Unable to update syncs between platorms

I use Mac and iOS MarginNote apps, and have linked my accounts so that they are in sync. And yet, they syncs do no appear to update documents & notebooks that I’m working on; I don’t see the updated annotation changes carry over in the same file when I’m working on one MarginNote platform and then another.

What am I doing wrong? And how can I fix this?

Thank you.

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The unreliability of the iCloud sync is a recurring issue for MarginNote between the two platforms, iOS and macOS.

You are doing nothing wrong.

Syncing documents within sub-folders at any level is consistently unreliable. I have found the more reliable choice is when I work on documents only at the root level. Even then, I cannot vouch that it works always reliably.

Review the threads for discussions and suggestions. In essence, you have to assume that you cannot trust the sync, find a workflow that does work (most of the time), and then do not change that workflow.

Sad, but true. This is one of the biggest hurdles to the stability of MarginNote.



I haven’t encountered an issue where changes did not sync or were lost. The problem for me is that syncing is extremely slow. Therefore, when a large number of changes are made on one device it can often take a very long time for these changes to propagate to another device, to the point where it can seem as if it isn’t working.

I am often having to leave a device running on the Cloud Sync page for an excessively long time (e.g. 30 mins) just to wait for the changes to finish sync.

From what I’ve seen in my network activity monitor, the transfer speeds are very slow. Please can this be investigated and fixed?


I only bought the new versions because of the promised fix for the sync. I think it is worse.

Don’t trust it. I’ve lost hours of work due to it.

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Firstly welcome @HaloLight new to the forum and sorry for the bad experience.

We have received many reports about sync issues. Mostly the truth is what @Jun said, syncing is extremely slow which leads to as if it isn’t working.
As a technique support staff, I’m also very anxious to find a reliable way to make sync works properly. You have to check the cloud sync state to see if it is in ‘fetching’ in the ‘Notebook’ page. If so, the notebook is still downloading which is separated from Document sync. Maybe change the DNS which is faster to connect the Apple server will help.

Also in this thread,

Last few days ago, @DrJJWMac helped me find a reason leads to a sync error. 【FAQ】Collecting Problems with Sync + Troubleshooting

What JJW talks about is coding history causes, sub-folder support is very later released than we build sync framework. So some conditions are not fully considered.

I’ve submitted an ultimate solution to the Development schedule. Try to make a Wlan transfer boost when handoff is in use. This way cloud bypasses the Apple Server issues. (MN’s notebook database is an entirety that is much slower than small files transferring in Icloud. That’s why the scattered Documents in MN is always syncing ahead of Notebook.) This improvement needs some time to realize. Once I got good news will notify this thread.

Support Team

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I have stopped using the OSX app since version 2 because of this problem, and the iOS app works well as stand alone.

Sync is a major requirement and any loss of data for any reason is totally unacceptable in any software. To say sync is “slow” (as if finding the Holy Grail of excuses!) is totally meaningless to end-users.

I have also found that using the clear temp storage in OSX version before syncing helps.

@Lanco_Support-Team - Thank you for your reply. However, I’m not following you clearly. I have MarginNote documents and notebooks on MacOS and iOS devices. I’m just trying to ensure that my annotations sync properly between platforms, and the most recent annotations appear. I’ve followed some of the steps you’ve outline, but in some cases MarginNote syncs have doubled the number of annotations in a given document – and that’s after following the steps you’ve outline in steps 2 and 3 above.

Can you or other @Dieffen_Support-Team staff or even other @marginnote users (perhaps @DrJJWMac) clarify the exact steps we should take in order to successfully sync our MargiNote annotations of documents and notebooks between platforms?

Thank you.

Hello again~

We have uploaded new versions both on Mac(3.5.5) and iPadOS (3.5.5) and you are expected to update MarginNote 3 to the latest version. If you still have serious sync problem, don’t hesitate to tell us. We will try our best to help you.

MN Support Team

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Great work! Excited to see if it works out:)

My subject notebook is on my iPad on 561 and on my laptop still stuck at 561 sadly:3 does making a backup and downloading that help?

Hi @Bryan_Support-Team , Thank you for alerting us about the new update.

