When you can’t draw, erase, or highlight in Notability on iOS

A user wasn't able to draw (with a finger) using the pen tool in Notability. Highlighting and erasing were also not working (just seemed to move the note about in Notability).

We worked with the user on the usual troubleshooting steps (kill the app, do the home–power button reset, make sure iOS and Notability are both updated) to no avail.

The solution that ended up working—double-checking the notes were all backed up, and the uninstalling the app... and reinstalling the app.

Disappearing Notability notes when using iCloud sync

We've seen a couple of instances of students' Notability notes supposedly syncing to iCloud but really just disappearing. In these cases, we've looked closely with the students at their settings and checked both the iPad and their iCloud Drive account through a desktop/laptop computer, and—as far as we can tell—the missing Notability notes are stored somewhere in the iCloud but nowhere accessible by the user. It isn't on any of their devices or in their iCloud Drive.

Notability has its own official iCloud sync troubleshooting steps, but the easiest and most effective solution seems to be disabling iCloud sync altogether. Once you do that and choose to keep the notes on the iPad (instead of deleting them, even though they don't appear to exist), all the missing notes come back.

Google Drive is a better backup solution for Notability, because you can easily verify that the backups are occurring (they're either in the Google Drive Notability folder... or they're not). Just be sure to change the backup format from (the default) PDF to Notes.