Evernote, the bug-ridden elephant

evernotelogoTo say this post pains me would be an under­state­ment. More than any other tech­nol­ogy, Ever­note is part of me, hav­ing evolved from habit to instinct over sev­eral years and nearly seven thou­sand notes. Every day ideas flit through my head, ideas for essays, for char­ac­ters, for jokes. Just now I catch a glimpse of one, with­out think­ing I am talk­ing into my phone like a Star Trek Com­mu­ni­ca­tor, telling myself that maybe I should title this post Leaky Sync. Maybe not.

Because I use it so often, I am unusu­ally famil­iar with the service’s warts. Evernote’s appli­ca­tions are glitchy to the extreme; they often feel as if they’re held together by the engi­neer­ing equiv­a­lent of duct tape. Browser exten­sions crash, text cur­sors leap hap­haz­ardly across the screen — my copy of Evernote’s image edi­tor Skitch silently failed to sync for months because I hadn’t updated to the new ver­sion. Most issues are benign enough, but the apps are so laden with quirks that I’ve long held a deep-seated fear that per­haps some of my data has not been saved, that through a sync­ing error, an acci­den­tal over­write — some of these ideas have been for­got­ten.

As of last month, I am all but sure of it.

I’ve been learn­ing how to write songs. It’s ter­ri­fy­ing because I stink, so I trick myself, did­dling around with­out actu­ally intend­ing to record any­thing. With any luck I reach a fugue state, vaguely lis­ten­ing for my fin­gers to do some­thing inter­est­ing; some­times instinct steers me toward the green elephant’s ‘record’ but­ton and I play for a while.

And so I find myself on Decem­ber 5, when a mean­der­ing ses­sion results in an 18 min­ute Ever­note audio record­ing on my iPhone labeled “not bad halfway through” — high praise, for me. Some of the chord changes are sheer luck, no idea what I did but they sounded good the first time.

I decide to give it another lis­ten with more dis­cern­ing ears, self-loathing eagerly wait­ing in the wings.

And — noth­ing. Zero sec­onds out of zero sec­onds. It’s a blank file.

Alarmed, I tap record again, make another note. It won’t play, either.

Another. This one works.

One more. Zero out of zero.

I check the Wifi sig­nal (fine). I let the phone sit for a while to sync, just in case. I head to the web app, which — thank­fully — shows the note intact, with its attach­ment as an 8.7 megabyte .m4a file.

I try to open it in iTunes — it shrugs. Quick­time spits an error. Time to bust out the big guns. VLC.


Teeth grind­ing, I con­tact Ever­note sup­port. The process is slow and bum­bling, but I’d like to think this has more to do with Evernote’s overly-struc­tured ticket sys­tem than the peo­ple work­ing there. Unfor­tu­nately, in the process of try­ing to learn what hap­pened to my audio file, I dis­cover another flaw in Evernote’s sys­tem.

As an appar­ently stan­dard part of Evernote’s sup­port process, it requests that users send over an Activ­ity Log. This is a file gen­er­ated by each Ever­note appli­ca­tion that records the myr­iad house­keep­ing events going on behind the sce­nes — “Send­ing pref­er­ence changes…”, and so on.

For most ser­vices this log wouldn’t make me bat an eye, but in many ways my Ever­note archive is more sen­si­tive than my Gmail account. With email, there’s always the pos­si­bil­ity that the guy on the other end will for­ward the mes­sage along, so I tend to behave accord­ingly. With Ever­note it’s just me. I try not to fil­ter myself because that’s how cre­ativ­ity dies.

I ask the sup­port per­son to ver­ify that he will not have access to my data. No, he assures me. Just the meta data, like note titles (why Ever­note doesn’t believe note titles are poten­tially sen­si­tive is beyond me, but in my case they’re usu­ally blank any­way).

Still, out of habit­ual para­noia, I skim through the log before send­ing. Thou­sands of lines of gib­ber­ish, dates and upload counts and [ENSyn­cEngine] INFO: Send­ing search changes.

And then I come across some­thing more leg­i­ble. It’s a text note I left a few evenings ago, a stray thought about sex, if I’m being hon­est. Fur­ther down, another note, the entire con­tents of the text, bro­ken up by some HTML tags. And another.

Turns out there’s a bug, this time com­pli­ments of Ever­note for Mac’s ‘helper’ — an offi­cial mini app that’s meant for jot­ting down notes with­out hav­ing to switch to the hulk­ing beast that is the desk­top appli­ca­tion. On my Mac­book Pro, run­ning the lat­est ver­sion of Ever­note for Mac, this ‘helper’ app records the entirety of any text it saves into the log file.

Alarmed and not a lit­tle bit furi­ous that I nearly sent him some deeply embar­rass­ing mus­ings, I tell the sup­port per­son about the issue, not­ing that it is a seri­ous breach of pri­vacy (and an obvi­ous one, given that I noticed it in all of ten sec­onds).

They say to file another ticket.

As for the audio file: even more bad news.

It’s been nearly a month and the most sub­stan­tive thing Ever­note has said is that it is “see­ing mul­ti­ple users who have cre­ated audio notes of all sizes where they will not play on any plat­form.” The com­pany has given me no infor­ma­tion on what’s wrong with the cor­rupted file, and no indi­ca­tion that they might find a way to get it work­ing in the future.

Adding fur­ther insult, the up-to-date iOS appli­ca­tion con­tin­ues to cre­ate cor­rupted audio notes, despite receiv­ing an update on Decem­ber 17, twelve days after I reported the issue. The sup­port team actu­ally couldn’t tell me whether that update addressed the audio prob­lem — they said I should check the App Store release notes, which rou­tinely includes the ambigu­ous line “bug fixes”, so I had to fig­ure it out for myself. Two more cor­rupted notes later, I can say with some author­ity that it’s still there (I’ve also encoun­tered a new issue, where some audio files sim­ply van­ish).

Through it all, the sup­port team has dis­played a marked lack of urgency that has bor­dered on non­cha­lance. Maybe they’re trained that way, or maybe data loss on Ever­note isn’t as rare as I’d hope.

None of this has been life shat­ter­ing, but given how reliant I am on Ever­note it is deeply unnerv­ing — now each note I instinc­tively leave myself is tinged with anx­i­ety. I’m con­cerned that as I dig through my Ever­note archive I’ll encoun­ter more cor­rupted audio notes, and, worse, my para­noia is increas­ingly con­vinced that there may have been notes that never were saved to the archive at all.

More than that, I am alarmed that Ever­note seems to be play­ing fast and loose with the data entrusted to it. Instead of build­ing a pro­duct that is secure, reli­able, and fast, it has spread itself too thin, try­ing to build out its install base across as many plat­forms as pos­si­ble in an attempt to fend off its inevitable com­pe­ti­tion.

This strat­egy is tol­er­a­ble for a social net­work or mes­sag­ing app (Face­book got away with atro­ciously buggy apps for years). But Ever­note is lit­er­ally aim­ing to be an exten­sion of your brain, the place to store your most impor­tant ideas. Its slo­gan is “Remem­ber Every­thing”. Pre­sum­ably the integrity of its data should be of the utmost impor­tance.

What’s worse, it isn’t con­sis­tently improv­ing. When iOS7 launched, Ever­note was one of the first appli­ca­tions to over­haul with a new, ‘flat’ design, and as a result ben­e­fit­ted from being fea­tured promi­nently within the App Store. But func­tion­ally, it was clearly a down­grade from the old app, with extra dol­lops of slug­gish­ness, crashes, and glitches — it may well have intro­duced the audio record­ing bug I fell prey to (I believe it dates back to at least Octo­ber, when I encoun­tered a sim­i­lar audio issue that I chalked up to user error).

Evernote’s secu­rity track record has been sim­i­larly frus­trat­ing. Asked in Octo­ber 2012 why the ser­vice had not imple­mented the increas­ingly-com­mon two-fac­tor authen­ti­ca­tion option already offered by com­pa­nies like Google, Evernote’s CEO, Phil Libin, wrote “Find­ing an approach that gives you increased secu­rity with­out mak­ing Ever­note harder to use is not just a mat­ter of adding two-fac­tor authen­ti­ca­tion…”, imply­ing that some­thing bet­ter was on the way.

Five months later the promised secu­rity upgrade was still MIA — until Ever­note was hacked, its data­base of user pass­words was com­pro­mised, and the ser­vice rushed to imple­ment a two-fac­tor sys­tem that didn’t look much dif­fer­ent from the sort Libin was appar­ently aim­ing to leapfrog.

This is a com­pany with over $250 mil­lion in fund­ing and 80 mil­lion users. And unlike many web ser­vices that promise exhaus­tive secu­rity and reli­a­bil­ity, it’s one I actu­ally pay for.

Iron­i­cally, the same day I was told Ever­note didn’t have a fix for my cor­rupted music record­ing, the New York Times pub­lished an arti­cle about Ever­note titled, An App That Will Never For­get a File.

Update, 1/3: Ever­note CEO Phil Libin con­tacted me and we spoke about the issues described. He apol­o­gized, say­ing the post rings true and that there is a lot of work to be done both on the appli­ca­tion and ser­vice fronts. In the short-term the com­pany will be imple­ment­ing fixes for the issues above, with plans to focus on gen­eral qual­ity improve­ments in the months ahead.

Update, 1/5: Libin has pub­lished a lengthy response to this post (and the ensu­ing uproar) on the Ever­note Blog, out­lin­ing the company’s plans to rem­edy its qual­ity issues by refo­cus­ing on the core pro­duct and its design:
On Soft­ware Qual­ity and Build­ing a Bet­ter Ever­note in 2014

Comments (205)

  • Wow, this is very trou­bling to hear. Will have to re-think how or if I should dis­cuss Ever­note with my clients and stu­dents.

    • Read the CEO’S response to this post first though. It appears that he took Jason’s post to heart and that it’s “all hands on deck” to make improve­ments. Libin’s hon­esty has renewed my faith in Ever­note.

    • Not mine, at least not yet. I’m thank­ful for Ever­note and am depen­dent upon it. But I’ve been strug­gling with issues like these for years. A quick search on Evernote’s forum will turn up lots of bugs and painfully annoy­ing usabil­ity issues in the Win­dows client, many with staff acknowl­edge­ments, but which have nev­er­the­less been around for months, some for years.

      I’ve always assumed the issues with the Win­dows client per­sisted because every­one at Ever­note used Macs, but the above sug­gests that the Apple clients have prob­lems too.

      It’s great that this is get­ting press and that Libin has responded. Hope­fully things will pick up.

