Tech: iPhone to Gmail notes sync fail: Enter Evernote!

This article will not teach you how to setup a one way sync of the notes on your iPhone to gmail. You can easily find those steps on your own using google. This is a piece to warn you about the potential dangers and risks this method of syncing poses to your data.

For years I have been writing and updating notes using this one way sync (one way means it goes from iPhone to gmail only) and it worked flawlessly. No issues whatsoever. Due to some technical issues, I was provided a new iPhone by Verizon. This is not the first time that I have migrated iPhones, and usually all the functionality migrates relatively easily. Recently though I noticed that my notes were not updating. This caused me great concern as I have depended on this to work for a long time.

Fortunately for me, I never fully trusted this method and emailed myself any major document updates, especially updates to my poetry and songs. Unfortunately this safety measure does not apply to all of the documents that I work on, so I have undoubtably lost some data. I have no real way to tell how much is lost as I make small updates here and there to my notes. Since it always worked, I saw no reason to check more often than every few weeks. Good thing I had the good sense to know that “my backup is only as good as my last restore”.  Being the troubleshooter that I am, I thought “well I can just set this up from scratch and test it again”. Big mistake! I disabled the notes sync on my iPhone account and all my notes disappeared! Yes, my notes pulled a Houdini and disappeared! Gone!

I do not at understand why they would disappear. I expected that these notes sit on my iPhone and are somehow forwarded to gmail. But note that removing the attached account also removes the associated notes. Booh for that, also why hasn’t apple created a proper way to synchronize our notes? This backwards gmail method is mediocre at best. At that point I realized that this method can no longer be trusted. Sometime ago I was testing a Samsung Galaxy S3 and needed a method to access my notes, enter Evernote.

I decided to give Evernote a shot back then. I manually copied over 200 notes from my gmail backup into Evernote. It’s a third party, but then again so is google. The app is nice for organizing, searching, and really takes your notes management to the next level. It makes use of these things called “notebooks” to categorize your  notes. Think of notebooks like a folder or container for notes. Pretty cool. It also uses tags, and as far as I can tell the search is pretty good.

I’m considering upgrading to the premium version mainly because I need offline access to my notes. The basic version requires that you are connected and have web signal on the phone  to use it. Also note that depending on company rules, your firm may block the site, mine does. I can’t find a detailed review or more granular explanation as to what offline access actually grants us the ability to do. I read the description on Evernote’s site, but it’s not clear enough for me.  Also I have seen a few posts of people complaining after losing their notes using offline syncing so I am a bit reluctant to pay until I know a bit more. Also I’d like to know if we can export the notes from Evernote into a usable format?

Does anyone out there use Evernote premium and offline sync? Share your thoughts on the product please.


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