After you turn on Use iCloud to Sync Documents in Goodnotes ⚙️ menu > Cloud & Backup > Cloud Storage, your 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
At least one of the following steps has resolved iCloud issues for many of our users:
- 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 (The App Store / Mac App Store might not be promptly aware there's a newer version of the app, hence the manual update.)
- Update your iOS/iPadOS version, and/or macOS version.
- Turn off Use iCloud to Sync Documents in Goodnotes Cloud Storage Settings, tap Done, then 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, e.g. 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.
- 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.
The app has been syncing properly to iCloud from my device. I've just turned on Use iCloud to Sync Documents in the app on a second device, but I don't see all my 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 on all your devices.
The app 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.
If not, please try the following:
- Disable Use iCloud to Sync Documents in Goodnotes Cloud & Backup Settings.
- Quit the app completely.
On iPad/iPhone: long-press the app icon > Show All Windows, then swipe up on each of the minimized windows.
On Mac: right-click the app icon on the Dock and choose Quit.
- Relaunch the app.
- Enable Use iCloud to Sync Documents in Goodnotes Cloud & Backup Settings again.
- 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 or resetting the device while iCloud sync is working). Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do here, but you can try restoring your iPad from a device backup. If you open device Settings > 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.
The app isn't syncing and I see cloud icons with "!" on many document thumbnails in the library.
This might indicate a sync problem with those specific 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 on all your devices.
The app shows the alert "App version out of date. Please upgrade to the latest version."
Please update the app on all your devices to the latest version.
The app 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 The app 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.
The app 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 in the top-right corner of the library view > About > Export Diagnostic Data. Please do this on all the affected devices. For example, if the app on your iPad is not syncing to the app on your Mac or iPhone, please send the Diagnostic Data files on all three devices.