Troubleshooting "data duplication" problem caused by cloud syncing feature in v6.2

#1

During the last few days, we’ve received many reports from our users about a critical bug that Notes Plus would create many copies of your notebooks, fill up your iCloud storage quota quickly. This terrible issue impacts user data badly. Needless to say, our recent updates were not the standard quality we strive for Notes Plus. We’re frustrating about this too.

Let’s talk about the “data duplication bug” caused by iCloud a little bit so you understand this context.

We realized this happened first on v6.1 release and we immediately worked on the solution to eliminate this. We also implemented a data migration tool to convert old resource files to our new packaged file (file extension of Notes Plus is .npn). This helps deal with iOS Storage Optimization from iCloud as the system will optimize and evict your files to iCloud Drive server when the device is in low storage to have space for iCloud to save other stuffs. On your Notes Plus Library, you would see those notebooks are displayed with a tiny cloud icon. These notebooks are on-demand download, if you tap on the tiny cloud icon, the system will download it from iCloud Server. There were some cases our migration tool couldn’t execute properly, thus duplicated versions of your notebook would be created after the migration tool is complete.

[Updated]

Apparently, stuck/crashing during data migration process is having some really bad downsides in iCloud resulting in the migration process taking longer. If it crashes, the app does not delete the folders which Notes Plus has already converted on the current run of the migration. The result is the next time the migration runs, Notes Plus would try to convert the same folders again. This is resulting in exponential copies of .NPN and folders for the same notebook. For a particular notebook in iCloud you could see 4-5 .npn files, also some files with the notebook name with “type” of “package” and no .NPN extension and the resource folder itself.

Now, let’s provide some troubleshooting ways that users can sort things out on your side while waiting for another update from us:

  • Check if your data has been saved on iCloud fully: return to iPad’s Home Screen, open Settings app, tap on the first row (your Name) to view your Apple ID & iCloud account, tap “iCloud” section, tap “Manage Storage”, look for “Notes Plus” row, tap “>”

  • Then, tap “Notebooks” to reveal your files/folders saved on Notes Plus iCloud folder. Check for the existence of your data there.
  • If you have a computer (either Windows/Mac), try to locate to iCloud Drive folder, find “NotesPlus Beta” folder, copy everything inside “Notebooks” folder and save it to safe place on your local disk. This would serve as your data backup later.

How to delete extra copies of your notebooks?

  • First, please check if your notebook content displays properly by opening Notes Plus Library, open the notebook without the number appended on your notebook name. If it looks good, you can keep it and delete all the extra copies. If your extra copies are cached (it displays with tiny cloud icon), then you can go to Library > Auto Backup > enable “Automatic Download” and the app will attempt to download cached files from iCloud to your local storage. Then, you can delete the copies.
  • An alternative method you can use to delete the extra copies of your data: go to iCloud Drive folder on your computer (Mac/Windows), delete the .npn files coming with a suffix containing the numbers. Wait for your file deletion syncs to iCloud fully. On your iPad, try to restart the device so it can “see” latest changes from iCloud server fully. Hopefully, this would help remove extra copies on your app library.
  • Note: if you don’t install iCloud Drive on your computer, you can use a web browser like Chrome or Safari, access www.icloud.com, login with your Apple ID, then go to iCloud Drive > Notes Plus folder, tap to open “Notebooks”, now select the extra copies of your data, tap “Delete” icon at the toolbar. The deleted files are kept on iCloud for 30 days and you can restore them if deleting wrong files (read this https://support.apple.com/kb/PH27917)

Now, please verify if the app library shows your data without data duplication again? New notebooks aren’t affected by this issue so it’s worth that you create a new notebooks to take notes going forward.

Due to this issue, we’ve been receiving many support emails, so our support speed could be slower than usual, but we’ll go over all your emails/posts on the forum and answers.

Please let’s know how thing goes?

We sincerely apologize for all the troubles it has caused lately.

We need a status update, please
#2

I tell my experience to users today.
I recommend that you first delete duplicate notes on the web(iCloud.com). Notes deleted from the Web will automatically disappear from the iPad. However, some note files may not be deleted from your iPad. In this case, if you delete a note from iPad, the same notes file will finally sync.
I recovered all the notes files in this way.

