Sync iPhone Notes – Backup iPhone Notes

09.30.10 |  Category: Notes |  Author:
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Synchronizing iPhone Notes

Backup iPhone Notes


Solution 1

Doubtlessly the simplest way to backup iPhone notes is to send them to yourself by email

Start by setting up your email account on your iPhone ( shown here with Gmail )

  • Make sure your iPhone is properly connected to the Internet through Wi-Fi or mobile phone network
  • Tap Mail
  • Then tap Gmail
  • Your name is optional, but enter at least your email address and password and tap "Save"

Now, back to the iPhone main screen

  • Tap Notes
  • Open one of your Notes
  • At the bottom of your display, tap the Envelope
  • Tap your email address in the "To" field
  • Edit the Subject if required
  • Click "Send" and Voila ! Your Note will show up in your Gmail account within a couple of seconds !

Sync iPhone Notes


Solution 2

If you really want to "synchronize" iPhone Notes, your best bet is to use Google Sync

Notes & possible issues

  • Syncing iPhone notes requires Apple's iOS 4.x firmware ( iPhone OS 4.x )
  • This allows you to Sync your iPhone Notes with Gmail. They will show up in Gmail with the "Notes" label
  • This solution allows to Copy Notes from one iPhone to another, which is very handy if you need to Transfer Notes from your current iPhone to a new iPhone
iPhone Expert

Mike Johnson

Founder and Editor of has a sincere desire to provide readers with honest and useful solutions for their iPhone
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76 Responses to Sync iPhone Notes – Backup iPhone Notes

  1. cbsimkins says:

    But if I don’t want to use Gmail or any other cloud, what is wrong with the sync of Outlook Notes and the iphone/iTune link. I have tried all the Apple solutions and they still don’t work. I have uninstalled stuff until I am blue in the face. There are many programs which can use the Outlook information but Apple still is not able to produce a program which will work; except by accident or a totally new installation of Windows.

  2. Jeremiah says:

    Doesn’t work
    “…make sure “Notes” is switched on when you select the Google services you wish to sync”
    There is no “Notes” service to switch on. Only Mail, Contacts, and Calendars are listed.

    • Früv says:

      That may be because you’ve setup Gmail on your iPhone with an Exchange account. To sync notes, add your account again as a Gmail account and the options will be Mail, Calendars, and Notes. You can have both kinds of account at the same time but you’ll only need to sync Notes with the Gmail account and let Exchange sync your Mail, Contacts, and Calendars.

      • terry s says:

        I agree, this does not work for iPhone 3 (4.2.1) as the Notes option is not available under gmail. It is on the 4S but not the 3G. All I want to accomplish is to move my Notes over from an iPhone 3G to a 4S and except for having to install Safari just to get my bookmarks to transfer over, everything else synced up fine. Oh, the older texts didn’t carry over either but it’s really the Notes that I need right now. I really don’t want to, nor should I have to, install another program on my computer (Outlook) and since I have perhaps 300 notes (accumulated since a Sharp Zaurus) and I change them a lot. . .I can’t see using the email method of backup. I agree with all the other frustrated iPhone users that have never seen any way to move these Notes files without an extraordinary and usually fortuitous effort.

        Would appreciate an update if anyone is successful, otherwise I will keep using Google to search for answers. . .

  3. iPhone Expert says:

    Make sure to update your iPhone firmware to version 4 or above

  4. Keith says:

    Unfortunately, now Google Sync only supports one way sync from iPhone Notes to Goggle Mail with “Notes” label. We are not be able to add or amend notes from Google Mail to iPhone Notes.

    • Diane says:

      A few days ago I was able to transfer my google notes onto my iphone 4s. It missed one note. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to transfer that one note from my google mail to the iphone notes. I had it on the phone once. Please help!

  5. PA says:

    I just upgraded my iPhone to OS4 and in the process, lost all my notes. I had over 1200 on my phone.

    I did a backup before I did the new OS install but restoring from that backup has not returned my notes.

    My question: Are notes backed up in the backup I did before installing the new OS? Or are they gone forever.


