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Add background syncing service to Evernote 10


Alxa

Idea

Hi, I just went through support (ticket# 3383733) to be confirmed, that Evernote 10 for Android has NO background sync capabilities. Back in the days EN 8.13.3 could be set to a specific sync interval for background syncing so that when you start the app you are good to go with the remote changes already being on your device. In 2021 we have push syncing cloud services. OneNote and Google Keep do real time syncing without even having to start the app.

Let's look what missing background syncing means at the moment:

- no remote changes on scratchpads are on your mobile when you fire up EN10 on the go (having to wait 20-60 seconds to load then)

- no remote set or changed reminders are on your mobile so you are likely to miss your reminders (this happens to me regularly)

- no remote changes in your notes contained in offline notebooks are downloaded to your device so you cannot rely on having the latest stuff on the device when being offline later.

- when firing up EN for Android I have to wait around 20-60 seconds to have "home"-screen updated completely if EN did not run for some hours on mobile.

 

Support seriously told me, to be sure to have these standards features you have to open the mobile app after every time you did a change on web or desktop. If you collaborate with others you don't know about the changes and are out of luck.

I suggest re-adding a background or push sync Android service to EN10 that could ensure this basic syncing stuff by updating the database in the background (as back in EN8.13.3). 

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Yes, this thread is about Android.

Just to add a piece of information: On iOS the operating system is preventing extensive background activities by apps. What is allowed are little snippets of informations to be synced, like messenger posts, calendar or email inbox events. But the OS does not allow an app to sync several MB of data in the background.

The reason for this is to control the battery consumption. Let us imagine you have EN open on a mobile device, and are happily working away on a desktop client. Background sync could mean that the mobile app is updating through the cloud all of the time, and when you pick up the phone, the battery is drained.

No idea about the strategy on this with Android. But surely an aspect to keep in mind when asking for background syncing.

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Do you have background syncing with the new EN app on iOS? I mean, if you open up the app after remote changes, do you instantly see your synced scratch pads, reminders and last notes on "home" or do you also have to wait 30-60 seconds to let this download as we - (feeling) lost users - have on Android?

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iOS is very strict on what is allowed to sync in the background. Apple puts a lot of pride into surviving with a battery load through a day of normal to heavy usage - part of that trick is to restrict background syncing to a minimum.

EN can place notifications (like reminders) - a background database sync is not allowed. So it loads new changes every time the app is started.

On a regular internet connection (4G/LTE or WiFi) and a relatively recent device (anything including and above an iPhone X, which was sold 4 years ago) this is done within of a few seconds after starting up. On our iPhone 11 Pro Max it takes usually 3-4 seconds until the Home dashboard shows. On our iPhone 6S+, sold in 2015 it takes appr. 10 seconds. This iPhone is still running on the latest iOS release.

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There is one aspect I can't assign to the startup situation, but it may have a relevance in this aspect:

Android does not reserve a certain slice of the RAM to a specific app on starting it up. Thus when starting, the app may run short on RAM. Android then starts to swap the RAM allocated to backgrounded apps to the flash memory, to free RAM for the newly started app. An estimate is that an Android device uses up to 30% of its CPU power just for RAM housekeeping.

On iOS every app gets a dedicated slice of RAM when starting up. When moved to the background, this slice is immediately freed when the device is short on available RAM. Because it is allocated, the CPU does not need to work to move it to flash - it is moved by some helper processes, without putting a load on the CPU.

Maybe these different strategies concerning memory management play a role in this specific situation. EN itself is running in a framework on both platforms. Maybe the way iOS manages memory does help with getting the startup job done much faster, because the necessary RAM is made available in a blink.

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Would it be possible and make sense in Settings to be able to select options like:

  • Sync Now (Available)
  • Sync on WiFi only Switch
  • Sync Interval
    • 15 Minutes
    • 30 Minutes
    • 1 hour
    • 4 hours

Did I understand correctly that it may be that iOS background sync control and Evernote's desire to keep Evernote coding compatible with both iOS and Android may be the reason that Evernote reminders on Android have gone from being reliable to spotty?

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I would really like to see these options. Sync interval we already had with 8.13.3 not slick, but it did the job you could rely on. Nowadays push sync is supported by all os. Otherwise nobody could get any instant messages on their phones. If iOS is the breaking factor one could still consider to program a background service for Android for only updating basic database stuff (let's say sync reminders and scratchpad data on homescreen to prevent data loss) in the background while not touching the core app itself.

Since EN have announced bringing back the last notes widget (which would not make any sense when having to start the app to get synced data for the widget) I am still hoping someone is already coding the sync background service 🙂 

Again: please all vote for this idea if you need it.

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iOS simply does not permit apps to survive in the background for longer than a few minutes. Exceptions are few and must be allowed in advance. I doubt this has an influence of how an app operates under Android. Since the batteries used are the same, and the strategy of every phone manufacturer is to take you through the day with a single charge, the limits to massive background syncing are probably the same.

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