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 -> Notes -> Accounts 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 -> Notes -> Accounts. 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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14 days ago

Hey so my phone was simply running put of storage and I guess it just ended up deleting all of my notes or something 🙁 I have no folders or anything in my notes anymore and I want them back. Please help! I also did not change my email or log out or anything like that.

Joe Lindeman
10 days ago
Reply to  Nicole

This happens often to me (once a day or more). I’m sure it’s something I’m doing (or not doing) but here’s how I get them all back. Shut off your phone. Turn it back on. Go to Notes. They reappear just as you left off. It’s annoying to have to do this but it works for a Boomer like me.

Mr. Gerald Harris
1 month ago

I have also lost data from my Notes app. This particular note was linked to an email I had stopped using and deleted from my iPhone 11 several months ago. However, the same email address was still installed on my Mac Pro. I still get in-bound emails but cannot email out.
As soon as I saw the note disappear from my phone’s screen I opened Notes on my Mac Pro hoping to see a copy there but that has gone too.
I have searched everywhere on my systems but I cannot find where the note is hiding.

1 month ago

Hi there, So I received a shared note, which prompted me to turn on my iCloud to view the note. After I did and viewed the note, I went back into my Notes app and all of my notes except like 20 of them were missing. They are not backed up to iCloud, I checked on the website. I can’t even search the iPhone for the missing notes, nothing appears. I haven’t deleted any accounts in the meantime and checked that all the accounts that are connected are working. Please help! I need those notes. Years of recipes, passwords, and… Read more »

Savana Maree
1 month ago

In the middle of typing something my phone crashed due to the amount of storage I had. I got a new phone and everything transferred, except for the last sentence. It didn’t back up to the cloud so there’s no way to restore anything. How do I get it back if I can’t remember it?

Kathy hebner
2 months ago

I deleted an email account from my iPhone and lost all my notes. This is an email that no longer exists so I can’t just add it back. What to do?