5 Ways to Recover Notes Disappeared from Mac after Update (Big Sur Incl.)

Rosa Reyes
time November 24, 2020 Preview 80.7K
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Hi! I recently updated my MacBook Air to Catalina and discovered that all my Notes had disappeared. These notes go back six years, and I'm desperate to get them back. ---User From Apple Discussion
I was tried to link my videos from my phone to my computer, so I went to system pref>>icloud>>then checked the notes box, but then all of my notes that were under the 'icloud' tab deleted, anyone else have this problem or ways to get my notes back?---User From Apple Discussion

As you can see, mac notes often disappeared or gone after update or iCloud setting changes. If your Mac notes are missing after a latest Big Sur upgrade, in this article we will show you 5 ways to recover disappeared or deleted mac notes with ease.

5 Ways to Recover Disappeared or Deleted Notes on Mac

#1 Recover Disappeared or Lost Mac Notes from Recently Deleted Folder

Whenever we found the notes files get disappeared or deleted on Mac, we are always caught in a panic and forget to check the Recently Deleted folder, where we probably are able to get them back with ease. What’s equally important is, we must stop writing data onto your Mac, which will cause the permanently loss of your Mac notes.

  1. Launch the Notes App on your Mac.
  2. Go to Recently Deleted tab, check if your disappeared notes are there, if yes, move to your Mac or iCloud account.check recently deleted notes

#2 Locate and Recover Disappeared Mac Notes

If the disappeared mac notes is not moved to Recently Deleted folder in Notes App, we should search the file by using Mac spotlight feature, then recover from Recent Opened files.

  1. Go to Finder App.
  2. Click on the Recent Tab.recent tab
  3. Input the keyword that contained in your mac disappeared notes' file name.search disappeared notes
  4. Find the lost mac notes, open it to save or edit as needed.

#3 Easiest Way to Recover Disappeared Notes on Mac

If above 2 methods fail to recover your lost notes on Mac, it means your Mac notes get disappeared completely, you need a professional and advanced solution to fix this. While, the most effective solution to recover disappeared notes on Mac is using a third-party dedicated data recovery software.

Cisdem Data Recovery for Mac is the best Mac data recovery software that can recover corrupted or lost photos, audios, videos, documents and archive from any Mac supported data storage media, including internal/external hard drives, USB drives, SD card, digital cameras, iPods, etc. It also supports previewing files before recovery.

Steps to Recover Disappeared or Deleted Notes on Mac

  1. Download and install Cisdem Data Recovery to your Mac.
    Free Download
  2. Choose A Recovery Solution.
    You can start with Basic Data Recovery (quick scan), if you want deep scan, you can try Advanced Data Recovery.Mac Notes Disappeared Recovery- Data Recovery Software 01
  3. Choose the Disk to Scan Notes.
    This app allows you to choose which disk to scan, you need to click on Scan button to start the scanning.Mac Notes Disappeared Recovery- Data Recovery Software 02
  4. Preview and Recover Notes on Mac.
    The scanning process will take some time which depends on the size and quantity of files on disk.  In or after scanning, you can preview your target files. Search the PDF, TXT, etc. notes under the category: Type > Document. Finally, choose the folder or files to recover only. Then click “Recover” to retrieve Mac disappeared notes.Mac Notes Disappeared Recovery- Data Recovery Software 03

#4 Recover Mac Disappeared Notes from Time Machine

Time Machine is a backup software application distributed with the Apple OS X computer operating system which backs up all of your files to an external hard drive so that you can restore them later or see how they looked in the past. If you always backup your Mac data with Time Machine regularly, you can recover notes disappeared from Mac with it. To recover deleted notes on Mac from Time Machine:

  1. Choose Enter Time Machine from the Time Machine menu, or click Time Machine in the Dock.
  2. And use the timeline on the edge of the screen to locate a version of the Notes storage folder that just precedes your deletion.
  3. Click Restore to restore the selected file, or Control-click the file for other options. When you next launch the Notes app, your missing or deleted notes should reappear.

