Unable to update syncs between platorms

@Bryan_Support-Team & @Lanco_Support-Team - I’ve been trying to figure out how to fix the sync problems or at least identify where there might be problems that impede syncing that I’ve overlooked. Here’s one thing that I spotted that might helpful…

On my iPhone, under Settings -> iCloud -> Manage Storage… I see that there are two MarginNote 3 icons listed: one with 548.8 MB and the other with 18.2 MB. When I select the first one (with 548.8 MB), I see the documents that I’ve uploaded or synced to the iCloud; when I select the second icon (with 18.2 MB) there’s nothing there.

The iPhone is providing me with the option of “Delete Data” for these icons – and maybe there’s even a way to delete on of icons themselves. I’m flagging this as an option, and a step I haven’t yet taken yet since I don’t want to disrupt my MarginNote apps or accidentally lose any data.

At the very least, I wanted to alert you about this as it might something that’s causing some trouble.

Also, yesterday I spent several hours trying to different ways to syncing (e.g., downloading files from iCloud via the Sync option / screen), toggling sync settings back and forth, quitting apps and restarting them. So far, nothing has helped sync apps. Please advise.


@gykpro - thanks for posting all of that, but I’m afraid I don’t quite follow the steps that you’re suggesting. I’m not using an iPad with MN3 right now; I’m using my iPhone, so I’m not seeing a computer icon appear when I click on the MN icon.

Also, the most immediate syncing problem I face is getting the updated annotations that I’ve been making on my MN for iPhone (iOS) and getting them to appear in my MacOS for MN. So, what would steps would you advise – esp. for the MacOS side of this process?


Dear @Lanco_Support-Team / @Bryan_Support-Team / @Dieffen_Support-Team,

May I kindly suggest that you at least consider the following suggestion that @jprint put forward here:

It seems to me that it would be a very easy, straightforward way to ensure that MarginNote users are at least all on the same page, and therefore reduce confusion and problems surrounding the sync issue. Please consider this.

Thank you.



I mean, this would be such an easy way to get ahead of sooo many problems that tons of MarginNote users seem to be facing with it’s sync function! I mean, there are so many confusing steps and sync options, and yet…there are no clear step-by-step instructions for syncing!

Please guys, this is a super simple request that would seem to help ALL OF US save a lot of grief (including @Dieffen_Support-Team !). I mean, we’d all benefit by having clear, precise steps (with illustrations) that show (1) the set up for sync and (2) the sync steps / processes that users need to take so that files can successfully be updated and syne between MN platforms.

Thank you, @JournoProf !

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I might suspect that we will not see a set of simple steps to have reliable sync because there are no simple steps to keep the sync reliable. The sync is just messed up … period … , whether it be from Apple’s implementation of iCloud or from MN internal coding to try to use iCloud. We will not have a way around the problem.

I can state that at one point, the process of working on and then trying to sync documents that were within folders and sub-folders was a total disaster. Perhaps some issues still linger, and when files are kept solely at the root level (no folders), the sync will be found to be less prone to failure. This might offer one case to test.


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Well, tonight I read through this thread and someone mentioned that there were two folders of MN3 mentioned in Settings -> iCloud -> Manage iCloud space; I immediately checked this and discovered this issue at mine as well, I use MN3 on iPad and iPhone, no Mac. So, the first folder was about 300mbytes with all of my main papers and the other one was about 10 bytes containing MN3 tutorial paper and two of earlier PDFs that I was using. So I decided to purge the smaller folder and after checking in a few minutes, iCloud told that there were still two folders, and the second didn’t show any files but was 5.6 mbytes. So I decided to delete the second folder completely. After this, I cleared buffer and defragmented database on both devices (I’ve absolutely no idea if that was meaningful step but still I did it). After this, all of a sudden, sync started working great, even Handoff from iPhone to iPad worked and still works now.
Beforehand, the “Fetching data” when syncing was infinite.
Hope that helps anyone.
PLEASE check the files that the second folder (if it exists on your iCloud) contains, so that you don’t accidentally delete any sensitive data.


We‘re so sorry for the bad experience.

UPCOMING NEWS: As @gykpro point out, the mind node sync mechanism of the database is really a

for Marginnote. And extremely limited Webdev and Google Drive etc. compatibility to MN. After the past several meetings, we finally decided to change the technical solution. The notebook of mind nodes will be also synced by icloud drive instead of icloud KIT. And the fringe benefits are Webdav and several Drives support. These upcoming features are coming with 3.7/3.8 after several experimental testing builds.

By the way, two folders of @anp icloud manager are just a display mistake by Apple. The truth is one of them is MarginNote 2/Pro. No one knows why the icon auto changing into MN3.:face_with_monocle:

About the detail, we plan to use Protocol Buffer dealing with database inside MarginNote 3 and syncing tons of small data packs which will be a significant promotion to Low-speed network environment getting much stronger resistance to errors.

Guys, Plz hold on for a while.

Support Team


Thank you so much! So glad to hear about this development!!


Thank, @anp for your observation and input – both were very useful and helpful. I followed the steps that you outlined, and am waiting to see if it helps. I’ll report back after I’ve made a proper assessment.