    • I am not sure whether Libin / EN really knows what’s needed to improve the ser­vice. I’ve used EN from the start and expe­ri­enced that re-designs often made it harder to use – func­tion­al­ity had changed or moved to a dif­fer­ent loca­tion and I had to re-learn the tool. And it’s become slow. It takes about 5 secs each time I open a note in the browser before I can start edit­ing. Deli­cious went a sim­i­lar path, now I’m using a very sim­ple, fast and not very slick look­ing book­mark­ing tool.

    • Fea­ture bloat is a com­mon path many soft­ware devel­op­ers take to increase sales of the prod­ucts, often at the risk of killing the base usage of the pro­duct. Look at Adobe Pho­to­shop, I still could be using the ver­sion from 94′. 

      I too used EN exten­sively 4 years back, esp trav­el­ling and not­ing work notes – impor­tant stuff – voice record­ings to prac­tice pitches and ideas. So much so that I killed my base­camp account because I had a tool that was free and sim­pler to use.

      Over time with every ever­note update, I too have reduce using it. Every­thing from the poor login (I don’t remem­ber pass­words) over mul­ti­ple devices, try re-sync­ing 4 devices when you lose a pass­word. To UI changes that are a com­plete change.

      Its a pity because the core prob­lem it solves is a good one and I have 100’s of notes on their sys­tem.

      Might give them a tin­kle to see if they need a new pro­duct man­ager 🙂

  • This is, dis­tress­ing, to say the least.

  • Yeah, I’m can­cel­ing my pre­mium sub­scrip­tion also. The soft­ware qual­ity has really gone down­hill. I can barely cre­ate lists in ever­note… the cur­sor never does the right thing. A sync con­flicts are ter­ri­ble.

  • I feel like I could have writ­ten this exact arti­cle. I love Ever­note and use it a LOT. I am ner­vous for all the same rea­sons. Hop­ing the ser­vice grows up soon.

  • You have out­lined every issue that I have with Ever­note and I fully agree. While I don’t rely as much on it, I still store lot of impor­tant data in it. 

    they often feel as if they’re held together by the engi­neer­ing equiv­a­lent of duct tape. 

    This sums up the apps. While I have had no major issues with Web Clip­per, Skitch and iOS apps are not up to the mark. Win­dows Client works well, but is not well thought out. 

    Skitch(Windows) has this big annoy­ance of putting every­thing in my “Pri­vate” note­book. They really need an option to select a note­book!

    Many times, web clip­per just hands up and does not sync PDFs or images (I have to paste in Win­dows Client). 

    While the fea­tures are good, they really need to improve a lot when it comes to the appli­ca­tions!

    • Thanks Ishan, sounds like we’ve had a lot of the same issues. Agreed, hope they improve!

  • Oh, don’t you just love pro­pri­etary soft­ware! Does any­one know of a FOSS ever­note solu­tion?

    • Yes, because open source soft­ware is always rock solid, extremely pol­ished and free of bugs…

    • Did he say that? No, he didn’t.

    • None that are as well inte­grated with browser exten­sions and online back­ups. But you can live pretty well once you get into the habit of wiring your emacs org-mode with a pri­vate git/hg repo.

    • I do not think FOSS has any­thing to do with qual­ity. SOme FOSS is amaz­ing, some is buggy and ter­ri­ble. Why not start a qual­ity project for an Ever­note replace­ment?

    • Read what he said which is noth­ing to do with qual­ity but more to do with open access to your data instead of pro­pri­etary for­mats like Ever­note uses.

    • Tomboy is an accept­able FOSS solu­tion, but it’s not audio ready. Also, Tomboy is ugly and slow on OSX. There’s also cozy.io and maybe own­Cloud has some­thing a lit­tle weight­ier. And of course, there’s Emacs + Org-mode

      There is no FOSS option that offers the UI fea­tures of Ever­note, how­ever, the basics seem like low hang­ing fruit to me… per­haps I should give it a try.

  • Thx for the detailed post. I shall pro­ceed with cau­tion.

  • Any alter­na­tives to Ever­note any­one can rec­om­mend?

    • OneNote is the app I use in sync with Sky­Drive. I don’t use it as heav­ily as some of you appar­ently use Ever­note, but it has never failed me.

    • Google Keep.

    • Enjoy Google sell­ing your data.

    • Yet Microsoft has decided not to make this appli­ca­tion cross plat­form in a strange attempt to pro­tect its mas­sive Win­dows Desk­top OS mar­ket share? For note tak­ing apps to be suc­cess­ful they need to be cross plat­form. OneNote is not!

    • Not true. See details: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2043415
      Also, for what it’s worth, OneNote is a very high qual­ity appli­ca­tion. Once you are used to it, it becomes indis­pens­able. Global search is awe­some. Always avail­able on Phone, Tablet, Lap­top, Desk­top, what­ever.

    • Non­sense. Even the arti­cle you linked states it – OneNote is not avail­able for OSX, no lap­top, no desk­top. If that is not about pro­tect­ing the Desk­top OS mar­ket (the sub­ject of the orig­i­nal post) what is the rea­son?

      I have used OneNote at work (as a Microsoft con­sul­tant) ever since it came out and find it ridicu­lous that MS have never pro­duced a OneNote I can use on my home Mac. 

      If I wanted to use web apps all the time I’d still have a Chrome­book…

    • Def­i­nitely not true. OneNote has native apps for basi­cally every plat­form: Win­dows 8 (mod­ern app), Win­dows desk­top app, iOS, Android and Win­dows Phone. They also have a browser ver­sion you can access through Sky­drive to edit within the browser. 


    • OneNote may be great. I know a lot of peo­ple swear by it. Per­son­ally, I had it drop the ball and cor­rupt all my notes back in an attempt to try being on Win­dows that itself was a dis­mal fail­ure. (Vista any­one?)

      I’m glad to see that they have made it cross-plat­form on mobile devices. But, IMHO, a pro­duct is not cross-plat­form with­out a Mac OS X ver­sion.

    • Good point about lack of Mac OSX client. I didn’t think of that since I’m on win­dows, iOS and Android only. 

      btw, you can hardly keep judg­ing win­dows by vista. Let’s not keep beat­ing the vista horse dead 🙂

    • Huh? How can you say it’s not true when there is no OS X ver­sion!

    • Also the iOS ver­sion of One Note is ter­ri­ble. Read the reviews.

    • Have you used it on iOS? I have. I have no com­plaints

    • OneNote is great if your work­flow is Win­dows-cen­tric (espe­cially Win­dows 8, win­dows Phone), and I use it for work a lot; how­ever, my _per­son­al_ work­flow is Apple-cen­tric, and OneNote just isn’t very Apple-friendly. Given this HUGE pri­vacy hole in Ever­note, though, that may be what I end up going back to.

    • I use spring­pad, seems to do the job for me.

    • For the basic func­tion­al­i­ties of Ever­note, you can try Tag­Spaces. It is com­pletely free, open source and runs offline…

  • I haven’t had any data loss, but I’ve also never cre­ated such a large audio file in Ever­note. Have you noticed issues with text only notes?

    • I haven’t noticed any, but I think it’d also be harder for me to tell if a por­tion of a note didn’t get saved (the audio files sim­ply won’t play).

  • I’ve been com­plain­ing for years about their edi­tor. Numer­ous posts to the offi­cial Ever­note forums and cus­tomer sup­port all go with­out res­o­lu­tion. I’ve even used Jing to record repro­ducible bugs. Every new release of Ever­note has me excited to check the “release notes” for some­thing along the lines of “Edi­tor FINALLY Fixed” =) Seri­ously, web based rich-text edi­tors are more pow­er­ful and less buggy than Ever­note. The crazy cur­sor issues, con­stant note con­flicts despite no where near con­cur­rent edit­ing attempts, and unusable/unstable lists are some of the most annoy­ing issues. I am still using Ever­note on a daily basis because there aren’t any more pow­er­ful alter­na­tives, but I wish Ever­note would stop work­ing on worth­less prod­ucts like “Hello” and would instead just focus on mak­ing their core pro­duct sta­ble and reli­able.

    • What would count as a pow­er­ful alter­na­tive?

    • Fair ques­tion. For me, that would involve the fea­tures I use on a daily basis. At a min­i­mum, it would be native cross-plat­form apps (Mac/iOS/Windows/Android) with a com­pre­hen­sive and func­tional rich text edi­tor, Note­books, Tags, Email address for inject­ing notes, OCR (on doc­u­ments & images), Web clip­per for Chrome/Firefox, short­cuts, note pre­views, ver­sion­ing, and cloud sync capa­bil­i­ties. Of course, if there were a seam­less way to jump-ship between prod­ucts, that would make the switch eas­ier.

      Some fea­tures that are not present in Ever­note, but would be even more com­pelling argu­ments to switch:
      * Stor­age agnos­tic back­end (e.g. iCloud, Drop­box) so that we do not have to use a sin­gle provider. Caveat: it would put more pro­cess­ing bur­den on the device.
      * Pub­lic key encryp­tion of note­books because we know now more than ever that our data is not pri­vate nor pro­tected from the reaches of the US gov­ern­ment.

    • I’ve hoped for sim­i­lar release notes for years and have found the forums sim­i­larly unhelp­ful. Hope­fully we’ll see some changes soon.

    • A thou­sand times this!

      Also, for­get about copy­ing a chunk out of Ever­note and try to drop it into an email or some other des­ti­na­tion. Rage every time.

    • Yes, I have had this prob­lem too when try­ing to copy notes into an E-Mail. In a round­about way, I’ve solved it by open­ing the note on evernote.com and copy­ing the resul­tant HTML into an email. This is not an accept­able solu­tion.

    • I do an extra step that helps ver­sus issues with the edi­tor, which is to select the con­tent and then do “Sim­plify For­mat­ting”.

  • Note that I’ve never been a pre­mium user. I’ve had sync issues with Ever­note in the past, but I haven’t had any issues for ~2 years. The Android ver­sion isn’t any bet­ter and I can’t even use it as my main note tak­ing app because it just isn’t that great. 

    I still use Ever­note all the time to take notes or write up todo lists on desk­top and read on mobile. The mul­ti­me­dia fea­tures suck in gen­eral, unfor­tu­nately. I really wish they would work on fix­ing the bugs instead of adding more “fea­tures”.

  • Where there are bugs, I assure you there are defi­nate secu­rity issues as well..

  • Since the M4A file seems to have some con­tent (con­sid­er­ing it’s 8.7 MB), it may be pos­si­ble to fix it your­self. I’ve never used the soft­ware, but I did find this post a few months ago that explains how the soft­ware ‘Syn­a­lyze It!’ was used to repair a WAV file:

    • Thanks Doz, really appre­ci­ate it. The tagline for that app made me laugh: “Reverse Engi­neer­ing and Binary File Analy­sis made easy” — will report back here if I get it work­ing.