Mac Notes Disappeared Recovery- Time Machine

#5 Recover Disappeared Notes on Mac in iCloud

If you are using upgraded notes (iOS 9+ and OS X 10.11+), you are able to recover and edit the iCloud notes disappeared from Mac in the past 30 days.

Nevertheless, you have no chance to recover notes permanently removed from iCloud.com, or shared by someone else (the notes won’t move to the Recently Deleted folder).

  1. Sign into iCloud.com and select Notes app.
  2. Choose "Recently Deleted" folder.
  3. Click “Recover” in the toolbar to get back notes disappeared from Mac. Or you can drag the notes from “Recently Deleted” folder to another one.Mac Notes Disappeared Recovery- iCloud

If you’re not using upgraded notes, you can’t recover deleted notes on Mac. In this case, you have to disable the Internet access immediately when you find your Mac notes disappeared. Next, you should:

  • Solution 1: Go to the system preferences > choose iCloud panel > log out the current Apple ID, and the data won't sync.
  • Solution 2: Check the missing notes in iCloud.com on other Apple devices but Mac.

Extended: Where is Notes Stored on Mac and Can I Recover from the Location?

Though Mac Notes app creates database-like files, instead of saving each note as individual note file in a folder, it has a storage location to store temporary data in Mac library. That’s to say, if your mac notes get disappeared, you can go to its storage location and recover from the temporary folder.

Where is Note Stored on Mac:


How to Recover Disappeared Notes from Storage Location?

  1. Click on Finder App, go to Go>Go to Folder from its menu bar, copy and paste Mac Notes storage location into the box "~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Notes/Data/Library/Notes/".storage location notes
  2. You will get the Notes folder. Inside the folder, you should see a small assortment of similarly named files with names such as NotesV7.storedata.stored mac notes
  3. Copy these files to a separate location, and add a .html extension to them.
  4. Open one of the files in a web browser, and you will see your deleted notes.
  5. Copy and save deleted notes to a separate location. If this way is not working, use Cisdem to recover.

Tips to Avoid Mac Notes Disappeared on Mac

  1. Export your notes as PDF or make a copy of them for further saving. Just go to File and choose “Export as PDF”.
  2. Always keep your notes backed up with Time Machine and iCloud, in that way, you will able to quickly and easily recover Mac notes disappeared.

  3. After Mac notes disappeared, the first thing you are supposed to do is to check the lost files again in a Finder or Spotlight.


That’s all for the solutions to fix Mac notes disappeared. Although free methods do bring some assistance, they are conditionally restricted and don't recover successfully every time. Personally, I prefer using data recovery software (like Cisdem Data Recovery), which can scan and retrieve any lost, deleted files with one click.

Rosa Reyes
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Rosa has worked in Mac software industry for more than eight years. She believes that the purpose of software is to make life better and work more productively. In addition to writing, Rosa is also an avid runner.

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Comments (6) Leave a Reply

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  • Martin

    How about deleted documents from trash? Can I still restore it?

    4 years ago Reply

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    • Rosa Reyes

      Hi, you can try Cisdem DataRecovery to restore deleted documents from Trash.

      4 years ago
  • Kiley

    I recovered the file from storage, but changing the extension to .html does not allow me to read the notes. It glitches when I try opening it in a browser and shows a short line of garbled symbols. I'm a college student, and I kept notes for classes in this program! I have a test coming up and I can't live without my lecture notes!! Please help!

    4 years ago Reply

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    • Rosa Reyes

      Hi, Kiley. Changing the extension to .html may have damaged your file. You can contact tech support by emails and describe your problems in details. Wish this help you!

      4 years ago
  • David

    Thank you so much. I could recover my notes by following your instructions.

    5 years ago Reply

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  • Hebe

    Thank You! I couldn't find my notes anywhere on Mac and I thought I had lost them forever. But thanks to this data recovery tool, I restored my missing notes.

    5 years ago Reply

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  • Jonas

    I've missed almost all my Mac notes after an Outlook actualization, most of them, very important to me. But I finally got them back with Cisdem data recovery, thanks.

    5 years ago Reply

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  • Dolores

    I couldn't recover my notes from Time Machine, but this Mac notes recovery really saved my Mac notes from disappearing.

    5 years ago Reply

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    Comment *

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