A few quick things for @Lanco_Support-Team & @Bryan_Support-Team & @Dieffen_Support-Team that might all help our cause…

  • I confess I don’t quite understand the “Handoff” setting and how it works. This again goes back to the point that @JournoProf made re: the lack of literature and step-by-step instructions re: syncing (among other core MN3 features);

  • I use MN3 on two iOS platforms: my iPad & iPhone. I just notice that “Handoff” was selected for my iPhone but NOT for my iPad. I’m pointing this out because: (a) Even though I’m not entirely clear about what it does, I’d assume that it affects syncing functions between apps and platforms, and (b) I also assumed that this would be a default setting (I certainly didn’t select “Handoff” on my iPhone), but it appears that’s NOT the case. I’m flagging this so that MN3 users and @Dieffen_Support-Team can correct this, accordingly;

  • Like I said, I followed @anp’s steps in inspecting the duplicate MN3 icon in my iCloud folder, ensuring that there weren’t any files in there (even though it occupied several MB’s of storage), and then deleted it. I then ran Database Defragmentation on MN3 on my iPhone and MacOS, butI don’t see an option to run Database Defragmentation on MN3 for my iPad ! I’m raising this not just so that @Dieffen_Support-Team can include Database Defragmentation on MN3 for the iPad but because it seems like (at least for me) there are a LOT of syncing problems especially with files that are on MN3 for my iPad.

  • This might not be a relevant point, but I’m raising it just in case it is… I’ve noticed that there’s a disparity between the number of annotations (shown in the gray boxes to the right of the document or notebook filenames) for Documents versus Study. Maybe that’s as it should be, and I don’t understand what accounts for the disparity for the numbers of annotations in those different modes – if there is an explanation, I’d love to know what that is! But this might be a sign of some of the glitchy behavior that affects syncing performance.

  • Regardless of whether there should or shouldn’t be a disparity for the numbers of annotations for files in for Documents versus Study, I’m still having problems with folders not syncing properly, as outlined here Folders not syncing & functioningwhich is a post that I put up a year ago ! The same problems persist with…

BTW, these problems have persisted even after took all the steps that @anp outlined (deleting the extra MN3 icon in the iCloud folder, emptying trash, clearing buffers, and running Database Defragmentation on MN3 on my iPhone and MacOS).

It seems to me that @Dieffen_Support-Team could, and should, fix this by now. It’s been a year, guys. I say this with a lot of appreciation for all that @marginnote has been doing to improve the app and fix these and other problems.


Ok, I’ve now run all of the steps that @anp suggested. Again, those include: deleting the extra MN3 icon in the iCloud folder, emptying trash, clearing buffers, and running Database Defragmentation on MN3 on my iPhone and MacOS (since it doesn’t appear to exist on MN3 for iPad).

I’m sad to report that it has had NO IMPACT on improved ability to update files via syncing between platforms. I simply cannot get the annotations I’ve made on MN3 for my iPhone to appear on my MN3 for my MacOS.

This is…insanely frustrating, and seriously jams up my work. I know you guys are working hard on this, and hope you fix it. Soon.

Just a suggestion - as a interim measure just use an Ipad, I’ve never had any syncing problems, for me it is my only MN platform.

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Thanks, @Rebs, but like I said above, “there are a LOT of syncing problems especially with files that are on MN3 for my iPad.” As a result, I’m having to annotate very technical documents on my iPhone, which is where my recent annotations reside. It’s a real pain. And because sync isn’t working, I’m going to have to export this file and then re-import it into MN3 for MacOS.

@jprint unfortunately there are indeed a lot of compromises using MN3.

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Yeah, I get that. But in this case, I don’t know which annotations for files on my MN3 for MacOS will sync (or merge) with those I’ve made on MN3 for iOS. And that’s a serious problem that affects my work – as was as those of other users. Sorry, don’t mean to rant…

Who is in the development team, is it only @Min?
Controversial, but I would pay more to get MN up to par, because it is indeed a good product, but resolutions are lacking. But I still believe in MN.

I think they’ve actually got a proper team, but really don’t know for sure. I actually have the opposite feeling: I’d be more willing to pay more only if / when they fix the app and add some of the necessary features – not before. As I mentioned above, I’ve alerted @Dieffen_Support-Team repeatedly about various basic, serious problems over a year ago. I’d be more inclined to pay more if I felt they were more responsive, more communicative, and made some basic improvements. I think that’s only fair.


Hello, jprint & Rebs,

The only APP developer in MN team is Min. Lanco is in charge of Business Operation and also as our web developer. So I’m really sorry that we can’t satisfy all of your demands, in other word, we can only choose part of features which are more important from the feature list. And for now, as it’s of great urgency to solve the sync issue, we have to delay the implementation of new capabilities .

By the way, we will consider the suggestions from @jprint & @JournoProf.

In fact, our team members now are translating user guide documents(FAQ) into English. And we’ll finish it as soon as possible.


Great news!

I’m not sure if it’s proper to address the problem here, but I found that handoff doesn’t do automatic sync and open corresponding doc any more, is that a feature or bug?

I’m using 3.5.8 for both Mac and iPad.


Edit something on Mac, switch out and switch back, see handoff icon on iPad, tap the icon, MN pops out, but nothing happens.

The same doc, same op on Mac, handoff from iPhone, works well.

So how can I sort out what the problem is?

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I haven’t read the rest of the replies but in general, MN team might not able to give out an instruction of stable syncing procedure due to the cloud kit thing.

Since you’re not familiar with the handoff concept, and it’s not possible for dev team to switch to a new implementation in a short time period, an instruction on “how to sync via handoff step by step” might be handy. So what do you think @Bryan_Support-Team, about such an instruction?

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In MarginNote 2/Pro, Handoff has a Wifi-transfer Acceleration with Notebook(Mind node).

MN3 doesn’t support it and relies on icloud transfer.

I’m not sure if 3.5.8 makes changes leading to your handoff problems. We will test this issue today.

By the way, Min has read your point of view and is very interested about your specialized background. Are you a developer as well?:eyes: Thanks so much for your insight.:clap::handshake:

Support Team

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