    • iPhone Expert says:

      Dear PA,

      You might be able to recover your iPhone Notes as follows:

      – Connect your iPhone to your Computer ( iTunes should open up automatically. If not, launch it from Start->All Programs->iTunes->iTunes )
      – Click your iPhone in the “Devices” section on the left
      – Click the “Info” tab and in the “Other” section tick the Sync Notes option
      – In the Advanced section, leave the Notes option unchecked
      – Click the “Apply” button in iTunes lower-right corner and wait until iTunes syncs your iPhone

      If not, they might be gone forever

      • Stuart says:

        Won’t this solution sync your iphone notes? In other words, won’t it replace what’s on the computer with what exists on the iphone, and essentially delete the backed up notes on the computer?

      • Stuart says:

        OK. I used ibackupbot for itunes first and that worked. It cost $35. Since I was able to save the backup as a text file using ibackupbot, it was now safe for me to try your method.

  6. Howard Gelman says:

    Thanks so much!

    I love to use notes on my iPhone, but was shocked and dismayed when I learned there was no way to easily sync them!
    After following your instructions I’m a Happy Camper! Please give yourselves a big hug/Mac/latte/ or whatever for me!

    Thanks again,

    Howard Gelman
    San Francisco, CA

  7. Mandy says:

    My new iPhone 4 just got stolen. Fortunately I had synced it to my Mac the day before so I only lost a few photos, and my endless voice memos are there too. However I had hundreds of song lyrics and ideas in the Notes app and I can’t find them anywhere (I looked in mail on the computer and MobileMe too). Will there be in a backup somewhere on my Mac? I also have a Time Machine. I’m too scared to touch anything in case I do something wrong and lose them forever (if that hasn’t happened already). What an idiot. I’m going to get a new phone and this time I’ll email them to myself. Can anyone help?

    • iPhone Expert says:

      Dear Mandy,

      Sorry for your iPhone

      You might be able to recover your Notes with Time Machine as follows:

      – Start Time Machine while in Mail, scroll back to a time when your Notes were present
      – Select them in the Notes mailbox
      – Click “Restore”

  8. hsaunx says:

    Is there a way to sync gmail notes to iphone notes? I can sync notes from iphone to gmail, but I cannot find a way to do it oppositely.

  9. Kim says:

    Notes seems to only sync from the iPhone to the iMac. When I edit a note on the iMac, and then sync (even if I use the advance checkbox that says “replace info on the iPhone for this sync only), it does not change the note on the iPhone. I’ve tried using the cloud sync through mobileme and the direct sync with the phone wired to the iMac. Any suggestions? Using OS10.6.6 and iPhone 3.1.3 (older iPhone) Thanks.

    • iPhone Expert says:

      Dear Kim,

      – Make sure notes are enabled for your mail account in Settings->Mail, Contacts, Calendars->Mail Account
      – Make sure you don’t have any empty note or note without subject in Outlook
      – On your iMac, go to Mail->Preferences
      Click “Accounts” and select your mail account
      Click “Mailbox Behaviors” and uncheck “Store notes in Inbox”

  10. karen says:

    i’m in need of urgent help, so my laptop was stolen with my iphone backup and now my iphone had to be reset so is there any possible way of using some kind of recovery tool to get my notes from my iphone? Please i really need help, those notes are really important to me and so was my laptop :*(

  11. Amanda says:

    Does anyone else have a problem with notes? I have tried everything but everytime I sync my iPhone4, the notes on my phone end up on the other iPhone4 in our house, which uses the same PC. I have sorted so the music does not automatically transfer but the notes section in the info tab, when I go to Devices, is greyed out. Can anyone help please??!!

    • barbara says:

      I have the same problem….every note i write on my iphone publishes on our home computer to email….did you find an answer…I do not think i like this sync stuff

  12. PC says:

    I have a habit of editing my notes several times with over a few months. With every edit, a new backup of the same note gets emailed to my gmail (These are NOT labelled “notes” in gmail). This is frustrating because I end up with several emails of the same note, in different progress.

    Is there anyway to stop this while maintaining just one backup version of the note?

    • iPhone Expert says:

      Dear PC,

      Not as far as I know.

