OmniFocus for iPhone FAQ
What does it cost?
OmniFocus for iPhone is $19.99 in the U.S. The price will vary based on Apple’s App Store pricing conversions.
Is there a discount if I buy OmniFocus for Mac and OmniFocus for iPhone?
OmniFocus for Mac and OmniFocus for iPhone are separate products, with lots of independent work going into each one. We’re generally quite happy to offer bundle pricing for products purchased through our own online store, but there’s no way to do that when selling through the App Store. We’ve tried to make sure that each product is priced reasonably as its own independent product, and we hope you’ll agree that both products become even more valuable when you use them together.
Will OmniFocus work with iPod touch?
Certainly! OmniFocus works the same way on iPod touch as it does on iPhone, except for the things that are impossible there: using the cell network or GPS to find your geographic location. OmniFocus on iPod touch can still try to find your location using Wi-Fi to show you your nearby actions, but you won’t be able to receive location-based alerts.
Does it work on the original iPhone? What about iPhone 3G/3GS/4? iPod Touch?
OmniFocus requires iOS 5.1, which means that it will not run on the original iPhone or iPhone 3G, nor on the 1st or 2nd generation iPod Touch.
If I have more than one iPhone or iPod touch, how many copies of OmniFocus for iPhone do I need?
Just one; similar to music or iPod game purchases, one license covers any device you personally use and control, up to a limit of five devices. Note that this is determined by the App Store Terms and Conditions.
Do I need OmniFocus for Mac?
OmniFocus can work perfectly fine on your mobile device all by itself. You can create a fully usable database, and then enter, edit, and complete items. Of course, doing really involved editing of large amounts of data is easier on the desktop, but by no means do you need it. If you only have OmniFocus for iPhone or for Mac, at any time you can get the other one and start synchronizing between the two.
Do I have to pay for future updates?
The App Store policy and the longstanding Omni Group policy agree: minor updates should be free. Of course, if there is a major overhaul of the application with lots of shiny new features, we may release it as a new product, and that would cost money. But bug fixes, minor features, and miscellaneous polishing come at no cost.
How do I update OmniFocus for iPhone?
You can update OmniFocus for iPhone from within the App Store on your iPhone or by logging into your account in the iTunes Store on your desktop and syncing to iTunes once it has downloaded the update.
How do I make OmniFocus notifications appear in iOS 5?
You can enable OmniFocus notifications in iOS 5 in the Settings app. Tap ‘Notifications’ and then find OmniFocus in the list of apps. Here you’ll find all the different ways you can tweak your OmniFocus notifications. Choose between banners or alerts, and turn on or off the app icon badge and sounds.
Why don't you have sync over the USB cable, or color-coded badges on the app icon, or rich text, or [other obviously useful but absent feature]?
These are all limitations of the iPhone platform, not design choices. The platform is still very young, and we’re already thrilled with what we can do, but if Apple wants to open up these features to us, we will be more than happy to take advantage of them.
I see there is an update available; Why can't I install it?
Some updates of OmniFocus for iPhone require the most recent version of iOS. You can check to make sure you’re up-to-date by selecting your iPhone under Devices in iTunes, selecting the Summary pane, and choosing Check for Updates.
Is there any way to take a screenshot on the iPhone?
- Yep; while holding down the Home button, briefly press the Power button on the top of the device.
- Your screen will flash white - this means that the screenshot was added to your photo roll. You can now use the camera application to email it to OmniFocus-iPhone@omnigroup.com and we’ll see exactly what you’re seeing.
I don't have a Mac. Will OmniFocus play well with my Windows PC?
iTunes on Windows does back up the data on your iPhone when you plug it in, which might save you in case something untoward happens. But if that’s not enough reassurance for you, it might be worth synchronizing with Omni Sync Server or another WebDAV server, if only to have a live copy of your database that lives somewhere other than on your crash-susceptible and stealable mobile device. We do not have plans for a Windows version of OmniFocus at this time.
How can I get emails into OmniFocus?
We offer a simple bounce-back service to make it easier to add actions from your emails. To try it out, send a message to email@example.com. Within a few seconds, you’ll receive an auto-response from us which includes a “Send to OmniFocus” link.
On your OmniFocus device of choice, open that mail message and tap or click either “Send to OmniFocus” link. At that point, OmniFocus will launch and add the the subject and text of the original email to your database. (Attachments don’t go along for the ride, but that also means that your sync times stay fast.)
(Note that this works best if you use a dedicated mail application—Mail for OS X/iPhone/iPad—as opposed to viewing your mail inside a browser. Web browsers don’t seem to handle the custom link type as well as the native apps do, and Gmail blocks non-http URLs.)
I used to use MobileMe to sync OmniFocus for iPhone version with the desktop version. How can I sync now?
OmniFocus can use any standards-compliant WebDAV server. The Omni Sync Server is free and there’s a number of other WebDAV services out there.
