about one or two times a day… Not enough if you have a busy schedule. The current iPad App syncs flawlessly every hour or so.

Very sad. Please fix this!! And of course: Background Sync is enabled in the Settings.


If it’s syncing one or two times a day, then the background syncing feature itself is working. The problem now is convincing iOS to sync the app more often.

The way background syncing works on iOS is that the operating system decides when and how often each app will sync. (Apple doesn’t want apps burning battery life by firing up the radio independently, so iOS decides when a good time to sync might be and then it can sync several of your apps at the same time.)

I think the baseline is that iOS will sync an app in the background about once a day, but it tries to learn your usage patterns for each app so that the app will be synced before you launch it. For example, if I often open OmniFocus around 6am each morning, iOS is likely to decide that 5:30am would be a good time to tell the app to sync.

Apple says that opening an app frequently will train iOS that you’d like to sync that app frequently, so if you’d like to see OmniFocus sync more regularly then that’s probably your best approach for now. (But I often wish Apple would just give customers direct control over our desired sync frequency—perhaps with a setting next to the Background App Refresh switch in Settings—so we could easily indicate how often we’d like a particular app to sync.)

Looking ahead at our future roadmap, I think the best path to reduced latency would be to add support for push synchronization so that whenever one device makes a change and syncs it to the cloud, it can send a push notification to your other devices letting them know to sync immediately also. But as I noted earlier in this thread, this would require a custom back end server which means that our customers wouldn’t have the flexibility to sync with their own sync servers without requiring a sync back end provided by Omni. (But maybe we could enable it automatically for everyone who uses our free Omni Sync Server.)


Music my (and many others’) ears. Support for push sync has my vote! I think OmniFocus gets everything else right, except for that, which ends up being a huge thing for me, enough to send me over to other apps just so I can not have any sync lags.

That’s not a, “Fix or I’m going to leave you” grandstanding–just an encouragement to please do go down that route… I’m sure your sales would only increase, too, as a result.


Hello Ken!

Thanks for your feedback! I really appreciate your explanations. In the next days I will try to train OF for iPhone and will report back.

Is it enough for training to open the App or is it necessary to “work” in it (check tasks, edit and create tasks)?

And count my vote for push synchronisation please!! I really love working with OF and this would be a fantastic addition!


+1000 on adding support for push! I am trying to synchronize OmniFocus on 5 Macs and 2 iOS devices.

IMHO push should have been there from the beginning. Everything else about this so good!


+1 on much of what has already been said about background, push syncing. I’m not tech savvy enough to understand “custom back end servers” and how this relates to individual users.

I use both OF and Things, though OF is my primary productivity app. I both of these apps on iPhone, iPad and Mac. Things syncs with its brethren within seconds of making a change, but OF is hit or miss.

Here’s my current set-up: iPhone 4s running iOS 7.1.2 and OF 2.3.3; iPad 2 on iOS 8.1.2 and OF 1.6.5; Mac (Mavericks) with OF 2 (current version). Mostly, I go between my iPhone and Mac so I notice the sync (or lack thereof) on those devices. Having upgraded to iOS 8.1.2 on my iPad 2, I have absolutely no interest in doing so on my iPhone 4s.

While my set-up and melange of app versions, and OS versions may be a bit odd, my problem seems to be common. There could be all sorts of reasons for the problems with syncing. But other apps have absolutely no problem syncing across all three devices as is.

As I said, Things syncs beautifully (but is simply not powerful enough for what I need when I’m really trying to break down a project). Todo (Appigo) completely failed and has been tossed entirely. OF is still much more useful than annoying, but the syncing is simply unreliable. Rather than training my iPhone to sync frequently, I have simply trained myself to launch -> OF home-screen -> make sure sync is spinning -> wait for “update bar” to show up. Occasionally I have to lather, rinse and repeat. Occasionally I get duplicated tasks. I will probably update hardware when the next gen. of iPhone comes out. I will purchase OF2 for iPad, soon. In the meantime, what’s a boy to do?



