Updates with no respect, no thought, just money

This is a ridiculous update that ignores users who have been using it for over a decade. What a bunch of bells and whistles for a simple list app. The rewards and shop system looks like a mass-produced Chinese pay-to-win game. Why have people who have been using this app for over a decade been using it for so long? Obviously, they never thought about it, because all they could think about was making a monetization model out of it. I’m so disappointed in this simple app. Goodbye.


Hey Madtric, the lean into more achievements, unlocks/personalization options and the shop is a big swing to keep the core simplicity of the app. All things that existed in the original, but obviously the new version goes way bigger on them.

Why? You can ignore the shop entirely and use the rest of the app as you please. You don’t have to worry about a subscription. But perhaps you could appreciate the people into it are sustaining future development of the app without tying ongoing revenue to adding more and more features over time ruining the app. (And that our app business model center of gravity is shifted towards recurring revenue from the people who love the app and use it most regularly. That feels right.)

I guess what I’m trying to say is I get it, things like gamification, micro transactions, generally highly correlated with garbage. But I have always believed there is some actual good to these concepts that have mostly been ruined by greedy people milking them to death. This was also encoded in the original Clear, which had some achievements, some sound packs for sale, etc.

This is a much more hopeful and wholesome experiment than you might think, and perhaps if anything we have overthought things. But not even thinking about this, no.


The essence of the Clear app was to be light, fast and simple, and the new version is so far from that. Users like me who have been syncing between Mac, iPad, and iPhone have to change 10 years of use overnight. I decided to stick with the classic version after seeing the beta, but I didn’t expect the old version to disappear like this. Isn’t it basic that data is the most important thing for business users and people who have been recording for a long time? Is it really right to release a new version without proper backup and sync features, and even those features were in the old version?

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The syncing was really the single biggest and worst feeling cut we made. We actually spent about 6 months of development time on a new syncing engine for new Clear, because the ancient original is falling apart and totally behind modern building code, as is the general codebase itself.

The new engine with that much work was not robust enough. It felt like that direction, given another 6 months, might take it from 95% to 98% robustness – again not quite enough. And so forth.

Meanwhile over the years I was fielding support emails daily from Clear customers where their syncing would break down.

And the more I thought about it, with the original Clear and how its development trailed off after its explosive start… We as a tiny indie team back then, bit off sync + native Mac and iPad too early, and more than we could chew. The amount of work to develop each native version to Clear’s standards was hugely costly, and the ongoing work to split across multiple versions with different designs and sync along with it sucked the last wind out of us. (And no, the sales boost did not make back for these costs.) So we felt we could not repeat that same mistake.

At the end of the day the new version is a last ditch swing at the fences to restore a future for this app at all. That is how it is and it did involve really unpleasant cuts, like I am someone who really enjoys pleasing people and I knew this would make people totally legitimately upset which makes me feel pretty shitty. But it felt like the only way forward.

Again, totally understand you being upset, of all the changes the sync regression is obviously the biggest one. I hope it helps a little understanding we did try on sync, both for old Clear and for new, and we need some time and initial traction with relaunch to build that back. And we have poured a lot into trying to revive Clear. It was in no state to give it a light remodel and have things turn around for it.

But the essence thing? Light, fast and simple. All I can say is I deeply care about these things for Clear as well, and maybe would throw in ‘quiet’ there too. Some subjectivity to the execution of these things but in the way that the monetization is honestly not as thoughtless as you initially imagined, I feel like there are a lot of changes you would actually approve of given some time/chance for them. And probably some smaller things that disproportionately annoy you in the new design (perhaps pull to Clear explosion type stuff) that maybe we overdid and will tone down.


I really respect your work on the app which needed an update and it was done in an excellent way. What I don’t understand is not having created a new app in the store that has possibly imported from the old one. The mistake in my opinion was to replace the old one for all users without thinking about their data and especially those who used the same app on Mac and iPad. Apart from this I like the new app, even if I am forced to use it only on iPhone

I thought about why I was so upset. For example, I bought a notebook in a store 10 years ago, and I have tons of memories stored in it, and the seller suddenly came to my house after 10 years and changed it without asking me, saying it was too old. They don’t seem to care about the records I have at all. This could obviously cause legal issues. They just say it was the best they could do. Again, I didn’t get this app for free. I paid for the right to use this app. In the case of Goodnote 6, users had already purchased version 5, so they couldn’t force me to buy version 6.

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