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Cannot Stop Offline Notebooks being included in iCloud Backups


Rabbit704

Idea

I have discovered what I believe is a significant flaw (bug?) in the design of the iOS Evernote App in that offline notebooks are included in iCloud device backups even if the iCloud is set to not include Evernote data. I am interested if others have noticed this and whether Evernote is doing something to address the issue which leads users to needlessly paying for iCloud storage that they don't need (ie. There is no need to backup Evernote data to iCloud when Evernote itself is a cloud service). There needs to be a way to tell iCloud not to backup the data included offline notebooks.

Some observations:

  1. On my iPhone under Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Storage > (Storage header) Manage Storage > Evernote , the storage is listed as 748 MB. Drilling down one level further shows that this is made up of 95.9 MB for the Evernote App and 653 MB for "Documents and Data".
  2. On the same iPhone I have multiple notebooks set to offline sync which take up approx. 15GB of space. I would expect this to be showing against the "Documents and Data" section advised in 1. above but it is not. This data seems to be located in a non configurable location of the iPhone (possibly a cache). When iPhone storage is viewed through iTunes this 15GB of Evernote storage is included under the "Other" label (determined by observing the change in the size of the "Other" data before and after deleting the Evernote app from the iPhone - refer attached screenshots).
  3. My iCloud backups have been increasing in size proportionally to the offline notebooks that I sync to it, even though I have not set iCloud to backup Evernote data using the switch available at Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Storage > (iCloud header) Manage Storage > iPhone name > Backup options > Evernote.
  4. Further to 3. I have confirmed that iCloud is backing up the offline notebook data by observing well over a 15GB* drop in iCloud backup size after deleting the Evernote app via the test that I mentioned in 2. above. Refer attached screenshot. * Interestingly the drop in iCloud backup size was greater than than what I determined my Offline notebooks were consuming. I believe that deleting the Evernote App from the phone must have also cleared orphaned Evernote data that had accumulated there over time (thus explaining why my "Other" storage usage was increasing.
  5. There is no switch/setting that I am aware of either on the iPhone, in iCloud or in Evernote that can stop offline notebooks being backed up to iCloud meaning that Premium users using offline notebooks (a critical feature in my book) are having to needlessly pay for a higher iCloud storage level than they need (in my case, it pushes me from the 50GB level to the 200GB at an incremental cost of $40 p.a.).
  6. The only way that I can see to stop offline notebook data being backed up to iCloud is to turn off offline notebooks prior to taking iCloud backups. This is not a feasible solution as syncing offline notebooks takes a ridiculous amount of time already due to the inability for it to be done in the background and even then the alleged benefit of iCloud backup is that it is done in the background daily without requiring constant user oversight.

In my view, the offline notebook device data should show up against the "Documents and Data" section for the app consistent with how other apps work and equally should be configurable to iCloud backups through the switch mentioned in 3. above so that the user can decide whether they want it backed up to iCloud.

Evernote would be wise to fix this issue as the savings through iCloud fees might offset the recent increase in Premium fees.

I'm interested in other's comments and observations on this issue.

IPhone iCloud Backup.png

iPhone iCloud backup without offline notebooks.pngiPhone Storage After Before Deleting Evernote App.png

iPhone Storage After Deleting Evernote App.png

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Good points.  I see the same thing on my iPad; offline notebooks do not show up in the Documents and Data storage

I moved this discussion to the feedback forum so it can be better addressed as a request.  

Please indicate your support using the voting buttons in the upper left corner

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I started a ticket back in December relative to this, ticket# 1292528.  Also spent 3 hours on the phone with Apple.  Didn't get any answers at all.  Apple said it was EN's problem.  So, per your assessment, I don't use offline notebooks anymore because the iCloud backup gets huge for no good reason.

I think the behavior started with IOS 8 or 9, not sure though.  This is a bug in my view, not a request.  Not sure if it is EN's or Apple's.  

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20 minutes ago, csihilling said:

This is a bug in my view, not a request.  Not sure if it is EN's or Apple's.  

I agree - its a bug, and I think it's EN's responsibility
The request is for EN to fix this bug
You must realize there are limited resources; many bugs; and new features being requested all the time

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Thanks for confirming I am not losing my mind. I have certainly lost some hair over this.

