Another upset person - I lost years of notes after upgrade


Just like someone else below, I lost all my notes when I upgraded (when you try to open one you just see a series of directories). This is many many years of work. Please help me!

Here’s what I tried so far:

(1) The data migration tool in settings. It doesn’t work (it seems to just exit immediately having made no apparent changes).

(2) Adding the .npn suffix to the notebook folders (I did this in dropbox, then transferred the directory into notesplus on the ipad). This partially works - you can view the notebook - but the data is corrupted. Many pages of the notebook are zoomed in and you can only see the left edge. The rest of the data isn’t there. Other pages have a large blank grey box covering the right side.

(3) Paid for an icloud drive upgrade and synced with that. Same result as above.

Please help.


I discovered something - if you change the name of a notebook directory to end in npn, the FIRST page of the notebook looks fine, but the rest are “zoomed in” to show only the top left corner (and you can’t see the rest in Notes Plus). If instead you open the .svg files that are in the individual page directories using Adobe Illustrator, the page outline is just the top left corner - everything else is off the page (you can see it fine in illustrator, but if you just export to pdf you just get the top left part). So somehow changing the name of the directory to end in .npn is correctly converting only the first page of the notebook.

If the developers would please comment, I’m sure there is a simple fix here. The data is all there.


As message at top of forum reads. Please contact support directly. Be patient with this process. It takes a lot of time for the conversions to occur and allow the m to do the sync to your cloud account. If it is still possible to back up all your old Dropbox notebook folders ( pre .npn format) do so before starting this process since all of that data is readable with any HTML browser -just in case. Then what I would do is separate your past journals into smaller segments like months or by project so you only convert like 30 or so at a time. If they are very long notebooks maybe even smaller chunks. So after you have everything backed up elsewhere bring a smaller amount into the folder you are converting from and let the process finish. Until it does you will see things broken up as described until it has done complete process converting and syncing.

I appreciate your grief more than you can know. Just please don’t dump on these guys because things are not going as smoothly as you had hoped it would. The common chime on this user forum unfortunately is like a scratched broken record. ‘I lost years of work…’
Let’s be more appreciative of these folks because the bottom line is we are in a state of loss mostly because of all the gains we have made over the years with this app and if you have not been careful enough to keep backups of your precious data well that is your responsibility really.
And do reach out to them if these hints are not enough.
Start by using a web browser to open the top level ‘index.html’ fie of your backed up (Locally)notebooks to see it is all there and in tact. Once you see that you have it then move on taking smaller steps.

Internet speed speed will also slow things down. I have about 7 years of data in this app and it took a few days with a gigabit connection. I would only move onto next step after each chunk of data was processed and the new npn formatted files were completed.
Hope that helps!


I think the sync is complete (I can see all my notebooks and the directories containing their pages), and my data is backed up in two places now - so yes, at worst I can view and convert the html or svg files page by page.

When you say it takes a lot of time for the conversions to occur, do you mean it’s automatic? Or that I have to select migrate? When I do that it just flashes a little window for a second that disappears before I can even read what it says. Are you suggesting this behavior is because I have too many notebooks, and if I reduced to a small set it would work?

Thanks very much for your help. I realize the developers are working hard, but at the same time, losing years of data is a very very serious problem and it’s perfectly understandable for people to be upset. They really ought to fix it, and as someone else said somewhere else on this forum, I’d be happy to pay something to help them out ($10 once for years of use is a tough business model).


Syncing isn’t completed until all the files are updated and intermediary trash is collected and thrown away. If you are talking about larger notebooks and years worth this take a lot of time. Even if you don’t have gigabit ( optic fiber) internet the servers between you and your data may be carrying other loads and drawing the process out. So if you see only the beginning or fragments of the process showing up on your end it is because it isn’t done. And if you have the data elsewhere and can see that it is all intact there, you will be able to feed the notebooks through the process below and recover everything into the new npn format.

