Backing Up Notability to iCloud and Google Drive

Notability is the #1 app that we purchase for students each year because it allows our classrooms to be completely paperless and it integrates with the three main tools of our one-to-one program: Schoology, Google Drive, and iPads.

Notability often has a big problem when an iPad gets a software update. After nearly every iPad update it appears as if a student’s entire notebook has disappeared. Panic often ensues when a student thinks she has lost her entire AP Calculus notebook.

Backing up Notability to two different locations is one way to ensure that you never lose your notebook. Here’s how.

Location #1: iCloud

Every iPad user can automatically back up data to iCloud for free. “Automatic” is the best part of that sentence. An iPad will back itself up when it is locked, plugged in, and connected to Wi-Fi which is usually every night for most people. To set up automatic back-ups to iCloud, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Notability app
  2. Tap on Settings (the gearbox) at the bottom of the screen not3a
  3. Tap on iCloud
  4. Slide the iCloud slider to on (it will change colors) not1

Location #2: Google Drive (or Dropbox)

A second location to store files helps to ensure that no data will ever be lost. Notability can back up to Google Drive, Dropbox, and several other locations. I recommend backing up data to Google Drive over all the others because it offers the greatest amount of free storage, it is easy to use, and because so many students already have a Google account in high school or are provided an official Gmail account by their school. To set up automatic back-ups to Google Drive, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Notability app
  2. Tap on Settings (the gearbox) at the bottom of the screen
  3. Tap on Auto-backup not5
  4. Tap on Google Drive
  5. Sign in to Google Drive if you have not done so already. Use your personal Google account if possible. Your school Google account  will be deactivated shortly after you graduate.
  6. The destination folder will likely be /Notability/ by default. You can change this but I do not see a need to do so.
  7. There are two file formats that work best: Note and PDF. If you plan on using Notability on an iPad in the future then you should choose Note. The only way to truly recover your notes and put them back into a Notability notebook is to choose Note. However, if you want to just have a copy of your notes that will be accessible on a computer, iPad, or cell phone then you should choose PDF for the file format. not4

If the directions change please post a comment and we will update this post.