The value of Notebooks grows with the amount of information and effort you put into it, so it is essential to have a reliable backup strategy in place. That helps you quickly restore all documents in case anything goes wrong with your iPad or iPhone. This chapter describes several methods how to save the contents of Notebooks to your computer or another backup system, and how to restore it again.

Basic Tips

“It’s a matter of when you will lose data, not if.”

This is a saying in the IT world, so we should always be prepared and follow two basic recommendations:

  1. Backup regularly
  2. Do not rely on a single backup

You should take these tips seriously for all your data, not only for Notebooks.

Available Options (iOS)

Back Up Through iTunes or Finder

This is probably the simplest method, but it is often overlooked by our users. Every time you connect the iPhone or iPad to iTunes (or Finder, in macOS 10.15) and synchronize, the contents of Notebooks is saved to your computer. The documents are stored in a location predefined by your computer and they cannot be easily read or changed, but they are there in case you need to reset the device or restore it from a previous backup.

Many applications–free and paid–are available to help extract documents from an unencrypted backup if necessary. A few examples are

Save the Contents of Notebooks Through macOS Finder or iTunes’ File Sharing

Notebooks is capable of exchanging documents through macOS Finder or iTunes’ Files Sharing (on macOS 10.14 and earlier). This is described in more detail in a separate section, but in this context it is important to know that the top level book of Notebooks appears as a regular folder titled “Notebooks” in the File Sharing panel in Finder or iTunes. You can save this folder to your computer by selecting “Notebooks”, clicking on “Save to…” and selecting a location on your hard drive. This saves the contents of Notebooks–including all system files and protected files–to your computer and creates an easily accessible backup of all your data.

Currently, Finder and iTunes’ Files Sharing are unable to import folders, they import single files only. Thus, a restore through File Sharing is not as simple as a backup, but it is not complicated either. Instead of importing the “Notebooks” folder you would compress the books that this folder contains (you create a zip archive for each folder) and import the zip archives. Notebooks detects these archives and moves them them into top level book. Here you can choose to extract the archives and restore their contents.

As an alternative to File Sharing you could take the contents of the previously exported “Notebooks” folder and import it through Notebooks’ WiFi Sharing option. This is another method for moving the contents of Notebooks to a different device. It is a quick method of filling Notebooks with an initial set of documents.

Synchronize Notebooks with a Cloud Service

Finally, each of Notebooks’ export and sync options can be used for backup too. Notebooks supports iCloud, Dropbox, WebDAV servers and has its own built in server, so there are enough options that you can pick from. They are all detailed in separate chapters.

Available Options (macOS)

As Notebooks stores its documents are regular files in a hierarchy of folders, any file system back up that you have already in place will back up Notebooks‘ documents as well. Apple’s TimeMachine is probably the simplest option.

Another very simple way to back up your documents would be to create a ZIP archive of Notebooks‘ top level folder. That archive contains all of Notebooks‘ documents and properties and can be restored any time, even on a different computer.

If you are into versioning, you can even put Notebooks‘ document folder (or any sub folder) under version control. By committing changes regularly you not only have a continuous backup, you also have history of all changes in your documents, which makes it easy to undo even single changes and edits.