  • Ever­note is held together with duct tapes. I read some­where they have dif­fer­ent teams cod­ing for dif­fer­ent areas of ever­note. Thus the duct tape feel­ing, because they’re lit­er­ally tap­ing codes together. 

    But sadly, there is not pow­er­ful alter­na­tive to Ever­note.

    • That is the stan­dard for any large piece of soft­ware. Can you imag­ine a chef mak­ing a 5 dish mean for a ban­quet him­self? No, he has teams that pro­duce dif­fer­ent dishes.

    • Uh, no. They may have dif­fer­ent teams if you want to call them that but it is in man­ag­ing the teams that deter­mine the qual­ity if a pro­duct. Microsoft is ter­ri­ble at this. Apple is great at it.

    • I don’t think that’s nec­es­sar­ily true. I’m involved with a larger piece of soft­ware and we have one team that is involved in all areas of the pro­duct.

  • I had the same issue with record­ing on android (s3). In fact, i was also record­ing some noodling on the gui­tar. After that day, along with other major bugs with the android ver­sion, I decided to leave the ser­vice behind. It’s great that Phil got in touch with you, but the basic func­tion­al­ity of cre­at­ing and sav­ing notes (text or audio) needs to be rock solid. The fact that they are work­ing on any­thing else while there are such major bugs in the sys­tem is the absolute worst thing they can do.

  • This and the Hacker News dis­cus­sion has left me look­ing for an alter­na­tive to Ever­Note. I’ve been mak­ing do with the free account for sev­eral months. How­ever on advice of numer­ous arti­cles, I’ve been train­ing myself to add more con­tent into it. Pro­tect­ing user data is by far the most impor­tant job soft­ware is entrusted with. I quit Win­dows and all Microsoft Soft­ware after too many near cat­a­strophic data losses with Word and the rest. Its sad to hear Ever­Note can­not be trusted as well.

  • A sim­i­lar issue hap­pened to me. I was using the Android Ever­note wid­get ‘Page Cam­era’ to snap pho­tos of notes I had writ­ten – and auto­mat­i­cally adjust the con­trast / crop­ping to fit the page. 

    Unfor­tu­nately the algo­rithm for doing so was also reduc­ing the res­o­lu­tion of the image so much that the text was unread­able. At a thumb­nail size it looked fine – so I didn’t notice the prob­lem for a cou­ple of weeks. But when I returned to my notes (that I had since trashed the paper copies of) – they were totally use­less.

    I con­tacted Ever­note sup­port who told me that it was a known bug. I was very angry. If it is a known bug that the Page Cam­era doesn’t work then the Page Cam­era should not be included in the wid­get!

    I love Ever­note when it works – but I agree that the com­pany poli­cies don’t seem to inspire as much trust as I’d like.

  • Wow, thanks for this arti­cle it con­firms so much I was hop­ing just wasn’t true. I’ve always put them down as user errors or wonky inter­net con­nec­tion etc. really breaks my heart 🙁

  • I’m the old­est 30 year old I know. I carry notepads and post-it pads around every­where, even with my iPhone5 sit­ting in my pocket. Each day, I select a size of notepad accord­ing to how big I think my thoughts will be on a par­tic­u­lar day. For me, the pen to paper is cathar­tic. My hand­writ­ing can change depend­ing on the mood I’m in when I’m writ­ing some­thing, and it’s great to go back and see how it changes. My great­est ideas are usu­ally in chicken scratch, and I can barely read it later. Although I keep most of the pads, I rip off sheets and stuff them an a copy feeder if I want to save them to a db.

    • I feel the same way but have slipped off to try­ing elec­tronic notes more. One thing’s for sure; if I want to remem­ber some­thing, writ­ing it down is the best way.

    • I use Penul­ti­matte. Iron­i­cally owned by Ever­note 🙂

  • Oh yes, this is per­fectly writ­ten. About an year back, while I was on the verge of mov­ing to a paid account and found a bug which erased a com­plete note. 

    It was some­thing on the lines of “cer­tain spe­cial char­ac­ters / for­mat­ting present in the note would not save it”. In my case, it was a huge list of books that I had to read (col­lected over sev­eral months) – When I added one item to it with some character/formatting that was unsup­ported, the whole note was lost 🙁 This was from the PC. I tried in the web ver­sion and even that was empty (sync had hap­pened).

    I reached out to their cus­tomer sup­port and it plainly said my com­plaint may never get taken up because they catered to pre­mium cus­tomers first. I was furi­ous and gave up the idea of going pre­mium. As they had told, my com­plaint was never attended to. The note was lost com­pletely.

    Hav­ing said that, I should men­tion that I still use Ever­note (may be more than before) because I have not seen any other alter­na­tive (do not want to use pur­chase One Note). Google Keep was launched after my beloved Google Reader was killed so I feared to go to a Google ser­vice again.

    So Ever­note it has been and I only pray that no such thing hap­pens again. These days, when­ever I paste some text into Ever­note, I do a Ctrl+Shift+V to ensure only the paste hap­pens with­out for­mat­ting.

  • You want to store ideas? Never heard of DEVON­think Pro? Its arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence (i.e. text min­ing) can increase ran­dom con­nec­tions between all of your notes, so you make new ideas for free.
    Scal­able: 50 GB library, no prob­lems. Secure: pass­word pro­tec­tion. Robust: never crashes. Extend­able: all kind of scripts, browser exten­sion.
    They could improve the mobile ver­sion, but it’s still usable.

    • Ryan, nice app, but it’s not cross-plat­form. Mac-only.

  • Did the CEO also say any­thing about the pri­vacy bug and poor cus­tomer ser­vice?

  • I asked myself, ‘Do I really need markup and all that jazz?’. I aban­doned Ever­note (and the even worse OneNote) for Notepad++ and a bunch of plain text files. At least I know that in 5 years I’ll still be able to open them.

  • Time to make the move for me then.

  • They are def­i­nitely spread­ing them­selves too thin. What hap­pened to a sim­ple notes appli­ca­tion? Google’s Keep is actu­ally pretty good and sim­ple, easy sync.

    Good luck with sup­port – at least you got some joy from it, as opposed to Dropbox’s sup­port, which isn’t.

  • Exact same thing hap­pened to me. I was at our pediatrician’s office lis­ten­ing to our doc­tor give us speci­fic instruc­tions for our 1 month old pre­mie new­born. I open the EN iPhone app and hit record since I am never going to remem­ber all of the instruc­tions. The record­ing goes for like 5–7 min­utes. At the end, I wait for a full sync and every­thing appears good. Later that day, I go to tran­scribe some of the notes to text and noth­ing. A blank audio file. 5.7 MB in size but won’t play on iPhone. I go to the desk­top and noth­ing. Did the same thing as you and whipped out VLC, noth­ing. Sup­port says they will for­ward to the engi­neers for cor­rect­ing but that my audio is gone. Sim­ply unac­cept­able.

  • Duct tape is a won­der of engi­neer­ing and a poor anal­ogy here, but the trou­bles you expe­ri­ence with ever­note are expected to hap­pen when you choose to rely on the hip and trendy “cloud ser­vices” for your data. 

    There was a time in com­put­ing where such ser­vices would offer the option to take the mat­ter in your own hands but now with the move to the closed world of mobile com­put­ing and the civil war on gen­eral pur­pose com­put­ing peo­ple are increas­ingly renounc­ing at stay­ing in con­trol in exchange for some com­fort and con­ve­nience.

    This mis­ad­ven­ture is the direct con­se­quence of your own delib­er­ate choice, deal with it.

    • The prob­lem here is not the use of a cloud ser­vice, it is buggy soft­ware. What if he had used non-cloud soft­ware? Either his files would not be avail­able on all of his devices, he would have to use alter­nate cloud soft­ware like Drop­box or equiv­a­lents, or install his own shar­ing mech­a­nism on his own com­puter. The lack of avail­abil­ity on all devices is its own prob­lem. Drop­box would likely be more reli­able and they keep back­ups, but that would be the cloud. If he installs cloud soft­ware on his own com­puter then he would have to spend time man­ag­ing it and there is no guar­an­tee that it would not have bugs. Like local soft­ware, cloud soft­ware can be good or bad. Choos­ing a cloud ser­vice is like choos­ing any other pro­duct: you ana­lyze the pluses and minuses and do com­par­isons with other prod­ucts. To reject cloud ser­vices out of hand and blame the author for his data loss is not fair.

    • Yes it is fair, peo­ple need to take own­er­ship of their own actions. it is easy to blame the soft­ware but at the end of the day no one held a gun to his head telling him to use the soft­ware. After the first time I would have lost a sound record­ing I would have cho­sen a dif­fer­ent more reli­able piece of sound record­ing soft­ware and then attach it to Ever­note.

      Peo­ple are aver to jump and crit­i­cize soft­ware when some­thing goes wrong but don’t say any­thing for months or years when the soft­ware has been work­ing great for them.

      I say, take your loss and learn from the lesson. Do you want to ditch Ever­note? Fine, but see you again until the next piece of soft­ware fails you.

    • Wait, this makes no sense. The soft­ware offers a ser­vice, he pays for this ser­vice, how­ever the ser­vice doesn’t work reli­ably. Why would that unre­li­able soft­ware be above crit­i­cism? Are you really sug­gest­ing we should be find­ing work-arounds for poor soft­ware we pay for? This dis­cus­sion isn’t anti-Ever­note, this is hold­ing Ever­note to a high stan­dard. We should absolutely be com­plain­ing when soft­ware fails provide the ser­vice we pay for.

    • As some­one who has a lot of stuff stored in Ever­note and am oth­er­wise happy with the soft­ware, if I found a prob­lem I would act just like Jason Kin­caid, except per­haps for the blog post­ing. I would try to get the prob­lem resolved so that I could keep using the soft­ware and accom­pa­ny­ing ser­vice and not have to switch to some­thing else, which would take a lot of my time and might lack fea­tures I need.

      I’m not sure I under­stand your point about ditch­ing Ever­note. The com­ment I replied to was blam­ing Mr. Kin­caid for using the pro­duct to begin with, and that’s what I was say­ing was wrong.

    • You really need to read his post again. You missed a lot.

    • at the end of the day no one held a gun to his head telling him to use the soft­ware” sounds like tobacco or NRA talk­ing…

    • The fact that you think “cloud ser­vices” are hip and trendy means you have no idea what you’re talk­ing about.

      Server/Thin-Clients have been used since the 60s. Just because they have a dif­fer­ent mar­ket­ing name now doesn’t mean the tech­nol­ogy isn’t valid.