I have a question. Why is the total file size larger than before?

pinned globally #3
#4

Hi,
I have lost important data and spent days going through notebooks I’m iCloud, trying to figure out which duplicates were intact because it’s not intuitive at all.

Next:

  1. I have deleted all files in the notesplus folder in iCloud and reorganised all my notebooks (without duplicates) in my iPad.
  2. I have tried turning iCloud backup back on, but it weirdly starts the whole duplication problem again and adds paths that were of the pre-iCloud-deletion. How on earth is it detecting these old paths and still causing the duplication problem if I deleted everything on iCloud? I have switched iCloud backup off again in panic.
  3. my work relies on having to access existing notebooks. How can I keep my notebooks and switch iCloud back on?

This is causing a lot of work and worry in an existing busy work schedule.

Can you please help?
Fran

#5

In addition, to the problems mentioned above, new notebooks created afresh using version 6.2 appear unstable and data is being lost!! This happens when the notebook’s last page is ‘missing’ showing a grey background instead. When this is the case, any data entry is lost on closing the notebook. Sometimes however, the last page of the same notebook is not missing and data is saved correctly. Please note iCloud autoback-up is off. This unstable behaviour is extremely worrying as it’s unclear if you can trust Notesplus to save your notes!

#6

This is not just a problem with iCloud.

I use Dropbox and have duplicated documents in the user interface.

I have updates accidentally split across the versions of the documents.

Can you please just release an old known-good version of the product under a new application name so we can restore backups and get back to our jobs & study ?

1 Like
#7

Same here; I did a manual “backup” and got loads of things duplicated on my DropBox.

I did that because one of the notebooks I was writing to wasn’t syncing and even seemed to have lost the page of notes I had just been composing.

#8

Hello has there been any response to this issue? Is there a clear way to go to an older stable version and revert the data? Is there a new version or patch coming? The data loss is a big deal. Would like some help/direction here if possible

#9

Hi, I´ve got the same problem with dupes - plus I can not locate the Notes Plus data in Icloud.
The Ipad Settings/Icloud shows 2.3 GB of data Usage for Notes Plus (I´m a heavy user I think) but Documents & Data 0 kb! Also Icloud.com shows me no folder for Notes Plus. Any Help?

#10

Hi, I’m desperate trying do not loose my notes taken from 2015, I need to go through some old notes but simply cannot do it now.
Need urgent help!!, important information was managed through your app with the confidence to have the best tool, but now I hope you can manage on the right instructions to recover my notes and so on.
Please your urgent reply…!

#11

Suggest to make a downgrade to previous versions 5.xx, then avoid all these new problems that users are facing now!!.
Need to recover my old notes, which still are necessary to have.

Make it thrustable again!!!

#12

I’ve tried everything to get my files back and nothing works. I’ve lost notes that I took after the supposed fix. Everything already listed by other frustrated users is the same for me. The loss of important data is very frustrating and some losses cuts to my very soul. What’s the future fix for this issue?
Why no specific reply all of a sudden to person emails to support? Please fix the problem because I’m losing notes that I did get back now.

#13

I am also fed up waiting for a fix, I have asked for an update but no help as yet. I tried a beta version but that just seemed to make things worse. When are we going to get some advice and straight answers. I have many notes but at the moment can’t make any progress. If no help what other note taking apps are out there that we can migrate to?

#14

Hey everyone!

I’M SWITCHING TO GOOD NOTES.

This has been quite the mess hasn’t it? I took 12 hours to recover my notes and while I have them back, all duplicates have been deleted, and things seem to be working… I’m 0% confident that this won’t happen again for some other reason. And while I do believe the team has been trying their best, the lack of response to some of the threads and inquiries here astounds me.

I’m awestruck at how so many thousands of users must be affected by this, and a number of people are really suffering big time because of it. And I haven’t seen anything but, “sorry, there’s a reason this happened.” The reason doesn’t matter… getting it corrected matters. I’m so sorry everyone. You deserve some real, tangible help, or compensation, if you you’ve been truly damaged by this.

I’ve been a super-fan of this app since it launched on the App Store. I can’t imagine how many people I’ve recommended this app to. I feel horrified about it now, knowing they have probably been negatively impacted by this.

