The Notes app on my iPad is simply a blast to use. I can draw pictures, attach PDFs, move images in split view, and do a load of other stuff easily. But with iOS 11’s myriad technical issues, Notes isn’t too stable to begin with.
All too often, I’ve found the Notes app crashing with no warning whatsoever. Of course, whatever that I work on is automatically saved to iCloud, but it’s disconcerting to know that it’s bound to crash when I’m in the middle of some serious note-taking.
While Apple has patched a ton of iOS 11 bugs, the Notes app continues to give grief to lots of people. But, there are still a number of troubleshooting techniques that you can use to temporarily — or hopefully permanently — fix things up.
Most often than not, the Notes app crashes due to problems where certain notes can't sync properly to iCloud. Fortunately, enabling and disabling iCloud syncing for Notes usually fixes things for good.
Step 1: On the Settings screen, tap your profile name, and then tap iCloud.
Step 2: Tap the switch next to Notes.
You should be confronted with a confirmation pop-up. Click Delete to proceed.
Note: Don’t worry. Your notes are safe in iCloud, and they resync once you turn it back on.
Step 3: Tap the switch next to Notes again.
Open Notes, and you should find your notes syncing from iCloud. If you have multiple notes, it may take a while, but you should find a much stable experience with the app from now on.
In case that didn’t do the trick, let’s see what's on the cards next.
Are you in the habit of quitting apps from memory? If not, then good for you, as Ashley Carman from The Verge surprisingly found out. But unfortunately, that also means malfunctioning apps get to remain that way unless they are removed forcibly.
So, let’s fully exit the Notes app and see whether doing that fixes things up.
Bring up the app switcher. To do that, press the Home button on your iPhone or iPad twice. Now, select the Notes app and swipe it upwards to force-quit it from memory.
Note: On the iPhone X, you need to swipe upwards from the bottom of the screen and keep your finger pressed briefly for the app switcher to show up. Then, you need to long-press the Notes app card and then tap the red-colored icon to get rid of it.
Afterward, tap the Notes icon from the Home screen to relaunch the app. Does it still crash after some time? If so, the next fix is right below.
Offload and Reinstall Notes App
Just like with any other app, Notes isn’t immune to corruption issues. Fortunately, you don’t have to undergo anything as messy as a factory reset to fix it since certain iOS 11 stock apps can be deleted and reinstalled, including Notes. Yay!
However, completely removing the app isn't a wise move since any notes except those synced with iCloud get deleted permanently. And again, iOS 11 saves the day with its app offloading functionality.
So rather than completely removing Notes, lets just offload the app and reinstall it soon after without losing any locally stored Notes in the process.
Step 1: On the Settings screen, tap General, and then tap iPhone/iPad Storage.
Wait for a few seconds while iOS 11 detects and displays installed apps on your device.
Step 2: On the list of apps, tap Notes.
Step 3: Tap Offload App, and then tap Offload App again on the confirmation pop-up to remove the app while keeping locally stored notes intact.
Note: Any notes that you've stored on iCloud syncs right back in once you redownload the app later.
Step 4: Get to the Home screen, and then tap the Notes icon. It should take a brief moment to redownload the app.
Afterward, launch Notes, wait for your notes to sync back from iCloud, and then start using it. If the crashes don't disappear, please continue.
Store Unnecessary Notes Offline
If you hadn’t noticed, the more notes you have syncing to iCloud, the bigger the chances for the Notes app to crash. If you are a heavy Notes user, toning down the number of notes — preferably to below 1,000 — does tend to stop the crashes to a certain degree.
Unfortunately, simply deleting any notes that you consider ‘useless’ isn’t all that feasible — you never know when you might need to check up on something later on.
However, there's a way to store them offline, but that involves enabling the On My iPhone/iPad account for the Notes app. This feature isn't turned on by default, but if you do find it listed within Notes, simply skip to Step 2.
Note: This process involves moving notes to the On My iPhone/iPad account, which prevents them from syncing to iCloud anymore. And that means no access to such notes via other iOS devices as well.
Step 1: On the Settings screen, tap Notes, and then tap the switch next to On My iPhone Account or On My iPad Account.
Step 2: Launch the Notes app. You should now see two primary storage locations — All iCloud and On My iPhone/iPad.
Let's start storing unwanted notes offline. To begin, tap Notes under All iCloud, and then tap Edit.
Step 3: Select any unwanted notes, and then tap Move To…
Note: You need to get available notes within All iCloud to well below 1,000. There's a nifty counter at the bottom of the Notes app that displays the number of notes available within any location.
Step 4: Tap Notes under On My iPhone/iPad to save the notes locally. You can also choose to create sub-folders under On My iPhone/iPad if you want to further manage transferred notes.
Note: If you want to sync certain notes to iCloud later, just move them back to Notes under All iCloud.
How did it go? Are things looking better? If not, let’s see what you can do next.
If your device has very low amounts of storage to begin with — 16GB, for example — then there’s ample reason for the Notes app to crash, especially when creating notes with lots of images and files attached.
Let's see if that's the case, and free up some space while we're at it.
Step 1: Once again, tap General on the Settings screen, and then tap iPhone/iPad Storage. Wait for a moment while installed apps, along with their storage sizes, are detected and displayed.
Step 2: On the top of the screen, you should see a meter displaying remaining free space. If it’s almost full, consider removing unwanted apps that use lots of space.
The following screenshot shows sufficient free space available, but you should get the gist.
Step 3: To remove an app, just tap on it on the list showed onscreen, and then tap Delete App to remove it completely. Alternately, tap Offload App to only remove the app while leaving related documents and data intact.
Remember: If you offload an app, it’s just a matter of tapping the related app icon on the Home screen to redownload it.
If any crashes were caused due to insufficient storage space, you should be good now. If not, please continue.
Does the issue happen only when using cellular data? Forum chatter indicates cellular connectivity as being another reason for Notes failing to connect to iCloud, hence the crashes. Pretty weird, I know.
If so, consider using just Wi-Fi for note-syncing. When travelling, you can restrict the Notes app from consuming cellular data to connect to iCloud.
To do that, tap Cellular Data on the Settings screen, and then tap the switch next to Notes.
The Notes app stills let you create notes even when you aren't connected to Wi-Fi, and they should sync automatically to iCloud whenever you regain connectivity.
Still facing issues? Let’s try something more serious next.
Reset All Settings
If none of the above fixes worked, lets consider resetting all settings on your iPhone or iPad. This usually resolves any networking or app-related issues for good, but it's a major annoyance since you need to manually reconfigure any iOS settings later as everything's reverted to their defaults.
Warning: Your network settings are also reset, which means that you need to manually connect to an available Wi-Fi network afterward. Don't worry about cellular settings since they are automatically updated by your carrier.
Step 1: On the Settings screen, tap General, and then tap Reset.
Step 2: Tap Reset All Settings.
Step 3: On the confirmation pop-up, tap Reset again.
The reset procedure may take a while to complete. After the process, simply connect to an available Wi-Fi network to regain connectivity. The Notes app should most likely function normally from now onwards.
Note: On the Settings screen, tap Wi-Fi to check for available networks.
Fixed? But Keep It Updated
Hopefully, the Notes app is humming along just fine now. It may crash at times, but not as frequently as before.
Nevertheless, do keep your iPhone or iPad updated. Apple could fix the issue for good with any of their incremental iOS 11 updates, so make sure to not miss any.