      Stop being a Lud­dite and edu­cate your­self please.

  • Any­body still remem­ber Google note­book? I’ve tested Ever­note occa­sion­ally through the years since the early begin­nings, and it’s never been fast respon­sive intu­itive easy enough for me to start using. It’s always felt like it’s some sort of mess and I was always sur­prised by its suc­cess. I have it installed on my ios and Android phones almost always but end up never using it, instead I mostly use color note or Google Keep and lately Our gro­ceries. Such a pity for such poten­tial to go unful­filled. In a way I’m glad to have read this post only to reas­sure myself of my deci­sions.

  • It’s worth men­tion­ing that the UI expe­ri­ence on iOS is not pleas­ant. I love Ever­note fea­ture set, but cringe any­more any­time I have to use it. Using it on my iPhone I feel like I am leav­ing iOS and using a com­pletely dif­fer­ent sys­tem. I do feel that the Mac OSX UI expe­ri­ence is a lot cleaner.

    Dare I sug­gest that maybe a ground up re-write of the app is needed? They could take a page from the design of Ves­per. I like their approach, but need sync­ing for mul­ti­ple devices. When Ves­per releases sync­ing, I may wait a few months for the bugs to be worked out and then make then give it a try.

    • I will never under­stand why they released a Ves­per with­out sync­ing. Makes it use­less to me.

  • all daily users will agree with the duct tape com­par­ison, its a great idea that was exe­cuted well but has got­ten out of con­trol over the past few years. as the com­ments show, there isnt really an equiv­a­lent alter­na­tive (nota­bil­ity, ves­per, a few oth­ers come to mind).
    my other big com­plaint about ever­note is how they seem to come up with a new user expe­ri­ence and inter­ac­tion design for every new expe­ri­ence they come up with. the iOS app for exam­ple is just lay­ers of who knows what and a new sys­tem to learn, which is very dif­fer­ent from the browser exten­sion and the mac app.
    frus­trat­ing all around. i want them to be bet­ter and i’m putting my trust and $$ behind them but with no dras­tic improve­ments in the next 6 months or so, i may have to make dif­fi­cult choices and move on past ever­note.

  • I recently lost some text data in ever­note. I have sus­pected other text losses as we’ll but had just chalked it up to user error or poor sync. I have got­ten many merge con­flicts despite never using the app at the same time. I think I may just end up using Drop­box and a text edi­tor for my notes. Drop­box seems rock solid as a file stor­age sys­tem. Plus if I have made some screw up I can always pickup an ear­lier ver­sion of the file through the web app. Thanks for this arti­cle, I think I am finally done fool­ing with ever­note it just seems too buggy and the code base looks like it must be a mess.

  • I love using Ever­note and Drop­box for it’s con­ve­nience. But for my impor­tant infor­ma­tion, espe­cially doc­u­ments and records that I want kept safe yet shared with fam­ily mem­bers and my lawyer and accoun­tant, I use SafelyFiled.com Every­thing stored there is encrypted both dur­ing uploads and in stor­age and I love the dual authen­ti­ca­tion fea­ture for added secu­rity. They have some great check­lists too!

    • Thanks for the sug­ges­tion of SafelyFiled.com. Iron­i­cally I have entered the link into Ever­note for later inves­ti­ga­tion!

  • Can I also add that their newest web clip­per exten­sion sim­ply sucks? Overly-com­pli­cated, and un-intu­itive. Love the app, and I’m a fan… but yeah, they need to get back to basics: reli­a­bil­ity, secu­rity, user-friendly.

    • Yeah it is ter­ri­ble. I unin­stalled it. I find it such a pain to use that I dump con­tent in Pocket first and then send it to Ever­note.

  • Yeah. I also think Ever­note is not data secu­rity. There are times that notes dupli­cate them­selves by them­selves.

  • Thank you for this eyes-wide-open post. I’m an Ever­note pre­mium sub­scriber but have been annoyed with the buggy apps, man­age­ments atten­tion on glossy new fea­tures in lieu of improved reli­a­bil­ity, etc. My response has been to – gasp – move back to paper and pen for my note tak­ing. As an incen­tive – I’ve “invested” in some nice foun­tain pens and great pads and note­books – go Rho­dia, Mon­teverde, TWSBI and Lamy!

    Evernote’s foray into this “fea­ture” with their Mole­sk­ine note­book and dig­i­tal note tran­scrip­tions was so dis­may­ing let’s kindly call it vapor-ware.

    Also I find writ­ing, shows my mood giv­ing me a meta-check on my notes when I’m review­ing them. When I’m excited and inspired, my hand­writ­ing is chicken scratch and nearly unread­able. When wary and alert, I slow down and pen care­ful bul­let points that are sur­pris­ingly suc­cinct.

    Addi­tion­ally it’s per­ceived as rude and at best geeky to take notes in a device when your in a meet­ing and expected to inter­act with oth­ers. Pen and pad are much more appro­pri­ate espe­cially when deal­ing with exec­u­tives.

    I’m not sure I’m going to renew my Ever­note sub­scrip­tion, I feel as if I have a foot in two sep­a­rate camps.

    Again, thanks for shar­ing this thoughts.

  • Four things keep me from return­ing to Ever­note, after aban­don­ing it sev­eral years ago:

    + The cor­po­rate arro­gance con­tin­ues. I remem­ber when Ever­note was first released, cut-and-paste was the only way to get exist­ing data in, item by item. I com­plained on a board some­where, and Phil Libin responded, lit­er­ally, with “So what? Why’s that a prob­lem?”

    + As when it first launched, you can export your data only as html or Evernote’s pro­pri­etary for­mat. They trum­pet porta­bil­ity, but if you can’t export your text notes as text files, wtf. It’s a data lock-in.

    + The text edi­tor (Mac) has always been crap and bug-rid­den. Cur­sor jumps around, para­graph breaks van­ish. Mind you, these prob­lems existed when Ever­note was first released… And they still do.

    + Too big, don’t trust them. They lock in your data (export­ing only as html and their pro­pri­etary for­mat is not “porta­bil­ity”) and are care­less with it, and some­what slip­pery in how their terms of use have shifted over the years.

    I’ve been using Note­Suite on the Mac. Does nearly every­thing Ever­note does that I need, uses iCloud for sync­ing (zero prob­lems and I’m fine with iCloud), and there’s no cor­po­rate arro­gance.

    • Interesting..I’m look­ing into it. I have a Pre­mier Ever­note account and am dump­ing it. The CEOs lame response is a day late and $45 short. It also shows he knows of these issues and is just doing dam­age con­trol.

  • 1. Aren’t you back­ing up your data? Cloud ser­vices are WORSE than a hard disk: they’re SOMEBODY ELSE’S hard disk, in an unknown envi­ron­ment.

    I keep 7 weeks of inde­pen­dent whole-data back­ups of my thou­sands of Ever­note entries. I run an export at weekly backup time. Cake, and I can move to some­thing else if I need to.

    2. Ever­note suck­age started when they moved from sys­tem UI-sup­port­ing apps to some ghastly RIA crap that fights the sys­tem UI. How many other apps have trou­ble with the cur­sor, or with keep­ing up while you type? I stopped updat­ing clients when I saw the first of those sorry clients, and Ever­note works really smoothly for me, albeit with­out two-fac­tor auth.

    • So when your house burns down and takes your back­ups with it?

  • Been Ever­note Pre­mium since I can remem­ber. Use it daily. I love it because it is so ubiq­ui­tous. Any PC, any Phone/Tablet OS that I use. 

    But there is no doubt that below the shiny exte­rior, it is a poorly run tech­ni­cal team. Always been buggy. Web inter­face only recently has made it to 2009 stan­dards. Android and IOS apps are on dif­fer­ent tracks that lead to user frus­tra­tion based on what does what. 

    Spring­pad is a much bet­ter UI on web and App, but has some flaws. It is not as uni­ver­sal and IMHO its killer flaw is that they have not cre­ated an Ever­note importer (they point to a 3rd party one that kind of works)

  • I am an avid Ever­note user but I wish they would stop adding super­flu­ous fea­tures like pre­sen­ta­tion mode and fix the basics like edit­ing of bul­let and todo lists. I get weird for­mat­ting issues all the time try­ing to work with bul­lets.

    Also, shared note con­flicts are absurdly com­mon. There are bet­ter col­lab­o­ra­tive edit­ing imple­men­ta­tions than all or noth­ing.

    Come on Ever­note! We want to love this thing, focus on the details please.

  • I don’t use Ever­note, but I was just think­ing about some other (zero-cost) soft­ware I’m using which has some annoy­ing bugs, and won­der­ing how reli­able it is. (Then I burned a DVD of my cur­rent project, just in case.)

    If users want to send the mes­sage to devel­op­ers that they like the pro­duct but would rather the devel­op­ers focus on qual­ity rather than sim­ply adding new fea­tures, how can we do that? There’s soft­ware I use that cost me $0, but which I would gladly pay money for them to fix bugs in it. Instead, I’m sure that they’re adding fea­tures, and when we see the next release, it’ll have a lot of new fea­tures, some bug fixes, and a bunch of new bugs.

    For most soft­ware, we just don’t have a mech­a­nism for this. The only axis upon which we as con­sumers can act is what we buy or use, but in some cat­e­gories there are a very few seri­ous options today, or it’s imprac­ti­cal to shift all our work between them with any fre­quency, or it wouldn’t help any­way because none of them is much bet­ter than the oth­ers.

    If Gmail were to sud­denly start los­ing my email, hypo­thet­i­cally, it would be a huge pain to move to a com­peti­tor, and it would be vir­tu­ally impos­si­ble to tell before­hand if they would be any bet­ter, and it would be a huge pain to move back in a month or two if Gmail got bet­ter. What are we to do?

    • Thanks for the thoughts Vin­cent. Def­i­nitely feel your pain. This is why hav­ing con­trol of our data is so impor­tant, but even if we do, seems like the lit­tle things (e.g. meta­data) often doesn’t work between ser­vices. Another issue is that a com­pet­i­tive pro­duct has to be A LOT bet­ter for peo­ple to go through the has­sle of switch­ing, so the incum­bents have plenty of lee­way to ignore lit­tle things.

  • This is why I’m using Spring­pad. The author of the arti­cle may give it a try ans share his thoughts on it.

  • Shinier inter­face with fewer fea­tures? Sounds exactly like what they did to Skitch when they bought it, piss­ing off a huge num­ber of users. Like a lot of oth­ers, I didn’t upgrade for months until they added back in the fea­tures I use all the time.

