Syncing requires opening Drafts

I created a new note on my Mac. After an hour it had not shown up on my Apple Watch. I opened the app on my iPhone, and the inbox was empty. Moments later, the note appeared. Then I checked my watch, and the note appeared there.

So it seems that I have to open the app on my iPhone to get notes to appear on my watch. Does this make sense?

The watch app is depending on the phone app to get data.

That said, it can and should update in the background, depending on a few settings and, to some extent, the grace of the iOS and watchOS system background scheduling. A few things to check if you are not getting updates to the watch in a reasonable time:

  • In iOS Settings > General, make sure “Background App Refresh” is enabled for Drafts. WIthout it enabled, the system will not update Drafts in the background.
  • NEVER force quit Drafts by swiping up out of the multi-tasking tray. If you force quit and app, iOS disabled Background App Refresh for the app until you reboot the phone again.
  • Is the battery of the phone and watch well charged, and you are on a good network? As battery capacity decreases, system schedules updates less often, and ignores background notifications about updates, to conserve battery, negatively effecting updates.

Also, generally, you might want to power off-on the phone and watch. System updates and app updates sometimes cause temporary problems in watch-phone connectivity that are resolved by reboots.

Hmm … I did force quit Drafts, but iOS did not disable Background App Refresh.

I’m using Drafts for iOS 28.1 in iOS 15.0.2

It does not literally turn off the “Background App Refresh” setting, it would not be visible in the UI. It will start up those apps the next time you reboot.

The system just stops doing refresh for any apps you force quit until a restart.