If you are a Mac user, you are probably familiar with many of its useful tools. One of them is Notes, an app designed for quickly jotting down your ideas. Whether you need to save useful links, important memos, or to-do lists, Notes is here to get the job done.

And it all works great until you realize that some of the notes are missing. Maybe they disappeared after you’ve installed an update or you’ve accidentally deleted them. That doesn’t matter. What you need are efficient ways to restore them and get on with your work. Today, we will show you 5 ways that can make that happen.

Where Does Mac Store My Notes?

For extra security, Mac gives you 2 ways in which you can save your work. Ideally, you should rely on them both.

  • Hard Drive
    One of them is to store your notes locally. By default, they are saved in ~/Library/Group Containers/group.com.apple.notes/.
  • Cloud Storage
    Your notes will also be stored online if you’ve synced them with iCloud, Apple’s official cloud service.

What Happened to My Deleted Notes?

Once notes are deleted, they will be stored in the Recently Deleted folder for 30 to 40 days. In case more time has passed, you will have to use recovery software to restore them.

If you’ve previously saved notes and haven’t overwritten them, partial, if not full,  recovery is possible. But, it’s important that you act quickly.

Note: to maximize your chances of recovery, stop using Mac immediately, and disconnect it from the internet.

5 Best Ways to Recover Notes on a Mac

1. Restore Lost Memos via Recently Deleted Folder

In case your notes disappeared in the last month, they may still be in the app. Removed Notes don’t go to the Trash Bin, but are kept in the Recently Deleted folder before permanent deletion. Here is how to access it.

  1. Go to the Notes App.
  2. Choose the Recently Deleted option from the sidebar on the left. In it, select the note that you wish to recover.open recently deleted notes
  3. Click on the top menu bar and go Edit > Undo Trash Note. You can also right-click on a note and pick a folder in which you want to restore it.undo trash note

2. Find Deleted Notes With iCloud

Cloud storage is very popular these days and rightfully so. By storing your data online, you are guaranteed to have access to them even in case of hard-drive failure and other unforeseen circumstances. In case you’ve synced your files with iCloud, it’s very straightforward to recover notes on Mac.

Guide to Recovering Files With iCloud

  1. First, it’s important to turn off iCloud syncing, so that the files on the cloud don’t get deleted as well. Go to System Preferences, open iCloud on the bottom, and uncheck the Notes box.turn off sync notes with icloud
  2. Visit iCloud and log in with your Apple ID.
  3. Open Notes inside iCloud’s interface.
  4. Locate the deleted notes that you wish to restore and click recover to transfer them back to your Mac.recover deleted notes from icloud
Note: don’t forget to turn iCloud syncing back on, so that your notes continue being protected.

3. Recover Notes With Time Machine

Apple has always handled user data with great care, giving us a lot of options to protect them. One of them is Time Machine – a built-in feature that lets you back up every important file, such as music, documents, and memos, on your Mac. If you’ve created a restoration point, you can use it to bring back your lost notes.

Time Machine is a fast and easy-to-use method that’s very effective. However, it will overwrite your latest notes, so it’s necessary to protect them first.

How to Create Backup Before Starting Time Machine

There are 2 ways, and both are very easy to do.

  1. Open Notes > File > Export as PDF to convert your notes, and then move them to another storage. Importing them back is also intuitive and can be done in seconds.
  2. Alternatively, you can copy the whole Notes database, which can be found here:
    ~Library/Containers/com.apple.notes/Data/Library/Notes
    Additional notes files are stored here:
    ~Library/Group Containers/group.com.apple.notes folder

How to Use a Time Machine

After you’ve created a copy of your Notes database, it’s time for a 4-step recovery.

  1. Connect your external SSD or another storage device that has the backups created in Time Machine.
  2. Close Notes and turn off iCloud syncing.
  3. On the right side of your menu bar click on the clock icon and select Enter Time Machine.enter time machine
  4. Browse through the files and pick out the notes that you wish to recover. You can also select the whole Notes database as you’ve created a copy in the first step.restore notes with time machine
Note: Time Machine works only if you’ve created a backup before. Even then, if it’s too old, your notes will still be missing. In this case, you should consider using specialized data recovery software.

