My iPhone Notes Have Disappeared! Don’t Worry. The Fix!

When Kim opened the Notes app on her iPhone, she noticed that a lot of her notes were gone. Did she accidentally delete them? Probably not. Not knowing where to find her missing notes, Kim asked for my help in the Payette Forward Community, and I was happy to take the case. In this article, I’ll explain why your notes have disappeared from your iPhone, where they’re hiding, and how to get them back.

Understanding Where Notes Actually Live

Just like your email, contacts, and calendars, the notes you see on your iPhone are often stored “in the cloud”. In other words, the notes on your iPhone are usually stored on a server tied to your email address.

A lot of people don’t realize that the email accounts you set up on your iPhone can do a lot more than just send and receive email. Most email accounts, including the ones you get through AOL, Gmail, and Yahoo, have the ability to store contacts, calendars, and notes in addition to your email. 

Notes Stored In Cloud

When Notes disappear, they usually haven’t been deleted. The notes live on a server that is tied to your email address (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.), and there is a problem between your iPhone and the server. 

Common Reasons Why Notes Disappear From iPhones

If you recently deleted an email address from your iPhone, you probably removed the notes from your iPhone too. It doesn’t mean they were deleted. It just means your iPhone can’t access them anymore. When you set up the email account again, all of your notes will come back.

If you’ve been having trouble connecting to an email account lately, that could be another clue. Maybe you recently changed your email password online, but haven’t entered the new password on your iPhone. When you go to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars on your iPhone, tap on your email account, and update the password, everything should begin working normally again.

Notes Deleted From iPhone

How Do I Know Where My iPhone Notes Are Stored?

Open the Notes app on your iPhone, and look for the yellow back arrow Notes Back Arrow in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Tap on that arrow and you’ll see a list of all the accounts that are currently syncing notes on your iPhone. You might see more than one. The first place to check for your missing notes is in each individual folder. Tap on each folder to see if your missing notes are stored inside.

Notes List Of Accounts

Recovering Missing Notes Using Settings

If you haven’t found your notes yet, the next place we’ll check is in Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Tap on each individual email account and make sure that Notes are turned on for each account.Notes On For Email Account

If you recently removed an email account from your iPhone, add it again and turn on Notes when you set it up. Go back to the Notes app, tap the yellow back arrow Notes Back Arrow, and check each new email account for the missing Notes.

Keeping Your Notes Organized

It’s certainly not necessary to sync your notes across multiple email accounts. In fact, I discourage that because it can get very confusing! Right now, we’re trying to find your missing notes – that’s why we’re turning them all on.

To stay organized moving forward, it’s important to know where you’re saving your notes. If you’re using Siri to create your notes, you can set the default account for new notes in Settings -> Notes.

Choose Default Account Notes

Otherwise, you need to be aware of which account you’re using when you create a new note in the Notes app. Before you create a new note, tap the yellow back arrow Notes Back Arrow in the upper left-hand corner of the screen and choose a folder. The good news is that the Notes app should pick up right where you left off whenever you open it.

My recommendation is to use as few accounts as you can to sync notes. After you “take an inventory” of where your notes are stored, I recommend going back to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and disabling Notes for the accounts that you aren’t using to sync your notes.Notes Account Off

On my iPhone, I use two accounts to sync notes. To be honest, the only reason I use two accounts is because I haven’t taken the time to switch my old Gmail notes over to iCloud yet. Ideally, most people should only use one account to sync their notes.

iPhone Notes: Found!

Kim’s question about where her iPhone notes had gone was a good one, because it’s a very common problem. The good news is that this problem usually has a happy ending. When notes disappear from an iPhone, it’s not because they were deleted — they’re just lost. I’d love to hear about your experiences with recovering lost notes on your iPhone, and if you have any other questions, feel free to do what Kim did and post them in the Payette Forward Community.

Thanks for reading, and remember to pay it forward,
David P.

About Author

I'm a former Apple employee and the founder of Payette Forward, and I'm here to help you with your iPhone.

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Anonymous

Thanks, I hadn’t realised deleting them in my gmail would impact what is happening on my phone. Your article helped create the link so I could find in my trash in gmail – appreciated!

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Really nice post. When it comes to recover notes on iPhone, iRefone is also a good choice. This iPhone data recovery tool enables users to recover deleted or lost data on your iOS devices, iTunes backup and iCloud backup.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

David – I have a quesiton similar to this in nature. For several months now, I have had an issue when I create a new “Contact” on my iPhone and immediatley add “Notes” to the Contact card. All the “notes” delete, even if I make sure to press “save” or “done” on top right. I have specifically made sure that all CONTACTS are saved using my Gmail account in Settings/Contacts/Save to Gmail. Is this an on-going issue??

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I have done everything you suggested and I did get back most of my notes but the most recent notes are still missing. Recently I deleted my google account and then added it again and it seemed to have started at the beginning instead of adding it as the old account. I am wondering if that is the issue. Your help would be appreciated beyond words. Thank you for you post.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Hi, on my iphone 6S the notes app icon just disappeared. I tried your instruction but no lick. Your input will highly appreciated. Tks

Anonymous
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Anonymous

What if the deleted email account was deactivated? Can I still retrieve my notes?

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I have a iPhone 5S too… I just opened my notes this evening and they were GONE… I have two files, notes on the phone and linked to my gmail. The file linked to my gmail is still there, but the other file that has ALL my important notes are just gone. “0” notes. I went to settings and saw the “on my iPhone” note account is turned on, but it’s not accessable, like it’s locked up or something. It’s faintly green (you know when you can see something like when you have to check an “I agree” box so… Read more »

Anonymous
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Anonymous

My wife says you have saved her. She keeps all sorts of info on notes and they suddenly disappeared, icon and all, from her phone, but I found them using your tips. You are a hero in our house today. Thank you.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Hi. I have an iPhone 5S. My notes have randomly disappeared on me twice now. Prior to now, I didn’t have iCloud set up, so I didn’t have any backup set up. I ran a recovery program i found online, but it only recovered very old notes from a different device. The notes from the recent months were just totally gone. I didn’t delete them, however. I tried many options for recovery and nothing worked. I even called Apple, which was extraordinarily useless. Do you have any tips that may help me? The most recently deleted notes disappeared about 2… Read more »

Numbers6
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Numbers6

Mine disappeared too, Ipad2 with IOS 8, then when you hook up to iTunes the auto backup takes your now bad iPad memory and overwrites the good backup! So the backup is useless. And turning the settings off and on no help either. I sure hope they are somewhere, maybe in those hash files in the backup directory?

ShyDarkArtist_12
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ShyDarkArtist_12

This doesn’t work ?? ☹️

Mike Clarkson
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Mike Clarkson

I appreciate the tips but it didn’t work. I couldn’t find my notes on my email. I did save all my notes on icloud or so I thought. I went ahead and erased my iphone to it’s original setting and restored it from my icloud. A few of my notes came back but most were still missing including some very valuable info. The notes app is TOTALLY USELESS. Case in point, I just made a note an hour ago and it’s missing right now. ?????????

Blair Grotbeck
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Blair Grotbeck

This unfortunately did not work. I still have loads of notes missing. No idea why.

Casey Marie
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Casey Marie

My husband’s notes came back, but the one that was most important came back with two months worth of information suddenly disappearing from it. Really messed up.

Marcelo Advincula
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Marcelo Advincula

After trying everything and not having any success, this worked!
thank you so much!

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