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[GoodNotes 5] Use Auto Backup to automatically create a copy of your documents in a supported cloud storage

Automatically upload your documents to Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive for safekeeping while you're working in GoodNotes. Auto Backup is best used with iCloud sync to protect your notes so that you can always find them in the Auto Backup folder in case something destructive occurs to your local library.

Please note this feature isn't currently available in GoodNotes for macOS; please use iCloud sync instead to keep your documents synced across devices.

How it works

Auto Backup is a one-way process, and so it doesn't sync your changes across your devices as iCloud does. Changes you make in the cloud storage won't affect your GoodNotes library.

If you do this in GoodNotes: Auto Backup will do this:
  • Create/Import a document
  • Create a folder
  • Recover a deleted item
Upload the document, folder, or recovered item to the cloud storage
  • Change the content or template of a page
  • Add/Remove a page
  • Reorder the pages of a document
  • Rename a document/folder
Update the remote copy of the document/folder
Move a document/folder Update the remote folder structure
Modify the custom outline of a document Nothing
Favorite or unfavorite a page/document Nothing
Delete a document or folder Nothing

 

How to set it up

  1. Tap the ⚙️ icon in the top-right corner of the Library view > Settings > Automatic Backup, and enable Auto Backup.
  2. Choose a cloud storage and sign in to it.
  3. Change other Auto Backup settings if needed, and tap Done.

Once you've enabled the feature for the first time, please keep the app visible on the screen until Auto Backup finishes uploading your entire library. After that, only changed documents get backed up. You can see the Auto Backup status by tapping the small icon under the "Documents" heading.

 

auto_backup_queue_status.png

 

How to choose the destination folder

By default, the destination folder of the backup will be called “GoodNotes”. If you want to backup to a different folder, just type in the name of the folder into the field in the Auto Backup settings. If no folder with that name exists yet, GoodNotes will create one. If you want to back up to a subfolder of a folder, type in the path and separate the folders and subfolders using a slash (“/”). For example: GoodNotes/backup… (Don't use "/" at the end of the path.)

Note to Dropbox users: For minimal access to your Dropbox account, the Auto Backup folder is set to be in <Dropbox root>/Apps/GoodNotes 5 and there isn't a way to set a backup folder anywhere outside this structure, for example in the root.

Note to Google Drive users: The Auto Backup folder in Google Drive will only save to your base-level Google Drive folder and a custom destination folder is not possible to set at this time. 

 

FAQ

Q: What’s the difference between iCloud Sync and Auto Backup?

A: The main difference is that Auto Backup is a one-way backup that will create a copy of your documents in a different location, whereas iCloud Sync is a two-way sync that synchronizes one version of your documents across different devices. We listed more differences below.

  Auto Backup iCloud Sync
Sync across devices? No Yes
Documents accessible in cloud storage? Yes No
Re-importing documents from the cloud Manual

Automatic

  

Q: How should I backup my documents?

A: Usually, enabling iCloud Sync is sufficient for security reasons, for example in case you’re losing or damaging your device. Your data is still saved in iCloud and will download in GoodNotes on other devices that use the same iCloud account. We recommend setting up Auto Backup when you can’t/don’t want to use iCloud or when you need a way to access your documents in the cloud or on a computer where GoodNotes is not installed.

Q: Which format should I select for Auto Backup?

  • As GoodNotes Document when you want to have an additional backup from where you can import/share documents that can be further edited in GoodNotes. This is the fastest method if you don't care about viewing your notes as PDFs.
  • As PDF when you need to view the documents in the cloud or on devices where GoodNotes is not installed. Content on PDFs will be flattened and can’t be further edited in GoodNotes. For example: You won’t be able to erase your handwritten notes on a PDF anymore.
  • As PDF and GoodNotes Document when you want to benefit from both of the above. Note that this will create two versions of every document in the same folder.

Q: How are my data and privacy protected when I grant GoodNotes access to my cloud storage account?

A: The app itself needs “Read & Write Access” to your cloud storage in order to save and modify files in the cloud. Of course, we won’t be able to see or modify any of your documents and files.

Q: I don’t want to include all files in the backup under my cloud storage. Can I do it?

A: You can set one or more “Excluded File Names” under Menu > Settings > Automatic Backup. When a document’s title includes at least one of the “Excluded File Names”, then it will not be backed up automatically. We recommend setting one excluded file name and then renaming documents that you want to exclude accordingly. For example: Set the excluded file name to “-exclude” and add the word “-exclude” to all document titles that you don’t want to backup automatically.

Q: Why is iCloud Drive not an option?

A: iCloud Drive doesn't provide the necessary integrations that would allow us to connect the automatic backup feature. Since GoodNotes is available for macOS and iOS/iPadOS, you can enable iCloud Sync instead and synchronize your notes across devices to access them through the GoodNotes app directly.

Q: How can I restart Auto Backup?

A: If the feature stops working for some reason, please first make sure you have free space on the cloud storage to prevent any "failed upload" errors. Then try restarting Auto Backup:

1. Open the cloud storage app and rename the remote GoodNotes backup folder to something like "GoodNotes_old". For Dropbox users, please find the Auto Backup folder in /Apps/GoodNotes 5.
2. Disable Auto Backup.
3. Tap Done to close the menu.
4. Re-enable Auto Backup.
5. View the Auto Backup queue and check that your documents are uploading. Leave the app in the foreground until the queue is empty (i.e. "Backup successfully completed").
6. Check in the cloud storage app that you have all the documents uploaded. If so, you can delete the renamed folder ("GoodNotes_old") to save space.

To make it easier to observe things, you can open GoodNotes and the cloud storage app in Split View.

If the issue is still there, please send us the diagnostic data from GoodNotes ⚙️ menu > About > Export Diagnostic Data.