how to recover disappearing Notes

There appears to be a bug in Apple’s in OS X 10.8 that sometimes causes notes to disappear. If you need to recover the text of any note that’s gone missing on your mac, try pasting this into It’s all one line, so copy and paste it as a whole, then hit ‘return’:

cd ~/Library/Containers/; strings NotesV1.storedata | grep body | open -f

The resulting TextEdit window can be searched or scrolled through for your missing text.

Due to this problem, a lot of people are giving up using altogether and switching to alternatives like Evernote or nvALT. However, if for some reason you either want or need to keep using Notes, you might try saving that command above as its own little App that you can keep in the Dock (beats having to dig out or remember the Terminal code all the time).

To do so, we’re going to use the Applescript Editor. It lives in the /Applications/Utilities folder, but you can access it simply by clicking on Spotlight and typing Apples.

With the Editor open, paste this into the window (note, this is slightly different from the command above, as we have to tell AppleScript how to use the code):

do shell script "cd ~/Library/Containers/; strings NotesV1.storedata | grep body | open -f"

Press ‘Command-K’ to compile the script. If there are no errors, hit ‘Command-R’ to run it. If everything checks out fine, then hit ‘Command-S’ to bring up the ‘Save’ box. Change the ‘File Format:’ option at the bottom to ‘Application’, give the app a snappy name (‘findNotes’ ??), then choose your Applications folder as the destination before hitting ‘Save’.

Save Dialog in Applescript Editor

The last thing to do is to go to your Applications folder and drag the icon to the Dock. Now, you can simply click the icon to produce the TextEdit window whenever a Note goes missing.

(Final tip: by the way, if you don’t like the Applescript icon in your Dock, you can always change it to an icon of your own!🙂 )

Related posts:
getting to grips with AppleScript
sync notes between mac and android
FastTasks – download the free OS X utility from Applehelpwriter

About philastokes

Freelance Writer, Developer and Technical Communicator. Explaining the unexplainable with images, video and text. Scripting anything imaginable in Applescript, Bash, C, Objective C, Cocoa, Python and Xcode.

Posted on March 2, 2013, in AppleScript, Mountain Lion,, OS X Lion, Scripts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Thanks! It recovered most of my annotations!

  2. Diana Antoniucci

    when I type the command, I am told “no such file”. Any other tips – I really would like to retrieve lost notes and switch to evernote… Thanks!

  3. Just saved my day (even more so for my SO). Thank you so very much.
    One of my notes got stuck on only displaying a webpage link and would not close it or stop doing so, seemingly losing all the other text. This allowed me to see the org text.

  4. Elena Rietmann

    Dear philastokes,

    Thanks for your post.
    Unfortunately I do not have a mac (I have a PC with Windows…), but I have an ipad and an iphone, and my notes have just disappeared.

    Also, and I am not an IT guru;) Can you please say in simple words how I can restore my notes with the devices I have?

    Thanks a million in advance, really appreciate.

    Elena Rietmann

  5. clever fix! thank you I accidentally deleted some lyrics

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