Why it is Hard to Trust Apple Notes

I like Apple Notes but I periodically (1 or 2 times/year) run into inconsistent syncing. It is time consuming to try and track down the missing notes so the alternative is to de-select Notes in iCloud and re-select and then wait for the long resync. This is not productive. Frustrating.

What has been your experience with Apple Notes over the last several years?


And, I just ran into a really weird problem. On the iPhone, when I de-select AN in iCloud, it automatically reselects itself. I made a screen recording, which you can see here. This is really strange; something I’ve never experienced before.

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Frustrating. But I have seen a big improvement in AN in just the last couple of months. The problem with Apple Notes, IMO, is iCloud sync which has also improved during the same time period. I would like to think that Apple is finally getting their act together. But while I am once again a regular Apple Notes user, I also keep copies of everything on my Mac.

BTW, I think the weird problem you are seeing occurs when you have trouble connecting with iCloud. But it’s only a theory based on my experience with iC.


Until today’s problems I would have agreed with you. :slight_smile: It has been rock solid for several months but now I have several notes out of sync and unless I check nearly 500 notes, I’ll not know which ones. This is why I’m relying on DEVONthink for most mission critical notes and archiving documents. I just can’t trust AN. A year or so ago I had a major problem that resulted in lost information and hours and hours of work and frustration. Experiences like this significantly reduce the productivity gains one would expect from computer technology. Now, where did I put that stone tablet … ?

I switched from Apple Notes to Drafts earlier this year because, as you say, I found it hard to trust Apple Notes. I’ve had years of problems with AN corrupting my text notes when syncing them or, as you’ve seen, failing to sync some of them at all. It looks like I switched in March and at that time AN was still too unreliable for me to trust it.

Perhaps the most maddening issue that I had with AN was finding a note that had been spontaneously deleted. I restored it and AN still permanently deleted it when the 30 days was up. That’s when it really lost my trust.

Some would consider Drafts to be a bit on the stone tablet side in some ways given the lack of media support but my notes were mostly text anyway so it’s a better match for my use case. It’s also got a history mechanism that’s sometimes been useful, lots of automation hooks and, hey, “it just works.”


I’ve had similar issues where the count was different across devices. I ended up not caring enough about those missing ones to track them down. I still use apple notes for quick notes that are temporary

I’ve never considered iCloud rock solid and only recently had gotten my hopes up that I could finally rely on it. Oh well.

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Is Drafts iCloud sync more reliable than Apple Notes iCloud sync?

I’m an Apple Notes user and have not noticed syncing problems (not saying they don’t happen just that I have not noticed any). I’ve had sync issues with other computer platforms in the past and didn’t like that experience.

I saw that pricing for Drafts Pro is increasing on January 1, 2021. The non-Pro version might be enough for me if Apple Notes sync is a problem.


Drafts Pro is a single, universal subscription for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch - or Mac. Drafts Pro offers two purchase options, available in-app on iPad, iPhone or Mac:


  • $19.99 USD per year (with Free 7 Day Trial)
  • $1.99 USD per month
  • Both monthly and annual options support Family Sharing
  • Subscriptions started before Dec. 31, 2020 will be able to keep this pricing as long as the subscription is active.


  • $29.99 USD per year (with Free 7 Day Trial)
  • $2.99 USD per month
  • Both monthly and annual options support Family Sharing

Sadly, the pre-requisite that iCloud Drive needs to be enabled means I can’t switch to Drafts. Otherwise, it would make perfect sense for me.

As Apple Notes syncs using Cloud Kit (I may not have terminology 100% accurate there) rather than full blown Cloud Drive, it can sync in my more hardened work-place config.

I too have experienced Notes being out of sync but the issues do not seem to be as frequent now as they were c.12 months ago.


I gave up on Apple Notes earlier in the year because I was fed up of re-syncing all my notes when it broke. I didn’t trust it at all, and need my notes to be able to do my job.

