Unable to update syncs between platorms

Dieffen_Support-Team which you often @ as Support-Team is always only responsible for E-mail support. Maybe she didn’t see your request. If you have any feedback or suggestion, both Bryan and I are always at your service. And you could bump those serious problems thread which is still remaining, we, bryan and I, will handle them when got @ from the users in the community.

Are you sure? Actually I’ve never used MN2/Pro, I’ve been using 3 since day 1. So I’ve been using handoff syncing with MN3 for a while. And what I’m seeing here is a problem only occurs between my Mac and iPad since yesterday, the handoff syncing works fine between my Mac and iPhone. So I guess it’s a device-wise problem, or the doc on my iPad has some kind of corruption, I’ll do some tests later.

I’m currently a Software Engineering Manager (Frontend) and a Technical Program Manager. So with a way back short period of iOS coding experience and being a long-time apple products user, I have good concept on iOS/Mac programing, that’s all. That’s why I took the guess on the CloudKit based on the symptoms I saw.

If I get more ideas it would be my pleasure to share and help.


Did you keep two devices in a same wifi?

It might be a misunderstanding.
I’m asking the details of Handoff. Later give you the information.


Here is a quick MN handoff syncing tutorial:

On your Mac:

System Preference -> General

Make sure bluetooth is enabled, and iPhone is connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

On your iPhone:

Settings -> General

Tap “Airplay & Handoff”

Enable “Handoff”.

Within MN for iPhone:

Enable MN’s handoff feature.

If you have done all the settings above, here is the actual handoff process:

Assume that you have logged in the same iCloud account on Mac and on iPhone.

  1. Make sure your Mac and iPhone are both connected to same Wi-Fi network, and both enabled bluetooth.

  2. Open MN for Mac but don’t open any doc.

  3. Open MN for iPhone and open the doc you want to sync.

  4. Look at the far left side of your Mac’s dock like this:


Click the MN icon with a small device image.


If everything works as expected, MN for Mac will start showing a loading icon and sync the latest version from iPhone, and prompt a dialog to ask if you want to replace local version of the doc or merge them.

Please try the processes above and let me know if you still have problems.


Sorry for the bothering. I restarted my iPad and handoff syncing works just fine. Seem to be yet another buggy iOS13 problem.

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@gykpro - Thank you so much for putting these step-by-step instructions together. It’s hugely helpful! This is exactly the kind of instruction we need @marginnote to produce for its sync functions, as well as other core functions and features (i.e., clearly written explanations accompanied by illustrations). It’s perfect.

It looks like you’re using some iOS setting (or maybe functions that are particular to your iPhone) that I don’t have, so I’m wondering if might affect my ability to set up and use Handoff. Anyway, I’ll give it a shot and report back as soon as I can.

Many thanks again, @gykpro for all of your help with this! We’ve deeply grateful…


I’d like to chime in and also thank @gykpro for his terrifically straightforward instructions, replete with clear and helpful illustrations. It’s enormously helpful, and precisely what so many of us MarginNote users have been craving, and requesting.

Thanks also to @Lanco_Support-Team / @Bryan_Support-Team / @Support-Team for your patience, and dedicated assistance. I think you’re understanding how difficult the syncing problems have been for all of us, and believe that you are working hard to fix them. We really do appreciate your efforts.

I’ve tried to follow @gykpro’s instructions, and just made an unsettling discovery: I own a earlier Mac that does not provide a Handoff option in the System Preferences. I’ve called Apple support, and they say that this option has only been available for much newer Macs, and some iPads and iPhones. So, it looks like I can select Handoff on my iPhone, but not my Mac and iPad.

Does this mean that I’m unable to utilize MarginNote’s sync functions?

This might explain some of the problems that we’ve been facing with MarginNote’s sync functions, but would be distressing for me if my hardware (which still runs on MarginNote’s OS and iOS system requirements) would limit my ability to work on MarginNote.

I await your reply, and guidance.

Thank you.

@Bryan_Support-Team – As I said in my last post…

In reading your last post, I’m wondering if you’d suggest to users who don’t have Apple hardware that supports the “Handoff” function: Should we should de-select “Handoff” in our MarginNote settings? Would that better enable MarginNote sync functions?

Please advise.

Thank you.

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Turns out, I have similar hardwired limitations vis-a-vis “Handoff.”

Is there still a work around solution for MN3 iOS & Mac OS apps (esp. the latter)?


Yes,I will give you another similar way later today.

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Another ugly approach is to backup your doc, transfer the *.marginpkg file into your other device then restore from that backup file.

Since your setup doesn’t allow handoff or airdrop, this approach is utterly inconvenient, so you might want to use it on an urgent syncing requirement.

And looking forward to this similar way, good to know there’s another workaround when handoff is off.

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Nothing else than transfer the *.marginpkg file. @jprint @JournoProf

Some kind of old Mac machines only support airdrop since handoff needs Bluetooth 4.0 and newer which is requiring built-in BlueTooth hardware upgrade (see also google introduction:https://www.macworld.co.uk/how-to/mac/continuity-unsupported-mac-3695788/)

What’s the handoff do for utilizing MarginNote’s sync functions is to solve ‘The iCloud Kit first-time sync difficulties’. MN has a large database. So iCloud Kit often stuck when the first time to do such big data transferring. But when the first thing is done. The following increments of node data often work property.

