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.
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.
How Do I Know Where My iPhone Notes Are Stored?
Open the Notes app on your iPhone, and look for the yellow 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.
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.
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 , 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.
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 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.
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,
My notes have problems. Most of them have disappeared. I did all the things you listed but not having any success. Please help!
THANK YOU!!! i had ‘lost’ all my notes b/c i had deleted my email account and re-added it. going through your instructions really helped and THEY WERE THERE! when i re-added my email account i had not turned NOTES on in that email. thank you!!
my email was hacked and whoever was responsible changed the password..then what do i do?
Hi, because most of my notes disappeared when I did the most recent update (ok, the update wasn’t recent, I usually wait a few months for bugs) I followed the very easy steps laid out and the ONLY account related to my notes is my ICloud. Which brings me to my real question. Since I’ve been paying for 50GB of Storage and I have it linked to a single account with Two-Factor Athentication On. I cannot access my ICloud stored information. I have never been able to. H-E-L-P Please 8-/
My notes disappeared after deleting emails and some archived emails. Why would thiss happen when I did not delete any notes nor are they located in my emails….or are they. I had lots of notes and never expeted this to happen unless I aqcttually wanted to delete them in Notes. I am very devetated.
thank you so much!!! this just saved my life
I have tried everything suggested in the article and my notes are still gone. Also, my iCloud button and backup button are gone. Does anyone have more suggestions?
I have an iPhone 7…the notes app switches off after 15 seconds….the stored notes are still there….but the app continuously switches off…anybody with the same symptom???
I tried everything suggested and my notes did not come back.
Thank you! Just had to add my new email address and they appeared via iCloud. Many, many thanks!
Holy heck! Imagine my panic when I went to look up info stored in my notes but discovered they were totally gone!!! I Googled and found your site. Tapping on my email account under setting brought them back. Whew!! Your suggestion totally saved me. I will be backing up the info now! I can’t thank you enough!!
More and more people are experiencing not only the loss of notes, but the entire Notes app disappearing from the iPhone. So far Apple has provided no explanation or workaround for the lost data. Thread here: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7728938
What if your phone no longer has an Notes App on the desktop?
Happened to me today. Notes just disappeared.
Reinstalled Notes. The data from iCloud & Gmail came back but that on my iPhone 6 is not found at all.
Is there a solution?
Thanking all in advance.
Thanks so much for this article! I was able to retrieve 101 very important lost notes. I had deleted my gmail account since I never used it, not realizing my notes were attached to it. I would have never figured this out on my own. Thank you!!!
Thank you so much! This article has helped me recover all my notes! I greatly appreciate the help.
Thank you!! I got my notes back!
THANK YOU. I never comment on these things but this was seriously a life saver. Had no idea that it was tied to an old email address. Much appreciated!!
At 60 I new I was in trouble when there was no owners manual to read! Thanks for this info since it has happened to me also.
Oooof! Thanks so much – I tried following the recommendations of other sites, including downloading software (which I hate to do but I was desperate). None recommended doing what you’ve suggested. I’ve followed your instructions and thought I was still at a dead end, until the notes began to populate into the newly activated accounts. It just takes a minute (or what seems like a minute). I’ve regained access to all my notes. I’m eternally grateful – you’ve saved me hours of work. Will remember to pay it forward – cheers!
Fabulous! Thanks for this! lost mine yesterday.. found them with the back yellow arrow! hurrah!
I have the 7 Plus. I use notes striclty as short term reminders and To Do Lists. I do not synch them. Mine have also disappeared. Found them based on the below (Thank You) Not sure how Notes are connected to email–or why. This is a completely different procedure than my last IPhone 5. This “updated” version seems counterproductive. I’ve noticed there is a lot of duplication with the new software–takes up space and is infuriating. Any way to get around this?
I eventually just searched for “notes” in the seach bar that appears if you swipe right from the iphone home page. I reinstalled the notes app and all my messages were still there!
Actually, you can use the normal method to recover your data through iTunes or iCloud. Or find some iphone recovery tool to recover. So if you really forget to back up your notes, can you find your lost data?
Thanks for the article…worked perfectly for me.
Thanks for the help. Now I can sleep. I thought my notes were lost.
If you did the backup of your notes before deleting then you can easily get back those notes by the following steps: 1. First dont connect your iPhone directly to computer because the iTunes only saves the most recent backup 2. Now make sure that you have a valid backup as listed iTunes> preferences> devices 3. Before connecting your iPhone make sure to check iTunes>preferences> devices prevent iPhone from syncing automatically. Because this will ensures we dont erase the previously stored backup. Then select OK and close the window after checking dont sync 4. Now connect your iPhone to your… Read more »
Thank you so much for this!!! I retrieved my notes that were really important! I changed my password by deleting my email account on my iphone 6 and reinstalling it instead of just changing the passsword. I flipped it out and sweat alittle when I opened my notes and they were gone.It was a case of turning the notes back on, simple thanks again.
i Have just upgraded from iphone 5s to iphone 6s. most apps etc have been transferred & re-loaded. I have synced phones to laptop . but disaster – none of the notes on my 5s have transferred to my 6s – do i have to manually re -enter them on the 6s? thanks in advance for help………maz
I tried everything you suggested and I am still missing 45 out of 52 notes. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.
Help. I have tried to follow the steps above but cannot find my most important notes to several accounts, etc. I have the Iphone 7 . Can you offer any suggestions..
I did all this and my iphone notes are still all missing
thank you – most of my very important notes are missing – I tried everything you suggested but no luck. are the recovery programs online such as iRefone safe? any other recommendations? I have an iPhone 5
Lifesaver. Was panicking. Didn’t realize my notes were associated with my email and not my cloud. So thankful for you help!!!
Thank you so very much. I never would have found my notes without your advice.
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!
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.
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??
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.
Hi, on my iphone 6S the notes app icon just disappeared. I tried your instruction but no lick. Your input will highly appreciated. Tks
What if the deleted email account was deactivated? Can I still retrieve my notes?
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 »
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.
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 »
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?
This doesn’t work ?? ☹️
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. ?????????
This unfortunately did not work. I still have loads of notes missing. No idea why.
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.
After trying everything and not having any success, this worked!
thank you so much!