fixing your desktop

Apple’s iPad “Notes” app deleted all your documents?

If that’s what you *think* just happened, then check this:

  1. Settings App
  2. ..Mail, Calendar, etc
  3. ….your Gmail account
  4. ……the “Notes” slider; is is set to “off”?

If so, flip it to ON, find a working wifi / 3G signal, and your documents will miraculously re-appear.

For most people, there is no way they want Gmail ripping all their private documents off the iPad – but this is apprently how Apple stupidly coded the Notes app.

You don’t get a choice; if that slider is “ON”, all your private stuff is deleted locally and saved to Gmail. There’s no warning, no user-interface to tell you it’s doing this – everything is silent. There’s also – so far as I can tell – no way to “reclaim” your documents and get them put back on the iPad, where they belong. Where Apple pretended they were in the first place.

If you ever accidentally hit that switch, all your documents just vanish.

What happens if you have no network connectivity, or lose 3G signal? Again, it seems you lose your documents.

Moral of the story: never, ever trust software written by a hardware company that refuses software engineering standard practices.

3 replies on “Apple’s iPad “Notes” app deleted all your documents?”

Well if you’re worried about that, um… don’t use Gmail? It works fine with any IMAP server, I think you’re really misunderstanding the purpose of the feature or why it might be useful: it gives you a way to back up / read your notes away from your iOS device. That Google happens to provide an IMAP server and it works with the Notes feature is entirely unrelated.

On the other hand… it doesn’t work very well. New notes I’ve created, and edits I’ve made to old notes, haven’t propagated to the IMAP server in months. If I turn off the syncing, feature, though, all the notes go away (and when I turn it back on later, the only notes left are the few old notes actually on the IMAP server). It sucks, but I think you’re completely off base in how it sucks. :-)

The post was more directed at anyone googling for it, wondering WTF had gone wrong :), and offering a pointer to a possible quick fix :).

Personally, I think the UI sucks badly – all it would take is a small icon next to each note, indicating “stored on server / network / cloud” or similar, and allowing each note to be saved either on server, or locally. Tiny change, would make all the difference.

…although the bugs you describe sound pretty fatal in their own right :)

Hey… Thanks for this post. This just happened.

Except, I don’t use the “Mail” app on the iPad 2. I just downloaded the G-Whizz (Free) app. Sure enough, in Gmail under, ‘Notes’ are my lists from the “Notes” app. I’m not sure what settings to mess with or anything… but for now, thanks for taking my heart rate down a bit!

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