  • Long time Ever­note user. Actu­ally since the very begin­ning before Phil and the cur­rent team. (Wish I could access that data, btw). This is trou­bling. My advice to the team, is tem­porar­ily hold the devel­op­ment iter­a­tions and fix this issue. All hands on deck. 

    As a power user I have all the fea­tures I need for 2014 but wish:

    1. The iPad and iPhone apps wouldn’t crash
    2. That the search func­tion­al­ity on my PC didn’t hes­i­tate EVERYTIME after two char­ac­ters are typed in.
    3. The search func­tion­al­ity was more intu­itive (instead hav­ing to remem­ber short­cuts)

    And lastly, this ter­ri­ble secu­rity issue and dis­ap­pear­ing audio files that Jason writes about.

    Phil, this is seri­ous and I’m sure you’ll get on it imme­di­ately!

  • Another thumb up for Spring­pad after los­ing my stuff 2x on Nev­er­note!

  • I’ve had so many prob­lems, audio files included, that I’m not renew­ing. And their iOS7 update made it harder to use (and to read with the whole low-con­trast thing).

    Too bad there’s no rea­son­able com­pe­ti­tion, which is why EN doesn’t have to fix any­thing. If some­one came out with a pro­duct that would store on Google Drive, that’d be awe­some.

    • See my posts below.

    • As long as you don’t mind Google sell­ing your per­sonal data to adver­tis­ers.

  • Pre­mium user since 2008. This post rings true and so glad Phil paid atten­tion. Its high time to stop adding ANY fea­tures. Maybe even take some away tem­porar­ily. The IOS7 app truly sucks. Fre­quent crashes and the worst inter­face redesign pos­si­ble. The new post func­tion often doesn’t work. The 5.0 desk­top win app search is hor­ri­ble inter­face and unre­li­able results.

    – ios 7 – sta­bilise and get it back to rock solid. Go back to sim­ple non-green design and one that works when func­tion is selected.
    – desk­top – review search. Some­times search comes back with no answer when I know the note is there. Try­ing later it works. Very frus­trat­ing.

    • Ever­note has always had a bad UI. It’s clut­tered an unin­tu­itive. We’re stuck with it for now.

    • Agreed but it was accept­able before win v5/ ios7.. 

      As the other com­ments here note, part of the issue lies with how hard it is to cre­ate good UI on multi plat­form apps. 

      But the UI is sec­ondary to hav­ing faith that this ele­phant will remem­ber my sev­eral thou­sand notes com­pris­ing research, tasks, work, pdf, text notes and some pics, will be there forever. This is the crux of how I read Jason’s post and while I don’t use audio, his com­ments res­onate with me.

      I have faith in Libin and EN, and I hope this is a great level set for the EN team to re-focus on some fun­da­men­tals before expand­ing ser­vices. Per­son­ally if I was CTO I would place a freeze on 3rd party app con­nec­tiv­ity until the base apps for win, mac and ios are rock solid for the 80 mil­lion of users and espe­cially us pre­mium users who before any­thing wish for reli­a­bil­ity, sta­bil­ity and effi­ciency. The team need focus, focus, focus.

  • Hey Jason, Ever­note employee here. Looks like Phil beat me to the punch, but still sorry to hear about your trou­bles.

    Out of curios­ity, do you hap­pen to use any­thing out­side our Mac and iOS clients?

    • Hi Daniel, thanks for the com­ment. Yeah, I some­times use the Android app (these days usu­ally the Nexus 7; also on the Nexus 4 some­times).

  • Thank you for call­ing out the ele­phant in the room. I wish your arti­cle didn’t res­onate so much, but it’s spot on.

  • After months of months of wait­ing their Fire­fox Web Clip­per is still bro­ken. Noth­ing works. They come out with all those new tools, but noth­ing really works.

    Just a sign that a com­pany is not focused any­more.

  • Excel­lent arti­cle, thanks for the heads up. I was actu­ally within a click of sub­scrib­ing to Ever­note Pre­mium ser­vice, but will hold off until they get their act together. Thought Ever­note would be a highly reli­able and cohe­sive sys­tem com­pared to my rag­tag method of copy/pasting notes around ios Notes, Yahoo Notepad, and Gdocs. It’s as crappy as it gets, but (knock on wood) the memos/notes/ have remained intact for years and years.

  • This rein­forces my deci­sion to keep work­ing on a Mac app that will have some over­lap­ping func­tion­al­ity (link and web page stor­age), and sync with Ever­note rather than com­mit every­thing I’m work­ing on to some­thing like Ever­note. Evernote’s quickly becom­ing a hot mess, add to that, I’m sick of ser­vices that store your info just dis­ap­pear­ing. Local stor­age of your own info with some shar­ing is still the safest, best route I think.

    • Try Note­Suite.

    • I bought Note­suite on Mac and iPad and moved most of my Ever­note con­tent to it. Not bad so far but not sure if it is a keeper. I won­der how long they will be around for one thing.

    • Another Mac/iPad note app is Out­line. No iPhone app though.

  • Yes, yes,and amen to all of this. Sad to see that a post on a well-read blog gets so much atten­tion from the CEO, while posts on their own user forum are really con­sid­ered just noise. (I’m think­ing specif­i­cally of all the Win­dows ver­sion 5 beta testers who said the pro­duct was buggy, ugly, and miss­ing fea­tures, yet they pushed it any­way. For­tu­nately, as a forum reader, I knew not to “upgrade.”) I won­der if the EN cor­po­rate cul­ture must be one where the mes­sen­ger is shot, so the truth sim­ply doesn’t reach a cer­tain level of man­age­ment.

  • I see your prob­lem. You’re using a Mac. While it’s true that I’m not exactly much of a Mac fan, I also have a legit­i­mate rea­son for say­ing it. Ever­note isn’t Mac native. It prob­a­bly has a smaller devel­oper count, and prob­a­bly doesn’t have as wide­spread test­ing as the PC Ever­note does (just be sheer weight of users). If you are a Mac user who insists on using PC native pro­grams, expect a few bugs. I know I expect a few when I use Mac native stuff on my PC (hello, Scrivener and Final­Draft).

    • That makes no sense at all. Ever­note is of course Mac native.

  • I’ve tried Ever­note mul­ti­ple times, but its mon­strous size and slow work always ruined the expe­ri­ence. After another failed attempt I’ve dis­cov­ered OneNote, which is built into MS Office. I never really tried it, and I was really shocked that I’ve over­looked such a great pro­gram. It does sync to the cloud, works on mul­ti­ple plat­forms includ­ing Android, and it is crazy fast.

    • +1 for OneNote. It’s basi­cally on every plat­form and works great.

    • Again, no it isn’t. It’s not on OS X.

  • I under­stand why Ever­note has it’s fans. After all, I’m a Mac fan­boy, so I get it. I tried Ever­note when it first came out and found it too kludgy to use. Also, their cod­ing and metaphors seemed off to me. I hate bad code. Of course I fil­ter most apps through the lens of a clean Apple aes­thetic. As a real estate agent, I use Ever­note, but grudg­ingly. As soon as Note­Suite comes out with an iPhone app, I’m gone. 

    I have high hopes for Note­Suite. So far I like it and the learn­ing curve is not as steep as Ever­note. The down­side to Note­Suite is that there is no iPhone app and it’s Mac only. The devel­oper says there is an iPhone app on the way in the first half of 2014. Some peo­ple will not like their is no web ver­sion. So far though, I think it’s the best con­sumer level alter­na­tive to Ever­note.

    • Thanks Roland, will keep watch­ing Note­Suite keenly for iPhone/iPad ver­sions.

  • Medi­at­ing complexity/extending toolsets /syncing data and UX in and across mul­ti­ple plat­forms is a chal­lenge for all soft­ware dev these days.
    Rapid iter­a­tion for mktg sched­ules with­out ade­quate QA doesn’t help.
    [Is ade­quate QA in cur­rent world even pos­si­ble?]
    I can’t think of a sin­gle app on any of the plat­forms I use [Mac,Win,Android,Linux] that I can con­sider ‘bul­let-proof’ reli­able in any way like I could maybe 5–10 yrs ago.

    I use Ever­note [Mac & Nexus 4/7] and it works ok.
    I don’t ham­mer it and also try to build in some redun­dant best prac­tices if I’m work­ing on mis­sion crit­i­cal stuff. To my mind, the dataloss/notetaking/formatting glitches & bugs men­tioned are part of the con­tin­uum of flawed soft­ware tools we all rou­tinely work with [the MSOf­fice suite and Exchange come to mind but Adobe has really been drop­ping the ball lately too]

    That said, Ever­note team should do the right thing and take a long view; step back and focus on stability/usability and stop push­ing more bells & whistles. Ulti­mately, I will stay with a sta­bile, use­ful toolset.

  • as some­one who works on a very large web app for a liv­ing … oh man, if you could see what goes on in the kitchen you’d never eat again.

    if you care about your data at all, back yer stuff up, often. very very often. if the ser­vice doesn’t allow an export, or makes it too hard, don’t use ’em, (and cer­tainly don’t give them money).

    • That’s why I don’t use Ever­note (or any other note ser­vice) for crit­i­cal file stor­age. Every­thing is on my Mac which is cloned daily. All my work files are on Drop­box and Google Drive which of course are backed up daily as part of my Mac clone. 

      There are some real Ever­note fanat­ics out there in the real estate indus­try that put every­thing in Ever­note. Some have even made a cot­tage indus­try of sell­ing you expen­sive how-to videos on how to use Ever­note in real estate. They even sug­gest you are out of the loop if you don’t do things their way. These agents are really the ones out of the loop because they are stuck in bib­li­cal all or noth­ing propo­si­tion.

      There are apps that I absolutely love on my Mac and iDe­vices. But, I am always look­ing for new apps that do the same thing. I’m just a geek that way. There are also some really gifted coders out there that real­ize UI, per­for­mance and data porta­bil­ity are key to a great app.

  • Left the Ever­note uni­ver­sum after their iOS7 client dis­as­ter.
    PANDOC is the soft­ware of choise to migrate your notes to some­thing like Mark­down

  • Two words: Google Keep.

    • And another walled gar­den …
      These are your impor­tant notes, why give them to some­one else? Go open source and run your own infra­struc­ture

    • Google Keep has its own prob­lems…

    • Where Google will hap­pily sell your con­tents to adver­tis­ers.

  • Same case here, I used Ever­note for 1 whole year, than my most impor­tant file (the agenda of more than 6 months of meet­ings, with all the sub­jects and details) were gone.
    I was a free user, and after 15 days Ever­note gave 1 week of the paid plan, so I could recover a file of 2 months of ago, so in the final I lost 8 weeks of work! Oh how I hated it.
    Never used it again, as as an alter­na­tive to Ever­note I use Drop­box, cre­ate any file and save on it. Drop­box has been secure and reli­able in the past 3 years.