I’ve lost confidence in the app. I can’t trust my notes to Notes Plus after this. And so, I’m switching to a different app.

I researched Notability, and Good Notes (this is a good comparison).

I’ve decided to try Good Notes and while it certainly lacks in comparison to Notes Plus… I have a much greater sense of confidence and safety, which makes up for what’s lacking. I think Notability is another great option, and if Good Notes doesn’t work, that’s where I’ll go next.

I’m exporting all my notes from Notes Plus, and will bring the PDF’s over to Good Notes to continue their development.

I really hope things work out for you all.

And I hope the team at Notes Plus figure out their app, missing data issues, and how to Update the app without costing their customers so much. I wish you all tremendous success. I’ve enjoyed your app (mostly) for many years… and I truly wish I could stay.

Best,
Steve

#15

I have two comments:

(1) My employer disallows cloud services except for those with security assurances in an actual contract with our company. Since Notes Plus does not support backups to our supported cloud storage provider, I have so far not lost any notebooks or gotten duplicates due to the problems in 6.1/6.2. My notes are protected via regular (manual) iTunes backups. I’m not particularly happy about going without automatic backups, but at least it’s been safe and reliable for over 4 years.

(2) They have just released a 6.2.1 update which claims to address syncing and data loss problems. Good luck everybody.

#16

Well for me the new 6.2.1 update has broken things AGAIN!

I had finally cleaned up after all the duplication mess. 3 times I went through over 250 files and deleted a bunch of replicas only to have them come back again, twice. Finally got it all stable and one copy of everything.

I’m no longer sure if my data is being copied to iCloud. I don’t seem to have any visibility of it in iCloud any more. The notesplus-beta folder isn’t being used any more but there doesn’t seem to be any replacement, and if I look under the manage data in iCloud settings, it doesn’t show NotesPlus as using any data.

Today I got a new 6.2.1 update so nervously started NotesPlus.

Another scanning process. At least this one is faster and doesn’t seem to create any duplicates. However it does seem to have hung on one final file (it was at 99%) which it never seems to complete after some hours in the background and restarting multiple times.

Even worse though is that NotesPlus is now crashing on a regular basis as I am writing notes … and losing the last few minutes of data in the process.

This is hugely frustrating!

#17

Hi Cameron,

Could you please try to restart your iPad, then check if the app is still crashing? There is a button to run the data migration in the background also the Notes Plus folder should be visible under Files.app on your iPad, could you check if the data is being updated?

#18

Hi, I had the same feeling too. i switched also to goodsnotes and i still miss some good points in Notes plus but as you said, the support that of the app by the developers is very minimum. I hope they hire more people to improve it quickly.

#19

Thanks for the response.

I restarted my iPad. Yes, the app is still crashing – at least 3 times in about 4 hours of use since I restarted, losing around 5 mins work each time.

That one notebook that is still being processed by the conversion/update routine still has not finished. Yes I can run it in the background but it’s still going - probably 8 hours of run time now. The rest all seemed to process very quickly.

Surprisingly the Notes Plus Beta folder is back visible in the Files app now. It wasn’t there the last time I looked – I guess this was fixed in a recent update? I can see this through Finder on my Mac as well, so I’m comfortable the iCloud sync is working thanks.

The other issue that seems to have got worse in recent releases is when the Close-up writing window is out of synch with the content on the main page. Sometimes in a new document the close-up window will display data from the old window. Sometimes it displays data from earlier in the same document. Moving the grey indicator box doesn’t fix it – usually closing then re-opening close-up mode will fix, but one time I actually had to exit the notebook. I have seen others complain about this issue so I guess you’re aware of it, but it seems to have gotten worse.

#20

Another 4-5 crashes in the next couple of hours of use.
Make that 8-10 in the next 3-4 hours of use.
Make that DOZENS of crashes over the last 2 days. This is driving me crazy!

Could it be related to the fact that this one notebook is still trying to be converted? Every time I restart, the dialog pops up for converting that one file, I send it to background and it keeps running. Days later it has yet to complete.

There seems to be some link between when the close-up window gets out of sync and the crashes. Often the crash comes immediately after the window is out of sync.