I'm using the Notes app that comes with my Mac, but I can't find where the notes are getting saved in the Finder.

Where can I find these files?


For 10.11 (El Capitan), look in:

~/Library/Group Containers/group.com.apple.notes/
  • 5
    Also true for High Sierra. The notes themselves are in NoteStore.sqlite. – Dmitry Semenyuk Sep 27 '17 at 6:55
  • 1
    On iOS 8, /private/var/mobile/Library/Notes/notes.sqlite (device must be jailbroken to access this) – diachedelic Oct 4 '18 at 16:32

I just recovered my Notes on 10.9.2 installation, the file is SQLite 3.x database located in ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Notes/Data/Library/Notes/NotesV2.storedata

  • I don't have a Library / "Container" folder, is that normal? – MicroMachine Sep 19 '15 at 10:11
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    @Micro Are you sure you're looking in ~/Library (the Library folder in your home directory) and not /Library (at the root of the startup disk)? Unless you're on a really old OS, you will have a Containers folder because that's how app sandboxing works. – grg Oct 26 '17 at 18:07

In OS X 10.9 (“Mavericks”), at least, they’re not stored as individual text documents in a place where you can see them and manipulate them.

Even the notes that you choose to save “On my Mac” end up sandboxed in places like ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Notes/Data/Library/CoreData/ExternalRecords/AA97DB8E-73B4-4C75-B54F-B39E5BC7521F/Note/_records/0/p6.notesexternalrecord, where ~/Library means the (usually invisible) “Library” folder that sits alongside your “Documents”, “Music” and “Pictures” folders.

You can see them by choosing Go to Folder… from the Go menu in the Finder and pasting in ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Notes/Data/Library/CoreData/ExternalRecords. You’ll find yourself looking at a folder with a 32-character hyphenated name, which you can open. Then open the “Note” folder and then the “_records” folder. All your notes are two levels further down.

Alternatively, use the following Terminal command:

open ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Notes/Data/Library/CoreData/*/*/Note/_records

There’s not much that you can do with them, however: they are not text or .rtf files, and I suspect that moving any of these files around or changing their contents directly might very well render individual notes irrecoverable — or possibly even break the Notes.app altogether.

If you’re looking for a quick note-taking app where your files are easily findable in the Finder and stored in standard .rtf or text format (with or without Markdown), you might look at Brett Terpstra’s free nvALT or at any of the other derivatives of Notational Velocity.


The Notes are not saved in your folder, unless if you do it yourself through third party apps.

All the answers that were posted here seem really complicated, time-taking, not 100% guaranteed, and very risky for your system.

I currently use a program called iMazing, which works really well, all you have to do is plug your iPhone to your computer, and drag the notes from the app's window to a folder on your computer. They will instantly turn to TXT files. The sucky part is that iMazing is a program you have to pay for.

There is another one that works just like it called iExplorer, I used to use it before, and it works well as well. Can't remember if it's free or not.

There's also this, which I haven't tried, and this one too.

All these options seem to work well; but I would recommend avoiding:

-Tampering with a iOS system folder;

-Modifying SQL databases or sandboxed files;

-Accessing the system folder of your computer, iCloud folder backups or iPhone backups.

I am not endorsed by these apps, use them at your own risk! I hate having to pay to solve my tech-related problems, and will always rather tweak or tamper by hand whenever it's possible, free and fast (for example right-clicking and showing package contents, using a free app, etc). But in the case of Mac OS X / iOS Notes, it's just too risky and complicated for me to do it through terminal, SQL database import and what not.

I've tried these solutions and they worked for me, so I'm sharing them here because I think they could help people save their notes without screwing up their system files.

I know that iOS 9 now has Notes with images and sketches support, I have no idea what the best solution to save these "new" notes will be, but I will update this answer if I get a chance.


Try this free Mac app. Works for me...


Exports all notes to a single directory in plain text format.

  • 1
    Quite nice! It's clever enough to leave plain text notes as text, but to insert rudimentary HTML for notes with formatting (though they still get extension ".txt"). It doesn't mark up links, but it at least keeps the URLs). Good way to back up notes occasionally as a fail-safe. – TextGeek Jun 4 '18 at 14:13
  • Unfortunately it exported cyrillic characters into questions marks. – Bogolt Aug 24 '18 at 20:53

I simply did a search for "notesexternalrecord". From there, when you click on a note, it's location is listed graphically just above the Status bar of the window displaying the documents (i.e. individual notes).

Caution though, as mentioned previously, monkeying with them could cause irreversible damage to the app or the notes themselves. Always make sure you have a good backup before you mess with things like this.

  • Assuming you mean a Spotlight search, clicking any of the hits (at least for me in High Sierra (10.13.4) just leads to "There is no application set to open...". Trying a generic text editor gets nothing. – TextGeek Jun 4 '18 at 14:02

If you do want to have a copy of your Notes records, you can open the notes you want using the Notes application, and from the File menu, use Export as PDF... you can rename the PDF file if you want... at the same time, once exported, you can use the Preview app to see your exported Notes record... the PDF files can be easily copied to any portable media devices and can be viewed using PDF readers...


For Stickies.app, the notes data goes to ~/Library/StickiesDatabase on Mac OS X 10.7.5.

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