PDF thumbnails don't appear in nav column since upgrade

Testing version:

What were you doing:
New and existing notes with PDF attachments don’t display thumbnail image in the notes navigation column.

What feature did you use:
Problem exists on all my devices: MacBook Pro, iPhone 13, iPad Pro. Doesn’t matter which device I create a new note on, the pdf image doesn’t appear.

What happened:
PDF images do not appear in the notes nav column, but do appear in the notes themselves. Only placeholders for the PDF images appear in the nav column.

What did you expect to happen:
Images should appear in the nav column.

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I have the same problem also with png files (those from welcome notes)


+1 also happening (those from welcome notes are the most apparent)

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Initially the welcome notes did not show their PNG thumbnails in my notes list, but I solved it by deleting those notes, then restoring them from Settings > Advanced. A Bear team member posted this fix on Reddit.

Now it’s just PDFs whose thumbnails don’t appear in the navigation column.

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Hi folks,

PDF Thumbnails were never shown in the notes list, that’s by design: we tried it, but for most pdf, the preview was not “good” and was making it harder to recognize it while having the title helps a bit more. We’re open to discussing this and finding other solutions.

As for the image thumbnails, it seems that there is a bug with the caching system, I’m looking into that and we’ll provide a fix asap.

Thank you for all the feedback!


I have a bunch of PDF attachments in my notes. Some of academic papers, where I agree the preview would be unreadable and offer no benefit. Some are exports of PowerPoint slides, where a preview would help. A useful heuristic might be to produce previews for landscape format PDFs but not portrait format (although this might then just raise support calls for “why are only some of my PDF previews showing…”)

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I don’t think PDF thumbnails need to be readable, but they would nonetheless be useful. Different documents look different, and that would often be conveyed in the thumbnail.

For example, some PDFs have a title page, some have a unique image on the front page, etc., which would be discernible in the thumbnails. Plus, it would simply look better.

Currently, the PDF “thumbnails” gui looks rather broken.

As is, this is absolutely a bug. You can either have PDF attachments not show a thumbnail at all, or you could show a PDF icon, or you can have them show a working thumbnail, but you can’t show a blank thumbnail. That just says “whoops something broke”.