How to Recover Deleted Notes on iPhone & iPad

May 10, 2016 - 51 Comments

How to restore and recover deleted notes in iOS

The Notes app for iPhone and iPad is widely used by many users for many purposes, whether for keeping a shopping list, password locked personal notes and data, a diary, sketches and drawings, checklists, or whatever else you may want to keep handy on an iPhone or iPad. Because much of the Notes data is personal, if you accidentally delete a note or two it can be a stressful experience and you’d understandably like to recover from inadvertently removing an important note.

Not to worry though, the latest versions of the Notes app allow for an undelete process, allowing users to restore deleted notes to their iOS and ipadOS device, assuming they act within a reasonable time frame.

How to Restore Deleted Notes in iOS & iPadOS

You have up to 30 days to act to undelete and restore a deleted note in iOS Notes app. If you wait any longer than that, the note will be removed permanently.

  1. Open the Notes app if you haven’t done so already, then tap on the back arrow button in the upper left corner (it looks like “<") to view the notes folders
  2. Choose the notes folders

  3. Choose the “Recently Deleted” folder
  4. Select the recently deleted notes folder

  5. Tap on the “Edit” button in the Recently Deleted section
  6. Edit so you can move the deleted note

  7. Now tap to select the note(s) you want to restore and undelete so they are marked with a checkbox, then tap the “Move To…” button in the lower left corner
  8. Select the deleted note to recover in iOS

  9. Choose the folder you want to move the deleted note back to, typically this is “Notes” on iCloud or on the device itself, or whatever custom folder you may have created
  10. Choose the folder to recover deleted note to

  11. Return to the notes folder you moved the deleted note to and find the undeleted note
  12. Deleted note successfully recovered on iPhone

Stress averted, your note (or notes) have been restored to the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Phew!

If the note is not found in the recently deleted section, it may be gone for good. The only other means of undoing a deleted note would be to restore the entire iPhone or iPad from a backup, assuming the backup was made prior to the note being deleted in the first place.

A similar undelete feature exists for recovering deleted photos in iOS, where you have up to 30 days to act before the system software takes over and permanently removes something.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks


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  1. A Brewer says:

    There is not a recently deleted folder in notes. This is ridiculous. I had important info in notes, trusting apple.
    Do NOT use notes for anything important, you will lose it!

  2. Drea says:

    Help I have the same situation as Amy and others. I can’t find my recently deleted app and notes because I created new folder renamed and still important notes are gone pls advise ☹️ Thxs Drea

  3. Isabel says:

    I deleted a very important note and accidentally deleted it again from the recently deleted folder, please help.

  4. Noel says:

    My wife’s iPhone 8 with 12. Something doesn’t have a Recently Deleted folder but I do on my iPhone 8 Plus with 11.1.3

    Why do some people have this folder and others don’t that is the big question

  5. Bgatto says:

    It looks like the newest iOS has done away with the ‘recently deleted’ folder! Yikes!! I used to be able to restore using this but don’t see the option now. :-(

    • Paul says:

      The Recently Deleted folder persists in Notes app for all versions of iOS and ipadOS

      This allows you to easily recover any deleted notes

  6. Amy says:

    I have no section labeled “Recently deleted”. I just typed a new note and deleted it and still no recently deleted folder?? Help!! Some notes got deleted as I was typing them and now they are gone! :/

  7. Maleintroy says:

    My note disappeared 4 days ago I don’t think I delete it.
    Following the process I don’t see a recently deleted folder.
    I haven’t connected to iTunes in several month but I’ll try that

  8. Sajina says:

    I deleted the notes mistakenly and deleted it again from recently deleted item too .. how to reciver omit please help me

  9. Jacqueline Sacheli says:

    I recently deleted my notes and I was in a panic state because I needed to recover them and then I followed your directions and got them all back thank you so much for the clear instructions

  10. Razak Ahmed says:

    I logged out of my iCloud and lost all my notes. Please help me recover please they very important to me. Please.