So the ugly approach is

First, making *.marginpkg file
a, for entire notes transfer:

 b, for certain notebook transfer:

Second, transferring *.marginpkg file across Airdrop


Third, if your Mac even does not support Airdrop, you need a cable to connect iPad and mac. Then use iTunes to do so.
for this purpose, plz select ‘save to Files’

By the way, Handoff exactly has wifi-transfer acceleration @gykpro. I misunderstood it. MN3 just close the open access to MN2 wifi-transfer function.
But handoff still use it as an inner function. Besides, handoff will notify another device to fetch icloud changes immediately if you don’t replace the notebook across Wifi-transfer or the changes you’ve made is small. (Wifi-transfer only supports entire notebook transferring.)

Support Team

Thank you, @Lanco_Support-Team & @gykpro … Oh man, that is an ugly sync hack. Let me chew on it a bit and get back to you. But thanks for spelling it out for us. Appreciate it.

Can @Relight_Support-Team / @Bryan_Support-Team / @Lanco_Support-Team get back to me about the following two issues that I addressed in an earlier post:



I have the same questions.

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Hello, jprint & JournoProf,

1.the disparity between the number of annotations is caused by some unknown bugs, but we promise it doesn’t affect other functions, including syncing performance.

2.for the second question, we need more informations. The developer hope you can tell him how you sync the files step by step and what happens in each step. If it’s possible, we’re willing to receive a detailed video about the issue.


Thanks, @Bryan_Support-Team That’s good to know, though I should note that this bug continues – even with the most recent update to MN3, i.e., Version 3.5.9 (3.5.9003)

I’m happy to further help and explain this to you, of course, but I’m not sure you’ll be aided by yet another step-by-step description of my sync process. In short, I’ve switched off the Handoff option, quit the MN3 app that I last used to annotate a particular file, and either select “Download from iCloud” or “Manual Sync” (or both).

I haven’t yet used the hack sync solution you suggested above, because…the problem with that approach is that I simply don’t recall on which MN3 app I last annotated certain files. So, if I follow your Backup hack sync approach, I could be replacing old files with new ones, thereby wiping out my most recent work. That’s why I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to best proceed on that front, and would welcome any additional ideas / suggestions you might have.

As for the folders issues, here’s what I see on my MN3 Folder’s screen…

But when I go into any of the folder IN CAPS (e.g., 1. URGENT ) this is what’s inside (i.e., nothing)…

I used to use MN3’s folder’s to organize my files. But because my files don’t show up inside them (as shown in the pic above), and it appears that files don’t sync in MN3’s Folders.

Let me know what else I can answer and other info I provide.



The first issue is a non-important display bug since everything is fine background. So the developer is not hurry on it. 3.5.9 is focused on data safety which added a tons of Disaster recovery feature. More automatic historical archive trigger. And a little optimization for sync.

Ok, thanks.

@Lanco_Support-Team – I understand that “The first issue is a non-important display bug since everything is fine background.” That’s good to know. But it’s concerning for users since the displayed number of annotations – and the discrepancies that we’re seeing for the same file(s) in Documents and Study (i.e., the “non-important display bug”) – because it helps us to determine which file has the most current number of annotations, and correspondingly if our MN3 syncs are actually working (i.e., properly updating across platforms). Make sense?

Of course, we’d be happy to hear about other ways you and @marginnote would suggest we could better make those kinds of evaluations. Please do let us know.


Also, when will @marginnote be fixing the other issue I mentioned, and spelled out for @Bryan_Support-Team (above), regarding the problems with MN3 folders, and their contents, not properly syncing?


MarginNote 3 is without a doubt the best all-in-one notetaking application, and the fact that it us multi-platform is supposed to be a good thing.

My primary platform to use MN3 is on OSX and syncing down to an iPad and an iPhone is totally unreliable. While I don’t appear to have an issue with syncing individual documents, I’m having trouble getting MindMap Notebooks to sync. I have spent the last 20 minutes or so tinkering with multiple settings, Manual Syncing, activating and deactivating “iCloud” sync on specific notebooks. After all of this, only my iPad seems to be cooperating.

Perhaps I should be grateful for that much. And I am. Because I love MarginNote! There just isn’t another application out there like it that makes PDF Annotation, Notetaking, MindMapping and in-app web research readily available across multiple platforms. MarginNote has boosted my productivity significantly. I appreciate how active the support team seems to be on here. It’s good to know that data security is being emphasized in the next update. But MN3 users desperately need a dedicated Sync-orientated update to address our numerous concerns. Like the gentleman above me has expressed, I too am encountered cross-platform document annotation discrepancies, Folder sync issues and flat out not being able to sync my Mindmap notebooks across my devices.

Hello, I_1_8,
Welcome to the MarginNote Forum and thanks so much for enjoying MarginNote 3.
If everything goes well, we’ll introduce new sync mechanism at version 3.7. (Now we are working hard to improve annotation tools, and this version(3.6) will be launched during the Chinese Spring Festival.)
Best Regards,
MN Support Team