Auto-backup (iOS)

Notability can back up your notes to one of several cloud storage services. This is a great way to ensure peace-of-mind.

Auto-backup is a one-way backup. If you delete a note in Notability, the backup copy of the note will not be deleted. Similarly, deleting the backup copy of a note will not delete the original note in Notability.

For a two-way sync across devices, please see Syncing Notes across Devices with iCloud. If multiple devices are synced through iCloud, you can only enable Auto-backup on one of those devices.

Turning on Auto-backup

  1. Tap in the bottom library toolbar.
  2. Tap Auto-backup.
  3. Tap your preferred cloud storage service.
  4. If prompted to do so, enter the login credentials for your cloud storage account.
  5. Notes will automatically be backed up in PDF format to a folder named "Notability" in your chosen cloud storage service.

Changing Auto-backup's destination folder

By default, Notability sends backups to a folder named "Notability" in your backup service. You can send your notes to a different folder.

  1. In Auto-backup's settings, tap next to your backup service's name.
  2. Tap the first row under "Destination".
  3. Navigate to the folder where Auto-backup should send your notes.
  4. At the bottom of the menu, tap “Back Up To [your folder's name]“.
  5. Tap when finished.

Changing Auto-backup's file format

Notability backs up notes as PDF files by default, but you can back up your notes in a different file format.

  1. In Auto-backup's settings, tap next to your backup service's name.
  2. Tap the first row under "Choose Format".
  3. Tap the row for the file format you would like to use:
    • PDF
      • A note will be backed up as a PDF file, which can be opened on any device.
      • Bookmarks will not be included.
      • Audio recordings will not be included.
      • By default, lined and colored paper backgrounds are not included in backups. Instead, a note's background will be white and unlined. To include background lines and colors in your backups, enable the Paper toggle that appears when you select PDF as your file format.
    • RTF
      • A note will be backed up as an RTF file, which can be opened on any device.
      • This is the easiest option for sharing a note with typed text that you would like to edit in another app.
    • Note
      • A note will be backed up in Notability's native “.note” file format.
      • This file format includes every kind of content in a note: audio, handwriting, typed text, sticky notes, images, web clips, figures—everything! All of those contents are fully editable when the note is imported back into Notability.
      • This file format also keeps your audio recordings linked to your content.
      • This is the easiest option for sharing notes with other people who use Notability.
      • This is the easiest option for importing backups of your notes back into Notability.
    • PDF + Recording
      • A note will be backed up as a .zip file that contains a PDF file and a “Recordings” folder, which contains the note's audio recordings as .m4a files.
      • This is the easiest option for sharing audio recordings with people who do not use Notability.
      • Because Notability cannot open .zip files, you will have to unzip backup copies in this format to import them back into Notability.
    • RTF + Recording
      • A note will be backed up as a .rtfd file that contains an RTF file and a “Recordings” folder, which contains the note's audio recordings as .m4a files.
      • Because Notability cannot open .rtfd files directly, you will have to unzip backup copies in this format to import them back into Notability.

Changing which subjects are backed up

By default, Auto-backup only backs up notes in subjects that are not password-protected, but you can enable backups for password-protected subjects. You can also disable backups for specific subjects.

  1. In Auto-backup's settings, tap next to your backup service's name.
  2. Under “Back Up These Subjects”, tap a subject to select or deselect it.
    • A subject with a checkmark next to its name will be backed up.
    • A subject without a checkmark will not be backed up.
  3. If a subject is password-protected, type in its password and tap “OK”.

Restoring backup copies of notes

  1. Go to the library—the screen that lists your notes.
  2. Tap the import button—the square with the downward arrow.
    • To find this button on iPhone, scroll above the first note in a subject.
  3. Navigate to the folder whose notes you wish to import.
  4. Tap the subject name across from "Import All".
  5. Tap the desired destination subject in Notability.
    • At present, Notability can't remake subjects from backup automatically. Dividers and subjects must be remade manually before this step.
  6. Tap a note's name to import that note, or tap "Import All" to import all of the notes from the folder you're in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. If I delete a note in Notability, is the backup copy of the note deleted?
A. No. When you delete a note in Notability, the backup copy of the note remains in your backup account. This lets you use your backup account as an archive for notes that you no longer need on your devices.

Q. When are notes backed up?
A. Backups run in two cases:

  1. When you enable Auto-backup or change its settings, Notability backs up all of your notes.
  2. When you edit a note and then return to your list of notes, Notability backs up the note that you edited.
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