1. gnirkatto's Avatar
    I'm struggling with Apple Notes under Monterey 12.0.1 and iOS 15.1.
    Assuming there is a note titled 'String1string2string3 String4'

    A search for:

    String1 : found
    string2 : NOT found
    string3 : found
    ing2string3: NOT found
    String4: found
    string3 String4 : not found
    etc.

    It's hard to reproduce, because it does not in ALL cases behave as described here. It sometimes finds all kinds of strings or substrings.
    I also tested for potential problematic special foreign language characters, like ö, ä etc. This is NOT the problem, it often finds these instantly.

    I moved some of these problematic Apple notes to Evernote, and all (sub)strings were found instantly with no problems.

    A notes app that does not reliably find all (sub)strings makes me nervous.

    Anyone here experiencing a similar problem?
    11-14-2021 06:45 AM
  2. Annie_M's Avatar
    I’m not sure I’ve had this issue to the same extreme but I have at times had problems finding a specific note. So I started using folders and that has made searches much more productive and successful.
    11-14-2021 09:33 AM
  3. gnirkatto's Avatar
    I too have folders but refuse to see that as a workaround for a notes app not functioning properly.

    I spent almost 3 hours of my Sunday afternoon today, first in a support chat with Apple, where I first had to educate them what strings and substrings were. He could reproduce the problem eventually. Arranged a call with another support person (not sr., same level, wanted to ask the same questions again, log in to my computer, create a new user etc.). Refused to understand that his workmate could recreate the problem on his computer, so the hassle of creating another user on my computer was pointless. I ended the call and requested another more sr. person to call me tomorrow. This was the most nightmare-ish support experience that I ever had.

    Later, just to prove to myself that I'm right, I did in fact create a new user and guess what, there was the same problem.
    11-14-2021 12:02 PM
  4. Wotchered's Avatar
    I have always had trouble finding stuff in Notes, it’s all right if you have plenty of time, but I always seem to want to find something in a hurry….
    11-14-2021 12:41 PM
  5. gnirkatto's Avatar
    Had a very constructive chat over the phone with a more sr Apple support lady. I could demonstrate the issue via screen sharing, and she could reproduce it on her computer.
    On her advice, I rebuilt the spotlight index. It did not help.
    Next step will be to produce a video of the issue and to forward to Apple R&D.
    11-16-2021 06:35 AM
  6. doogald's Avatar
    I have to say that I tried to recreate this on my Mac running Monterey. At first (e.g. just after note creation), I couldn't search for any of the strings. But, after testing a while later (a few hours later), I could successfully search for any of the substrings, and they were also case-independent (so "String3" returned the same way as "string3").
    11-16-2021 11:57 AM
  7. gnirkatto's Avatar
    I have to say that I tried to recreate this on my Mac running Monterey. At first (e.g. just after note creation), I couldn't search for any of the strings. But, after testing a while later (a few hours later), I could successfully search for any of the substrings, and they were also case-independent (so "String3" returned the same way as "string3").
    well - this is the problem, and explains why not many people immediately run into this issue.
    It seems to be particular combinations of characters & words, that work, or not.
    Normally, when starting to work with such an app, nobody will do extensive testing - nor is it possible - to figure out if EVERY combination works. This happens mainly by accident, like in my case.
    All of the not working strings have been in my notes app since forever, AND I rebuilt the search index according to Apples advice, with no success.

    In the meanwhile, 3 Apple people, independent from each other, could recreate the problem on their computers (and on mine). Yesterday we recorded a demo on my computer, to be sent to Apple R & D.

    I did not want to bother you with the original string-combination that made problems, because it contains language specific special characters. But I found another note titled "Question for the Avengers Endgame specialist", making the same problems:

    Avengers : found
    venger : not found
    vengers : found
    avenger : found
    endgame : not found (nor any substring version)
    specialist : found
    cialist : not found
    pecialist : found

    It might also be that the same strings that don't work on mine, do work on other computers, due to problems in the indexing process, but this is a thing only R&D people will be able to clarify, imho.
    doogald likes this.
    11-17-2021 04:02 AM
  8. doogald's Avatar
    Yes, I just tried to replicate, and endgame worked for me, but vengers did not, pecialist did not. (spe did work. Generally the first few characters of any word always worked.)

    Please update this if you hear back from Apple with any resolution!
    11-17-2021 10:37 AM
  9. Annie_M's Avatar
    I really appreciate your diligence and sharing of your information. This will be beneficial to all of us! Thank you!
    Ed7789 likes this.
    11-17-2021 11:42 AM
  10. gnirkatto's Avatar
    Brief update call with Apple, questions from R&D:

    same effect(s) on icloud.com? : yes
    same effects on other devices? : yes, Mac, iPad, 2 iPhones (as mentioned already)
    they noticed a firewall was on, maybe causing problems? : turned off, same problems. AND there is no firewall when using icloud.com (in browser). AND other users and Apple personnel could recreate.

    Next call in 3 days from now.
    Annie_M, doogald and Ed7789 like this.
    11-19-2021 05:26 AM
  11. Trees's Avatar
    gnirkatto, great work in finding this issue. Your perseverance and patience is also commendable.
    Annie_M likes this.
    11-19-2021 08:14 AM
  12. Annie_M's Avatar
    I'm glad that Apple is working on this! Good for you!!!
    11-19-2021 10:15 AM
  13. gnirkatto's Avatar
    Update after today's support call w Apple:

    apparently, the R&D guy could reproduce the problem.
    As a flawed search function affects multiple Apple systems (Mac, iOS, Notes, Spotlight etc.), he will have to cooperate with other groups to determine the cause and how to fix.