  • Yeah, well, it’s just Ever­note. I don’t use it for any­thing impor­tant.

  • Ditto. I use Ever­note daily, and have for about 3 years. But only because it fills a crit­i­cal need and there hasn’t been any seri­ous com­peti­tors. The qual­ity prob­lem is not a recent thing, it’s been this way the whole time. The engi­neer­ing orga­ni­za­tion there is just sig­nif­i­cantly sub-par (I say this as a long time soft­ware engi­neer­ing man­ager). Period.

    I even once thought about writ­ing a let­ter to their CEO in case he wasn’t aware of how bad it was, but I fig­ured I’d just sound like a crank. Here’s a hint to him though if he ever reads this : If you want to build a 100-year com­pany, hav­ing a solid foun­da­tion for your pro­duct is a good place to start.

  • I agree with most peo­ple here that Ever­note needs to focus on stability/usability over push­ing out more bells & whistles, but my main con­cern is that the tool can really only han­dle basic notes and lists at this moment. For any­one with more com­plex ideas and com­pli­cated issues to remem­ber, there aren’t really any good alter­na­tives. If any­one has heard of some other tools, please let me know.

  • This is very alarm­ing. Thank­fully I stopped using Ever­note a while ago. I use plain text files saved in Drop­box. Obvi­ously it doesn’t sup­port any­thing other than text, but I have sim­ple needs.

    • Plain text is the way to go. You may add a ver­sion con­troll sys­tem like git to your files (that even works with drop box)

    • What about use RTF (rich text for­mat) files in Drop­box? They can at least include images. This is my cur­rent plan to move away from Ever­note. I really don’t like the fact that Ever­note stores in a pro­pri­etary for­mat that can’t be exported eas­ily.

  • Thanks for your detailed post and shar­ing your expe­ri­ence.

    It truly is inter­est­ing how the uni­verse works! Yes­ter­day, I engaged in try­ing Evernote/Skitch as an alter­na­tives to a com­pet­i­tive pro­duct I’ve used for a decade to record notes, scrib­bles, audio, and video – now into the cloud. 

    With my deep dive into Ever­note, I was first taken back by the anti­quated UX on the desk­top ver­sion and lim­ited capa­bil­i­ties of the tablet ver­sion. I gave up, but still respected Ever­note to be a viable alter­na­tive, be it some­what dated.

    I believe you put the final nail into the Ever­note coffin.

    Lesson learned: some­times it is bet­ter to be happy with what you have – the grass may look greener on the other side but the pes­ti­cides just aren’t worth it.

  • For me the clar­ion call was when the fire­fox clip­per stopped work­ing after the upgrade to FF26. There was no com­mu­ni­ca­tion from ever­note when it hap­pened what­so­ever.

    When I con­tacted sup­ported I received hems and haws and sug­ges­tions to use chrome’s clip­per… !!! Aston­ish­ing. Sim­ply aston­ish­ing.

    If ever­note can’t main­tain a clip­per for fire­fox, a top open sourced browser, then I’m not sure what the heck I’m pay­ing them for.

  • I want to see good inte­gra­tion with Inter­net browser. So we can save and add notes about online con­tents and oth­erd

  • I use Col­orNote for notes, and Box for files.

    The UI of Ever­note is so cum­ber­some, that I couldn’t use it. Note tak­ing is about “input speed”, not fea­tures.

  • sad but all feels true to me too. i believe i’ve lost hun­dreds of notes which i have no idea how to recover and over time i’ve got­ten more frus­trated vs. delighted by ever­note which is a big bum­mer…

  • Drop­box with text edi­tors that hold the files like notes is what I use and I’m on every plat­form except Mac.

    Resoph note for PC.
    Sim­ple note for ios.
    Drafts for android,

    And they all sync up per­fectly from Drop­box.

    • So this is all text only I pre­sume? I don’t require audio record­ing for my notes (I can use a sep­a­rate app if I need to do that.. I’m on Mac/iOS as it hap­pens), but images/photos are a really use­ful part of my note tak­ing.

  • I had and saw so many prob­lems, bugs, glitches, strange­ness, data lost, unsync­ing peri­ods that at some point I just stopped try­ing to get help from their inred­i­bly slug­gish sup­port. Ever­note should stop grow­ing, no more users!, and start build­ing bet­ter soft­ware. They didn’t real­ized that some peo­ples lives are stored in their data­bases and loos­ing one sin­gle note could be some­thing as near as the end. Thanks for putting in a great arti­cle every­thing I think­ing and expe­ri­enc­ing with this App.

  • Augh, all so true, and so many of the com­ments fill in all the other pain points. Bizarre sync­ing, cum­ber­some input, and so many glitches I started think­ing I was invent­ing them. Thanks for writ­ing this.

  • Jason you bring up many excel­lent points. Many con­cern me… Some I have expe­ri­enced, oth­ers I have not… either way, none of your exper­ince is accept­able. Glad you heard from Phil… But, is it too late for you?

  • The iPad ver­sion of Note­Suite is superb, prob­a­bly bet­ter than the desk­top one.

    I’m lik­ing Note­Suite a lot. Does every­thing I might want to do with Ever­note (includ­ing web clip­ping, audio, and PDF anno­ta­tion). There are still some UX issues, as with any new app, but they have a roadmap for fix­ing these.

  • I feel your pain, which is why I recently pretty much aban­doned Ever­note despite hav­ing 2 years Pre­mium left on my account.

    I now use a com­bi­na­tion of plain text notes and Devon­THINK for doc­u­ment stor­age.

  • Same as many before. I’m a paid user for years. To many prob­lems last year. 1/1/14 I switched to note­suite: typed AND hand­writte notes in one app. Great.

  • I used to use Catch (catch.com) which was excel­lent. Never had a prob­lem. Unfor­tu­nately, they shut down the ser­vice in August (2013) as they were not mak­ing money.

  • Ever­note Ver­i­fier. Is there some­thing like it out there?
    Since get­ting ALL your data out of there is not pos­si­ble, It would be great to have a crawler that would check your links, for empty audio,video, cor­rupt images, and the like.

    IFTTT : could it dupli­cate every­thing some­where else(s). It would be prefer­able on my own hard drive. Or have every­thing dupli­cated on dif­fer­ent cloud ser­vices. Could some­one let me know if they a have a defined recipe list?

  • To quote another com­ment, shared note con­flicts are absurdly com­mon. There are bet­ter col­lab­o­ra­tive edit­ing imple­men­ta­tions than all or noth­ing. decided not to use Ever­note for any­thing that needs to be updated, but only to store sta­tic stuff.

  • Just started to use Ever­note, as I got 1 year of pre­mium for free. So far, the win­dows app works fine. Now I really have to go deeper into the Android app and test it, before I move my data to Ever­note.

    Any­way, I guess that the response of Phil Libin is a good sign. Keep­ing up with com­peti­tors – spe­cialy on sys­tems like ios and android – seems to cause a lot of trouble/bugs. Its like its more impor­tant to ship out a pro­duct right in time – instead of deliver a good and work­ing pro­duct.

  • I have 13,000 notes in my Ever­note data­base and i’m scared to death now after read­ing your blog post. :(((

  • I’ve expe­ri­enced many issues with Ever­note and I’m a pay­ing Pre­mium user. I’m always unpleas­antly sur­prised when Ever­note comes up with prod­ucts such as Ever­note Mar­ket or Ever­note back­pack, which are so tan­gen­tial to their core tech­nol­ogy.

  • I am Pre­mium-User since back in 2010. Since then Ever­note has let me down twice. I have around 8000 notes in my account but I can­not say this exactly, because on every device i own (a Mac, a PC and an iPhone) there are dif­fer­ent num­bers of notes (vary­ing a few hun­dred notes). But a few days ago EN made me quit­ting my Pre­mium sub­scrip­tion. I recorded two days of an impor­tant meet­ing as an audio note within Ever­note on my iPhone5. On the first day i had no prob­lems. Excel­lent audio qual­ity and play­ing on every device i tried. On the sec­ond day the record­ing went well again. It was about 5 hours worth of audio. But when i saved the note in the iPhone-App it crashed and my audio file had gone to nir­vana. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. My pre­mium sub­scrip­tion is still run­ning until July so EN has a bit of time to gain back lost faith. We will see. Until then I changed back to textfiles and a audio record­ing app called “iProRecorder” that i used before Ever­note. Although the app is not updated any longer, it has never let me down dur­ing any record­ing.

  • The prob­lem is big­ger than Ever­Note. The pen­du­lum in the Web/App soft­ware indus­try has swung too far from ‘get it right’ towards ‘get it out the door’. There is a dif­fer­ence between releas­ing early and iter­at­ing to get your ‘design’ right, and releas­ing early and iter­at­ing to get your code debugged. Too many of today’s crop of devel­op­ers think of QA as a bur­den, or some­one else’s job.

    My opin­ion based on my expe­ri­ences and obser­va­tions. Even Apple and Google reg­u­larly release poor qual­ity soft­ware.

  • Your update made it seem as if you had pre­cip­i­tated a change in EN’s game plan. They didn’t decide to refo­cus on account of your post… Phil Libin is sim­ply let­ting us in on what was and is already in the pipeline. Clar­i­fy­ing things… Con­firm­ing what is to come. I think regard­less, we would have been pleas­antly sur­prised in due course with­out his dis­clo­sure.

  • I’m an pre­mium Ever­note user, mainly for sync­ing doc­u­ments and text con­tent, and the ser­vice has been my brain for a while now (it even dri­ves my blog via postach.io). I’ve also been a user of Office 365, which I really loved, but going back to a Mac-cen­tric work­flow made the ser­vice less usable, so I went back to Ever­note. I’ve had a much bet­ter expe­ri­ence that you’ve appeared to have, but the secu­rity issues you’ve exposed may drive me back to Office 365 (or at least just using Sky­drive and a local doc­u­ment man­age­ment app like Paper­less or doo).

  • I should have posted a blog rather than a pri­vate email when I wrote a sim­i­lar rant when the iOS 6 era client was unus­able for typ­ing.

    I use SoundE­ver on iPhone for record­ing sound partly because it is vastly safer when dri­ving (big ugly but­tons on the entire phone face).

    I think a lot of the trou­ble on iOS comes from a deci­sion to use a nested web-based edi­tor instead bit­ing the bul­let and writ­ing a fully native iOS edi­tor (it may be native now but I doubt it).

