ipad sync issues/bug + suggestions

Recently got an iPad Air 2, with portable/offline use of Endnote/PDF reading being a major motivator.  Overall I am quite pleased with the app thus far, but have encountered some weirdness with offline attachment syncing, and have a couple additional product suggestions as well…

To start, I’ve set up a MyEndnoteWeb account, and synced my entire library to the “cloud”.  Currently ~4k references and 1386 attachments (2.6 GB).


As mentioned above, a major reason for getting the iPad was to easily access PDFs wherever I am, without worrying about online access.  Thus, I went to the Offline Attachment Access section of the settings, enabled a bunch of my groups, and began a sync.  Some time later, after the sync finished (sync icon says “Last synced”, etc.), I made note of the space used on device statistics (929 attachments, 1.9 GB).  This is where the unexpected behavior began…  If I closed and re-opened the app (double-tap home, swipe-up, etc.), and went back to the space used on device statistics, it now reported 916 attachments, 1.8 GB.  I had made no changes to the Offline Attachment settings.  But if I clicked sync, waited for it to finish, and checked the statistics again, it was back to 929 attachments.  Close the app and reopen, it’s back to 916 attachments!  I even identified one of the disappearing entires, forced a download of the attachment (tapping its cloud icon), closed and reopened the app, and the attachment was gone again!

Perhaps some of this behavior is by design… I noticed posts about earlier versions of the app having a fixed storage cache.  However, this behavior is certainly not what I am expecting based on the UI design in the current version of the app!

After playing around with this for a while, I had another unexpected surprise… on one of the occasions I opened the app, it froze on the home/splash screen, forcing me to reboot the iPad.  After rebooting, I opened the app, and my space used statistics now reported only ~200 attachments!  Again, nothing had changed in the Offline Attachment settings.  More concerning was that even though Endnote didn’t seem to have many of my attachments stored offline anymore, I suspect they were still taking up space on the iPad, as checking the App Usage stats in the System Settings showed that the Endnote app was still taking up over 2GB of space… far more than the currently reported space used within the app.

Again, maybe this would eventually get cleaned up behind the scenes, but it wasn’t clear to me (I’m not terribly familiar with the under-the-hood functions of the iPad yet).

My solution here was to delete the app and start over again.  This time around, I opted to try and download My Library for offline access.  After a lengthy sync, things seemed to finish… however it had only retrieved 1240 out of 1386 attachments.  Hit sync again, and no change.  Some attachments were left behind.  About 10 minutes later, hit sync again, and now it got a few more (1299/1386).  And then later that evening, tried to sync again and it retrieved everything.

Go figure…  everything seems fine now, but I can’t tell you why.  If any of the support team can shed further light into how the Offline Attachment sync operation is supposed to work (or not work), it would be appreciated.

BUG: Incorrect value for space used on device

In the process of syncing offline attachments, have noticed one very obvious bug.  After a significant number of attachments have been downloaded, the value reported for space used on device changes from something like 1.9 GB to -1656819613.0 bytes.  Note, however, that the value given for space used online is correct (2.6 GB).  Doing some quick math, my suspicion is that the app is storing the local usage value in bytes as a signed 32-bit integer, which of course will hit a limit at 2,147,483,647 bytes (== 2 GB), and wrap around to negative values.  Seems like an easy thing to fix.


Unload some offline attachments

It would be nice if there was a way to remove some offline attachments from local storage on the iPad.  For instance, if a group is deselected within the Offline Attachment menu, then all offline attachments in that group are cleaned out the next time the app is opened (unless of course an entry is also contained in a selected group or favorited).  For individual entires, this could maybe be implemented by having an “X” over the attachment thumbnail in the same spot where the “cloud” icon would be when it isn’t downloaded.  Of course, this would need language to make it clear that it just unloading the offline copy, and not removing the attachment from the entry.

Change sorting direction

I can currently change the sort order for entry lists (year, author, etc.), but it seems to only go in one direction.  An option to switch from ascending to descending would be helpful (I note that both the full program and MyEndnoteWeb versions support this).  This could be easily implemented in the same Drag to change order menu by having a small up or down triangle just to the left of the 3 horizontal bars that indicates the sort direction, and this triangle would change direction when tapped.

Support for multiple group sets

The regular Endnote program allows you organize groups into multiple group sets, but this layer of organization is absent in the app (everything falls under My Groups).  I note that this is also the case with MyEndnoteWeb, so I suppose that is a higher level thing to sort out…?

I suppose some of these things may get shaken up with the impending iOS9 update…

Thanks again for a great app thus far!

Thanks, these are well-articulated comments. We will look into the sync weirdness as it does seem like there is something that likely could be improved.

  • The sort and Group Sets suggestions are both on our To Do list already.

Our main focus for the iPad app right now is to fix things that iOS 9 might break; we are hard at work on this and going to push an update to Apple as soon as we can.

Dear support,

I am attaching my suggestion to this post since it deals with optimizing the sync function aswell. I am using Endnote x7 on a MAC and I would like to make things easier and less time consuming. My work flow when preparing a manuscript including a prior literature search looks as following:

1. Identifying paper on Pubmed and transfering them to Endnote via “send to Citation Manager” (on my laptop)

  1. Download the paper as pdf and save it in various folders (on my laptop)

→ i do not let Endnote make a copy of the pdf-file that is saved in the EndNote folder since I want to keep the PDF-files in certain folders

  1. Sync my database 

  2. Use EndNote Web to look at my database from various computers

  3. Use EndNote App for iPad to read the paper

My problem:  The sync of the imported paper runs well. Ipad as well as EndNote display all references, but … the PDF files are not synced automatically. Right now I have to upload them manually to (EndNote Web) and I also have to download them by hand (to the  iPad). These procedures are time consuming and kind of annoying. 

Therefore I would like to know: What am I doing wrong or what can I change so that EndNote does not only sync the references but the attached PDF files as well?

Suggestion : Is there any chance that you can optimize the sync function or am I doing something wrong / too complicated?

Thanks in advance


In order to access your PDF articles from EndNote for iPad without manually uploading file attachments to EndNote online, you’d need to allow EndNote X7 to create relative links so that the PDF articles were copied to the .Data folder that corresponds with your EndNote library.  Without using relative links, your file attachments cannot be automatically synced with your EndNote online account and by extension would be unavailable from EndNote for iPad. 

Even if you choose to allow EndNote to create relative links to your file attachments, the PDF articles would need to be manually downloaded from EndNote for iPad.  EndNote library file attachments are not automatically downloaded within EndNote for iPad in order to minimize bandwidth usage and storage space on the device.  We have an existing enhancement request to include a ‘download all attachments’ option within EndNote for iPad - i’ll be sure to add your comment to that product enhancement report.

Please let me know if this helps.

Greetings mmschneider,

I’d like to correct the last point of my reply from yesterday afternoon -

The most recent build of EndNote for iPad, released to the iOS app store on August 24th, includes the enhanced file attachment handling functionality that I had mentioned yesterday.  After launching the updated EndNote for iPad app, you’d want to tap the “Settings” icon and then tap “Offline Attachment Access”.  From the Offline Attachment Access window, you can choose which aspect of your synced library that you’d like to configure for auto-downloading of  file attachments and whether or not you’d like the file attachments to download via a cellular connection.  Aside from the new functionality added to the latest version of EndNote for iPad, you’d still need to allow EndNote X7 to create relative links to your PDF attachments in order to save yourself from manually uploading your PDFs directly to EndNote online.

I do apologize for any confusion my last post may have caused and definitely let me know if there are any follow-up comments to make about your initial suggestions.