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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?

3 Answers 3

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Notes are stored as HTML in an apparently non-standard binary format in ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Notes/Data/Library/Notes/NotesV1.storedata-wal.

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

cat ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Notes/Data/Library/Notes/NotesV1.storedata-wal | 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, 2012 at 6:32
  • Most of my (local) notes are in ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Notes/Data/Library/Notes/NotesV1.storedata.
    – Lri
    Sep 27, 2012 at 18:19
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    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, 2013 at 12:57
  • I found 'strings ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Notes/Data/Library/Notes/NotesV1.storedata-wal | open -f' a useful command for recovering a lost note!
    – gawbul
    Aug 8, 2013 at 13:44
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I found this article which appears to help: http://applehelpwriter.com/2013/03/02/how-to-recover-disappearing-notes/

cd ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Notes/Data/Library/Notes; 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/com.apple.Notes/Data/Library/Notes; strings NotesV1.storedata-wal | open -f'
    – gawbul
    Aug 8, 2013 at 13:42
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On OS X Lion (10.7), I found my notes in the file below.

~/Library/StickiesDatabase

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  • 2
    You're referring to Sticky Notes. However, the question is about Notes.app, the OS X version of iOS Notes.app, which was introduced in Mountain Lion and did not exist in Lion. Perhaps this should be clarified...
    – BoltClock
    Sep 27, 2012 at 16:27

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