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Any idea about where OS X Mountain Lion stores Notes data? Is there a way that I can recover lost Notes?

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up vote 17 down vote accepted

Notes are stored as HTML in an apparently non-standard binary format in ~/Library/Containers/

You can grep for known note contents on the command line, or print all notes (stored as HTML):

cat ~/Library/Containers/ | grep -aio '<html>.*</html>'

While I was writing this answer, I also had the problem once that Notes restarted with data reset. The next launch, everything was there again, even though I had created new notes after the reset (so both the old and new notes existed on third launch). Maybe just try quitting and starting Notes again?

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thanks. But it looks like the note is totally lost.... – lucemia Aug 22 '12 at 6:32
Most of my (local) notes are in ~/Library/Containers/ – user495470 Sep 27 '12 at 18:19
Thank you. Presumably "wal" indicates a write-ahead log. The very first (and now probably only) time I used Notes in Mountain Lion, it ate the substantial note I composed. With your pointer I was able to recover data. – ches Feb 6 '13 at 12:57
I found 'strings ~/Library/Containers/ | open -f' a useful command for recovering a lost note! – gawbul Aug 8 '13 at 13:44

I found this article which appears to help:

cd ~/Library/Containers/; strings NotesV1.storedata | grep body | open -f
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Why -1 on this I wonder? I thought it was a decent article! Personally I found it easier to do a 'cd ~/Library/Containers/; strings NotesV1.storedata-wal | open -f' – gawbul Aug 8 '13 at 13:42

On OS X Lion (10.7), I found my notes in the file below.


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You're referring to Sticky Notes. However, the question is about, the OS X version of iOS, which was introduced in Mountain Lion and did not exist in Lion. Perhaps this should be clarified... – BoltClock Sep 27 '12 at 16:27

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