    • Oablo says:

      Log back into your iCloud to recover your iCloud notes.

      You can also export your iCloud Notes from website

  11. May Kwan says:

    I can’t thank you enough. I saved my deleted notes.

  12. Carlos Ferreira says:

    Thank you very much.

  13. Leigh says:

    Awesome!!! saved me so much hassle . Thank you!

  14. Crystal says:

    Don’t have that on my phone. There is no such folder.

  15. Luca says:

    Thank you this was really helpful! Thank you!

  16. Logo Olagoke says:

    Thank you (MacBook Pro mid-2010)

  17. Janet Vecsey says:

    So – I inadvertenly delted my NOTES on my 5C Iphone. And then, (unfortunately) decided to back up to ICloud and added a new NOTES app. Looks like there is now no way to restore my old NOTES folder where I had saved things for years. Still really don’t understand ICloud. Do I have to back up every day?

  18. Jean Martin says:

    I really needed this information. Your presentation explained it precisely and the images were well chosen.

    I am not a robot

  19. laurel says:

    How to Recover Deleted Notes on iPhone & iPad

  20. Catherine Huynh says:

    How do u undo you deleting your notes in iCloud I accidentally and ALL MY NOTES ARE GONE?!??

  21. bill says:

    THANK YOU so much. third attempt to log notes on a meeting! great notes. simple.

  22. Rebecca Hohnsbein says:

    Profoundly grateful for this info. Thank you!

  23. Kaz says:

    Thank you for this I got back a really important note that I have been stressing out about it and I looked at several different websites and this finally worked thank you!!

  24. Panscer says:

    For iOS Device users, you need to use iOS Data Software to get back the lost notes from your iOS. This software can scan your iOS device deeply on computer and find the deleted notes for you.
    You can get more from Tunesbro,com

  25. Marinpenny says:

    If not having backup, here is a reliable way to recover our notes in case we accidentally delete them.

    Hope this help someone.

  26. jellea says:

    If you completely delete the notes from your iphone, you cannot recover them with this way, and if you have iTunes backup, it would be nice, but if you don’t have backup to recover from, have a try of data recovery tool, I have used a tool named MobiKin Doctor for iOS.

  27. Patricia says:

    I am attending a conference and typing notes as I always do. When I close the note, it disappears. There is no “deleted notes” in my folders. I’m using IOS 10.2.1
    Why are the recently typed notes deleting? How can I recover them?

  28. Oliver says:

    Will this also work if the notes app has been deleted? What shall I do in that case? My daughter deleted by accident the complete notes app. What is the best way to restore it back when I do not have a iTunes nor iCloud backup?

  29. Stacy says:

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Simple, clear, and my accidentally deleted note is right back where I need it to be!!! You are wonderful!!! :)

  30. HELP says:

    Okay, so, when I first was typing, I tried to copy my note well doing so, highlighting the ENTIRE note, I accidentally typed. Thinking this was a glitch, I exited the note, and seeing as it never recovered I researched how to get it back! Is my note lost forever, my backup does NOT work for some strange reason, so it has NEVER been backed up!

  31. Barb says:

    Q, thank you, thank you. You are a godsend. I thought I lost a very important note that I’ve been keeping for over a year and adding to it. I managed to recover it following your very clear and concise instructions. Once again, thank you so much.

  32. Liz says:

    I have iOS 10.1.1 on my iPhone 6. I can verify that Paul’s undelete method works. In the Folders list, the Recently Deleted folder does not appear if it is empty. In other words, you will only see this folder when something has been deleted. I hope this helps.

  33. Kirstin says:

    In an attempt to increase storage space for backup, rather than upgrade iCloud storage, I turned off the notes to backup. This however, deleted my notes. I turned it back on but my notes are still gone. I have the latest iOS update (10.1.1) on my iPhone 6+ but do not have a deleted files option in my notes?? Please advise.

