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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George
4 years ago

I had one note disappear from my notes app, on my iphone and my mac. Really weird. I found it by searching the title of the note in my gmail search bar. The note showed up as an email, as notes synced in a gmail account do. Bizarre. Not sure why it wouldn’t show up in my app.

Elbridge T Price
4 years ago

Individual notes disappear on my Iphone XR. Only way to get the note back is to turn off the phone and reboot.

Elbridge T Price
4 years ago

Individual notes disappear on my iphone XR

Jimmy Marentes
4 years ago

My photos seem to get saved in the cloud automatically but my notes are not showing up there. What’s up ?

Denise Saborse
4 years ago

I had to delete a work email and when I did that all my notes disappeared. I desperately need these back. Our IT department can’t get our old emails back. Please HELP!
Thank you

Bryon pagot
4 years ago

Hi. I trdd as nsferred from se to xr iphone
I lost my notes. The Apple store had me wipe the old phone. So now I can back up either phone and I get my notes for about a minute. Then they disappear. How do I retrieve them.

Anonymous
5 years ago

An important note (iphone 6, backed up to icloud) disappeared when I hit delete for a table I didn’t want. None of the ideas here or elsewhere have helped me find them. Would love some help!

Anonymous
5 years ago

I found my notes! As far as i can tell the way i did it is not covered above. What was weird in my case was it lost the recent notes that had been syncing to my icloud (the icloud now shows no notes at all). It did NOT lose the ones syncng to the email which was removed which is just weird to me, but anyway. This is how to find them if this happens: -sign back in with the email you removed -turn on notes for that email -go to settings>icloud>advanced>mail>advanced (yes advanced, again) – it then says… Read more »

Anonymous
5 years ago

Hi, my partner deleted my email from an old iphone. It deleted all the notes stored on icloud. So every note from the last 2 years is gone. Old ones and ones previously connected to my gmail remain.
I used notes to document my childrens developing speech for over 7 years and much of it is gone. Any ideas about how to recover them would be much appreciated.

Anonymous
5 years ago

You totally solved my problem. I was having trouble logging into my AOL account so I deleted it and reinstalled it. AOL worked fine but didn’t realize that Notes was somehow attached to my email account. Followed instructions above about a new email account and turning Notes on, and VOILA, everything back to normal.

Anonymous
5 years ago

Hi. I tried all your methods. I still cant find my notes. I had 102 notes. Now I have only 17. I cant recover the other 85 notes, I tried going to Settings-Mail-Contacts-Calendar-Notes but when I clicked on Mail, contacts or Calendar, there was no icon for Notes to click on.

Peter

Anonymous
5 years ago

what about on a mac

Anonymous
5 years ago

Is there a fix if I cant reload the email account..?

Anonymous
5 years ago

I didn’t delete my iCloud account and all my notes are still gone. I did what you said and still no notes.

Anonymous
5 years ago

What if the icon itself got deleted –
I went through all the steps but my notes are still gone-

Anonymous
5 years ago

Thank you so much. I was so upset when i thought all but my new notes disappeared. Now they are bacl. Yeah!!!!

Anonymous
5 years ago

I’ve tried everything here that is suggested. Yes all logical but no, my notes are GONE and I had many critical things in there. One would think they might backup to my computer when I sync it or synced it but apparently that doesn’t happen either.

Anonymous
5 years ago

Hi, so sad I tried and tried but the darn notes are gone! It’s crazy how the iPhone is connected to my gmail. Wish it was safe. No way to retreve the notes deleted after I deleted a gmail account. So be careful when you delete. My two cents worth.

Anonymous
5 years ago

after suncing a new email account and changing Apple ID passwords at the iStore, my NOTES have disappeared. please advise as this is urgent. thanks a mill.
Marilyn Bull

Anonymous
5 years ago

I have a 5 S also and my notes are gone and I have tried everything and cannot find them. I have tried your solutions but no luck. My pnone is backed up so how do I find that.

