Apple’s Notes app is a great tool to quickly jot down information, maintain lists, write down your thoughts, and more. You can keep a lot of important things in it, which is why you might want to back up your notes.
If you use iCloud Notes, your notes should be automatically uploaded to iCloud. However, if you use notes apps locally on your Mac, you’ll need to back them up manually. There are several ways to achieve this, which we will cover below. You might also want to do this to create a second copy outside of iCloud.
Create a backup of your notes
iCloud and Time Machine automatically back up all data contained in the Notes application. Similarly, if you create notes and save them to your Google Account, the backup may already be online. However, the backup method for local notes needs to be performed manually.
Because Notes applications don’t store your data as typical text files, backing them up involves exporting them to different file types, copying the actual text to another file, or backing up the entire SQLite database. We have covered all of these methods below.
1. Create a local backup of your notes as a PDF file
One way to create a backup of your notes is to export individual notes as a PDF file. This method allows your data to be saved in the current state of the PDF file. The specific operation is as follows:
1. Launch the Notes app and open up the note you want to back up.
2. From the top menu, navigate to File > Export as PDF.
3. Name the PDF file and select a location for it to be saved.
4. Once it’s exported, the PDF file should automatically open up and show the exported note.
One benefit of exporting notes as PDF files is that it preserves the original format and structure of the notes. However, one disadvantage of this method is that you can only export one note at a time. This means that if you have multiple notes to back up, this can be very time-consuming.
Similarly, if you lose your original notes, you will not be able to edit the exported PDF file through the notes app in the future. So, while this is a good backup method to keep your data, you won’t be able to use it to recover your notes.
2. Copy the notes into the RTF document
Another way to back up Apple Notes content is to copy and paste each note into a rich text document in TextEdit. While this is a very simple method, it works perfectly and allows you to keep a backup of your notes in a separate location just in case something goes wrong.
To use this method, simply copy the contents of the note and paste it into a rich text document in TextEdit. Then save the file as an RTF file. You can also perform the same copy-paste method to save the contents of your notes in another word processor, such as Microsoft Word, Pages, and so on.
One advantage of this approach is that any text editor can easily read the file, and you retain the ability to edit the note again – because you can always copy and paste the contents of the RTF file back into the notes app if you need to. However, this is a bit of a hassle and is not an ideal way to create a backup.
If you choose to use this method, we recommend that you name each RTF backup file with the date of your backup notes so that you can distinguish them when you need them in the future.
3. Back Up the Notes Library Directory on Your Mac
The Notes application saves all your data in a specific folder on your Mac that is hidden. The actual notes are saved in the SQLite database and cannot be accessed as normal text files. However, you can back up the entire directory to a safe place.
While this method is the most effective, it involves navigating to a hidden folder and copying the Notes directory. At first glance, this may seem complicated, but it is actually quite simple. We explain these steps for you below:
1. Launch Finder on your Mac.
2. From the Go menu, select Go to Folder.
3. Enter the following path exactly and press Enter to go to the folder: ~/Library/Group Containers/group.com.apple.notes/
4. This folder contains all the notes that are stored locally on your Mac as well as on iCloud. Copy this entire folder and its contents somewhere safe, which you can use as a backup.
Your actual notes are stored in the file NoteStore.sqlite. This is a SQLite database that does not provide simple access for most users. Related folders, such as Media and Fallbackimages, contain media files associated with your notes. Backing up your entire directory ensures that you won’t lose anything when you need to restore your notes.
We recommend storing the backup you created on an external hard drive to ensure that it remains safe in the event of any problems with the system storage. If you have used a regular Time Machine backup, you should back up this directory automatically. So, if you restore from a Time Machine backup, you will recover its data in the process.
Restoring Your Notes Using the Directory
After backing up your entire directory, if anything goes wrong, you can basically put it back in the same place, and you need notes. Keep in mind that the directory you copied contains only the notes that were taken at the time of the backup, and any changes you made to the notes after you copied the folder will not be included.
Also, if you have any iCloud notes, you’ll need to use the same Apple ID to access some of them using this method.
Back up your notes
I think we all agree that the Notes app is very useful. While each of us may have a unique use for it, the data contained in it tends to be important, so it’s good to make a backup.
If you use iCloud Notes, backing up your notes is fairly straightforward. But if you use local notes on your Mac, the process is more tedious. Hope these backup methods are useful to you. While they are manual and need to be repeated over and over again for a short period of time to ensure that all your notes are up to date, these methods are effective and should keep your notes safe.