Obsidian Mobile is letting me down — UPDATE and Correction?

I have been using Obsidian alongside Craft for a while now. My purpose is to test the usefulness of both applications for my workflow before settling in for the long haul. As one would expect, they both have their pros and cons. My bias is toward Obsidian due to the advantages of using plain, md files that can be accessed using any application capable of dealing with plain text files.

One of my frustrations is the lack of feature parity between Obsidian on the Mac versus Obsidian mobile (OM). This is important to me because I use my iPad for a lot of my work. That use has increased with my new 2021 iPad Pro.

Given that OM is v.1 the lack of 100% parity may be expected but makes an efficient workflow difficult. Craft on the other hand, insofar as I’ve seen, has feature parity between its Mac and mobile versions.

OM lacks the ability to export to a PDF, whereas on the desktop this is not a problem. Many of the desktop plugins also do not work on OM. Another example of Obsidian’s lack of feature parity is transclusion of a PDF document. On the desktop version this works perfectly. However, PDF’s do not render in OM, as shown below. This week I was in a finance meeting taking notes and trying to reference a long-range financial projection report in PDF format from our CFO. It would not render in OM so I quickly switched to Craft to take the notes while having the PDF opened in a second window of Craft.

I’m going to continue using both for a while with the hope that an update to OM will result in feature parity. But, I can’t continue running dual systems for too long as doing so obviously involves extra time and work (minimized by importing from the Obsidian vault to Craft as needed).

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Sorry to be a broken record, but if you are looking for change, or perhaps an explanation why change is difficult, the place to complain about Obsidian is to the developers. They hang out in their forums on Discourse and on Discord. They are both very open to DMs in both cases. I think you’ll find that one of the issues is that accomplishing some of what you think an app should do for you is costly for the developer. Remember – Craft is not free; Obsidian is.

Bottom line for you might be to use Craft since your encounters with Obsidian always seem to come to frustration?


Craft just works.
Obisidian is powerful.

It’s like using Spark or Airmail…


You are not a broken record at all, I always appreciate your insights.

I will post on the Obsidian forum as well. I posted here because we have quite a few Obsidian users, some Obsidian gurus and others considering Obsidian and/or Craft. My input here is intended to be helpful as I share my experiences.

Yes, Obsidian is free, which is wonderful, but my education subscription to Craft is a great value.

As to frustrations with Obsidian, actually, I like it A LOT on the Mac and as I’ve said, I lean toward Obsidian. My limitations are related to the current state of OM. If I used the iPad less this would be a non-issue but I like writing on the iPad so for my workflow, the quality of the mobile app is important.

So … I’ll continue my experiment a bit longer with the hope that an updated version of OM will resolve some of these issues. Overall, OM has ~95% parity with the desktop version. I’m hoping the developers can soon close the remaining gap—though I suspect this has more to do with Apple’s system than theirs. :slight_smile:

I’ve seen this report a few times, but can’t figure out how to reproduce it. PDFs render for me just fine on iPadOS 15 and iOS 14.7, running Obsidian 1.0.4:

That’s interesting. I’m running 1.0.3. How does one upgrade? I’d like to test 1.0.4. and the latest version of iOS 14.

It’s on TestFlight, I think you need to get back to the beta train.

Sorry, 1.0.4 might not be out just yet—the devs run builds through the community moderators to make sure nothing critical was missed before pushing it through to supporters. So if it isn’t available yet, it’ll be out within a few days.

However, I haven’t had any issues rendering PDFs in OM at all—1.0.4’s little changes have nothing to do with PDF rendering as far as I know. But, like I said, you’re not the only one to report an issue with them. Could it be that your PDF is a long, unpaginated one? There’s a bug report for that:

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No, it is a two page PDF in landscape orientation.

As to the soon to be released update, sorry to ask such a simple question but how does one go about updating OM?

I generally try to avoid Betas. :slight_smile:

If you’re using TestFlight, the updates show up there. If not, just the usual App Store route!

I’ll try a landscape PDF to see if I can reproduce the problem.

I just gave it a go with a landscape pdf and had no problem. I’m using the version released to the App Store, not a beta.

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Well, this is interesting. Based on the input I received from a moderator on the Obsidian forum I did an experiment.

I created a new note and inserted two PDF’s from ones I created from Internet articles. They render perfectly. Hmmm, I wonder what is unique about the one that will not render?

My apologies, I certainly did not mean to “cry wolf.”

This is encouraging.

Here is a screenshot of the test note.

I then added the problematic PDF to that same note. It sill does not render. This tells me there is something peculiar about that PDF.

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Very true. I would love to use all the power of Obsidian, but Craft does most of what I need and just when I was playing with Obsidian and thinking about features I miss in Craft, the developers started adding them :slight_smile: I think they will continue adding some features I miss right now and Craft will continue to improve in a decent pace.

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Looks like the PDF file is corrupt. Possible that I t’s not compatible with all standards to render. That’s the reason it renders on some platforms. E en with Adobe when you save as a PDF you can control to what version backwards compatibility you want the PDF to be able to be opened.

My two cents is that other than sharing the mic of “next-gen PKM”, Craft and Obsidian are very different tools, and each person’s optimal one will depend on how their brain operates.

Craft’s Major is formatting your information. This is clearly helpful in organizing it. After all, we all find a wall of text less digestible than punctuation, paragraphs, and pages. Craft also has a Minor in indexing your beautifully formatted information.

Meanwhile, Obsidian’s Major is indexing your information, with its flexible pane layout, automagical backlink rewriting when you shuffle your vault around, and custom view scripts. And, Obsidian has a Minor in formatting that index.

Would your brain reclaim more compute power if the indexing was made easier for you, or the visualization? That is the question to ask.

Personally, I get more value from an indexing co-processor. So I went with Obsidian.

I would add, too, that leaving your data in your hands makes Obsidian lower risk. And, thanks to Obsidian’s rabid plugin community and due to Craft’s business model, I believe Obsidian is likelier to add all of Craft’s selling points one day, than Craft is likely to add all of Obsidian’s selling points, even if Craft has debuted covetously polished and funded.


Not happy you’re having this problem but happy I’m not going crazy. Most of my PDFs won’t render on iPad 1.0.4.

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That is yet to be determined :joy: but seriously there is something going on.

You may want to add your experience to my bug report on the Obsidian forum.


Is the PDF protected by DRM?
I use a lot of British Standards, and they’ve started protecting them with FileOpen DRM. I can view them fine without issue on the Mac (transparently), but they’re locked to a single device, so I can’t sync them or open them on another device I own, which makes life a pain in Zotero.

No, I don’t believe so. The PDFs were created through the Print to PDF command on the Mac and I use PDFExpert. So as far as I know, everything is standard.