How to Recover Deleted Notes on iPhone

What to do when your iPhone notes are missing

Girl riding her bike and looking at her iPhone in shock

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The iOS Notes app is the perfect place to keep memories, to-do lists, shopping lists, and general notes you wish to remember. Have your iPhone notes disappeared all of a sudden? Did you accidentally delete them? Don't panic. Recovering lost iPhone notes is simple to do.

This article is for iPhones running iOS 12 and up.

How to Recover Notes on iPhone From the Recently Deleted Folder

To start, you can simply locate the Recently Deleted folder inside your Notes app to check for your notes.

Your Recently Deleted folder will only hold notes for 30 days. After that, notes are permanently deleted, which may take up to 40 days to complete.

  1. Open your Notes app and tap the back arrow to get to the Folders screen, if you're not there already.

  2. In your list of folders, tap Recently Deleted.

  3. Tap Edit in the upper right corner. Next, tap the circle to the left of the notes you wish to restore.

  4. In the bottom left corner, tap Move To, then select the folder you wish to move your notes to.

    Restoring deleted notes from Recently Deleted folder in Notes app

How to Recover iPhone Notes via Account Settings

It's possible you changed your Notes app settings, resulting in missing iPhone notes. Or, you may have deleted an email address from your iPhone which caused your notes to go along with it. This simply means your iPhone can't locate the Notes anymore.

If you use a third-party email account like Gmail to store your notes, check your account settings to ensure everything's on the up and up. It's a great rule of thumb to keep your email accounts connected to ensure your notes don't disappear. It creates a perfectly simple backup for future accidents.

  1. Tap Settings > Passwords & Accounts.

    Checking email account settings for deleted Notes on iPhone
  2. Tap the email account you wish to check.

    Have you changed your email password recently? If you didn't update your password on your iPhone, it's possible that any notes associated with your account won't update. Change your password on your iPhone via Settings.

  3. Make sure Notes is toggled on. If it isn't, toggle it on and see if your notes appear in your app.

If you use other email sources, repeat these steps for each account. Or, if your email account is missing, add it again.

How to Recover Notes on iPhone Using iCloud

If your notes have been permanently deleted, you can't locate them in your Recently Deleted folder, and your account settings are perfectly fine, you can try to locate your notes using iCloud. The kicker is you'll need to have previously used iCloud for your notes to be stored there.

  1. On your iPhone, tap Settings.

  2. Select your name from the very top of the menu.

  3. Tap iCloud.

    Using Notes and iCloud to restore notes from iCloud
  4. To enable Notes, tap its toggle switch to on. It will turn green if successful. Now, any notes stored in your iCloud account will be downloaded to your iPhone.

How to Recover iPhone Notes Using Online iCloud Account

You can try to locate your notes by logging into your iCloud account online. Although the previous step should cover this step, it's okay to cover your bases, just in case.

  1. Visit iCloud.com and log into your iCloud account.

  2. On the home screen, select the Notes app.

  3. Check to see if you can locate your missing notes. If you find them, you can simply save them to your computer or device or screenshot them. If you're using a Mac, you can export them to PDFs.

How to Recover Notes Using iTunes or iCloud Backup

Still can't find the important notes you deleted? You have the option to restore your iPhone using iTunes backup. This will locate a previous version of your iPhone where your notes could be saved and restore that version to your device.

You can also attempt a backup using iCloud, which is a slightly different process using your iPhone.

You should only attempt an iPhone backup if the notes you need are worth it. This option will overwrite the current data on your iPhone and replace it with the backup.