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How to recover when your notes disappeared from iPhone

Alex Griffith Updated on Apr 12, 2023 9:59 AM

Some iPhone users found that their notes disappeared from Notes app for no reason. When the problem happens, all of your important records and schedules stored in the note are gone. As described by a poster from Apple Discussions:

"Why my notes suddenly disappeared? Yesterday, I still can get access to my notes and today they are gone. I already tried searching for them on the phone but nothing found. The Recently Deleted folder is empty. I signed into iCloud.com and I couldn't find the notes there, either. Now what?"

iPhone notes disappearing issue can be traced back to several reasons, including inappropriate email settings, accidentally deletion, block of third-party sharing, and failure of recent iPhone update. Thankfully, there are possible fixes for you to find the notes and get back to your iPhone.

Possible reasons for notes disappeared from iPhone

Before you go ahead reading the following paragraph, check the possible culprits of notes missing iPhone problem below. If you're experiencing with one of them, this article will be helpful.

  • Deleted your email accounts on iPhone without realizing they were synced with notes
  • Some of notes disappeared after doing the most recent update of iOS version
  • Logged out from an iCloud account to a different account on iPhone.
  • Turn off Notes sync in Settings by mistake
  • You're missing a note that someone else shared with you
  • Notes icon disappeared

Where are notes stored on iPhone

This depends on how you set up your Notes settings on the device. Apple allows you to store notes on the device itself by enabling "On My iPhone" Account, as well as allocate a Default Account (iCloud, iPhone, or third-party services) to save your notes when you try to create one.

When you set the default account to iCloud, just like your contacts, messages, photos, all your notes create in Notes app will be stored in iCloud server. That means any change, including deleting a note on one device, will sync across all your devices with the same Apple ID.

At the same time, Apple enables you to sync notes from email accounts you set up on the iPhone with Notes app. This can be convenient if you have a lot of important notes stored on that account, no matter it's Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Hotmail, AOL, Exchange. One thing to be noted that your iPhone just displays those notes, they are stored on a remote server that is associated with your email service.

So you know what reason could cause the issue and where your notes actually are saved, we're going to lay out a few troubleshooting steps you should take in order to get the notes back..

How to recover disappeared notes on iPhone

Here are 4 solutions to try. You don't have to try them all; just work your way down the list until your notes reappear on the phone. If nothing fails, you still can resort to a third party utility to scan your device storage to hunt notes that is recoverable.

iPhone Data Recovery:

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for Windows | for MacOS

Check your email accounts settings

1. If your notes were attributed to a third-party email account or email service (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, Outlook, Exchange, etc), make sure the Notes is turned on.

  • Go to Settings > Notes > Accounts.
  • Tap the email account you want to check.
  • Toggle Notes to ON position if it's off. Check other accounts with the same steps.

2. Did you delete a or all your email accounts recently on the iPhone without realizing notes were attached to that email account(s) and not iCloud? If yes, the problem can be fix easily. The notes just were removed from iPhone and can't access anymore, they actually still live in your email server. When you re-add the email account(s) to your device and get Notes enabled, all of your notes should be back.

  • Go to Settings > Mail > Accounts.
  • Select Add Account, tap an email service provider from the list. You can also tap Other and then Add Mail Account if Apple doesn't lists your email service there.
  • Enter your username, email address or mobile,  and password.
  • Tap Next and wait for Mail to finish your account setup.
  • Turn on Notes.
  • Tap Save.

Open Notes app, tap the yellow back icon on the upper left corner, your missing notes should reappear under the email account.

3. Another issue to take note of is if you have set a third-party email as your default account for notes, when you deleted notes on iPhone, they didn't go into "Recently Deleted" folder in your Notes app but move to trash folder in that account. That's why the notes disappeared on iPhone, you can't find them anywhere.

To remedy this, use a computer to log into your email account, check a folder labeled "Trash", all of your deleted notes should be there. Do note that different email service may have a folder with different name for saving deleted files. You may also check "All Mail" (Gmail), "Deleted Items", "Spam", "Junk" or anything else. If required, search them by a word that you knew was in the note.

In Outlook account, for example, the deleted notes will move to Deleted Items folder. You can simply select the deleted note you need, and click Restore button to get it back to original Notes folder. They will be automatically updated across to your iPhone Notes app, as well.