4. Access Deleted Memos Through .storedata

The .storedata files are designed to temporarily store important information. You can easily browse to it and try to locate your missing notes from there.

  1. Open Finder and paste the following address
    ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.notes/Data/Library/Notes
    This will open a folder with .storedata files.
  2. Copy all of the files to the folder of your choice.
  3. To open them, you will have to change the extensions from .storedata to .html and open them in any browser.
  4. Your notes should be displayed in text format. Copy and store them in a safe location.

5. Use a Data Recovery Software

If none of the above methods work, it’s time to use a data recovery software for Mac. However, there’s a sea of these apps on Mac, some of which deliver mediocre results, at best. Others can even infect your computer with malware.

To come with the best recommendation, we have tested a dozen of recovery apps and paid attention to the following metrics:

  • Popularity: Apps get popular for a reason, and a top data recovery software will have a proven track record. Look what the users are saying about it on credible sites like MacUpdate and don’t simply trust the marketing.
  • Ease of Use: The software also has to be intuitive, so that even a casual user can recover deleted notes on Mac with ease. Look for apps with a minimalistic interface, but don’t confuse this with limited features.
  • Features: With more tools at your disposal, there’s a greater chance of successfully restoring your notes. A powerful recovery software will come with many features that will help you and also prevent future data loss.
  • Price: Depending on the amount and value of the notes you’ve lost it may not be the best option to buy the most expensive software. On the other hand, completely free apps will probably not yield the best results. That’s why we narrowed our search for a software that has the best ratio of price and features.
In the end, we’ve found that Disk Drill was the most successful with recovering lost files on Mac. So much so, that it became a go-to solution for our editorial team in case of accidental deletion. Disk Drill has a reasonable price, is very straightforward to use, and is very stable across various operating systems. Aside from recovery, there are other useful tools such as disk health, cleanup, and data backup that are also free.

Recover Notes on Mac Via Disk Drill

1. Install Disk Drill

install disk drill 4 for mac

Make sure that you don’t install it on your main hard drive, as your notes can be overwritten in the process.

2. Launch the Program

start scan your device

Disk Drill will present you with Logical volumes and Hardware disks. Choose the place where you’ve saved your notes and click on Search for lost data to start the process.

3. Browse Through the Preview List

Once the scan is done, you will be presented with a list of deleted files that you are able to restore.

4. Restore Your Data

recover notes with disk drill

If you’ve found your notes, get the Pro version of Disk Drill. Tick the box next to the notes that you wish to recover and choose the folder where you wish to save them, but make sure it’s different from the original. Click Recover and you are done.

Note: It’s best to start with a free version and scan your storage first. This will show if your deleted note can be recovered in the first place.

How Did Notes Disappear From My Mac?

There are many reasons why users can’t find their notes on Mac. Usually, we are talking about one of these 5 scenarios.

  • Accidental Deletion: We don’t want to point any fingers, but user error is at the top of the list. If you are dealing with dozens of notes, it’s easy to confuse them and notice that only in retrospect.
  • Malware Infestation: Sometimes, note disappearance can be a symptom of the underlying problem. Contrary to popular opinion, Mac is not immune to ransomware and viruses that will delete or lock your valuable notes. If you’ve noticed a sudden drop in performance, it’s time to do a virus scan.
  • Faulty Hard Drive: By default, the Notes app stores files on your main hard drive. It is common to lose files if your HDD is damaged or corrupted.
  • Failed Mac OS Update: When you are installing a new version of OS it’s important that this process isn’t interrupted. In case of a power loss or accidental restart, there’s a solid chance that something goes wrong and your notes disappear.
  • Software Crash: Sometimes, a new version of OS is still not fully optimized with Notes. This can lead to frequent crashes which in turn may result in data loss.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many paths you can take to restore your notes. Even better, they are easy to try and you can go through them quickly. Time is everything, so start now to have the best chance of recovering them. There may be no need to take your Mac to the expensive restoration services. This way, you’ve learned something valuable and saved your money.