Whether it's a bug or deliberate design to circumvent Apple's iCloud data storage protocols (e.g. using the phone cache instead of "Data and Documents") the bottom line is that it is impacting Evernote customers significantly both in terms of financial cost in paying Apple for something they don't need and causing significant difficulty for customers to troubleshoot why their iCloud storage usage is so high. I have literally spent hours trying to figure this out.

I have also had a support request open now for over 60 days with Apple on this issue (believing it was a bug with how iCloud backup was working) which has passed through 4 technicians and escalated to the USA team all without one reply back to me (A case study in customer service incompetence). Apple has been woeful in addressing this issue and it's clear why - they are benefitting significantly from this issue. The only reason my interest was peaked was because I received a request from Apple to pay to increase my iCloud storage space. As I deliberately avoid iCloud storage like the plague (because it is a woeful service that has lost data of mine previously) I knew something was wrong. 

Conspiracy theorists would have it that there is a nice little agreement between Evernote and Apple to not address this issue, hence explaining why Apple haven't got back to me and why this has remains unresolved by Evernote for so long (I am pretty certain the smart folk at Evernote know about this).

I eagerly await Evernote's response.

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3 hours ago, Stuart G said:

I have discovered what I believe is a significant flaw (bug?) in the design of the iOS Evernote App in that offline notebooks are included in iCloud device backups even if the iCloud is set to not include Evernote data.

I'm not sure what you are seeing, but my offline notebooks are definitely NOT being included in iCloud backup.

3 hours ago, Stuart G said:

On my iPhone under Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Storage > (Storage header) Manage Storage > Evernote

That location shows the storage being using on your iPhone, which has nothing to do with iCloud backup.

You need to go below that to Storage & iCloud Usage > iCloud > Manage Storage.

My iPhone does not have an entry in that screen for Evernote -- so nothing from Evernote is in iCloud Backup.

iPhone Screen Shot:  Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage

iPhone-ICloud-Manage-Storage.png

 

Screenshot of Mac iTunes ( iTunes 12.3.3 (12.3.3.17) on OSX 10.11.4)

iCloud-iPhone-Backup.png

 

I think most of your comments and screenshots are for storage on your iPhone, not iCloud Backup.

 

 

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JMichaelTX, I am sorry that you having trouble understanding the issue so suggest you read my post again carefully this time. You will see very clearly that I am referring to iCloud storage. You will also see that while the settings reference in item 1 is to device storage, the reference in item 3 is not. The operative word you have missed in your haste is "(iCloud header)." in the settings path statement in item 3. 

Thanks for your input though.

 

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4 minutes ago, Stuart G said:

JMichaelTX, I am sorry that you having trouble understanding the issue so suggest you read my post again carefully this time. You will see very clearly that I am referring to iCloud storage.

Thanks for your sarcastic answer.  It really encourages people to help you, NOT!

I did read your post, and in the first sentence you refer to "iCloud backup":

4 hours ago, Stuart G said:

in the design of the iOS Evernote App in that offline notebooks are included in iCloud device backups

Good luck.  You'll need it.

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JMichaelTX, your haste, inaccuracy and anger don't serve you well for someone proporting to be operating in the interests of the Evernote community. I think you may be taking your alleged "Guru" status a little too seriously. It's just a forum and if it makes you so upset I think it might be time for a break. I certainly don't mind if you wish to move on to another forum post.

I have posted here for the benefit of people who are in a similar situation to me and are looking for an explanation as to why their iCloud device backups have grown so large and may want to contribute to a solution. I am not here to debate whether the issue exists or not because I know that it does.

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Some further test results using my iPad attached which show that Evernote offline notebooks were taking up 20.1 GB of iCloud backup storage space. As highlighted above, there is no way to stop this (other than not using offline notebooks) as the native iOS functionality to turn off App ICloud data backups does not work with the Evernote App). 

 

iPad iCloud backup size with Offline notebooks.png

iPad iCloud backup size without Offline notebooks.png

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@Stuart G

Exactly the same behavior I have seen, just confirming again.  So yeah, my process now is no offline notebooks.  Except for one I created for those instances when I might be out of wifi and want to be sure I have a few notes available.  PITA because I have to think about it and move the particular notes prior to the event.

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On 13 July 2016 at 0:28 AM, csihilling said:

@Stuart G

Exactly the same behavior I have seen, just confirming again.  So yeah, my process now is no offline notebooks.  Except for one I created for those instances when I might be out of wifi and want to be sure I have a few notes available.  PITA because I have to think about it and move the particular notes prior to the event.