      Your best bet is probably to just focus on the most recent email.
      By the way, this also allows you to have backup of the previous version of your notes, which can come in handy

  13. laxman says:

    Hi can you please tell me how to back up the Notes from I phone 4 to windows 7 pc or is there any options where we can back up in to cloud please let me know

  14. Hmmm says:

    Is there no other alternative or app that we can download or backup our notes? I know if you have Outlook you can do so. Not everyone does and Open Office doesn’t have a feature that allows the same.

    Sure, you can sync them via Google, but you can not edit them while in Google. You must do everything via your iPhone or iPod Touch.

    Other suggestions/options or workarounds please?

  15. Jeep326 says:

    I too had all my notes dissapear. I did however find that all my notes were saved to my AOL mail account. When looking carefully in my AOL mail box, I found a folder named “Notes” and there were all my apple notes, each send via an email that is automatically done. I then went to my iphone and searched for one of my notes, and somehow, they reappeared on the phone. Wish I could give technical info, but I am not sure what happened, I am just thrilled to have my notes back, and good to know they are auto-saved on my AOL. a 2-way sync would be better, but this is still better than nothing.

  16. Kelly says:

    I lost a section of notes from June 2010-Jan2011. I have these notes on my old iPhone, which I use as an iPod. Any way to get them on my current phone without altering the dates or anything?

  17. Stuart says:

    I mistakenly was entering my notes into my daughter’s yahoo account on my iphone 3gs (she sometimes checks her email), and just found out they all got deleted right after yahoo upgraded their email. The notes I entered after the yahoo upgrade are there, but not the ones before the upgrade. None of these notes are anywhere to be found in her yahoo email. Fortunately, the last backup on my computer was a week before this upgrade. Is there a way to find these notes on my iMac without having to restore my iphone from a backup? I’m afraid that even if I restore my iphone from a backup my notes will be lost.

  18. RobertB says:

    For 2 devices made by the same manufacturer and of the same generation and with wifi functionality, “syncing” as described above is pretty complicated.

    The dream is simple: you edit a calendar entry on iPhone and within seconds it appears on iPad, and vice versa. That is synchronisation.

    The dream is this : I tap notes on iPhone; I tap a “folder arrow” and it provides the option “send notes to iPad” I tap that and my notes have all moved. What is so difficult about that ?

    Please … When will we have true “sync” ?

  19. Ahmed says:

    i synced my iphone with itunes but now i have lost all of my notes on my iphone and i cant find them on the computer!

    is there any way to get them back?

    • Kristen says:

      Please let me know if you find out. I upgraded to the 4s and when they transferred my data, my notes were lost. I did have the new OS and the cloud though. Shouldn’t they have gone to the cloud?

    • Km says:

      Hi Ahmed I have a similar problem as yours. I was syncing wirelessly my iPhone , iPad and mac and the cloud.I had removed all notes from the cloud and then put them on sync so that all look exactly the same. I had around 109 notes which Suddenly disappeared insted of syncing.Did you find a solution to this problem ?Now I have only 10 left. What do I do ? Can anyone help me out of this problem. Is there a way I can recover old notes from any of the three sources . Is there a back up. I have backed up from time to time on the mac computer it still trying to figure out that how do I recover that back from the computer.


  20. lisa hendricks says:

    Where do I find the notes once I’ve got the gmail set up?

  21. later entry says:

    hi there, i just used this method and it worked fine. syncs up no probs. on a mac. (i’m using itunes 10.4.1, snow leopard 10.6.8, iphone 4.3.5)

    setup the mail application in osx if you do not have it setup already. i just entered my hotmail details although i dont think that this is relevant but just to setup the program.

    open itunes and there is an option to sync notes…..
    plug in your iphone and click on your iphone (under devices) now go to info (beside summary) and scroll down to other where you have the option to sync safari bookmarks and sync notes. tick sync notes.

    sync your device.

    now go back to mail and you will see in the sidebar “notes” under reminders. hopefully synced to your phone!!

  22. Susan says:

    Is there really no way to add to the Notes section from gmail? It’s so frustrating. Seems like if you can add to Contacts, you should be able to add to Notes? Does anyone have a solution?

