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After upgrading to Catalina, I noticed that my MacBook Pro (13" with touchbar) would go from 100% battery to nearly zero in just about 30 minutes. The fans would be running like crazy. Using Activity Monitor, I tracked the culprit down to Apple Notes:

activity monitor

What the heck is going on here? Any idea how I can resolve this? I should also mention that this is reproducible every time… just open up notes and the fans will start going berserk.


UPDATE 1: I just installed the October 15 Supplemental update for Catalina, and there's no difference.


UPDATE 2: Booted into safe mode (hold shift at start up) and this was still the case. Energy Impact of Notes.app spiked to 300+ right away.


UPDATE 3: I reset SMC and PRAM/NVRAM. No difference.

  • Have you tried to reset SMC, & PRAM and NVRAM? – Udhy Oct 16 '19 at 12:49
  • @Udhy Good suggestions. Just reset all and no effect. I'll update the post. – Sam Oct 16 '19 at 15:06
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    Do you have lots of notes and attachments in the application? Since the app is new it could be updating its database. Have you tried leaving it on and plugged in during the night? Another idea would be to sign out of iCloud, reboot (just for the sake of it) and sign back in again. I've observed lots of quirks regarding Catalina, iOS 13 and iCloud. Signing out of iCloud and back in again solved most of the issues. – herrbischoff Oct 16 '19 at 15:10
  • @herrbischoff Thanks for the suggestions. I have left it on for a couple of hours and there was no improvement. I only have a couple hundred notes and I'd say less than 20 of them have attachments. I'm afraid of signing in/out of iCloud… I don't want to lose my data. I've done the request your iCloud data thing from Apple as a backup, but haven't gotten my download link yet. There doesn't seem to be an other way to backup/export all notes. – Sam Oct 17 '19 at 12:43
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All seems to be resolved by toggling off and then back on the iCloud sync for Notes (In Catalina, this is found in the Apple ID section of System Preferences):

apple id

  1. Turn off Notes iCloud sync
  2. Turn it back on
  3. Open Notes.app
  4. Be momentarily terrified because all your notes have vanished
  5. Watch as they trickle in from iCloud

Running Activity Monitor now lists Notes as barely having any energy impact whatsoever. Hooray!


BONUS: Back Up Your Notes

I was reluctant to try this method because I was terrified that I would introduce some sync problem and wipe out my notes. As Apple provides no easy way to make a local backup/export of your notes, I felt that this was a reasonable worry.

Eventually, I found this little utility that makes .txt files (with HTML inside) of all of your notes (WARNING: it omits any images or attached files). It ain't great, but it worked and helped to put me at ease.

Apple also provides a way of downloading your iCloud data on their Data and Privacy site… which I initiated, but have yet to receive the download link. According to Apple, this could take up to 7 days.

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