Agree csihilling, it's a complete PITA and renders Offline notebook syncing useless, which is a must when travelling.

All that is required is for current native iOS switch to turn off App Data from using iCloud and everything would be fine but for some reason (enter Conspiracy theory) Evernote are allowed to circumvent the design and use storage that the user cannot control gets included in iCloud backups. 

I don't mind paying for Evernote premium but the recent pay rises become less palatable when Evernote/Apple are, in effect, forcing users to pay for iCloud storage they don't need.

An official explanation from Evernote on this is needed because I really can't join the dots on their design logic.

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44 minutes ago, Stuart G said:

renders Offline notebook syncing useless

You are grossly misinformed.  I have used offline notebooks for years with great success, and with NO impact to my iCloud Storage.

If you turn off iCloud Backup, and do NOT enable storage of Evernote in iCloud, then there is NO impact to iCloud Storage due to Evernote Offline Notebooks.

I have one Notebook, named "Mobile.Offline", in which I put all notes I was to have access to when offline, when I do NOT have access to the Internet or Evernote Service on my iPhone and iPad.  It works great.  This Notebook is in a Stack named "ACTIVE_STACK", so that I can limit searches to my "active" notes.  Never had an issue with offline notebooks.

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43 minutes ago, JMichaelTX said:

You are grossly misinformed.  I have used offline notebooks for years with great success, and with NO impact to my iCloud Storage.

If you turn off iCloud Backup, and do NOT enable storage of Evernote in iCloud, then there is NO impact to iCloud Storage due to Evernote Offline Notebooks.

I have one Notebook, named "Mobile.Offline", in which I put all notes I was to have access to when offline, when I do NOT have access to the Internet or Evernote Service on my iPhone and iPad.  It works great.  This Notebook is in a Stack named "ACTIVE_STACK", so that I can limit searches to my "active" notes.  Never had an issue with offline notebooks.

Lol. You're back JMichaelTX!

All those screenshots I've attached must be my imagination. Just ignore them then. Oh, you already did.
 
Really, you are embarrassing yourself now. I've observed your trolling behavior in other posts and would like to suggest that you will obtain more meaning to your life doing volunteer work in a charity than living your life in the Evernote forums. Kudos for the quantity of posts, just need to work on the quality now.
 
Thanks for your contribution though. I enjoy a good laugh.
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51 minutes ago, Stuart G said:

Really, you are embarrassing yourself now. I've observed your trolling behavior in other posts and would like to suggest that you will obtain more meaning to your life doing volunteer work in a charity than living your life in the Evernote forums. Kudos for the quantity of posts, just need to work on the quality now.

I have reported only on the facts.

Sometimes, when one party does not have a rational argument, they attack the person whose argument they cannot logically refute.  That would seem to be the position that you are taking.

I am open to the facts.  Of course, each user has his/her own environment, which may change the behavior of any given app.  If the behavior of EN iOS that you see, with your environment, seems to be different from what I see with my environment, then it could be due to your environment.

I don't know your environment.  All I know is that with my environment, EN iOS Offline Notebooks works as expected, without any adverse effects, and has been working well for years.

I do hope you can resolve this issue, and I also want other users to know that EN iOS Offline Notebooks work well, at least for some of us, perhaps even most of us.

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54 minutes ago, JMichaelTX said:

I have reported only on the facts.

Sometimes, when one party does not have a rational argument, they attack the person whose argument they cannot logically refute.  That would seem to be the position that you are taking.

I am open to the facts.  Of course, each user has his/her own environment, which may change the behavior of any given app.  If the behavior of EN iOS that you see, with your environment, seems to be different from what I see with my environment, then it could be due to your environment.

I don't know your environment.  All I know is that with my environment, EN iOS Offline Notebooks works as expected, without any adverse effects, and has been working well for years.

I do hope you can resolve this issue, and I also want other users to know that EN iOS Offline Notebooks work well, at least for some of us, perhaps even most of us.

JMichaelTX, you are priceless. For someone advocating the importance of acting on the facts, you do a fine job of ignoring them.

Unfortunately, your replies still indicate that you don't understand what this post is about and I just don't have the time to explain. Just remember, your 3336 posts don't make you technical. They don't make you smart. They just demonstrate that you are enthusiastic and have a lot of spare time on your hands (retired? unemployed?) and are probably very biased. Don't get ahead of yourself.