I am sure there is an ‘official’ method that I am missing here or a better way (please look for other official instructions to make sure I am not making extra work for you because I am overlooking/forgetting something obvious),

…but as an example of what I am suggesting is if you have all your old data somewhere off the cloud that you can add back incrementally. Delete all your notebooks, ( Breath deep…which I mean from both the iPad and the cloud backup) Now move a couple of notebook folders back into the cloud storage…

( Seems like you may need to turn off and on the auto back up in between these steps um… before after you delete everything and before you add a few notebooks back the the cloud… look for others advice/thinking on that…)

then go to the tools Sub menu and select migrate if it isn’t already happening. Now go to your Auto back up pane on the left hand side of the app and review what is happening. It should suggest that it is moving things around(old files from cloud to local for updating, new files back the tote cloud after mirroring them locally) and doing things with them and eventually you will see the list goes from being a very long list of files to process to eventually none. Rinse and repeat… meaning go through this cycle more than once assuming there is still a long list of files to process in the auto backup list. Repeating the process of hitting the migrate button and examining the process in the auto backup area seemed to be what helped me to understand what was taking so long and why breaking the process down seemed to help move it along.

I went though all of this a year or so ago after waiting a long while to make the jump to the new format. I have always kept back ups of my notebooks going back to when the best method was as .webarchives(only readable in safari), which even back then you could extract the svg component from a page to get data from your files. Keeping things open like this is huge to me and I am sure it is harder for them.

You do not need to reconstruct anything on your own it is just nice that it is accessible in the event something did happen to the app. If for some reason any other note app was no longer working for you you probably would not be able to get at their data files. Just refraining that we live in a transient world of data and your data is your responsibility if you keep back ups in the event of a disaster you are covered. Otherwise not a goood medium to put your trust in.

I don’t know the developers and have no stake to defend them but besides the low rate of return on their efforts for few dollars especially when they get bad reviews or no recognition ( don’t show up in App Store) well to have watched all they have gone thorough over the years as apple has changed and iCloud has developed often in disruptive patterns well we really need to give them all the good we can afford and my biggest problem with this app is not having it. It has become an extension of me and when I have any interruption in being able to access and use it it is like having my tongue cut off or my fingers broken. Ouch!


@sherwoods Wow I applaud you for your gracious attitude, I admit I have been lacking charity towards the developers after everything I’ve lost because of this app.

I have begun the process of transitioning to another note-taking app, but I figured I would ask you: have you been able to achieve a level of stability and security with NotesPlus? I stopped updating the app out of fear of more note-destruction, but with my current version (6.2.1), I am still having disappearing notes (entire page will vanish when app-switching), and were I to enable auto-backup, that stupid bug would occur whereby all my notes would produce infinite copies of each other.

I would love to give NotesPlus one more chance but losing yet another page of important notes not two weeks ago really felt like the nail in the coffin for me…


As I have said above, I have had my pain along the way with Notes Plus not working for me and I suppose I was lucky to have places like this to warn me of potential issues with new features and problems people were having initially with the cloud backup and the new npn format. So I had waited quite a while after version 6 to move past version 5.something (5.6?). Prior to that I backed up everything I did in notes plus either to a .webarchive exported to google drive or by using iTunes to back up the folder hierarchy on a PC or Mac. Before I moved to the npn format I had adopted iCloud backup a good while after they got it nailed down -that I want to say was over a year after it was first available.

Once I had that working with the old format I had multiple complete sets of backups of my folder hierarchies initially on the cloud backups(google drive) and then also on separate PCs and Macs. I saw the carnage of others who got out on the bleeding edge and suffered for that.

Sorry I am not an early adopter with this app since it has been such an integral part of my life over the last seven years. Prior to that I journaled daily in a composition book with a pencil. On the iPad I initially used capacitive styluses and for a while a Bluetoooth Adronit stylus, but then eventually settled on a Magnus which looks like a carpenter pencil, smaller/handier than the 53 pencil. Since I adopted Notes plus in 2013 whenever it would break I would be like stunned by not being able to journal, like I couldn’t just go back and use the good old tried and true pencil and paper. So I was alway super slow to adopt any significant upgrade and I would alway wait to see how others were doing with it before I upgraded.

Apple Pencil of course blew it all away and I have never looked back on that. With a 12.9 inch iPad and first gen Apple Pencil I am a very happy NotesPlus user.

The only problem for me about this app as I have said in my review ‘is not having it(work)!’

So yes I have been super careful and always had my work backed up and never updated until I know things were more or less solid. I really only use this app to journal and I don’t push it to do anything fancy beyond handwriting. I am sure many of the folks who have had issues still with the app are probably pushing it to do any amount of the other cool things it can do, but I just don’t try that.

