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May 14, 2014

Syncing Notes with iPhone

So, Apple has clearly lost their way. I found this out today when my iPhone crashed and I couldn't recover my notes from my iPhone.

As best as I can determine, I can only sync my Notes on my iPhone via email over iCloud. Which is so retarded that their just aren't words.

Now, if you have an Apple ID, that is an email address. And, I'm very clear what my Apple ID is, and which email address it is tied to. But, then you have to have yet another email address to sync your Notes to...this has to be an iCloud email address. Oh my God I'm going to hang myself. Can you make this any harder Apple? WTF???

On the MacBook Air (Mountain Lion), I go to Settings - iCloud. Click on Account Details to see what your Apple ID is.

Somwhere on the internet it says:

"Notes is an app now, go into your applications and double click on notes. To sync notes you need to sign into his iCloud account on both devices."

"Syncing Notes with iTunes and OS X Mountain Lion v10.8
You can sync with the Notes app using IMAP or iCloud. Syncing Notes using iTunes is no longer supported on OS X v10.8 and later."

I'm on OS X 10.8.5, so yeah...it looks like I can't sync Notes using iTunes. Thanks for that, Apple. Whoever thought of this should be murdered.

Now, it appears to me that I have to set up iCloud on both the iPhone and the MacBook Air? I want to hang myself.

Wait. I found this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-INCMBBXiQ

It appears to show me how to sync my notes off of the iPhone onto my Gmail email account. Looks pretty simple. Fingers crossed...

So, I did this, and when I sign into Gmail online, I do, in fact, see a folder called "Notes", but there's nothing in it. Hmmmmm.

Now, this guy appears to say that, if I do sync the Notes to Gmail, they'll be deleted from my iPhone? WTF? http://gmail-miscellany.blogspot.com/2013/08/gmail-apple-notes-app.html I think this is wrong. This can't be true.

So, my existing Notes didn't get copied over to my Gmail account, but I created a new Note, and it did, in fact, show up in my Gmail account online and I can see it on my MacBook Air.

So, now I'm trying to figure out how to get all of my old (previously existing) Notes copied over also...

I want to murder everyone at Apple for this.

So, I can't get my notes synced via the Gmail account. So, instead, I'm going to try to sync them using iCloud. iCloud can normally function with the email id tied to your Apple ID. Not so for the Notes sync, however. If you want to sync notes, you have to specify an iCloud Id. WTF, Apple? WTF?

So, get this...My Apple ID is already an email ID. But now I need another email ID to sync my Notes to the iCloud. For the love of God, people. Could you possibly design a more complicated system to get a fucking text file off of a fucking phone? WTF???

Set Up an @icloud email address:

So, on my iPhone, I go to Settings - iCloud and click on "Notes". I get the message "Create a free @icloud.com email address to turn on Notes".

Now, I don't know if I've created 0 iCloud accounts or 50, but it gives me this threatening message "you cannot change your iCloud email after creating it", so, apparently, I'm join got carry this iCloud account around with me for the rest of my life like Herpes. Great.


Then, under Settings - iCloud - Storage and Backup - I went to iCloud Storage and Backup and selected Backup Now.

Now, I can go to iCloud.com on my MacBook and sign in with my Apple ID. And, when I click "Notes", it does show me the Notes app online. But my notes aren't there. It didn't sync them from my iPhone. Good job, Apple. Well played.

Now, it says I need to "Reset Documents and Data" and that no data will be lost. Right. I believe that. I want to go to Steve Job's grave, exhume his corpse, and pour pig fat into his eye sockets.

Then on my MacBook, under Settings - iCloud, it says "Do you want to merge Notes with iCloud? Your information on this Mac will be uploaded and merged with the Notes stored in iCloud. I clicked on "Sure...why the fuck not? Hope springs eternal..."

That does appear to have synced my Notes from my MacBook Air up to the iCloud. Now, I still don't have my Notes from my iPhone in the iCloud, but what do you expect?

OK. I went back into my iPhone, under Settings - iCloud and scrolled down and my Notes was turned off for syncing with the iCloud. So, somehow, after all of that, Apple had turned off my Notes sync via iCloud. Well done, Apple. Well done. So, I turned the sync back on for my Notes. Lord God this is hard.

OK. Now, on my iPhone, I am seeing something different. What I see now is that, when I go into Notes, I have a new screen that comes up first which says "Accounts". From here, I can choose "All Notes", 'Gmail", "From My PC", or "iCloud".

So this is kind of nice. It answers one of my questions which is "How will I be able to tell where the note originated from?" Like, I'm not sure that just taking all of the notes off of my iPhone and mashing them in with all of the notes on my MacBook seems like such a perfect solution. So, this way I can still tell where the note originated from, which is nice.

However, I'm still not seeing that my iPhone notes are getting moved anywhere.

As a move of final desperation, I'm going to follow the directions to Resetting iCloud Documents and Data service:

[...]reset iCloud Documents & Data as described below. These steps won't delete your documents and data or affect the changes you've made to them.

If you have documents open on your devices, stop editing the documents and make sure that the edits you made on each device are saved to that device.
On your computer, go to iCloud.com and sign in with your Apple ID.
Click your account name in the upper-right corner of the page, then choose Account Settings.
Go to Advanced > Reset Documents & Data > Reset Documents and Data, then click Reset and wait for the reset process to complete.
When you're asked to restart your devices, shut down each device that is set up for iCloud documents and data, then restart.

I give up. It's still not syncing my notes from my iPhone to anything...not to Gmail...not to the iCloud...not to my MacBook. No dice. Well done, Apple. Well done.

I finally decided to install Evernote, to see if that will sync my notes for me.

Update: So far, the number of people I've found that are set up to sync their Notes is exactly 0. I had Jennifer go through the same gyrations that I did to try to sync Notes over iCloud and Gmail, and she got exactly the same results. New notes sync perfectly. Old notes will not sync, even if you do the reset trick with the iCloud. Even if you update the old note by adding some information to it.

Nice job, Apple. Well done.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 14, 2014 at 9:15 PM


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