Syncing for Dummies

Operating system


Joplin version


Desktop version info

2.14.19 on PC laptop

Sync target


What issue do you have?

I have installed Joplin on my PC & Android phone. I have populated the laptop version from Evernote. Now I need to sync to my phone. However, all explanations I have been able to find either have old descriptions of things I don't find the same in my software or I just don't understand them. I am 77 and need step-by-step instructions if someone would be so kind as to help in this way. I'm on the go a lot, and not being able to access my notes on my phone is a pain!


On the laptop, go to Tools → Options → Synchronisation and change "Synchronisation target" to OneDrive. Click "OK" to save and exit the settings. Then, click the "Synchronise" button on the bottom left and follow the instructions to connect to your OneDrive account and sync (can't be more specific here as I don't use OneDrive myself). Wait for the synchronisation to finish.

On Android, the procedure is similar, however one thing that you do need to make sure, especially on the very first sync, is to keep the screen turned on all the time while the process is going on. This is because Joplin on Android doesn't support background synchronisation, meaning that the sync will be cancelled by the OS if the app becomes inactive.

Additionally, if that can help someone recently updated the documentation for day to day use:

Thanks so much! I will try that tomorrow as I am wiped out for today. I really appreciate the help.

I have been working on this but don't seem to be getting it. On my laptop, I followed your instructions, so I have Synchronization target as OneDrive, and interval as 5 minutes. At the bottom it shows "Back" as an option but not "OK" so I wasn't able to go forward. So I opened the Sync Wizard which led me to Options for cloud back-up, and I selected OneDrive. But the laptop version would still not show the "OK" highlighted.

I then tried syncing from my phone, but that didn't work either.

When I looked under File Explorer, that shows a Joplin folder under OneDrive. Within it are the files: .lock, .resource, .sync., locks, temp, info.json. I looked under .sync but did not see the files from my laptop Joplin. The temp folder is empty.

Any suggestions for what I can do now? I'm sorry I couldn't get it to work.

I've been experimenting and have made a JEX file. And in Options-Synchronization, if I un-check the Enable optical character recognition, the "OK" at the bottom shows up. (The reverse is also true: if I check "Enable...") But when I click OK, it just takes me back to my notebooks. Then when I hit the Synchronize button at the bottom of the black column (under Notebooks and Tags) I get the message: "Completed 03/11/2024 9:59AM (2s) Last error: Fail-safe: Sync was interrupted because 100% of the data (399 items) is about to be deleted. To override this behavior, disable the fail-safe in the sync settings." I tried doing that but ended up with the same results.

Thanks but when I previously got to the explanation of " */30 * * * * /path/to/joplin sync," that lost me. My only computer course was in 1964, and things were pretty rudimentary back then. An IBM computer took up a whole large room. I was never interested in coding, just using apps in a lot of my daily work and home life. That's why I labeled it "Syncing for Dummies!" But thanks for the suggestion.


The problem is, the OK button is not highlighted so I can't click it. When I changed the " Enable optical character recognition" button, I could get it to highlight, but it but when I click OK, it just takes me back to my notebooks and no syncretization happens. I have looked at OneDrive, and the folder is set up, but there are none of my documents there. So the problem is in getting the laptop to sync.


I think the reason why you're unable to click the OK button is because you've already enabled OneDrive sync before, meaning that there are no changes to save. Basically, if OneDrive is already selected in the synchronisation settings, then you don't need to modify anything there.

Please also do not try to fiddle with the files that Joplin has created in your OneDrive. They are not meant to be edited or even opened manually. Their only purpose is to sync with other Joplin instances.

I think the key point is:

"Completed 03/11/2024 9:59AM (2s) Last error: Fail-safe: Sync was interrupted because 100% of the data (399 items) is about to be deleted. To override this behavior, disable the fail-safe in the sync settings."

This indicates that you have already synced with OneDrive before, i.e. this isn't your first sync or otherwise Joplin wouldn't stop the synchronisation with such an error message. Are all of your notes present in Joplin on the desktop? If yes, then you could try to force re-upload of your local data to OneDrive by pressing this button:

Please keep in mind that you should only do it if you're 100% sure that the notes which you see in Joplin on the desktop are all you need, as pressing the button will upload your local notes to OneDrive, deleting everything else that Joplin has uploaded there before.

After doing all that, you could then try syncing from Android once again.

But none of my files are copied. So how do I get them to OneDrive so that I can sync them with my phone? Thanks for all your help and patience.


I just noticed the rest of your email. I'll try it tomorrow, but I think I've found a friend who might be able to take what you have written and get things functioning for me. So all your help is not wasted.



I also use onedrive on my computer and Android phone. Never used Apple.

If you log in to your Onedrive with a browser, you should see a folder called Apps\Joplin.

Do you have the Onedrive app on your phone. It shouldn't be required, but you can check if it sees Apps\Joplin.

This is where the actual data is stored. If it's not there, or empty you are not configured correctly. Don't modify anything there directly.

Hallo Laura,

just for understanding. you have one central syn device holding all data encrypted in you case OneDrive (not very secure). On the other side there a nearly unlimited devices PC, Smartphones, Tablets where Joplin is installed. To sync them you must first link the these devices, one by one, from within Joplin with in your case OneDrive wit h your Joplin credentials.
The you can force a sync from within Joplin from every device you use meaning having installed Joplin.
Following sync will be done by Joplin automatic while you work on one device. If you change devices they should start a sync to get the newest data from the central store on OneDrive.
But I recognised this sync ist sometimes not perfect. If you will be certain to get the lastest data you should manual start a sync wehen changing devices.
Respect for your age.


Thanks for the help, I was finally able to figure it out with the advice I received.



I have no way to test this at the moment, but I seem to recall that there is an issue when you have a personal and work OneDrive account. I believe OneDrive only works with one or the other.

Thank you but I have solved the problem.

OK I'm 63 years old and I use OneDrive to sync to an Android. I hope I'm old enough and I hope this helps.

1: I occasionally find that OneDrive sync just gives up the ghost and needs to be set up again.
Here's what I do. I make a JEX backup of all my notes in case I mess something up.
I then go to the Options | Synchronization page and run the "Open Sync Wizard" and go through the steps very carefully. For some reason Microsoft losses permissions and has to be set up again. How annoying! I have to make sure that I'm following the steps EXACTLY as are presented in the wizard, reading and doing everything even if I think I know what it says. If it works, great. If not, I will create a new profile, restore the JEX, and try sync setup from the top again, or uninstall/reinstall the app again, or both.

To fix Android sync, I have in the past, deleted the the application completely, restarted the phone, and re-installed and re-synced. An alternative, is to set sync, to (None) close the app. Open it again, and set sync to OneDrive, and go through the setup.

I'm running Joplin with the same notes file, on three Windows machines, and one Linux Mint, and three Android devices (a phone, and two tablets). As long as the machine can login to OneDrive over the web. It should work. Sounds like the "horse is refusing to jump the fence." You need to back way out and try another run up to it.

Let us know how it comes out.

1 Like

If I want to sync two profiles between all of my devices and have a Joplin Cloud subscription, do I need a different solution (e.g. OneDrive) to sync the second profile? If I try to use the same Joplin Cloud account for both, will one overwrite the other?

The only way to sync different profiles using the same account would be if you can define different destination folders/paths for each of them. I don't think you can do that with Joplin Cloud, but I'm not 100% sure. You definitely cannot when using services such as Dropbox or OneDrive. I think you can do that in Nextcloud though.

They won't overwrite each other, they will rather be merged (i.e. in other words, it will end up in a huge mess, difficult to clean up).

Thanks tomasz