Push-triggered Synchronisation with OmniFocus

OmniFocus 2 has got so may great features that make me stick with it as my todo application of choice. However one of the few areas where it has fallen behind other applications is synchronisation. There would be too many occurrences where I would open up OmniFocus 2 on the iPad and wait for a good few minutes as the cogs turn and slowly, but surely, updated data pulls down from the OmniSync server.

Don't get me wrong - it's a key focus of the Omni Group and recent releases have focused on improving this. It's a LOT better than it's ever been. However a recent foray into Todoist showed me that other applications still have an edge when it comes to keeping data up to date in real time on all of your devices. It's not enough to make me move though. The lack of sequential projects and defer dates in other applications prevent me from migrating my todo list elsewhere and I haven't spent the last two years building up a rock-solid Omnifocus system to tear it down for something else.

With the introduction of OmniFocus 2.4 for Mac and OmniFocus 2.6 for iOS, Push-triggered sync is now a feature. It uses push notifications to keep all devices up to date. When OmniFocus receives a push notification, it can silently pull down changes from the Omni Sync Server (or your own private server if that is your set-up) so that the next time you open OmniFocus, it's ready to go.

A detailed description of the process, as well as the security implications within, can be found here.

To enable Push-Triggered Sync, follow these steps.

Mac Application

  • Go to System, Preferences, Synchronisation, Show Sync Details
  • On the Push tab, check the box entitled Use Push

iOS Application

  • Go to Settings, Push
  • Toggle Push on/off as required.

If we use the Mac Application as our example here, you will see that as well as the Push tab, there are some other areas we should focus on, notably Devices and Log

Devices - here you will see a list of the devices that are currently setup within your OmniFocus group, as well as the date/time of the last synchronisation timestamp.

Log - a detailed list of synchronisation activity. It is limited to the last fifty entries.

There is some good information contained there, as well as concrete proof that improving synchronisation is high on the Omni Group's road-map. It's certainly improved.