Home Tech Apple Apple’s Notes do grind exceeding slow

Apple’s Notes do grind exceeding slow


Back in December I announced that I had followed the advice of many tech writers and transferred all my Evernote items into the much-improved and relatively simple Apple Notes. Evernote does much more than I really need in a notes application and I felt I was paying an annual premium unnecessarily. So I bid goodbye to Evernote and migrated all the notes to Apple Notes. This was premature and rather hasty. I now have to report that I am bitterly disappointed with Apple Notes.

While the interface and the features are adequate, there is one massive downside. Apple Notes was working perfectly with a dozen notes floating around. But when I imported my 3,000 items from Evernote the synchronisation process became glacial. Now, every time I open Notes on my iPad, iPhone or Mac I have to wait minutes for the synchronisation to complete before I can start typing. There is no quick note feature which allows a new addition while waiting for the sync to complete.

I have searched the forums for help with this and, while I can find details of sync problems from a couple or three years ago, there is nothing I can find to help with the new version of Notes.

This is so disappointing that I have been unable to use Notes as a primary place to jot down ideas and, as I hoped, initial drafts of articles for MacFilos. Presumably Apple will sort out this glitch sooner rather than later. In the meantime, however, Notes is not fit for purpose. I’m reverting to Evernote for reference notes and relying on Drafts and Ulysses (sadly not on the iPhone yet) for drafting articles. Drafts has been a long-time favourite and it has a wonderful feature of allowing export to almost every application you can think of, from Mail to Omni-Focus, from Evernote to Dropbox.

Soon, I hope, The Soulmen in Leipzig, authors of the wonderful Ulysses applications, will announce their new iPad/iPhone version which should solve all my drafting problems. Currently I can work on Ulysses files on the Mac or iPad but not where I do most of my ad hoc drafting, on the iPhone 6 Plus. 


  1. Same here. I added a couple of hundred notes, and bam — slowdown until I deleted them, and then it took a couple of days to sort things out, and I think it’s still not as fast it was.

    • I’ve given up. I’m leaving the stuff in Notes but using other apps for current stuff. I still have the Evernote database as backup. I’ve reported the issue and also written to David Sparks of Macsparky who has written a lot about the wonders of the new Notes. I haven’t yet had a reply but I see that his database contains around 700 notes compared with my 2,700. No doubt Apple will get round to fixing this without ever acknowledging the problem.

  2. Apple’s note app should be able to update/sync on background, but it doesn’t. Whenever I fire up Apple note app, it starts to sync and the entire thing slows down to crawl until all synchronization is complete. I only have a few hundred entires in Apple note app, but it far slower than what I was used to at Evernote with 4,000 notes.

    • Agreed. I did another article yesterday njbh gone back to Evernote. Apple Notes is good for occasional use but really isn’t up to handling a large database.

  3. Just ran across this article. Good (?) to know I’m not the only one whose iOS notes is pretty much useless because it is unable to sync in the background. I have about 1,500 notes, mostly text, yet when I open the app, it takes a good five to ten seconds before it responds to any commands. Useless for quickly doing anything.

  4. seems that they’ve never fixed or acknowledged the problem. It’s 2019 and apple notes is terrible when you have a serious number of notes.

      • Thanks for adding to this. It’s a very old article. Since then I moved back to Notes, much improved, and also tried Bear. This is very good, but I bombed out on the anniversary of the subscription. I’m not using Drafts which I find very good for jotting down notes. It has the big advantage of integration with almost every other app you care to name — you can send your drafts to a task manager, a plain text editor and a multitude of other formats. It’s well worth a try.


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