SOLVED: Apple Notes won’t sync in iOS 17.0.3

My notes are all gone after the overnight update to 17.0.3. They’re still in iCloud but the Notes app on my phone is empty. I’ve tried toggling the “sync to iCloud” in settings several times, the little syncing circle appears for just a moment, but nothing happens. I’ve rebooted to no effect.
Any ideas? Is it just me? Apple Services reports no issues.
Update: I made a new test note on my phone and that somehow provoked everything to sync. Whew! That was some creeping anxiety. I’m ridiculously dependent on Apple Notes.


Apple Notes, and iCloud in general, has a history of erratic syncing. As you discovered creating a new file, or making another change, can sometimes help things along. So can turning off iCloud on all your devices, then turning it back on one device at a time.

Good job.


I use AN extensively but I also import my notes to a DEVONthink archive database each month. This is in addition to my routine backups. I like AN but I don’t completely trust it. I “trust but verify.” :slightly_smiling_face:


Here’s a link to an article I was just reading today.

Summary of the article:
The author faced an issue with iCloud (specifically, iCloud mail). No mails received after a certain time that day. And it happened with other devices that he was using and had configured iCloud mail on.

The iCloud status page was all green, so no indication of what was going on.

Turns out that the support person figured out what it was and informed the user that he could not share the info, but that the service would be back in 12 hours from the time it stopped working.

Someone on social media mentioned that the servers might have gone down for maintenance.

The author’s conclusion:

Overall, the experience was confusing and irritating. If this was a server maintenance, upgrade, or migration situation, why not simply tell me? Would it shatter the illusion of iCloud as a monolith of silently functional services? (Breaking news: that illusion was thoroughly punctured anyway.)

He mentions another plausible suggestion, a legal compliance oriented one. (I don’t quite understand this, hence quoting the original paragraph here).

The most plausible suggestion, as suggested by my co-hosts on The Rebound, was that some sort of legal compliance (such as a subpoena or national security letter, for example) might require temporarily freezing the server and not divulging that information to other users. Which does seem to tick most of the boxes, but certainly doesn’t make me feel any better. Even in that case, surely there must be a way to avoid inexplicably disrupting the critical services of many people.

So it could be uninformed upgrades or something else that causes these sync issues. :man_shrugging:t5: I’ve all but stopped thinking of the reasons, and like @Bmosbacker, I’ve been religiously backing up my notes.


Maybe, but legal intercepts are so common I would think the tools needed for compliance would be built into the software. It was in the server I administered. Upon receipt of a subpoena, etc. I could have complied within minutes.


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Thanks for this link. Interesting read.

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Does your import each month sync whatever changes there are and add the new notes or does it just replace the entire Notes database in DEVONthink?
I did my first import, just wondering what to expect when I perform the next import.

Could you give a little more of your process, please?


Each month I import my Apple Notes to DT’s global inbox. I then drag them to a corresponding group by month in my archive database. Below is a screenshot of DT. This does create duplicates in that each monthly archive contains everything I have in Apple Notes. But you’ll notice that I only keep about 2-3 months of AN archives. I see no reason to keep more than that and I want to keep the database size manageable. I also have backups on two external drives so between those backups, Backblaze, iCloud, and DT, I should never lose anything important.

I hope this helps. Let me know if I can provide additional clarification.


A few years ago now, I was in Apple Notes looking at a few dozen discrete notes that I’d created while attending a conference. Suddenly, I became aware that, one by one, the notes were disappearing. They were quite literally being deleted, one note at a time, until finally every last note – many with dozens of lines of text and many with dozens of photos – was gone. I knew enough to search for them in the Finder in whatever twiddle Library folder they were stored in at the time, but they were no longer there. And they were no longer on my iPhone or my iPad, either. And they weren’t in my Time Machine backups from the relevant time period.

I have used neither Notes nor Time Machine since.

May I ask what you know use for your notes?

Keep It,” by Reinvented Software. A very close runner-up for me was Alfons Schmidt’s “Notebooks.” Both apps fully support Mac, iOS, and iPadOS. Keep It’s developer is quite responsive. Notebooks’ developer is amazingly so.

And for backups, I use Carbon Copy Cloner to make snapshots onto external drives (though I think SuperDuper! is just as good). I also use Arq to upload important folders to Wasabi-in-the-Cloud.

I heartily recommend all of these!

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Thanks! :slightly_smiling_face:

20 characters…

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(Note-taking links now added, as well as info and links for what I use to replace Time Machine…)

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