I’ve just installed it on MacOS and iOS, and have run manual syncs on both platforms – and have quitted the apps after running these manual syncs, and re-launching them afterwards – but unfortunately it is NOT successfully updating the selected files. Not at all; they’re completely unchanged.

Are there any other steps you’d suggest I take to update syncs between platforms? My colleagues and I (also MarginNote users) are desperately trying to make this work, and ensure that we’re working off of the most current MarginNote-created annotated files.

Please advise.

Thank you.

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Ditto all of this…

Hey @Lanco_Support-Team / @Dieffen_Support-Team / @Bryan_Support-Team – While we really appreciate the new update, for some reason the syncing does not work (at least for me & some other users here). In fact, it actually seems like it’s even harder to make files sync between platforms.

I’ve actually just run “Clear Temp Storage” and “Database Defragmentation,” but neither of those seem to work. Plus, I’ve run manual syncs, then quit, then relaunched the apps, then run manual syncs again. Still nothing – no successful syncs.

Is there some other kind of set up or repairs you’d suggest to make it work? I mean, it’s not syncing anything right now. It’s worrisome, and super frustrating.


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Dear @Bryan_Support-Team & @Lanco_Support-Team,

Can you please provide us assistance with this matter? It’s seem quite important for all of us.

Thank you.

Hello JournoProf, hello jprint,

We apologize for the inconvenience and bad product experience caused by the slow sync speed. As words can’t convey all the information, we will be willing to receive your reply with some screenshots,which will promote our understanding to your requests. And we hope you can go to the top topic(【FAQ】Collecting Problems with Sync + Troubleshooting), and share necessary information (The problem-collecting steps have been listed by Lanco in that post)with us.

Putting the same kinds of questions and needs together will enhance our efficiency in handling questions raised by users.

By the way, I will log in to the forum and document user’s need and problems twice a day. So don’t worry, your suggestions will be submitted to developers in time.

MN Support Team

@Bryan_Support-Team – I don’t understand your reply. As I’ve said, and @JournoProf and other users have added, the sync IS NOT WORKING. It has nothing to do with the “slow sync speed.”

I’ve looked through the thread, including the “top topic,” in the 【FAQ】Collecting Problems with Sync + Troubleshooting post. But they’re really not helpful. They’re jumbled, disorganized, sometimes in Chinese (which is appropriate for your Chinese leaders, but we cannot read it), and therefore ultimately confusing.

Why not just produced clear, step-by-step instructions for how to set up syncing for all users?

Also, I’m happy to provide screenshots, but the steps I took are really quite straightforward:

  1. I selected “Clear Temp Storage”
  2. I selected “Database Defragmentation”
  3. I clicked on specific MarginNote – on the platform that I most recently worked on those files – and selected manual sync
  4. I quit each MarginNote app’s (in iOS & MacOS)
  5. I relaunched each MarginNote app’s (in iOS & MacOS)
  6. I ran manual syncs again for specific files that I was working on – both in iOS & Mac

None of this has worked to update MarginNote files through its sync process.

What else can users do to fix this and ensure that files can sync between platforms?


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I have a general idea of the problems you meet. Have you opened the “MarginNote 3” in the iCloud Drive (both in iOS and MacOS)

I don’t quite understand what you mean by…

“MarginNote 3” is selected in my iCloud on my iPhone & iPad (iOS) and Mac (MacOS).

Happy to answer any more questions you have.


Hi Josh and Prof,

There are 4 tabs in ‘cloud sync’ activity monitor.(Documents, Doc Notebooks, Mindmap Notebook, Card Deck) Much helpful if you could provide screenshots to all of them on Mac and Ipad. We must understand what’s wrong with your software and then make a progress on how to solve it. The ‘top topic’ is just a standard form for the necessary information we needed for sync issues. We still can’t figure out all the influences to sync. Once we caught all of them, we will write a new step-by-step troubleshooting post.

Support Team

Ok, thanks, guys. That’s helpful, and I appreciate that you’re trying me solve this problem.

Here’s the deal… I can’t send you screenshot of those files because of privacy protections, but I can tell you that my files are NOT appearing in the Document or Doc Notebook tabs (they wouldn’t be in the other tabs).

What other questions can I answer for you?