    Next call scheduled for 11/29. Will update here afterwards.
    Annie_M and doogald like this.
    11-22-2021 09:49 AM
  14. Annie_M's Avatar
    Update after today's support call w Apple:

    apparently, the R&D guy could reproduce the problem.
    As a flawed search function affects multiple Apple systems (Mac, iOS, Notes, Spotlight etc.), he will have to cooperate with other groups to determine the cause and how to fix.

    Next call scheduled for 11/29. Will update here afterwards.
    Making progress!
    11-22-2021 10:10 AM
  15. gnirkatto's Avatar
    quick update:

    11/29: no news during support call
    12/02: confirmation that all information that was needed got submitted. The issue got escalated to the iCloud-team for further research (makes sense imho, as the problem is identical on all platforms, and all notes are synced via iCloud).

    This might now take a little longer. Next call scheduled for 12/16.
    In the meanwhile, I will check from time to time if the problem persists. They might do something with the search algorithms/indexing in the (iCloud-)background (so said Apple support. I don't expect this to happen very soon, but who knows).
    doogald likes this.
    12-02-2021 05:06 AM
  16. Annie_M's Avatar
    I'm just really glad that they (Apple) seem to be making a concerted effort to figure this out.
    12-02-2021 04:05 PM
  17. gnirkatto's Avatar
    no change with iOS 15.2, nor with Monterey 12.1
    12-14-2021 12:31 PM
  18. Annie_M's Avatar
    no change with iOS 15.2, nor with Monterey 12.1
    That's disappointing! Are you still having your call with them on the 16th?
    12-14-2021 02:29 PM
  19. gnirkatto's Avatar
    That's disappointing! Are you still having your call with them on the 16th?
    yes. Will report here afterwards.
    Annie_M likes this.
    12-14-2021 02:39 PM
  20. gnirkatto's Avatar
    'iCloud engineering is working on it - as this is related to iCloud, not the OSs'
    No further news.
    I stated that when working offline, with no iCloud connection, the problem still exists.
    I also stated that I will have to consider moving back to Evernote, as this problem gets increasingly annoying, and apparently no progress is being made (actually, I'm still running E in parallel, and whenever looking for something important, I cross-check in E, just in case there is information that Apple Notes search does not show me).

    Apple Notes offers superior search speed, compared to Evernote. However, the difference is not huge, and I'll rather sacrifice a little speed, than not getting all information I'm looking for. On top of all that, E is WAY more feature rich than Apple notes (but also more complex to navigate). Yes it costs extra money, but it delivers on its main purpose in life, and Apple Notes does not (yet).

    Next support call on Jan 6.
    12-16-2021 10:33 AM
  21. doogald's Avatar
    'iCloud engineering is working on it - as this is related to iCloud, not the OSs'
    No further news.
    I stated that when working offline, with no iCloud connection, the problem still exists.
    Just guessing, but perhaps there is code sharing involved, so they fix on iCloud and that fix gets propagated to all OSes later.


    I also stated that I will have to consider moving back to Evernote, as this problem gets increasingly annoying, and apparently no progress is being made (actually, I'm still running E in parallel, and whenever looking for something important, I cross-check in E, just in case there is information that Apple Notes search does not show me).
    That's probably a smart plan.
    12-16-2021 11:17 AM
  22. Annie_M's Avatar
    Thanks for the update! I'm sorry no progress was made. Let's hope that the new year will bring better news! I am glad that you have a "backup" plan!
    12-16-2021 12:11 PM
  23. Ed7789's Avatar
    It can be a very complex problem to fix.

    First, just the software lifecycle is very elaborate and has multiple layers. One of the things is that they need to fix in their development environment, get that approved, then in staging, then approve. Then QA, then approve. And then finally it gets deployed to N servers. This can take a couple of months.

    And then, it depends on how complicated and distributed (in other words, where else is it used) the code is. A simple fix can break other pieces elsewhere.

    The fact that you have recurring calls with someone at Apple is a very promising sign
    Annie_M and scruffypig like this.
    12-16-2021 03:04 PM
  24. gnirkatto's Avatar
    Yes I agree and appreciate Apple updating me on a regular basis, although no (visible) progress is being made.
    I also understand this might take longer to fix, and that there are several QA steps to be taken before the regular public sees a result.
    However, for me, the reliability of a notes app is critical. A few years ago, I gave up on using physical, written notebooks, in favor of a computer based app. This was Evernote in the beginning, as I came from the Blackberry world, then Android (BB Key 1/2), then iPhone. I kept Evernote, even on the iPhone, because I was used to it, because the Apple Notes app was not really feature rich (back then, a little better now), because I was too lazy to migrate.
    Only after I made the decision to go fully Apple (also Mac, iPad, Watch), and only after the recent update of Apple Notes, which added a few nice features, I decided to migrate (which is quite easy when going E=>A, not so easy the other direction).
    So for me, while understanding the challenges of a SW fixing & updating process, I have to look at it from a user's perspective: besides being safe, speedy & easy to use, it just HAS TO find EVERYTHING that I'm looking for, always. This is the main feature of a notes app.
    I do have some patience, and will continue with both apps for a while, but sooner or later I will have to decide which way to go, finally.
    12-17-2021 06:53 AM
  25. gnirkatto's Avatar
    P.S. when I discussed with the Apple support agent yesterday, about me considering going back to Evernote, she asked me to send this to the iCloud team as a feedback, together with the case number. I did that. She said that Apple is very interested in everybody using their stock apps (of course), so this kind of feedback might raise awareness. I think I said this before already: it's not easy to even become aware of this problem, so Apple may not have received a lot of complaints yet. Therefore the urgency might not be at the level that it should be.
    Annie_M likes this.
    12-17-2021 07:02 AM
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