  23. Martyn Fairbairn says:

    Help, help, help, help, help, help. I have somehow lost all my iPhone4 notes. These are really important. This occurred when my computer crashed after syncing my phone.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  24. Mark Emery says:

    I use my iPhone 3GS a lot and will be emailing myself a lot of notes. Apple’s idea of a ‘backup’ isn’t great, only copying key configuration files. So if you’ve not synced all of your key data with an application on your mac/pc forget it, it’s lost if an upgrade goes wrong. I’m about to do the iOS 5 update, let’s see what’s lost. Hopefully they’ll make *all* app data saveable to the iCloud at some point, though I’d rather be able to do a full backup to iTunes, even if it would take hours.

  25. sharon says:

    I have a Gmail acct on my iphone. When I go to Settings>Mail, Contacts, Calendar>Gmail, I can turn “ON” notes. Every time I create a note or edit one, it is saved to my gmail account in it’s own folder. Came in pretty handy when lost all my notes after and update!

  26. Melissa says:

    My 1 year old restored my phone to factory settings…I made the mistake of opening a note on my phone to see what was still there before opening it in my email and saving it first. When I did I lost info since it synced with my email as what was currently on my phone. Anyway to recover the note was saved on my computer before this morning?

  27. jackie says:

    my iPhone3 apparently had corrupt files, when I tried to sync everything to my 4S, I could transfer notes but not messages, when I try to send a message my phone crashes. the Mac store said because of a corrupt file, I can’t have my notes and old messages on my new phone, very frustrating. I really need my notes, can any one explain a way I can still read them in another format and how to do it , they are currently on my 4S but I have to get them off so that I can send/receive messages. Thank 🙂

    • iPhone Expert says:

      Dear Jackie,

      If your Notes are on your iPhone 4S, you can send them to yourself by email

  28. Arturo says:

    He perdido las notas de mi iphone 4 al sincronizar la version nueva. No las encuentro, he ido al Time Machine a un dia que seguro las tenía y no se donde buscarlas porque aparecen archivos muy raros ?donde estarán¿

  29. Joe says:

    i have updated my iphone with the new os update and in the process i have lost my notes app? Is there anything i can do to correct this issue?

  30. iPhone Expert says:

    Dear Joe,

    Sorry to read this.

    Try the solution in the second part of this post Restore iPhone Lost Notes

  31. jason says:

    I received a note in my email that is not mine? How did this happen?

  32. Paul says:

    I want to copy my 500 notes off my iphone to my macbook to back them up but it says this will result in my 32G iphone being full. I just want to copy them all to my computer to back them up, then delete the ones on my iphone (if I want to).

  33. Dave says:

    I have searched everywhere but can’t find anyone else with my problem. When I try to sync notes with my old iPhone 3GS or my new iPhone 4S during they sync the notes check box in iTunes unchecks itself and the notes do not sync. I have tried everything to try to get it to stick (replace on phone/backup manually before sync/reinstall iTunes/reinstall Office/restore iPhones/etc.) I don’t have any notes with a blank subject and even when I deleted all my notes out of Outlook, the same thing happens. Here are the specs:

    iPhone 4S with iOS 5.0.1
    Outlook 2010 from Office Professional Plus 2010
    Windows 7 Professional x64

    Does anyone have any ideas??


  34. Amy says:

    Do the iPhone notes just get saved to gmail? It looks like when I make changes to a “note” it save every version to gmail. Is this normal?

  35. Cori says:

    Im trying to figure out why the notes my husband makes on his iPhone show up on my iPhone in my notes.

    • iPhone Expert says:

      Dear Cori,

      Make sure you use two separate Gmail accounts and log out from each of them before syncing another iPhone

  36. Celine says:

    Hi, does anyone know how to sync notes with MacMail? Any help would be appreciated! Thank you!

  37. John says:

    My notes disappear periodically and I have to restore everything through Itunes which takes 30 minutes or more. I would love to know if I can prevent this from happening or if there is a more efficient way to restore my notes. Thanks in advance.

    • iPhone Expert says:

      Dear John,

      This is a known issue caused by a failed server communication with more than one Notes account
      If your Notes are on the server side and the connection fails, it will revert to the previous Notes.