WebDAV? What's that? It sounds charming and sophisticated.
WebDAV is a common type of server for sharing files on the web. Basically, it’s a way to read and write files on a web server but it is sophisticated and often complicated to set up. Many web hosting services support WebDAV; check with your hosting provider to find out whether you can set up your own WebDAV space.
Due to the nature and differences between each WebDAV server, we are unable to troubleshoot individual WebDAV issues on servers other than Omni Sync Server.
I have existing data. How do I set up syncing?
- To sync OmniFocus between your Mac(s) and iOS device(s), you’ll need to sign up for our own Sync Server or you can use Bonjour. Check the Synchronizing Between Macs and Mobile Devices section of OmniFocus Help for step-by-step instructions.
- For advanced users, it is also possible to set up a WebDAV server to which OmniFocus can sync.
Can I merge the data on my phone and Desktop later?
If you have two separate databases that started out on different devices, they can’t be automatically merged together. So if you already have an OmniFocus database on your Mac, and you start using OmniFocus for iPhone (or vice versa), you should set up synchronization right away.
If you already have two separate databases, you can copy and paste from one to the other to manually merge them.
- Back up your database in OmniFocus for Mac.
- Set up syncing for OmniFocus for iPhone if you haven’t already.
- Sync OmniFocus for iPhone, choosing to keep the local database.
- Set up syncing for OmniFocus for Mac if you haven’t already.
- Sync OmniFocus for Mac, choosing to keep the server database. Your two devices should now be in sync, now you just need to copy your tasks across.
- In the Finder, double-click on the backup you made earlier to open it. Now you should have both OmniFocus databases side-by-side.
- Drag or copy and paste anything you want to keep from your backup document.
What's the value of synchronization if I only ever use OmniFocus on one device? Can I back up my data if I don't have OmniFocus for Mac?
Syncing with WebDAV provides you with one more place that your data is backed up. iTunes backs up your data once a week (or when you manually request it), and you’ll need to restore the entire phone, not just OmniFocus, to get your data back. But OmniFocus can sync with WebDAV automatically every time you make changes, so your backup will be current.
Synchronization seems really slow, or isn't completing. Can I do anything to fix this?
Sync all your Macs and devices regularly. When one client gets out of date, all the others have to hold onto all intermediate changes until the left behind client syncs again.
If you make changes on two different clients without syncing in between, the next sync can be much slower as OmniFocus has to do a lot of extra work to merge the multiple sets of changes. (If changes have only been made on one client, they can be merged much more efficiently.) This can be especially noticeable if OmniFocus on an iPhone or iPod touch is the next client to sync, because these devices are much slower than a Mac. To minimize this problem, try to make sure that changes get synced to the server before you leave one device (syncs happen automatically one minute after you make a change, or you can manually initiate a sync), and that you sync down any new changes before making changes on a second device.
If your database is very large you might consider archiving some of the older data. This will make it faster to merge in synced changes. Archiving is currently only available via the Mac version of OmniFocus: you can archive older actions which have been completed or dropped by selecting “Move Old Data to Archive” from the “File” menu. There is an option in that same menu for opening the archive so that you can reference it later if necessary.
Synchronization does not seem to work; what should I do?
Make sure that you’re using a recent version of OmniFocus. If the version number is below 1.8 on the Macintosh and 1.8 on the iPhone, you’re missing out on some big sync improvements.
If actions you add or modify on the phone are not showing up on the Macintosh, your filter settings may be hiding them. Try going to the Perspectives menu and choosing the built-in “All Items” perspective.
If you still think there is a problem with your synchronization, try the following steps to make sure:
- Perform a sync on the Mac or device where you made the changes. On a Mac this means clicking the Sync button in the toolbar or choosing Synchronize with Server from the File menu. On iPhone this means tapping the Sync button in the center of the toolbar. When that sync is done, perform a sync on the other side. If you still don’t see the changes, move on to the next step.
- Make sure your filter settings aren’t hiding the changes you made; on the Mac, choose All Items from the Perspectives menu to make sure you’re not missing anything. On iPhone, try changing your Settings to show “All Items” in the projects screen, and then navigate to the project that you changed.
- If that still didn’t work, you might have some disconnected transactions or other residue in your database. Open the sync location and rename your database to something else, like “OmniFocus-aside.ofocus”. Sync from one copy of OmniFocus to put its database on the server. Then sync from the other copy, and choose to use the server copy. Now your two databases should be in sync, and things should go smoothly.
- If you still have any problems, you may have found a bug. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you track it down.
How often does OmniFocus sync? Do I have to sync it manually every time?
OmniFocus for iPhone automatically syncs one minute after you make a change, to make sure that the MobileMe (or WebDAV) server has an up-to-date copy of your database. OmniFocus for Mac does the same, plus both will sync once an hour in case another device made some changes recently. If the applications have not been running and the hour has elapsed, it will sync on launch. Whenever you like, you can manually make a sync happen, as well.