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15 hours ago, Stuart G said:

Unfortunately, your replies still indicate that you don't understand what this post is about and I just don't have the time to explain

Yet you do have time to make a personal attack, which is a violation of forum rules.  Again it suggests that you don't have a rational, defensible, technical argument to make, so you resort to attacking the speaker.  If you have any real facts to post, I'll listen.  Otherwise, I'll just ignore you from here on.

My concern is that other readers are not misled by some of your statements, like:

20 hours ago, Stuart G said:

renders Offline notebook syncing useless

which is not correct.  I have been successfully using/syncing offline notebooks for years now, all without any impact to my iCloud storage.

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On 16 July 2016 at 6:37 AM, JMichaelTX said:

Yet you do have time to make a personal attack, which is a violation of forum rules.  Again it suggests that you don't have a rational, defensible, technical argument to make, so you resort to attacking the speaker.  If you have any real facts to post, I'll listen.  Otherwise, I'll just ignore you from here on.

My concern is that other readers are not misled by some of your statements, like:

which is not correct.  I have been successfully using/syncing offline notebooks for years now, all without any impact to my iCloud storage.

Lol. Your lack of self awareness is impressive.  Take a look at your behaviour in this post ask yourself whether you are really about helping others or more about feeding your ego (Indiana Jones, really?) by racking up garbage posts that are mostly off topic and conveniently ignore, and do not directly respond to, the multitude of facts that have been presented.

The problem you create for yourself in romping into this post (and many others I notice) proclaiming to be the oracle of all things Evernote is that you blind yourself to the information that has been presented beforehand, not only by me but by the others that have posted. Remember, that I didn't post here to seek validation of the issue because I know that it is exists because, unlike you, I have actually taken the time to thoroughly validate the issue across multiple devices and across many accounts to confirm it. Remember, others have also independently validated it in this thread.

A better approach to contributing to a forum post like this would have been along the lines of "I have not observed that issue .... " instead of your arrogant approach of "You are all wrong and I am right because I have not seen the issue".

As you are still having trouble accepting that there is an issue let me try to help you get past your ego and little green elephant bias with a few questions that will demonstrate that you really are wrong:

1. Reply with a screenshot of your iPhone that shows the feature that allows you to configure iCloud backups to exclude offline notebook data. This is probably the most succinct way to demonstrate the problem because I am yet to find such a feature, and if such does not exist, please explain how to exclude offline notebook data from being backed up to iCloud (excluding turning off notebook syncing before each iCloud backup which of course would be impractical).

2. If I understood you correctly, in your earlier post you stated that the issue I have described "could be due to your environment". Sorry, I cannot make any sense out of that statement with respect to the issue presented. Are you suggesting that my configuration of iPhone version, mac, Evernote App, planet alignment, religious beliefs etc conspire to remove the elusive feature that allows one to stop iCloud from backing up offline notebook data? If that's not what you meant by "environment" then please explain and please explain how such an "environment" can possibly explain the issue I have described. I am a very technical person so feel free to explain as technically as you would like.

I can feel the crickets clearing their throats already ...

 

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I think it was IOS 9 when iCloud backup began including my offline notebooks.  None of the applications on my iDevices are checked for backup.  Turn on offline notebooks and iCloud storage balloons, turn it off and iCloud storage shrinks.  Many hours with EN and Apple support but no resolution.  So per the above post I added a notebook and temporarily move notes in/out of it as the need arises.  

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Stuart G - thank you for starting this thread.

It was the exact problem I had but just couldn't figure it out! I suspected it had something to do with EN but just couldn't identify the issue until I stumbled across your summary.

My iCloud problem was compounded as I started to use offline Notebooks on 3 IOS devices recently.

I had to do the following to clean things up on each device in order to regain iCloud storage space back:

1. Deleted EN and then reinstalled via AppStore.

2. Delete the existing Backup file then do a new Backup. (Just doing step 1.followed by performing a "Backup Now" didn't regain the space for me.)

Got 30+GB (3 x 10G+) of iCloud storage back!!

Unfortunately, I am not able to use offline Notebook feature anymore. Hope EN address this real soon.

Thank you again.

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On 24/12/2016 at 11:04 PM, M C said:

Stuart G - thank you for starting this thread.

It was the exact problem I had but just couldn't figure it out! I suspected it had something to do with EN but just couldn't identify the issue until I stumbled across your summary.