      Try to disable over-the-air Notes syncing on any account other than your primary one or make sure to save your Notes on your local drive:

      – On your iPhone, tap Settings
      – Mail, Contacts, Calendar
      – Account name
      – Switch OFF all Notes accounts except your primary one

  38. woody petekin says:


    I have not backed up my ipad for awile and then i had a lot of notes that i use. Then, i synced my ipad and lost all my notes. I dont have the notes synced to my email either as the tab wasnt on in the settings. So, is there any way i can get them back from my macbook or not?

    • iPhone Expert says:

      Dear Woody,

      You can try this

      In iTunes left panel, right-click on your iPhone in the “Devices” section and select “Restore from Backup”

  39. Mynon says:

    How can I choose which account my note is linked to? It doesn’t ask me when I create a new note. It just seems to randomly choose an account. Can I change a note from one account to another? I have emails of notes showing up on business email accounts – not good. When I turn off notes for an account then the note disappears – not good either. Help!!

  40. RC says:

    I just got an Iphone 4s after having a 3g. I thought I lost my notes but they synced to my Iphone 4s.

    How do I sync the notes currently on my phone now to gmail so I know they are actually somewhere?

  41. BYONG says:


    ive to replace my iPhone as the touchscreen is faulty. may i asked how to retrieve my notes back from my iPhone to the new set which im going to get it ?

    is there any settings need to be done in iPhone??? sigh, i cannot access my iPhone anyway since the touchscreen faulty……

    • iPhone Expert says:

      Dear Byong,

      If the touchscreen is faulty, you won’t be able to follow any of our two procedures

      Sorry about that

  42. BYONG says:

    by the way i try to sync to my Outlook (2007) but the notes tab in Outlook shows nothing!

    is there any settings need to be done in iPhone??? sigh, i cannot access my iPhone anyway since the touchscreen faulty……

  43. MorganD says:

    I did send the notes to my email. Currently I still have the iPhone 3GS, and am switching to the iPhone 4S very soon. I have one very special note and at the top it says how many days ago it was written. When the 3GS’s data transfers to the 4S, will the notes also be transferred so I will have this note on my 4S? Thank you 🙂

    • iPhone Expert says:

      Dear Morgan,


      If you follow our instructions, all your Notes should transfer just fine from your old iPhone to your new one

  44. Melanie says:


    When my iphone 4 notes sync to my gmail account, it states that the notes are being delivered to my email address as well as “undisclosed” recipients?? I am alarmed! Is this normal?

    Thanks for your help.

    • iPhone Expert says:

      Dear Melanie,

      Make sure you did not add recipients in the BCC field or that your email account is set up to include hidden recipients when you send emails

  45. Tek Jung Dhamala says:

    During synchronization of my iphone , notes are not synchronized properly. The notes made on the outlook express are easily seen in iphone but the notes made in iphone can’t be seen in outlook express. Please kindly help me in this issue.

    Thank you for your help.

    Tek Jung Dhamala

  46. alyse says:

    i wrote a note in my boyfriends iphone 5…. when i turned on his ipad he lost the note i wrote on his phone and he never even read it yet… can someone help me find that note?? thank you

  47. Azrael says:

    The main reason why we’re all discussing this right now is because Apple really doesn’t know which part of their products to improve and, even if they did, won’t bother improving that part. They simply don’t listen to Apple users’ sensitivities. They only know what they want and what they believe what we want and that is the direction they choose for their company. This is the legacy of the arrogance of Steve Jobs. Take for instance the absurdity which is iOS 7. They replaced the nice-looking interface already present in iOS 6.x with a “flat” “floating” design. Then they added some features most users don’t really care about. Apple users care about only two things: a strong battery and lots of options. Apple clearly failed on those two parts. iOS 7 still isn’t saving energy, the options I want such as syncing with ease is still too tricky, and now my wifi switch is grayed out permanently. Add to that the lack of options in downloadable apps which, no offense, is mostly marketed to little kids to keep them quiet and behaved and parents while they keep their kids quiet and behaved. Critical thinking. Common sense. They’re all gone now.

  48. H says:

    I have notes that are not mine showing up I my notes on iPhone. I left a note on one saying “this is not my note”. A few days later a new note appeared in my notes very upset and cursing telling me to leave him or her alone. I really don’t want anyone to have access to my notes. And I do not want to have access to anyone else’s notes. What is going on. Please help.

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