What does a 403 "Forbidden" error mean when I try to sync?
This message means that OmniFocus is able to communicate with your sync server, but the server is not letting you access the location the app is trying to work with.
The most common cause of this message is the server’s configuration has changed, but in a way that doesn’t tell OmniFocus that it needs to ask you for updated login information.
OmniFocus attempts to work around this by prompting you for updated credentials in most cases, but if you do see this message you can try temporarily changing your password on the server. This will cause it to send OmniFocus a different error message which the app will recognize as meaning that we need to prompt for new login info. (Another option is to try telling OmniFocus to sync to me.com if it’s currently configured to sync to one of the older mac.com addresses.)
A good next step is to make sure that you have plenty of space left on your iDisk or WebDAV server. For most people, a few megabytes is enough, but if you have lots of attachments or an especially large database, you may need more space.
If that doesn’t fix the problem, the next step is to check the document path specified in sync preferences. If it is incomplete or misspelled, this error may occur.
Another thing to try would be to check the permissions set on the folder or account you’re syncing with on the server. Certain WebDAV accounts especially may be configured incorrectly, or may be configured for read-only access from some accounts.
How long should sync take?
Our goal is to have sync (no matter what method you’ve chosen) take no more than 30 seconds. Keep in mind that some factors are out of our control; if your ISP’s servers are having a bad day, for example, we can’t fix that. However, if you’re syncing frequently and consistently seeing longer sync times, please contact our Support Ninjas so they can lend a hand.
Why doesn't Reminders Capture work on my Mac/iPhone 4/other device that doesn't have Siri?
Our primary goal with this feature is to work with Siri. Typing an entry into the OmniFocus inbox on your iPhone is a bit tedious unless your fingers are unusually small and nimble. Talking to your phone is so much more natural. We chose a design which quickly worked with Siri, but can cause notifications to be missed if you add Reminders in other ways or on other devices.
Okay, wait, how does this Siri integration work?
Reminders need to sync to iCloud.
Settings app > iCloud > Reminders: ON
It can take a minute or so for an item to make it up to iCloud.
OmniFocus also needs to be set up.
- OmniFocus > Settings > iCloud Reminders > ON
- Make sure to use the same iCloud account that is specified in Settings app > iCloud.
- Tap the [Connect] button, and watch for the “Connection Successful” message at the bottom.
Now you can talk to Siri.
- If you tell Siri “Remind me to…” you can include when. When can be an actual date/time. “Remind me to start laundry at 7 pm” “Remind me to tell my boss about OmniFocus on Monday.” Or it can be a geonotification when you arrive/leave a place. “Remind me to call Grandma when I get home.” “Remind me to get gas when I leave here.”
- If you tell Siri “Remember to…” she will not ask you when. “Remember to read the new Steve Jobs biography.”
Siri stores your item in Reminders. Now, when OmniFocus becomes active, it will check your Reminders list for new items. When OmniFocus creates an action, IT WILL DELETE the corresponding Reminder item. This is so that you don’t get reminded twice.
I don't want ALL my reminders to go to OmniFocus. Can I just send some of them there?
- In the Reminders app, add a new list named “OmniFocus”. (Capitalized exactly like that.)
- Quit OmniFocus. Here’s a step-by-step guide.
- Tell Siri “Add research hybrid vehicles to my OmniFocus list.”
- Launch OmniFocus. Within a minute, “research hybrid vehicles” should show up in your inbox. (“Remind me to feed the cat” will still go in your default reminders list.)
Actions with locations aren't getting captured.
If OmniFocus can’t match an item’s location pretty exactly to one of its contexts, it will be left in Reminders instead. It’s more important that you get reminded when you expect to, than it is which app reminds you.
Make sure your context has a location. Set up the notification for arriving or leaving, whichever is appropriate. Pick the smallest circle for the distance.
Why isn't OmniFocus picking up ANY actions from Reminders?
- Make sure your list is named either “Reminders” or “OmniFocus” – yes, capitalization matters.
- Make sure iCloud syncing is turned on for Reminders.
- Quit and relaunch OmniFocus (it only looks for new calendar names on a full relaunch, but it will attempt to capture each time it becomes the active app).
Latest release: October 09 2012
OmniFocus for iPhone 1.15.1 is a minor update which includes updated localizations, and fixes a handful of bugs.
OmniFocus for iPhone requires iOS 5.1 or later.
- Corrected a localization regression which caused the English names of the built-in perspectives to be displayed incorrectly.
- Updated German, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Russian, and Chinese localizations.
- OmniFocus no longer captures completed reminders when Reminders Capture is enabled.
- Corrected a layout problem on the Title & Note edit screen when running on iPhone 5.
- Fixed a rare crash that could occur when switching between days in Forecast mode with the event timeline enabled.