I moved all my notes to Drafts and I have not had any issues since. Now, I’ve got used to all the text processing functions and actions in Drafts and I’d never go back.


I’ve never really used Apple Notes. Drafts sync has always worked for me, and I frequently use it as a shared clipboard between devices.

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I’ve never had a problem with Drafts syncing but it lacks rich pencil support and a lot more that is available in AN. That said, while I’ve not been using the Pro version, I went ahead and subscribed to avoid the $10/year increase. Perhaps I’ll start diving deeper with Drafts.


The only time that remember having a problem with Drafts syncing was early on when I inadvertently edited a note in two places at close to the same time. One of the changes overwrote the other. Perhaps that’s because there is sometimes a slight lag (on the order of a second?) before a change propagates everywhere. Anyway that was at least partly my fault and I was able to use the history to recover.

I haven’t seen any problems with Drafts corrupting a note or failing to sync across devices.

Thanks for the notice on the price increase. I’d been meaning to subscribe for quite a while. Today was the day.

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I had similiar problems in the past and I am worrying about the unsyched notes?
Could someone describe the detailed way to solve this synch-conflict? I am using Apple notes on my Mac and iPhone mostly.

Also does someone know a way to see the number of Notes I have within the folders ony my Mac? Also I cannot see the numbers in icloud.com/notes. In comparsion to my iOS devices I cannot see the number of Notes on my Mac or in iCloud.

Thank you for your help.

An also another question:

My initial Plan was to export the Appele Notes weekly to a trusted system. But I dont do it regularly, so they pile up.

Does anybody know a trusted way to export ALL of the Apple Notes at once as (preferebly PDF, to make it more trustworthy?). In this way I could export my Apple Notes (Monthly/yearly), with a few clicks, ahev peace in mind and could just search within that pdf for notes / or extract the notes from there. Thank you very much!

I find Drafts + GoodNotes is the perfect combination. I much prefer GN’s ink system and interface.

There are also many useful features in Drafts that Notes doesn’t have. I only use Notes for sharing with my wife, after I lost all faith in its reliability.

This is a major weakness of Apple Notes (AN) and why I am relying on DEVONthink (DT) and Drafts. The only way to export AN in bulk is through iCloud. Depending on the number of notes it can take a day or two for the notes to export. They export as PDFs within Folders making it a pain to subsequently send to other apps. As I said in my OP, I like Apple Notes. The app has many excellent features but the periodic sync problems and the inability to easily get your notes out of AN does not, in my opinion, make it a good repository of mission critical professional notes. I have also never considered AN to be an app to use for storing documents, there are far better apps for that purpose, DT being at or near the top of the list.

I used Exporter (https://apps.apple.com/es/app/exporter/id1099120373?l=en&mt=12), but this exports to markdown, not PDF. I’ve not tried it for months though.


I’m trying to avoid having more apps than I need. That great topic of How many Mac Apps are You Sporting? / What is your #AppNum? was definitely thought provoking.

What I like about Apple Notes:

  1. Can use across iPhone, iPad, and Mac
  2. has some basic formatting features (checklists, numbered lists, font choices/colors, etc.)
  3. Can share
  4. Can add pictures and even use the Apple Pencil
  5. Currently supported and free
  6. Simple enough that it’s not hard to be an Apple Notes Power User

I had major syncing issues on a nonApple platform and that was a chronic headache for me. I know how sync problems can create misery. Also, the problem with exporting Apple Notes was not something I had considered.

I’m going to try adding Drafts to my app mix but wish it was a better Apple Notes replacement for me. The dictation using Apple Watch feature seems nice but I see it requires a connected phone or network to work, something I don’t always have. Just Press Record on Apple Watch doesn’t need that but that’s still another app . . .

At the top under View there is an option to show or hide note count.

Thanks, but I cant seem to find to bulk-export Apple Notes through icloud and icloud.com/notes.

Could you explain that metheod a bit more perhaps? Thank you!