Fix an Apple Notes Problem in ios 11 that Prevents You from Saving Data to Notes

Apple Notes App Description in App Store

Introduction

After updating my 9.7” iPad Pro to ios 11.3.1, I began experiencing a frustrating problem with Apple Notes. Mind you, this wasn’t the first Apple Notes problem that I’ve encountered with ios 11. It was in fact at least my third. The others were so bad that I basically stopped using any iPad that I’d updated to ios 11 until the Notes problems were fixed.

The main ios 11 Notes problems seem to primarily impact users who have a large database of Notes. I for example, have around 4000 Notes. I take a lot of notes and had switched from primarily using Evernote to primarily using Apple Notes about a year ago due to a problem I was having with Evernote’s speed. Ever since Evernote released version 8 it grew so slow for me that I just couldn’t continue to use it and get anything done!

Luckily that was around the time Apple had beefed up the Notes app enough to make it a realistic alternative. I didn’t plan to switch it just sort of happened as I gravitated more and more towards using Apple Notes when Evernote was so slow I couldn’t stand it!

Description of the Main ios 11 Related Apple Notes Problems

So it was pretty ironic when ios 11 launched that all of a sudden Apple Notes had major speed issues! More specifically when I opened Notes the screen I arrived at was frozen. No amount of waiting made a difference…I had to shut down the app completely and restart it. The second time it would start after a few moments…but then freeze again.

This start and freeze problem might occur 3 or 4 times before I could add something to a note. And I better not leave the Note app and come back…because if I did the whole process started over again!

I don’t recall exactly when this speed problem was finally resolved because as I mentioned already…I stopped using the iPads I’d upgraded to ios 11. Luckily my most favorite 10.5” Pros were never updated! In fact at some point towards the end of 2017 I noticed a bit of a slowdown using the Notes apps even on my Pros running 10.3.3. But the problem is nowhere near as bad as those on ios 11.

So speed, freezing and crashing have been the main Apple Notes problems running under any version of ios 11. Once again, these problems tend to present primarily for heavy Notes users.

All Apple's Apps

My New Apple Notes Problem in ios 11.3.1

Foolishly I really believed that my Notes problems were behind me once and for all. I’d begun updating some of my iPads to 11″primarily based upon the advice of an Apple Care Senior Support Specialist. Those on various versions of 11 I brought up to date and slowly began moving iPads on ios 10 to 11. I’m glad I went slowly, because this new problem almost completely incapacitated my ability to use Notes this time on the affected device.

My memory is terrible. It always has been. So when I first discovered Evernote it was truly a life changing experience for me. Because for the first time in my life I could really remember things…both long term and short-term. I didn’t just remember things however…now I could remember a lot of things! That’s the reason why I save so many things that I’ve run across online or while reading. By saving them to Notes or Evernote this information is accessible to me indefinitely (unless it goes missing…not an unusual occurrence for Apple users :-/)

That’s really important for what I do now…writing for our websites and creating video tutorials. Frankly I don’t think I’d be doing these things had it not been for the fateful day I discovered Evernote. So, if I want to use some bit of information again someday, or if it’s important for me to remember the content of something personally…it goes into a note. If it’s really important it goes into multiple notes…both the original and a copy may be saved. If it’s something that I deem über important 2 copies may go into both Apple Notes and Evernote.

There was only one problem with this system recently however. The newest Apple Notes problem prevented me from saving notes from any source…Safari, Chrome, Instapaper, Morning Reader, Twitter…you name it…it couldn’t be saved!

The only way I could use the Notes app was to open it and manually type in all the information myself.

Any other method resulted in my receiving the error message below.

My Research Regarding This Error Message Yielded Nothing

Just like when I was experiencing all of the speed issues with Notes, I was unable to find out anything about this new problem because it appeared I was the only person in the world who was experiencing it!

Boy was I wrong! It just took me a little bit of time  to find the others who were having problems too.

Apple Support Forums Come to the Rescue

I took yet another stab at solving this problem today and finally found some others who had it too. The solution for me after trying things like Resetting (aka doing a soft or hard reboot) was to uninstall and reinstall Apple Notes.

