Fix an Apple Notes Problem Where the Default Switches to the ‘On My iPad’ Notebook

Above: I  knew I had finally solved my problem when I saw this. Read on for the solution.

What Did Work?

Upgrading to ios 11 was the only way I managed to remove the ‘On my iPad’ 1/2 grayed out setting.

I thought things were finally fixed until I tried to save a photo to a note. That’s when I discovered I had another of the ios 11 bugs…the ‘Your Notes Aren’t Upgraded Error!

Luckily I’d encountered and defeated that one previously on another iPad…and most important I remembered to write a post about it so I could find it again if need be!

Fix Your Apple Notes Need to Be Upgraded Bug

Also…I just realized that my notes aren’t being shared via iCloud from this iPad…still.

Removing and then reinstalling the Notes app 2 more times solved these problems. But of course my iPad notes had reverted back to just the ‘on my iPad‘ notebook.

Updating to ios 12 didn’t seem to have any impact. But then I remembered to go into settings to check and make sure that Notes was turned on for iCloud. It was off again, so when I turned it back on all my notes suddenly began to repopulate the nots app.

I’m cautiously optimistic that these notes problems are finally resolved for good :-)

Below Are All the Things I tried Over Many Weeks That Didn’t Work

Introduction| The Problem & Why I’m Still Using ios 10

Ever since Apple released ios 11 I’ve had on-again off-again problems with Apple Notes. My first problem concerned constant crashing, freezing and generally slow speeds when using the Notes app. I believe the severity of these problems were increased because of the large volume of notes I keep in the Apple notes app. Upwards of 5000. The problem was so severe that I refused to upgrade many of my favorite devices to ios 11.

It seemed like right around the time that 11.3 came out that many of these kinds of problems were finally ironed out. But by then I realized that I seriously hated the way multi-tasking works in ios 11. I use multi-tasking constantly. That was one more reason to not want to upgrade. But the final and most compelling reason for me was that ios 11.4 seemed to break Air Drop. Air Drop is another feature I use constantly so as things stand right now, I’ll probably remain on ios 10 until 12 is released in about a month’s time.

My Most Recent Problem: The Default Notebook in Apple Notes Seemingly Switched of its Own Accord

What brought about this problem was a severe Notes issue on one of my other iPads…one that is still on ios 10. I don’t remember exactly what the issues were because I use so many iPads and I’m always working on at least 5 different things at the same time. Much of my work is done sort-of on auto-pilot. So, when I encountered some serious deficiency in my ability to use Apple Notes on one of my ‘work horse‘ iPads, I instantly deleted the app and then reinstalled it. That of course is the recommended method for fixing all kinds of problems with apps.

Upon reinstalling Notes my notebooks didn’t immediately repopulate. But I wasn’t worried because there are so many of them that I figured it was just a matter of slow bandwidth and timing. I assumed when sufficient time had passed and bandwidth had improved my notes would repopulate.

It wasn’t until the next day when I began to use that iPad again that I realized that Notes still hadn’t repopulated! Worse yet was the reason why.

It seems the default Notes account in Settings had switched from ‘iCloud‘ to ‘On my iPad.’ No amount of messing around with it seemed to make any kind of a difference in getting this back to the way it had been before I reinstalled the Notes app.

Later that same day I finally did figure out a way to change the default back. But I did it on the fly and I didn’t pay a lot of attention to what I actually did to fix it. All I could remember was that it was something within the Notes app itself as opposed to in Settings. I distinctly remembered that aspect because in the Settings app it appeared that I was locked into using this new Notes default…any of the usual alternatives were either ‘grayed out,’ or simply not even present.

The Problem Resurfaces on All My Devices

I really thought my problem was resolved when I ultimately discovered that this obnoxious new default had reverted to all of my other ios devices too!

So I began to search for a consistent solution. No real solutions emerged. That’s why I decided to write a post about it myself because I discovered that other people were experiencing this problem too, and I was certain I’d be able to figure it out.

In the Photo Gallery Below I’ve Added Screenshots Which Illustrate the Problem.

What Didn’t Work to Correct the Problem

The first thing I tried was researching the problem. This osxdaily article suggested one thing that helped me to remember what I’d done previously to solve the problem, which was navigate back to the iCloud notebook in the Notes app. Try as I might there simply wasn’t anything available to navigate too this time…see the screenshots below.

The next thing I tried was my old fallback solution…when in doubt reset. So I did a Hard Reset by holding down the power button and the home button until I saw the Apple icon. I was bored so I took a picture of my iPad when the  icon appeared (which I ‘grungified’ using the Snapseed editing app.)

Sadly…resetting had no effect either.

Something I’d read in the article made me think that there might be a problem with iCloud…so I went back into settings to check that. Eureka! That’s when I finally realized what was causing the problem and I now knew how to fix it!

Below: This is what I discovered in Settings

The Steps I Took to Correct the Problem

Here’s what I did to fix the problem.

Once I realized that for some unknown reason* iCloud syncing had been turned off for Notes…I just turned it back on. As soon as I did the magic began to happen!

I went back to Notes in Settings and found this now.

Remember earlier I’d only seen this?

The problem in Settings

The next thing I did was go back to the Notes app. At first I was disappointed because I just saw the same thing as before. But when I navigated backwards this time I discovered the iCloud Notebook was once again accessible to me! When I tapped to open it is when I triggered all my notes to begin repopulating within the app. I have a sneaking suspicion that they weren’t on my iPad when the problem was present…but I forgot to check beforehand and now there’s really no way to do so.

So my sad and frustrating tale has a happy ending after all…but not really…because although this was fixed…I couldn’t save anything to any iCloud notebook…only to then ‘on my iPad’ one.

*Upon further reflection I think I may know how iCloud got turned off. My son is visiting us right now and he uses and Android phone.  I was not able to send him text messages because my iPads would only send messages to him as iMessages. But, when I did what I thought I needed to do in settings on my iPhone to correct the situation it didn’t correct  the situation at all.

I was really annoyed that I couldn’t send him text messages from any of my iPads!  I figured that if I turned iCloud off for messages then my iPad would have to use text messages instead of iMessages. So that’s what I tried. I don’t remember exactly how I did that…but I now suspect that I turned off iCloud for much more than just messages.  If anyone knows what the solution to my problem of not being able to send text messages to my son from my iPad is, I would love to know the solution!


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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 YouTube channel which I use to better illustrate some of the 'how to's' in my posts. I love everything about technology. Currently, my main interests/platforms are ios, Windows and Amazon Echo. Recently I decided we were spending way too much money with our local cable provider. So I decided to cut the cord. There is a definite learning curve, especially the antennae part, but we successfully did that and are now saving a boatload of money, so I write some about that. I also am extremely conscientious about security because of an event my family endured , so I write a lot about that too. Two sub-categories of security I tend to focus on are the password manager Dashlane and Hardware Firewalls. Last, I take a lot of notes and have been a beta tester for Evernote for many years. I love Evernote! In recent years Apple has beefed up Apple Notes a it’s become a fairly serious note long as its OK if you lose or mess up all your Apple note data. I write about those 2 note platforms primarily.
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