Workaround for iCloud sync issues

If you have been syncing Clear across devices and it jammed up, this workaround has been helping customers get sync going again:

  1. On your main device with the most up to date lists, turn off iCloud Sync inside the app

  2. Backout to the upper most level (pinch shut twice, or on iPad swipe right from left edge of screen), and shake your device twice in a row to unlock a new Advanced list

  3. Inside there, choose the Create Backup option first in iCloud Backups

  4. Then select Wipe iCloud

  5. Turn back on the iCloud setting

OR if you are trying to do these steps from Clear Mac:

  1. Go to Clear’s settings list on each device, and turn off the iCloud option first

  2. Open the About Window in Clear Mac

  3. Type “debug” with the window focused (there is no text field but if you have your sound on there will be a chime after you type the word)

  4. To be safe, try the new menubar option Clear → Advanced → Backups → Create Backup

  5. Then: Clear → Advanced → Wipe iCloud

  6. Toggle the iCloud option off and back on for each device

P.S. This situation is far from ideal – Clear 1.x’s syncing code is very old and would be a major project to rewrite. With the New Clear on the way our plan is to build on these new foundations, iPhone only to start, and then hopefully with traction, begin investing in a new syncing design. (We have to make some tough calls as a tiny indie team.) But for the time being I hope this workaround can help 1.x users keep their syncing going.


Thanks Phil! You gave me those instructions months ago. I saved them in several places to be able to continue using Clear with great happiness. Good job!

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I wish I had a better solution but glad to hear it’s helped as a workaround!

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I’m using the legacy version of Clear and I’m having this issue :

I removed all the items and lists, but it seems the problem it’s still there (tried it a few minutes ago and after adding new items, the error reappeared :frowning:)

Can you give this workaround a try and report back in that linked thread if it works for you?

@phillryu seems to work - thanks :slight_smile:

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I’m glad I found this post while I was “wandering around” and viewing posts that looked interesting to me while sipping morning coffee.

To me, “syncing” is the most important issue for the new version of Clear. And because I see so many posts on this site about syncing, I think I am not alone about that,

One thing that puzzles me is that I have other apps on my iPhone that I sync with other devices, including my wife’s iPhone. One app that comes to mind is “Lists”. It works perfectly for us and updates on the fly. An example of syncing “on the fly” for us is while shopping for groceries my wife will mark items on the grocery list as completed, and moments later the same list, but on my iPhone at home, the list updates automatically. It makes a big difference for us, but even though the difference it makes is huge, we have come to take it for granted. We have used this app for years. So, this is one example of why I don’t understand why syncing is such a big deal for the new Clear. Just sayin’. :slight_smile:

Thanks Phil, I had emailed you at Impending back in Feb and hadn’t heard back. Figured you guys were flat out running so I’ve been trying your previous fixes periodically on my own. I stumbled across this chat, tried your “enhanced workaround” and it worked! So thankful, I’ve haven’t been able to sync for almost a year. Very sad to hear we’re losing Clear Mac in the short-term. But encouraged to know that it’s for the greater good of Clear and you’ll be working on bringing Clear Mac back in the future. It’s the #1 reason why I chose Clear, because of the ability to cross form factors. I’ve worked on teeny, guerrilla teams in the past. They’re my favorite–nimble, innovative, democratic and lots of camaraderie. But few people resources so lots of late nights. We’re rooting for ya.


This work around did not work for me. I have a new iPad Pro. When I get to the upper most level, shaking my device doesn’t generate any sort of prompt or response. How do I manually unlock a new Advanced List which will allow me to choose the Create Backup option in iCloud backups?

Honestly with the sunsetting imminent, and especially if you purchased Clear Mac or Clear with multi-device syncing as a priority and don’t mainly use it on the phone… please email me at so I can refund you in some way. I wish I had a better solution but that’s honestly the best we can do for the moment :sweat:

Thanks for this.

Unfortunately this:

shake your device twice in a row to unlock a new Advanced list

did NOT work on my iPad (Air, 3rd gen, iPad OS 16.6.1). Shaking my iPad twice, from the top-most level of menus, did nothing. And my iPad was where I had the most up-to-date version of my Lists.

Any ideas for how to access the “Advanced” menu on my iPad, given that shaking doesn’t work?

I wasn’t getting the “iCloud Refresh Failed” error on my iPad. But I was getting the error on my iPhone (XR, iOS 16.6.1).

I turned off the “iCloud” setting in Clear on BOTH devices.
Then followed the workaround instructions on my iPhone.
And then turned on the “iCloud” setting in Clear on both devices.
This WORKED! My most recent lists are now in sync on both devices again.

I’m looking forward to the new version of Clear, but I do think that synchronising between the same app across different devices owned by the same user should be a feature at launch. Despite the coding difficulty. And even given that it needs to be coded such that future features (such as sharing “live” lists between different users) can be implemented.

I am in a Clear crisis. My Clear list in my iPhone isn’t syncing with my iPad. The error message reads “iCloud Refresh Failed.” Can you please help me with this?

Brian Stevenson

Try this: Workaround for iCloud sync issues

Hi @phillryu , I’m a user of Clear legacy (1.7.11) and today started having the same “iCloud Refresh Failed” as @podiboq above. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling the Clear app from my iPhone (iOS 17.0) and opened the new app with all data gone and the iCloud issue persisting.

I’m concerned that I might not be able to recover my Clear data from the iCloud backup. My account still shows that Clear has 176 KB of data saved in iCloud.

Is there a fix for this issue, or any way I can recover my Clear data from iCloud? Thank you!

About to repair the iCloud sync problem. How does one restore ones lists after the iCloud wipe procedure?

So are you refounding now for those who bought clear mainly for its synchronization feature?
Because the app I have is not the app I bought, and it happened without my knowledge.