I’d forgotten that you could even do that now! But you can and I’ll Guide you through the process.

Steps to Uninstall and Reinstall Apple Notes

Step 1

Make sure Apple Notes is backed up. You can do this by confirming the number of notes you have on your iCloud version of Notes. Or, if you have multiple ios devices, just compare the total number of notes for the device that’s giving you problems with another device. You can do that from right within the notes app. When you enter folder (or notebook view) a total for each notebook is given. The real total is the number appearing for iCloud Notes..because this number includes every category of notes that are backed up to iCloud. If the numbers are the same then your notes should already be backed up to iCloud and you can safely proceed.

Use the procedure below to confirm your notes backup using iCloud in Safari from your ios device.

• Go to iCloud.com and sign in if you need to.

• If you’re on an ios device you need to use ‘Request Desktop Site‘ to be able to access iCloud from your device. See the screenshots below.

Tap on the Notes icon (shown above) to open Notes. If you have a lot of notes like I do…this part can take a while.

Once iCloud has retrieved all your notes confirm that it has roughly the same number that you do on your ios device. If you have a lot less than you may want to perform a backup first. Especially if you only have one ios device.

Step 2

You can delete the Notes app just like you would any other app…just hold down the icon or long press it until all the app icons start wiggling. Then tap on the ‘x.’

Step 3

Reinstall the Notes app. Go to the App Store and type ‘Apple Notes‘ into the search bar. When it appears, tap on it to reinstall it.

Step 4

Go to the Notes app and open it. You’ll arrive at a welcome screen telling you that Apple Notes has some new features.

For me, a pop up message alerted me to the fact that I needed to go to Settings, to turn on iCloud for Apple notes. If you don’t receive the same pop-up message just go to Settings anyway to make sure.

To do that, go to ‘Your Name‘ – iCloud – then scroll down through the list of apps until you see Notes. Make sure that the button is enabled and green is showing (see below.)

Step 5

Now you’ll just need to wait while iCloud repopulates your Notes.

Step 6

While you’re waiting you can do one important thing…test to see if the problem is fixed. Because you don’t need to have your whole data base of notes available to perform this test.

My Fast Test to Determine if the Problem is Fixed

Using the special Apple Method I describe in the post linked to below…look under Method 1 – the Print Command Method.

But to save you time right now I’ll talk you through it. Just go to any webpage and use the Share Icon, find the Print command and tap on it. When the Print window is displayed use 2 fingers to drag the small document displayed in the Print window to the full size of your display screen.

Drag 2 fingers apart to open the magic PDF view.

Then try to save the PDF to a new Note. If you are able to do that successfully then the problem is fixed!

Examples of What You’ll See While You’re Waiting for Notes to Repopulate


 Below:  This is what I saw when I first opened Notes. It looked  like the app was just beginning to repopulate  all of my notes.What Notes looks like when it begins repopulating.

Conclusion

Hopefully I’ve saved you from the hours upon hours of research and frustrations that I endured as I tried to find a solution to this problem. If this works for you…Yay! If it doesn’t, I’d suggest either calling Apple support (‭1 (800) 692-7753‬) or using Apple’s Support Forums to hunt for more possible solutions.

Apple Support Forums

One other solution I found was in a post written by someone who tried this method first without success. His method involves restoring the device I think…but in a sort of unique way, so it might be worthwhile. But error on the side of caution of you’re unsure and go to Apple.

Comments

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About vsajewel

Hi...I'm the author of 2 main blogs on WordPress...vsatips...where I write tech tips for mobile devices...primarily ios...2nd is vsatrends...where I write less about tech things and more about everything else. I also host a YouThe channel. I use it to better illustrate some of the posts from vsatips and for other random 'How To' topics. I'm a huge fan of YouTube because I think you can learn pretty much anything in the world there. Sometimes I search for something I can't do and don't find anything. A lot of my videos come from that influence...if I do eventually figure out how to do something :-)
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