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[GoodNotes 5] iCloud Sync issues

After you turn on "Use iCloud" in GoodNotes iCloud Settings, your GoodNotes documents should be automatically and seamlessly backed up to Apple's iCloud servers. In some cases, however, you might notice your documents aren't syncing properly as they should. Symptoms include error messages about iCloud, inaccessible greyed-out documents, cloud icons with "!" on specific documents.

 

Things to try first

  • Check your Internet connection. Believe it or not, we've seen a few iCloud sync issues on devices where Wi-Fi was disabled, sluggish, or unstable!
  • Turn off Wi-Fi for 30 minutes and turn it back on. This should prevent repeated temporary iCloud failures from becoming permanent ones.
  • Check your iCloud storage. Try freeing up your iCloud storage anyway and see if the issue is resolved.
  • Check iCloud server reliability. Occasional iCloud service failures are more common than you think.
  • Force-quit the app (on iOS/iPadOS or macOS) and relaunch it.
  • Update your GoodNotes version. (The App Store / Mac App Store might not be aware there's a newer GoodNotes version.)
  • Update your iOS/iPadOS version, and/or macOS version.
  • Turn off "Use iCloud" in GoodNotes iCloud Settings, tap Done, and turn it back on.
  • Restart your devices to restart the iCloud service.
  • Check that you've set up iCloud sync on all your devices correctly.
  • Leave GoodNotes running in the foreground (i.e. visible on the screen) for it to work more efficiently. After typing text, exit text input mode by clicking/tapping outside the text box. If you're working on huge PDF documents (like textbooks), expect several minutes before the changes appear on your other devices.
  • Log out of your iCloud account and log back in.
  • Turn off iCloud Private Relay (iPadOS 15).
  • Go to your device Settings > General > Background App Refresh and disable it temporarily for "GoodNotes" on the list.
  • Exempt GoodNotes from content-blocking or network-security apps, e.g. AdGuard, Eero Secure, Netskope, if you or your company happens to be using them.

If none helped, please see the specific cases below.

 

GoodNotes has been syncing properly to iCloud from my device. I've just turned on "Use iCloud" in GoodNotes on a second device, but I don't see all the GoodNotes documents there.

Ideally, iCloud sync has very small delays and you should see new changes on your other devices within seconds. That said, because of the many contributing factors mentioned above, especially if you have a huge library on the first device, it might take hours to see all the documents on a second device.

If syncing is still slow or stuck after a long time, please send us the Diagnostic Data.

 

GoodNotes shows greyed-out documents in the library

If you see cloud icons on the greyed-out documents, they are being downloaded from iCloud. Please leave the app running for a while, especially if you have a large library, and those documents should become accessible.

Otherwise, please try the following:

1. Disable "Use iCloud" in GoodNotes.
2. Quit GoodNotes completely. On iPad: long-press the GoodNotes app icon > Show All Windows, then swipe up on each of the minimized windows. On Mac: right-click the GoodNotes app icon on the Dock and choose Quit.
3. Relaunch GoodNotes.
4. Enable "Use iCloud" in GoodNotes menu again.
5. If you see cloud icons appearing on the greyed-out documents, simply wait until the icons are gone.

 

If you still have a lot of iCloud space but those documents remain greyed-out with no iCloud icons on them, they likely became corrupted due to interrupted syncing (e.g. deleting the app while sync is going on). Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do here, but you can try restoring your iPad from a device backup. If you open the Settings app > Apple ID > iCloud > iCloud Backup and see that "Last successful backup" shows a time earlier than this incident, please restore from that iCloud backup as soon as you can. If you've been using Auto Backup, you can also look in the Auto Backup folder for those files.

 

GoodNotes isn't syncing and I see cloud icons with "!" on many document thumbnails in the library.

This indicates a sync problem with those documents.

Please try the following:

- Open those documents one by one to see if the icon goes away and the document starts syncing again.

- Duplicate the documents, then delete the originals and remove them from the Trash. See if the duplicates start syncing.

If that didn't help, please send us the Diagnostic Data.

 

GoodNotes shows the alert "App version out of date. Please upgrade to the latest version."

Please update GoodNotes on all your devices to the latest version.

If the alert is still popping up even though you're already on the latest version, please see iCloud sync isn't working and GoodNotes keeps asking me to update the app.

If that didn't help, please send us the Diagnostic Data.

 

GoodNotes shows the alert "There's a problem with the server." or iCloud synchronization error "HTTP code 503" in GoodNotes iCloud Settings.

It's likely a temporary error of iCloud servers. If you also see cloud icons with "!", see GoodNotes isn't syncing and I see cloud icons with "!" on many document thumbnails in the library.

If that didn't help, please send us the Diagnostic Data.

 

GoodNotes shows another alert

Please send us the Diagnostic Data and a screenshot of the alert.

 

Exporting the Diagnostic Data

The Diagnostic Data might contain valuable clues about the cause of the sync issue. To get this file, please open GoodNotes menu (Gear icon) in the top-right corner of the Documents tab > About > Export Diagnostic Data. Please do this on all the affected devices. For example, if your GoodNotes on your iPad is not syncing to GoodNotes on your Mac or iPhone, please send the Diagnostic Data files on all three devices.

 

See also: iCloud sync stops working due to "Request failed with HTTP Status Code 503" error.