OmniFocus and iTunes File Sharing

If you have access to a Mac computer with iTunes installed, you can potentially connect to iTunes File Sharing as a way to manually make a copy of your OmniFocus database. This might be handy if you aren’t syncing OmniFocus for iOS but would like to back up a snapshot of your database.

  1. Plug your iOS device into your computer, then select it in iTunes. Then click the Apps tab.
  2. Scroll to the File Sharing section at the bottom of this window. Select OmniFocus in the list of apps on the left side.
  3. You should see OmniFocus.ofocus listed in the documents area to the right, so select this file and click the Save to… button to save it to your desktop.

If you’d like to move a file back to OmniFocus for iPhone/iPad, click Add… in the list of files and select the OmniFocus.ofocus file you wish to move to your device. (More on this in the Our Bundled File Format section below.)

This database copy won’t connect to or in any way modify your primary database on its own - think of it as a snapshot of the way your database looked at a particular moment in time. To move data from this database copy to your primary database using OmniFocus for Mac, double-click the OmniFocus.ofocus file to open up the copied database in a new window. Drag and drop items from this new window to your primary database to copy items over as you like.

Please keep in mind that this process is not the same as wired sync; it’s not possible to use iTunes File Sharing as a means for syncing OmniFocus between your Mac and iPhone/iPad. If you’d like to set up OmniFocus for sync, please read this article.

Apple also provides some instructions for File Sharing on their support site here.

Our Bundled File Format

Our applications use a bundled file format, which might appear like a folder to some web services and operating systems. If the OS thinks an OmniFocus document is a folder, then you won’t be able to interact with it normally or move the database back to an iPhone or iPad. If you encounter this, then we’d recommend installing a trial version of OmniFocus for Mac (click the Download button on our product page). That way, your Mac should have an easier time recognizing the .ofocus file extension.

Though you can also use iTunes File Sharing on a Windows PC to copy over your database, Windows’ unfamiliarity with our file format might prevent you from restoring that database back onto an iPhone or iPad. If this applies to you, we’d recommend investigating other ways of having a database backup, like iCloud Backup or syncing with the Omni Sync Server.

Last Modified: Oct 2, 2017

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