Anonymous
5 years ago

i followed the listed directions and still can’t recover them. What is even more odd, is that the notes are gone on all my devices.

Anonymous
5 years ago

i have an iPhone 6 and i went to my notes and discovered that all my notes were gone. I did not delete them. they are too critical for me to retain. I contacted Apple and they tell me my internet server/provider probably has them. I contacted them and they said that they do not. I am getting the runaround and need to get my notes back. how do I?

Anonymous
5 years ago

My iPhone SE crashed and I lost over 50 notes of poetry and diaries I had written about my childs first few years of life. I didnt have cloud activated or any backups. Cant find the lost notes in email. But when I search by swiping left and type in a key phrase from the notes, it shows a preview of the note (though when I click it, it comes up to my notes app which says 0 notes). How can I retrieve my lost notes? Learning the hard way the importance of backups and saving special documents in multiple… Read more »

Anonymous
5 years ago

I had an incredible amount of information that is VERY important to me stored in my gmail Notes folder. 2 days ago, they all completely disappeared. That same morning, I had just done the most recent iOS 11.3 update. I have followed every instruction I can find on the net to recover without any luck. Many of the steps I have come across, however, do not look the same on my phone as they do in the directions on line. I am SOOOO upset. I need these notes back. Can anyone PLEASE help me?!

Anonymous
6 years ago

After an update my notes disappeared. After following your directions I found them. Thanks so much.

Anonymous
6 years ago

I’ve just got an iPhone 6s and the notes are driving me nuts. I couldn’t and still can’t sink them with my iPad for starters. I decided to make some separate test notes on my phone but they instantly vanish, it won’t keep them on my phone at all and I still haven’t found them. The info you supplied was helpful as I have now set them up on my email and so far so good, they still seem to be there. Notes is also showing “notes on my iPhone” which is always empty. I’ve also added my notes to… Read more »

Anonymous
6 years ago

My iPhone SE I have never had a problem with. But recently, I was editing on this note and it started with a at the top. After I pressed back, the note deleted itself instantly. The only thing left was the dash at the top. I checked my emails, and all of them said no additional content even though I had edited it extensively over a period of hours. Why does it do that? Is there a way to recover them?

Anonymous
6 years ago

I have a iphone 5s too.
As suggesed, for using your notes on icloud/MacBook, I created a folder and moved all my notes (about 270) into this folder – which just disappered a day later!
I had a 2 hours call with icare, they couldn recover the notes.
Is there any chance to get them back?

Anonymous
6 years ago

Iphone 6- I was trying to back up my Iphone 6 but message came back saying not enough room on my hard drive. Then on my iphone 6 I opened Notes but all my previous notes had disappeared. I tried everything you suggested to no avail. Now what?

Anonymous
6 years ago

I tried all of the fixes you have mentioned to retrieve my notes .. It worked for all of the notes except for the last 6 months .. any way to find those notes from July 2017- December 2017?

Anonymous
6 years ago

Mine says loading. The smaller notes are there. The bigger ones with pictures says loading. I tried to set up an email on the iCloud and it says promblem occurred try again.

Anonymous
6 years ago

I have tried most things but no joy . My notes vanished when my son realised that I couldnt send email although I could receive them. He cured that problem and created another

Anonymous
6 years ago

Hi! I tried everything you said — no luck. I do know that my Notes were saved on my Yahoo! Mail but my Mail app is not working on my phone and there is nothing I can do about it… Please help!

Anonymous
6 years ago

Thank you! I did have a problem with Yahoo and had to delete my account and then re-entered it. The notes were turned off in my email. Once i switched it on, all the notes came back in about two minutes! Bless you! I never knew notes were tied to email account.