4. If you recently changed your email password online but didn't update it on your device, you will lose connection to remote email server and result in notes disappeared on iPhone. To restore your notes, you can go to Settings > Mail > Accounts, tapping on your email account, tap "Deleted Account" to remove the account from your phone and then add it back again.

Get missing notes from Recently Deleted folder

If you haven't found notes from email account you set up on iPhone, The next step you should take is go to check for the Recently Deleted folder in the Notes app. The folder keeps a copy of your notes synced to iCloud for 30 days (may take up to 40 days) after you tap delete, giving you a chance to recover the notes if you later realize it was a wrong decision.

  • Open Notes app, tap the yellow back arrow until you see list of your notes.
  • Tap Recently Deleted.
  • If you find the note in the list, tap Edit at the top-right of the screen.
  • Select every note that you want to recover.
  • In the bottom left, tap Move.
  • Select the folder you wish to move it to.

Search for your missing notes

When your iPhone notes disappeared, you can also use the Search bar in the Notes app to find your notes.

  • Open Notes app, tap the yellow back arrow until you see your Folders list.
  • Tap the Search bar on the top of the screen.
  • Type a word or phrase you knew in the note. Any matched note will display in the search results. You can tap it to enter the note to see more details.

Make sure All Accounts is selected so that the search is thorough and complete. If you can't find a note, you may need to further check your locked notes manually as they are not accessed without permission.

Shared notes disappeared?

The Note sharing feature added to the Notes app on iPhone now allows users to share notes with other iOS devices through iCloud. With it, any invited people can access and make the changes on the note, and the creator of a note can remove users from shared notes any time.

So, if you're missing a note that was shared from someone on your iPhone, that could be another clue. Maybe the owner stopped sharing the note with you, leading to the note completely removed from your iPhone. When you accept the Notes file again from the original invitation or ask the owner to share it one more time, the note should appear normally in Notes app now.

Use a data recovery program

If you have done everything suggested above and still can't get back your lost notes on iPhone, you may want to use a file recovery tool to recover notes.

iPhone Data Recovery is incredibly thorough, scanning every bit of data inside the device memory for missing notes and other files that can be recovered. It splits the search results into sensible categories automatically, making it easy to preview and recover what you want. The program supports more than 15+ types of data for recovery.

Download Now!

for Windows | for MacOS

Step 1: Download the appropriate version of iPhone Data Recovery on your computer, install it following by the on-screen instructions. It's quick and easy.

Step 2. Run it, and connect your iPhone to computer with a USB cable. When it's recognized, click "Start Scan" to begin scanning the device.

Step 3: When the scan is finished, results are sorted by different categories and are searchable, which makes it easier to find exactly what you're looking for.

In our cases, click Notes category beneath "Memos & Others," you'll see all of your notes from the device storage, including existing and lost ones.

Step 4: Select the notes and click the "Recover" button at the lower right corner of the program window, your missing notes will save onto computer locally in HTML format. You can sign in to your iCloud.com via a browser, and copy and paste the note to a new note in iCloud. Wait a while, all missing notes will be updated and back to your iPhone.

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Restore notes from a backup

If you had the foresight to make the backup of your phone data in iTunes or iCloud before the notes on iPhone disappeared, you can go back to the last backup and restore them. You can go through the full restore process using the old fashion way—it will put your device back to the date of backup created, and newer notes after the backup was made will be gone.

If you're not sure whether the notes you want to recover are in the backup or not, you can try iPhone Data Recovery and use its built-in "Recover from iCloud" and "Recover from iTunes backup" modes to access the backup and check the specific notes there, then recover the missing notes you want. This obviously avoids restoring everything from backup to your phone.

Notes app disappeared on iPhone

If the Notes app disappeared from iPhone all of a sudden and got all of notes gone, chances are someone deleted it. Since iOS 12, it's possible to delete the Notes app on iPhone.

When this happens, don't worry, you can reinstall the Notes app from the App Store and get everything working normally again.

  • Open App Store.
  • Tap the magnifying glass on the bottom right of your screen.
  • Type in Notes in the search bar and tap Search.
  • Tap Notes.
  • Tap Get.

Then go to Settings > Mail > Account on your iPhone, be sure to toggle Notes on for each account.

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