Frequently Asked Questions about OmniFocus Encryption

OmniFocus 2.6 for Mac and OmniFocus 2.15 for iOS introduced a new sync format, which offers stronger security and faster sync, and paves the way for future features. Your data is now encrypted before it ever leaves your device so that it’s encrypted on the server itself. All encryption and decryption happens locally, so your data is always encrypted end-to-end and the server you sync with never has access to your encryption key.

How do I start using the new database format?

Learn more here: Migrating to the New OmniFocus Database Format

What is my encryption passphrase?

By default, we use your existing sync password as your encryption passphrase. If you’re syncing with our Omni Sync Server, this would be the password you specified when creating a sync account on our server, or were using at the time during which you migrated to the new encrypted database format.

If you’d prefer a different passphrase, or if you’re having trouble using your existing sync password as your encryption passphrase, you can also create a separate encryption passphrase that is not linked to your sync password. There’s more information about this in the sections below.

Why would I want a separate encryption passphrase?

A separate encryption passphrase provides an additional level of security where your data is stored for syncing between devices. A party with access to your sync password will not be able to read your OmniFocus data by logging into the server where your database is hosted. The tradeoff to this is you’ll need to make sure you remember this passphrase—if you lose every single device OmniFocus is installed on and you forget your encryption passphrase, you should consider your OmniFocus database lost and unrecoverable.

How can I tell if my database is encrypted?

In OmniFocus for Mac, go to OmniFocus ▸ Preferences and click the Synchronization tab. Then, click Show Sync Details… and choose the Encryption tab.

In OmniFocus for iOS, swipe down on the home screen to access the OmniFocus Settings, then tap Encryption in the Sync section.

How do I change my encryption passphrase?

From the Encryption page in OmniFocus’s Settings, click or tap Change Encryption Passphrase. Confirm your current passphrase, then enter the new passphrase twice.

What happens if I lose my encryption passphrase?

If you’ve run through your list of possible passphrases and OmniFocus still will not sync, recovery involves deleting or setting aside the database on the server and re-syncing. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact us.

What does “Passwords are linked” mean in the Encryption settings?

This is the default encryption setting, which means that the encryption passphrase was set using your sync password. If you decide to change the sync password down the road, the encryption passphrase will also be updated after you sync once from any existing synced device.

I sync with the Omni Sync Server. Will updating my password change the encryption passphrase?

Changing the sync password from the Omni Sync Server website will not immediately change the current OmniFocus encryption password. You must still enter the original encryption passphrase at least once from any actively syncing device to decrypt your OmniFocus database.

Why does the “linked” status not match between devices?

If you are using a custom WebDAV setup with unique requirements (for example, device-specific passwords), the device that prompted the migration to the new format uses its password for encryption. If you have a situation like this, setting a unique encryption passphrase will ensure each device shows the same status.

Why do I keep getting prompted for the encryption passphrase?

As of OmniFocus 2.7 (Mac) and 2.16 (iOS), you should only be prompted once for your encryption passphrase if it does not match the sync password. Please check for updates to make sure the latest versions are installed, so that you’re taking advantage of these encryption improvements.

If you have other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Support Humans.

Last Modified: Nov 18, 2016

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