Anonymous
6 years ago

Doesn’t help me, because I don’t have contacts or calendars in settings

Anonymous
6 years ago

Hello, I just recently got my first smart phone, an iphone 8 plus so I’m new at this. I had written a long letter that I wanted to send snail mail and I wrote most of it in notes on my iphone when I was out and about and felt inspired. I just looked for it and to my surprise it wasn’t there. I didn’t delete them. I read your article and I understand that it is probably lost, and not gone. I followed your suggestions and still I can’t figure it out. It is surprising to me that “Notes”… Read more »

Anonymous
6 years ago

I update my notes often. Up until today, if I was updated a note DURING a random iCloud sync, the note would be duplicated (annoying, but I’d just delete the old / non-updated ones). This time, I was updating a note during a random iCloud sync and instead of duplicating the note, it DELETED everything under the text I was entering into the note. For example, I had a long list of to-dos, and was entering something into the 2nd line of text, (there were many lines of text below it), and everything under that 2nd line disappeared. I checked… Read more »

Anonymous
6 years ago

I did all this, and they still arent there!! What else can I do? I just restored my phone after an update didnt go well, and it was a recent back up.. and now gone!!

Anonymous
6 years ago

I read your article about finding lost notes & none of those ideas worked. Any other suggestions?

Anonymous
6 years ago

My Hotmail Notes have disappeared. I had to setup my iPhone 7 as new this weekend after a battery issue. I have removed and re-added my Hotmail account twice. Notes is highlighted in the Accounts, but there is still not the option in my Notes from the list. I only have iCloud and On This Device as the option to choose from. I’ve lost all my old Notes. Can anyone with Hotmail tell me if they have this issue and tell me how I get my Hotmail Notes to appear/back. I’m on iOS 11.0.3.

Anonymous
6 years ago

Your advice solved my problem, so many thanks. I’m now wondering if this means I can only access my notes when I’m online.

Anonymous
6 years ago

I think I accidently deleted one of my notes!! How can I get it back without going back to my last backup? Thanks in advance

Anonymous
6 years ago

Thanks for your help! Putting the new password I had changed in my email worked, and the notes came back!!

Anonymous
6 years ago

Happened to me and if you search for something in one of the notes you lost it should bring up all your missing notes. Let me know if that works. Also if you have an iPad and iPhone make sure your email account is added to both devices. I just took it off my iPad and my new notes went away but I searched for a recent note on my phone and all my missing ones came back so I saved them asap. Good luck:)

Anonymous
6 years ago

Thank you for your information. My boyfriend has an iphone 6SE and we deleted his email account while trying to fix another problem on his phone. After doing this, all of his notes were gone…. He uses his notes religiously to type up his eBay listings and this was a huge problem. I went and searched the internet to see how to get them back and read your page. We had his notes retrieved and back on his iphone in less than 5 minutes. Thank you for the “note-saving” information!

Anonymous
6 years ago

I still am unable to find my lost notes!

Anonymous
6 years ago

Royal f*** up here google. Lost my most recent note which was one of the most important I’ve made this year. No getting it back by the looks of it. WTF? I just changed my password on my laptop and then had to change it within my iphone, but Keep reverted back to a couple of weeks ago and is now missing the most recent notes. Very upset and wont be using this again.

Anonymous
6 years ago

i checked icloud and my aol account, notes are just gone. Even reached out to AOL to see if they could track down the missing notes. All my notes from august 19th until sep 1 are gone. I don’t remember deleting anything at any point. I used some of the notes several times during that time frame. I believe the last time I accessed the notes was friday afternoon. I would guess something happened friday september 1st, or saturday the 2nd. the only other weird thing that also happened saturday and sunday is that some of my text messages came… Read more »

Anonymous
6 years ago

I deleted a work email address from my phone and the employer changed the password so I cant log in anymore and all my notes were attibuted to that email account. Am I totally out of luck? thanks in advance for any help you can offer!

Anonymous
6 years ago

My notes are officially gone, I believe. There were 2 possible emails that I could’ve had them sync to. Plus, I had iCloud and iCloud Drive turned on and set to save notes. One of the possible emails, was one that I didn’t believe I had access to any longer and never used it. I deleted that email, because I never used it. I deleted one or 2 others, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t sync notes to those. The other email was my main Apple ID, which iCloud/drive are tied to. I re-added all of the emails that I… Read more »