    The Sur­face RT ver­sion is, and always has been, a pretty dis­as­ter. It’s a nice exam­ple of try­ing to fol­low the Metro UI guide­li­nes but proves they don’t scale and run­ning on RT is hor­ren­dously frag­ile.

    Some defense:

    For peo­ple with issues such as:
    “For any­one with more com­plex ideas and com­pli­cated issues to remem­ber, there aren’t really any good alter­na­tives.” stop think­ing of indi­vid­ual notes as need­ing to have a com­plex engine – I track very com­plex writ­ing and soft­ware devel­op­ment ideas in Ever­note by using mul­ti­ple notes and note links. It can eas­ily be used in “wiki style”. Some of the tech­niques I use, such as drag­ging a col­lec­tion of notes into another to get a list of links, came from lis­ten­ing to Phil’s pod­cast.

    I have lit­tle sym­pa­thy for peo­ple who go on about how they have used the ser­vice for years, it’s vital to them, but have never paid for it.

    • How self right­eous. Then don’t offer a freemium ser­vice and make every­one pay for it. Maybe Ever­note would have turned out bet­ter, but I doubt it. Crappy code is crappy code.

  • Switched to One Note; hap­pier!
    Yep! I had been los­ing stuff for some time but pre­sumed it was me. Beside all the above, Evernote’s han­dling of Secure Notes is kludge at best. Find­ing an alter­na­tive has been on my medium to-do list for about 6 months. So today I spent like 2 hours set­ting up OneNote (2010) and copy­ing about 8 notes over (man­ual cut and paste), and test­ing iPhone and browser access; secure notes; fea­tures, etc. Not bad, a touch slow to sync. But the rib­bon and quick access tool­bar which I hated when intro­duced, and with which I am now com­fort­able, is mostly the same as other MS Apps, it seems fea­ture rich and proces­sor light. I will keep it for a cou­ple months and see how it works out. At moment I would rate it 8/10, Ever­note would get a 4/10. Not per­fect but much bet­ter espe­cially if you are a power MS Offi­cer. I had to tweak the con­fig a lot. I bet 2013 is really good but haven’t yet a com­pelling rea­son to $$.

  • I have never had prob­lems with cor­rupted or deleted files(thank god, but it might be because all my notes are text only), but Ever­note crashes way too often on my Android tablet and I sit with my heart ham­mer­ing in my throat every time, fear­ing I might have lost what­ever I was work­ing on.
    It’s bad for my health!

  • Fail Libin’….. Clearly work­ing hard on EN IPO or sale: pump­ing up user-num­bers, brag­ging about the ‘user-expe­ri­ence’, but ignor­ing said ‘val­ued’ users com­pletely – and con­sis­tently. Only a ‘VIP-blog­ger’ gets his atten­tion…

    Have been using EN for years, hav­ing rec­om­mended it to sev­eral clients… No power-user, so have not really run into recur­ring errors. But one of the things repeat­edly gave prob­lems is/was the installer: it just stopped. And, it installed to a sep­a­rate folder, not replac­ing the exist­ing install, so I had to man­u­ally locate the data­base-file. It seems fixed now, but it took at least a year – if not longer… Seems basic but fun­da­men­tal to me…. (how­ever, EN is free – maybe that gives many of us here less lever­age?)

    @ Jason Kin­caid: try http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ (Win­dows only) to sal­vage that music file.

  • EDIT: Audac­ity for Mac: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/

  • Thanks for the arti­cle. Many peo­ple have been com­plain­ing to Ever­note about seri­ous issues only to be ignored. One media arti­cle and sud­denly they seem to care…I’m hardly encour­aged, but I hope they “get it” finally. I looked at other note-tak­ing soft­ware and unfor­tu­nately noth­ing had many of the must-haves on my list but owing to sim­i­lar issues am on the fence as to whether I keep using Ever­note.

  • Run your own ser­vice, on your own server. Accept no sub­sti­tutes. Ever­note has the keys to your king­dom.

  • I hope they change that awful new green color back to the old pleas­ant green color.

  • Hello,

    I have not noticed any of my notes van­ish but I don’t use audio record­ing in EN

    Given that Phil seems to care about what Jason thinks about EN, I’m going to post some­thing I have already pub­lished in EN forums, as a response to Ever­note cus­tomer sup­port, and vir­tu­ally in any place I’ve come to think it would go fit with the dis­cus­sion.

    If Ever­note con­tin­ues to mar­ket they aim at being our exter­nal brains, when are they going to fully encrypt my ideas? And I’m not tak­ing about their clumsy test encryp­tion, I’m talk­ing about full server side encryp­tion. I have some­what 1500 synced notes and about 400 local notes that I won’t be putting up on their servers unless they offer full server side encryp­tion. And I can say it is a role has­sle, and that is utterly annoy­ing and inad­e­quate for my pur­poses or rather for the aver­age pur­poses of users.

    And please, don’t tell me it is not easy or even fea­si­ble. As long as I can be sure that my notes are safe from pry­ing eyes, EN can’t be regarded as my external/reliable brain.

    Phil, stop adding fea­tures that are not being demanded and start adding full encryp­tion and oth­ers. These shouldn’t even be con­sid­ered fea­tures, they are MUSTs…

    For the record, I’m a pre­mium users since 2008 and I always sug­gest your app when I’m asked how I keep track of my notes. But I always make sure they under­stand that their notes can be accessed if EN infra­struc­ture gets com­pro­mised. While I think that the EN suite is extremely smart and catchy, I regret to not be able to trust it and be forced to fid­dle around if I want to sat­isfy the aver­age needs of every user who aims at man­ag­ing a paper­less setup.

    I really hope Phil gets to read this.

    • Yes, EN could do full encryp­tion (to be fully secure, the encryp­tion would have to be done on the client so the only thing that gets sent to the server is “ran­dom noise”). How­ever, if they didn’t have the key to decrypt this “noise”, then they couldn’t index it, so the only indexing/searching would be lim­ited to what could be done on the client – prob­a­bly no OCR for exam­ple). I’m not say­ing they shouldn’t do it (it would be good to have it as an option), but we need to under­stand what we’re ask­ing for

    • 100% under­stood. They could move the com­put­ing power to the thick clients like Mac or Win plat­forms and let mobile devices con­sume the con­tents

  • Note­Suite (mac only) is the word. It looks like Ever­note is a Note­Suite wannabe. NS is robust, the exten­sions for safari and/ or chromium less demand­ing, way much bet­ter then EN. And it syncs through iCloud, so it does‘t rises any pri­vacy con­cerns.
    It does have an iPad app – which let you use a sty­lus, too. Note­suite is awe­some.

  • I just signed up for a Medium Size Busi­ness account on Office 365 (so I can have access to MS Office and OneNote) and am mov­ing every­thing out of Ever­note to Sky­Drive Pro and OneNote. 

    I’ll prob­a­bly end up also ditch­ing OS X and let­ting Win­dows 8 use the entire hard drive on my Mac mini since the only remain­ing pur­pose I had to OS X was video edit­ing, which I can do with other appli­ca­tions.

  • I think Phil cares that this blog post is get­ting wide view­ing more than any­thing. if he really ares about the issues he would have already done some­thing about them.

  • First of all, nice arti­cle. It’s impor­tant to explose the issues clearly. But, let’s be real: EN is still a great app. It’s just that they’re hav­ing some grow­ing pains. All pop­u­lar appli­ca­tions or ser­vices go through this. Yes, it may be a lit­tle buggy, but if they lis­ten to their users, won’t they even­tu­ally resolve the prob­lems?. I’ve been using Ever­note since 2010 and it’s been good to me over­all. I went from Android to iOS, from Win­dows to Mac OSX. All my notes sur­vived. Ever­note and Drop­box were instru­men­tal for my paper­less lifestyle. But I’m not going to jump ship just for a few bugs. What frus­trates me is their inabil­ity to keep the UI the same accross the dif­fer­ent plat­forms. I also find myself using the web ver­sion and mobile app ver­sions inter­change­ably. Has it been buggy? Yes. But I still find great value in this cross-plat­form note tak­ing appli­ca­tion with its encrypted text option and two-fac­tor authen­ti­ca­tion. I do agree with some here that more empha­sis should be made on secu­rity. By the way, my brain is buggy too.

  • Thanks for post­ing this. My expe­ri­ence is a sim­i­lar one, although with a series of com­pletely dif­fer­ent bugs and incon­sis­ten­cies. If there was a wor­thy com­peti­tor app avail­able I would jump ship in a heart­beat.

  • Alas… I totally agree with Jason.

    Please Ever­note team, please Phil, get back to your core-busi­ness!

    Get rid of Hello, Food, Peek, Seek, Clearly, Penul­ti­mate, Skitch, (wow, how many are there!?) … and focus on Ever­note. Just Ever­note. The pro­duct we love.

    Fix and stan­dard­ise the leg­endary painful text edi­tor (you know, like adding the head­ers 1, 2, 3…), improve sync, and fix the bugs.

    That’s all what we need!

    • I dis­agree. Penul­ti­mate and ask itch are part of Evernote’s core busi­ness to me at least.

    • For you, yes, of course… but Food for some­one else, Hello for another and so on…

      That’s why it’s not part of the core busi­ness when the main Ever­note apps are so clumsy/buggy/unstable.

      Diver­si­fi­ca­tion only works on rock-solid core pro­duct.

      Also, I don’t under­stand why they do this because it’s against the logic of the API: let other com­pa­nies build great (sub-) prod­ucts on top of Ever­note!

    • No no no. Skitch and Penul­ti­mate are way more a part of the core fea­ture set than you’re rec­og­niz­ing. They’re both MASSIVELY, MASSIVELY pop­u­lar. Also, Ever­note acquired both, they didn’t build them from scratch, so your bit about the logic of the API is skew­ered.

  • Ever­note and Bitrix24 are the best free pro­duc­tiv­ity tools in the his­tory of human­ity. Bugs piss me off too, but I can live with them.

  • Thanks a lot for writ­ing this Jason. I have expe­ri­enced very unpro­fes­sional cus­tomer ser­vice, not big errors (knock on wood) but a lot of appli­ca­tion crash­ing (iPad and iPhone) and I hope the CEO under­stands that this is a MAJOR issue, you have to have the cus­tomer TRUST when it comes to such an impor­tant app in your life (for me TSW and gen­eral infor­ma­tion stor­age).
    Thanks again!! 

    PS: I have to start back up my client files on my PC!

  • This is exactly why I ditched Ever­note a year or so ago and went over to Sim­plenote – reli­able to a fault, has not lost a sin­gle note. Ever­note drove me crazy – I’d lit­er­ally walk into meet­ings with my notes entered on my com­puter and they wouldn’t sync to my phone.. and look like I was unpre­pared. Sim­plenote saved the day and is light­en­ing fast. If all you need is text notes – bingo.

