Speeding up OmniFocus 2 for Mac sync times

I’ve been using OmniFocus 2 as my to-do list app and love it. However, one of my biggest issues with it is the fact that my devices get out of sync rather easily, which causes all sorts of issues such as duplicate reoccurring tasks appearing.

This stems from the fact that OmniFocus is supposed to sync by default a minute after a change and then every hour otherwise. If I happen to check off a reoccurring task on my home MacBook and shut the computer down before it syncs, the Omni Sync server never receives the updated data. This means my iPhone and my work MacBook never receive the update either. Then if I check off the same task on a different device because I’m trying to focus on what is left in my task list and that change syncs up to Omni Sync, the next time my home MacBook syncs up (that evening perhaps), two duplicates of the reoccurring task will appear.

I was very disappointed when I emailed Omni Group’s tech support about this. Their response was basically “make sure you sync before you shut your computer down.” Unacceptable in my opinion. Especially since I had met several of their support folks at UserConf last year. Such a fundamental part of their app that just doesn’t work when you need it to.

So what is the solution? I found a blog post that explains where to find hidden settings OmniFocus for sync times! Enter in a simple URL in your web browser and modifies the setting.

I’m experimenting with these sync settings:

  • 10 seconds after an edit (instead of 1 minute)
  • Otherwise, every 10 minutes (instead of 1 hour)

The jury is still out if this solves my syncing issue, I’ll have to go a few days and see what duplicates do/don’t appear. Worst case, I’ll adjust those values down further. I don’t want to stress out Omni’s Sync server…but I also don’t want duplicate tasks again.

In the meantime, Omni Group, you should look at Culture Code’s Things app. While I am not a fan of their workflow, they get sync right. Any change syncs with their server almost instantly. You can see their sync icon magically appear/disappear within a second of a change. I never had an issue with out of sync data with their app.