My iCloud problem was compounded as I started to use offline Notebooks on 3 IOS devices recently.

I had to do the following to clean things up on each device in order to regain iCloud storage space back:

1. Deleted EN and then reinstalled via AppStore.

2. Delete the existing Backup file then do a new Backup. (Just doing step 1.followed by performing a "Backup Now" didn't regain the space for me.)

Got 30+GB (3 x 10G+) of iCloud storage back!!

Unfortunately, I am not able to use offline Notebook feature anymore. Hope EN address this real soon.

Thank you again.

You're most welcome.

Since I last posted, I tried to make the case to Apple that Evernote's iOS App was not adhering to the iOS design principles in allowing a user to decide whether they wanted App data included in iCloud backups or not, and therefore Apple should not have approved the App. Apple did a lot of testing and acknowledged the existence of the issue but their position is that it is a issue with the Evernote application so a resolution needs to come from Evernote. No great surprise really. I guess they are making a nice little $ off the fact that Evernote users are needlessly paying for iCloud backup storage of offline Evernote notes.

I was also hoping iOS10 would fix the issue but alas it did not. I have given up trying to get either Evernote or Apple to resolve this issue and no longer use offline notebooks either. 

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4 hours ago, Stuart G said:

You're most welcome.

Since I last posted, I tried to make the case to Apple that Evernote's iOS App was not adhering to the iOS design principles in allowing a user to decide whether they wanted App data included in iCloud backups or not, and therefore Apple should not have approved the App. Apple did a lot of testing and acknowledged the existence of the issue but their position is that it is a issue with the Evernote application so a resolution needs to come from Evernote. No great surprise really. I guess they are making a nice little $ off the fact that Evernote users are needlessly paying for iCloud backup storage of offline Evernote notes.

I was also hoping iOS10 would fix the issue but alas it did not. I have given up trying to get either Evernote or Apple to resolve this issue and no longer use offline notebooks either. 

Same here.  I created a notebook called Quick which is the only offline notebook I have.  I use it for notes where I want to be sure and have complete access.  I move notes in and out of it as needs change.  PITA.

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Hey folks, I thought I would provide an update on this issues since, unfortunately, some one eyed Evernote zealots attempted to undermine this post by claiming that there was no issue. Well, as I stated many times this post was never about whether there was an issue because that is clear to those of you who actually know how Evernote works, but nevertheless here is a reply from Evernote support who confirmed the issue is as I described. More importantly though, is the acknowledgement that they are looking into a potential fix. Let's hope so because it's still not fixed in v8.x for iOS. Enjoy the facts .. 

 

Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 1.58.42 pm.png

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28 minutes ago, Stuart G said:

here is a reply from Evernote support who confirmed the issue is as I described. More importantly though, is the acknowledgement that they are looking into a potential fix.

Thanks for sharing that with us.  Please let us know if there is further action.

I've upvoted; I don't need an IOS backup of my data, and in fact it can be dangerous to reload data from such a backup

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3 minutes ago, DTLow said:

Thanks for sharing that with us.  Please let us know if there is further action.

I've upvoted; I don't need an IOS backup of my data, and in fact it can be dangerous to reload data from a backup

They indicated towards the end of this year but to be honest I am not hopeful. Frankly, I would just like them to get the current Mac and iOS working properly again but that's another subject :)

 

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13 hours ago, Stuart G said:

More importantly though, is the acknowledgement that they are looking into a potential fix. Let's hope so because it's still not fixed in v8.x for iOS.

Simple fix for me is - if IEN is not selected in iCloud backup, nothing should be backed up.

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@Stuart G

I noticed that IOS 11 was available for public beta, so I thought what the hey, maybe this will solve the iCloud backup issue.  So I gave it a go today and it seems to be working!  :)

My iPad backup was 2.1 GB and my iPhone backup was 1.9 GB with IOS 10.  On both devices I don't have any apps checked to backup, I don't keep any camera roll stuff, nor do I use Health or keep any messages.  Also, I do not use any offline notebooks.  So it should be a simple backup.  

After installing the IOS 11 beta, my iPad backup is 36.5 MB and the iPhone backup is 33.6 MB, so about 2% of what it was yesterday.  I'm going to let it cook for a couple days and then turn on some offline notebooks to see what happens. Hopefully no changes to the backup size.  So depending upon how you feel about betas....

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