Only wanted to report back, that after a few days of “burning in” OF on the iPhone started syncing in the background. Not so frequently than the iPad Version I use, but quite few times a day. So, thanks to Ken for mentioning this!




Maybe a silly question, but why not use the icloud for this syncing? Or does this have to do with your syncing model where there is one authoritative source of information (while icloud in disconnected mode might become more ‘disconnected’ from the One Point of Knowledge)?


I had thought of that too, but I’m not sure an iCloud based solution necessarily works as I don’t think a background iCloud update can trigger an actual background sync into the OmniFocus database.

In other words, while iOS will refresh iCloud data in the background, so it will be there waiting for OmniFocus when it actually does start up, I don’t think the process of an iCloud update occurring on the device will trigger an app like OmniFocus to startup in the background and actually process the data. Ergo, the only real advantage of using iCloud in this case is that the data is up to date if you open OmniFocus while you’re out of data coverage, but if background sync is working properly in the first place (e.g. via push notifications), that shouldn’t really be relevant anyway. It’s useful for apps like 1Password which don’t have their own sync server and don’t need to be updated until the app is actually opened, but with OmniFocus, you’d still be stuck with notifications popping up for tasks you’d already completed and badge counts being incorrect.

IMHO, it seems like Omni implementing push notifications on the Omni Sync Server is the ‘right’ way to do this. It’s clearly the method everybody else is using, and probably why other apps like Things have also avoided using iCloud.

Obviously, users leveraging their own sync solutions would lose this nice, clean, automated sync, but I don’t think this would lead to much confusion, as most users who are savvy enough to understand how to setup their own server are also likely to understand what they’ll be losing by doing so, provided of course it’s clearly explained somewhere.


As I think about it, I’m also wondering if another option wouldn’t be to simply trade-off by deploying a “notification” server separate from the Omni Sync Server.

In this scenario, the idea would be to have the OmniFocus apps ‘ping’ the notification server whenever there’s an update, which in turn would send out a push notification to all other registered devices. This would be the best compromise of all, since it wouldn’t be necessary to only implement it for those using the Omni Sync Server, and there should be no real data privacy concerns as you’d only be sending a ‘ping’ that “something” had changed, and it would be up to the individual iOS apps to go out and fetch those changes directly. Frankly, this is how most push notifications work anyway – even Apple’s Mail app doesn’t update the badge count directly – iCloud and OS X Server’s push notifications merely tell Mail that there’s been an update, and Mail goes out and checks for mail in the background (this is how I managed to get “full change” Push Notifications working on my own OS X server, rather than only new mail notifications).


Please Omnifocus improve that…I’m again so bored to get notifications from my iphone about “due soon” tasks that I already completed hours ago on my Mac…to not get those I’d have to open up the iphone-app and hit the sync button each time I mark a task “completed” on the Mac.

I’m really really bored of that…cmon, fix it please!!! Thoughts about switching to another app naturally come up again (but it would take hours to migrate all those tasks and projects…) :/


I have to say I don’t really care what gets done to fix this problem. It is not our job to find a solution. It just needs to get fixed. This application is marketed and sold on the promise of reliable syncing across multiple devices. We pay a reasonable fee for all of the applications involved. The product does not work as advertised.

Of all the other applications I use that involve syncing, OmniFocus is by far the least reliable.


We addressed a number of syncing regressions in OmniFocus 2.4.3. (Here’s the release notes.)
If you’re still encountering problems after updating to that version, please email our Support Humans ( so we can get more specifics on what’s still not working.


Unfortunately, this release only works in ios8. With a iPhone 4s (I know the OP was about iphone 5), I’m reluctant to upgrade. After permanently upgrading my iPad 2, it became VERY slow.

As I don’t want to do that to my phone, is there any chance of OF2 for iphone getting an equivalent update for ios 7?

Is OG still supporting OF2 running on ios7?