  34. Chet says:

    Thank you!! Thank you.

  35. Mikaela says:

    Notes lost all of my newest notes typed between Saturday 9/24-9/26 but the older ones seem okay. If I upgrade to the newest iOS (I have 9), is it possible to recover the notes? Sadly I hadn’t backed up my phone recently.

  36. Stacey says:

    I accidentally deleted the iCloud folder which had so many important info I need . I had down loaded the latest iOS version but I did not knowi had to update in NOTES . I did try what this says to do but their is nothing that says deleted notes . Is their anyway of retrieving this folder ??? Please help .

  37. Magdalene says:

    Thank you SO much for a clear and expertly described answer and accompanying visuals. I was so confused by other suggestions. Luckily I did nothing until I found yours. Will save your site for the future!

  38. Vicki says:

    I have the updated version of everything and there is no recently deleted folder in my notes app. Help! I refuse to use an earlier back up.

  39. Stephanie says:

    I am trying to edit my iCloud email address to update all of my apps. I read where I am supposed to sign out and enter a new email address and password but the sign out button doesn’t give me the option to save notes on my phone. If I sign out I will lose all of my notes. And my phone has not been backed up in a while. Please help.

  40. Anne Bennett says:

    This is just like your “tip” on password protecting notes.

    It is simply NOT on the iPad (yes, I have the latest version of iOS).

    You seem to have a version of Notes that is different.

    • Edwin says:

      Anne, this and password protecting notes, are features of the Notes app on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. If you are not running a modern version of iOS you will not have the feature. It’s that simple. This is non-fiction.

      • Anne Bennett says:

        I have the latest version of iOS and my iPad is about a year old. This, too, is non fiction.

      • Anne Bennett says:

        I rummaged around and hit on something offering an updated version of Notes. That must the problem. It was by no means obvious, I had to look for it.

  41. Lynne2232 says:

    Does one have to have iCloud set up to make this work? And, do tou have an article on setting up iCloud.

    • Jotfleth says:

      Notes does not require iCloud to use unless you want to sync the notes between iPhones or Macs.

      You can setup iCloud in your Settings app. It’s in Settings > iCloud

      You probably already have it enabled if you have an iPhone or iPad. It is the same as your Apple ID. I know this is confusing, Apple has NOT made it easy to understand! Their whole ‘services’ division is pretty frustrating!

  42. Pyle Keifer says:

    For everyone to remember here: you have to have ‘updated’ your notes to the new iOS version to have the Recently Deleted option (it asks you to update at some point with the release, usually during system update a few months ago I don’t know how to trigger it manually and neither does Apple LOL seriously!!) New phones will have the notes updated automatically but if you updated an older iPhone or iPad to a new iOS version it asks to update the notes. Still not sure why, maybe to make them iCloud compatible.

    Anywho, the last way to get a deleted note is possible if you backup your phone regularly. Find the backup that dates to before you deleted the note, and restore to that. It works, but of course you go back in time with other things like your pictures and music too.

    I wish iCloud worked like we all thought it shoudl and would – automatically store everything in the cloud so we could get it when we wanted it. As it works now, I don’t know what good it is beyond the overall package backup.

    my 2 cents

  43. Michael says:


    I have IOS 9.3.1 on all our devices and recovering a note could not come at a better time. We had lost an important note and thought it was gone forever.

    We followed the instrusctions above BUT we could not find the “Recently Deleted” folder on any of our devices. I am at a loss and disappointed. Is there anything we missed?

    • Jotfleth says:

      If you don’t see the Recently Deleted folder available then the note is probably already missing. You could try to restore from an iTunes backup to before when the note existed for sure, but that is trickier situation since who knows what date it is from.

      You can test it and make a new note, put some jibberish in it, then delete it. Then go to look for the Recently Deleted folder, the deleted note will be in there to undelete and recover.

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