So I have never had an issue losing any of my notes, and well in order to say that now I just went and backed up all the notes I have not done recently to a separate PC(Mac actually today) off the cloud. It has actually been about 7 months since I last did that and this discussion has prompted me to take that extra cautionary step. So I has been like 7 months since I last was in a place where I was upgrading the iPad’s OS or something else that seemed like a significant step that may cause issues. I guess when I upgraded to iPad OS ‘13’ and also went to Catalina on my Mac I went through a number of back up operations to facilitate that.

I never had issues of duplicate notes either since I followed the basic steps I outlined above when I did migrate doing it in small chunks on a ‘clean slate’ and not trying to make the app do too much or attempt to interfere with it when it was performing the migrate.

I do remember needing to nudge it along as I suggested by going back into the auto back up area to review things (what’s uploading, downloading, converting or syncing) and then close the app and restart it and occasionally jiggle the migrate Botton if it seemed like it had stalled.

I don’t have any magical way to approach this… it was just a combination of scaling back the task that I was giving the migration process and being able to observe it doing a smaller job from start to finish and then feeding it another chunk that helped me to understand when the system needed jiggling and when to pop back between tools menu and auto backup pane.

I don’t usually have a lot of other apps running when I am journaling and yet I usually have a few of them going. I also have a pretty competent iPad which is a 2017 12.9 inch pro with 1/2TB storage so it has plenty of overhead. the App behaves as it should when multitasking and does not lose pages or data when doing so.

One other thing I think is part of the stability of my situation is having bent over and committed to iCloud and Apple for my backup. I think if I had a choice I would use OneDrive which has the best methodology to keep files on local systems to a minimum and using an on demand system when a file is brought locally. iCloud is much more greedy and hogs a huge amount of space locally and not just locally where you are but on any device that is connected to that iCloud account. They have actually been collaborating with Microsoft to help adopt MS’s ‘on demand’ Cloud system.

So where does the real praise come for Notes Plus? Well having screwed around with a number of things that use iCloud like iCloud Music Library and seeing how easy it is for that to get screwed up and how vulnerable it all is, I am truly amazed how I can be entering notes on my iPad and it is shuttling up to the cloud and then living in-between( in Caches in OS as well as iCloud) both of these places as intermediary entities and all along they are all getting synchronized with each addition of a stroke.

One of the problems I did have over the period of transitioning from version 5-6 and into cloud backup and npn format is that I could see that my iCloud folder was there on iCloud from within the Files app (NotesPlus Beta Folder) on the iPad, but I could not see that folder in iCloud Drive on a PC a Mac or via a browser on the web. I could see all my other iCloud folders on all of those devices but no Notes Plus Beta folder.

This I didn’t get too concerned about and just lived with it by creating an intermediary folder in my Files App on my iPad that would show up on my other devices’ iCloud Drive allowing me to copy/backup my data out of the notes plus beta folder for addional backups in the event that notes plus and iCloud failed. After a month or so of that being an issue it just healed itself miraculously? Just went away and things have been pretty hunky dory since.

Having said this and I hope explain why I ting Notes Plus is a solid app and the developers worthy of praise more than spite, ‘your milage may vary.’ This is just one more reason from praise as far as I can tell because we all bring som much variety to the mix I can’t begin to understand how it even works at all let alone works mostly as I expect it to on as regular basis.


Wow thanks for that very thorough reply, very kind of you!

Can I ask what version of NotesPlus you are running right now?

I have a fairly recent ipad (ipad pro 2016) with few apps and lots of free disk space, so I can’t imagine that’s an issue. And yet as I said, not two weeks ago while typing up a new page of notes, while switching to Safari to cut and paste a quote, my entire new page of notes literally just disappeared. The data appeared to still be there in some sort of shadow form, because I could still select the text box, but despite an hour of trying I couldn’t bring the notes back to life.

But if you never experience this perhaps your version is more stable…


Running latest version. I will play around with that with a page of dummy text and let you know if cut and paste between apps causes me grief. So I assume you are copying ascii text from safari into your hand written notebook? I generally don’t mix them in my notebooks so that could be an issue. Won’t get to that for another day perhaps. Will report back.


I’m still waiting for a resolution on this. Notes plus hasn’t migrated any of my notebooks as far as I can tell, and after initially responding (and asking for some sample notebook files), there’s been radio silence from support.