  • This is all I needed to ditch Ever­note for good! I have been a user since 2008 and have been let down sev­eral times. After being a pre­mium user I down­graded after they elim­i­nated the “clip to pdf” fea­ture, which was essen­tial to my work. They sim­ply ignored thou­sands of users which con­tacted the forum and sup­port ask­ing for that fea­ture to return. Com­plete arro­gance and short­sigh­ness. After that I endured the work­flow get­ting slower and bloated untill now, when I sim­ply can­not get the web clip­per to clip any­thing at all. Again I went to the forum just to con­firm that hun­dred of users have had expe­ri­enc­ing the same prob­lem while Ever­note sup­port doesn’t seem to care. Out­ra­geous!

  • Thanks for shar­ing. I loved Ever­note when I first got my iPhone and iPad (I was a late adopter) but have not used it as much, and no longer add new notes. I just found it too rid­dled with prob­lems and bugs, had prob­lems try­ing to access info when not on wifi, and when I tried to upgrade awhile back, I could not even make that hap­pen. Unfor­tu­nate.

  • Thank you so much for tak­ing the time to put into words what many of us think, and thus cre­at­ing the nec­es­sary force to hope­fully bring change for the bet­ter for all of us.

  • I came across your arti­cle search­ing for “ever­note 5 win­dows per­for­mance”. I’ve been using EN for sev­eral years at this point, and am a Pre­mium user, and gen­er­ally rec­om­mend it to every­one who needs help orga­niz­ing. I don’t know how I func­tioned before EN.

    I’ve had some issues here and there as described with sync issues and such, but would just try to remem­ber to close Ever­note on com­put­ers I’m not actively using, or remem­ber to not edit notes on my smart­phone or risk wonky for­mat­ting on the desk­top side later on, etc. some other issues here and there as well, but most recently, since the ver­sion 5 update on Win­dows, the client lag issue is absolutely killing me. I’ve been in touch with EN sup­port on this and we’ve tried all sorts of things. noth­ing works. this issue is well doc­u­mented on the EN forums. I’m fairly tol­er­ant, but this issue has been ongo­ing for months with­out res­o­lu­tion, with frus­tra­tion mount­ing. The response from Phil Libin sure sounds nice and promis­ing, but with­out deliv­ery of fixes, it’s all just dis­ap­point­ing cus­tomer ser­vice fluff talk – it’s a garbage response. this arti­cle was writ­ten in Jan­u­ary. It’s May 2014. I’m still suf­fer­ing through the client lag that’s appar­ently appeared in Novem­ber 2013. how long does it take to get this stuff fixed? it’s become very frus­trat­ing deal­ing with this, going on sev­eral months now. I pay for this ser­vice.

    Mac client seems to work okay.

    (Wish Word­Press offered a post acknowl­edge­ment sys­tem – my frus­tra­tion mir­rors that of many who’ve posted before me.)

  • July 2014 here. Came here because ios crashes, win­dows crashes of Ever­note never get fixed. I lost drag and drop nearly 2 years ago on Win­dows. It never came back. I was about to get post-it notes, but now the post-it note cam­era crashes the app. Every sin­gle time. Stop mak­ing Ever­note socks and start run­ning QA.

  • Weird I have not had any prob­lems with Ever­note. I do hope for stronger text man­age tools ( sort­ing, search­ing ) like Notepad++ has, but for it’s designed for – the stor­age and retrieval of text infor­ma­tion – it does a great job.

  • Same prob­lem. Started using Ever­note, using Mac, iPad, and iPhone. All was fine until today. Mac app crashed twice. Now, sync doesn’t work. Thought I’d give Ever­note a try again, now I’m done with it.

  • Its August 2014 and I still have prob­lems sync­ing. Both when I setup a new com­puter and when its an exist­ing one that upgrades to the next ver­sion. You can love the sys­tem and still say it has prob­lems. I always love the com­ments that mine works and you never com­plained about the new fea­tures. Not help­ful. Ever­note has issues with sync­ing and some of us know it. I have con­tacted sup­port both on a paid and free account. All times the expe­ri­ence with tech sup­port was bad. They would rather blame me or the Inter­net speed. Never mind I might have tried sync­ing on mul­ti­ple new com­put­ers and mul­ti­ple Inter­net con­nec­tions. Its frus­trat­ing.

  • To me the most incon­ve­nient ‘ fea­ture’ of Ever­note is the Web Clip­per. It is quirky when you use it from browser to browser and when you are not using it, it runs in the back­ground hog­ging resources and slow­ing Inter­net access dra­mat­i­cally (I am sit­u­ated poorly with respect to my incom­ing sig­nal and I can’t move just because of that.). So I end up using Task Man­ager all the time to shut it down to get decent Inter­net speed. 

    Add this to the lurk­ing pres­ence of a par­tic­u­lar Ever­note ‘expert’ in the online Help forums, who butts in rudely, basi­cally telling every­one not to stop whin­ing and go use some­thing else, and you get a for­mula for mass pro­duct aban­don­ment.

  • Sep­tem­ber 2014 and as any­one who has used ever­note since this post knows, the soft­ware is still garbage. I use it on iOS, Mac, and win­dows. It’s junk, no mat­ter how many times you rein­stall it. I have show stop­per bugs monthly. I don’t even con­tact sup­port any more. All they say is rein­stall. Rein­stall ever­note, it’s become the new reboot. I have had enough. Libin has proved him­self a liar. Good luck with the socks and wal­lets.

  • 8 months later, and your blog post still rings true!

  • Guys, you just need to remem­ber the actual devel­op­ment team is very small.
    I am build­ing the 3rd ver­sion of my cloud based app and I also inte­grated Ever­note, among oth­ers. The devel­oper sup­port response or gen­eral sup­port or bug fixes is VERY big. Shit I ended up find­ing and solv­ing 3 bugs in their PHP and Python sdks and api. So yeah…. to much hype and to lit­tle pro­gress.

  • I agree 100% per­cent. I was just about to start a rant blog because Ever­note forked one of my notes (again) into two diver­gent copies pre­sum­ably due to spotty con­nec­tiv­ity. And this is with no other device involved. It is high time that some­one cre­ates a note-tak­ing app that doesn’t lose or gar­ble your data.

  • 8 months later and Ever­note is STILL FILLED with bugs too numer­ous to count. When the iOS ver­sion mys­te­ri­ously and intru­sively began adding extra space between lists with check­boxes I said “Enough” and ditched it for OneNote. With recent com­pany projects using Ever­note, I’ve reluc­tantly had to come back. Found this web­page search­ing for a solu­tion to a bug — searches work dif­fer­ently on Win­dows and iOS, with intitle:WORD on the iOS return­ing intitle:WORD*. Geeez.

    Indent / out­dent is STILL BROKEN on the iPad after a year. There’s STILL no font selec­tion, size, or color or there either. There’s STILL no sim­ple note title view in iOS. 

    And for­get about mean­ing­ful new fea­tures, such as intra-note links, which are com­pletely nec­es­sary to use Evenote as a pri­mary work envi­ron­ment.

    I had great hopes with the CEO’s Jan­u­ary com­ments, and was even sent them by a tech sup­port rep. But the new line spac­ing bug is evi­dence that Ever­note has got­ten worse, not bet­ter.

  • this is so strange, because I have had NO issues with Ever­note in the years which I have been using it. I do in fact use it more now than ever before (the chaos in my brain was leak­ing into my work atmos­phere) but I’ve never seen stuff like this.. I do how­ever only use Ever­note for text and a few pho­tos from the web clip­pings which I try to remove in any case. 

    EN for me is every­thing: my work’s tasks, per­sonal tasks, projects of all sorts, work plans, blog posts in the mak­ing, a per­sonal jour­nal, lit­er­ally, Ever­note is my go-to for EVERYTHING. I’m just sur­prised to read this because I have never *knocks wood* had an issue with EN.

    I should also note that I have also never had an issue with hacks on EN. Gen­er­ally, I don’t have an issue with hacks because noth­ing I work with is par­tic­u­larly earth-shat­ter­ingly sen­si­tive. Banks get hacked all the time and it doesn’t worry me because it would be the bank’s fault, and any charges made dur­ing those time which I haven’t made would be paid back. Some­one said this is a prob­lem. I don’t think so. Pri­vacy is sub­jec­tive.

  • I share your over­all expe­ri­ences with Ever­note. Ever­note still feels like beta soft­ware, yet its been around for years. That’s not good. Glitches and bugs are fre­quent, and their sup­port is ill-equipped to deal with bug reports. I tried report­ing some bugs, and it was more frus­trat­ing deal­ing with their sup­port peo­ple than it was worth.

    I got tired of los­ing notes and hav­ing notes cor­rupted. I could write an essay about all the glitches I found, but they have a wall between devel­op­ers and users, so it is point­less.

    If I under­stand their CEO’s response to your blog, Ever­note includes your note titles (which may con­tain pri­vate infor­ma­tion) out­side of the data­base, in logs. How can their CEO find that accept­able?

  • I have Ever­note for Desk­top. It has func­tioned well in about two years: one sta­bil­ity or synch­ing prob­lem after another. I haven’t renewed my Pre­mium sub­scrip­tion.

    • Sorry. Should have been: “It HASN’T func­tioned well in about two years.”

  • I became a fan of Ever­note 2yrs ago and a paid sub­scriber a year ago. I absolutely hate the Win­dows appli­ca­tion and only have it so that I have a phys­i­cal copy of my notes on my machi­nes.

    Since your post, and Evernote’s reply, have you detected improve­ments to your issues? One of the things I hate is that the search func­tion­al­ity varies from plat­form to plat­form; from my Android phone to the web ver­sion to the Win­dows ver­sion, how it deals with boolean logic varies – there are times when I search one plat­form and get no hits for notes I know are there and can find on other plat­forms. And I find that utterly incred­i­ble.

    I had pre­vi­ously tried other note tools, and decided Ever­note pro­vided the most com­pre­hen­sive note solu­tion. If its best days are indeed behind it, what alter­na­tives are rec­om­mend­able these days?


  • Can’t agree more. I use Evernote’s basic fea­ture, using copy/paste text, not even those webclip/other func­tions, and it fail to search text! I have mul­ti­ple “Win­dows” in a note, and it can see some but not the other. “Ever­note fail to search for text” google search brought me to this page. 

    The only rea­son I haven’t switched to oth­ers (OneNote?) is Ever­note has encryp­tion fea­ture. But that doesn’t even work on Mac! 

    I am switch­ing out soon.

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