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Troubleshooting OmniFocus Push-triggered sync on iOS

If OmniFocus Push-Triggered Sync doesn’t seem to be working for you, here are some things to double-check:

Minimum OmniFocus Version Numbers

First, verify that all of your devices are running a version of OmniFocus that supports Push, which was introduced in OmniFocus 2.4 for Mac and OmniFocus 2.6 for iOS.

To locate your OmniFocus version number:

  • In OmniFocus for Mac, choose OmniFocus > About OmniFocus.
  • In OmniFocus 3 for iOS, tap the Settings icon on the OmniFocus home screen, then tap About OmniFocus.
  • In OmniFocus 2 for iOS, reveal the Secret bar (by pulling down on the OmniFocus home screen/sidebar) and tap Settings > About OmniFocus.

Background App Refresh

OmniFocus’s background syncs (including those triggered by push) rely on Background App Refresh, so make sure it is enabled on the device and for OmniFocus. To do that:

  • In iOS, tap Settings > General > Background App Refresh > Background App Refresh and choose either Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi & Cellular Data.
  • Tap < Back and ensure that Background App Refresh is turned On for OmniFocus.

Note: Background App Refresh only works with third-party apps that are running in the background. If you’re in the habit of closing OmniFocus (by swiping it up from the app switcher) you’ll want to stop doing that in order for any syncs to occur in the background.

Do You See the Cold Launch Screen?

After you notice that OmniFocus is out-of-sync, do you see the cold launch screen the next time you open OmniFocus? Anytime you open OmniFocus and briefly see the cold launch screen (also called the splash screen) that means OmniFocus was not running in the background for some reason. It may have been manually closed (by swiping up from the app switcher), or iOS might’ve removed OmniFocus from the list of running apps for some reason.

OmniFocus can only sync in the background if it’s still in active memory. When using high-performance apps or games on your device, iOS memory management can try to free up memory to accommodate that app by terminating other apps in the background. Once OmniFocus has been kicked out of memory though, we’ll no longer be able to sync in the background — at least until the next time you launch the app to return it into active memory. Opening OmniFocus more often may help you get back into a synching state.

OmniFocus Cold Launch

Launch OmniFocus Regularly

If the previous troubleshooting steps haven’t worked for you, it’s possible that iOS isn’t responding to push notifications intended for OmniFocus. Push notifications are a “best effort” system, meaning that while Omni may issue a notification for every change you make, other devices — especially iOS devices — may not receive those notifications. This behavior helps to improve your iOS device’s battery life, but can impair this aspect of OmniFocus’s functionality.

Unfortunately, OmniFocus cannot override this behavior or require that iOS deliver every one of its push notifications. However, you may be able to “train” your device to allow OmniFocus to receive more notifications by opening OmniFocus on a more regular basis. For example, you might:

  • Launch OmniFocus at the same time every day (e.g. when you get to work or at lunch)
  • Launch OmniFocus multiple times over the course of the day
  • Avoid quitting OmniFocus from the app switcher

Mismatching Badge Counts

If you’re having trouble with badge counts, but aren’t missing any data, head over to our troubleshooting article on Mismatching Badge Counts.

Regenerate the Push Group

If nothing else so far has helped, you can try regenerating the push group to see if that helps. To do that:

  • In OmniFocus for iOS, open Settings > Push.
  • Make sure Push is set to On, and that Status says Awesome.
  • Tap Push Details > Regenerate Group > Regenerate.
  • Manually sync every OmniFocus client, starting with the device you’re doing the regenerate on.

Compare your sync logs

If you’re still having trouble, we can compare sync logs for the same timeframe from all of your devices. To do that:

  1. Make an edit on one device and write down the date and time you made the change.
  2. Wait a few minutes.
  3. Collect the sync logs from all of your devices.
    • In OmniFocus for iOS, open Settings > Last Synced, then use the Share button to send the log via email.
    • In OmniFocus for Mac, choose OmniFocus > Preferences > Synchronization > Show Sync Details > Log > Copy Log, and copy/paste the log details into an email.
  4. Use the contact info at the bottom of this page to send us the following:
    • The date/time of the change you made.
    • Your Omni Sync Server account name (if you’re syncing with our server).

That information should help us get an idea of what could be going wrong.

Last Modified: Jan 29, 2020

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