This seems so basic, but just can't figure it:

I can easily find a note with an unique bit of text, but finding WHERE in my list of folders the note is stored seems impossible. One would think that when you tap a found note, the note's folder would become highlighted, or at least a tooltip would help identify the location, but no such luck.

Tips, thoughts? thx.. drew..

  • Hi, did you find a good answer for this?
    – a06e
    Commented Sep 23, 2023 at 18:00

3 Answers 3


This works on 10.12.6 Sierra: Search for the note, select it, then clear the search field. The folder will be highlighted in light gray.


Prior to High Sierra, you can drag the note over the list of folders in the sidebar. Each folder will highlight blue as you hover with the note, except All iCloud, Recently Deleted and most importantly the folder already containing the note.

Since High Sierra, the folder is shown beside the note.


  • You cannot drag notes from the search results window, so this doesn't work.
    – drew..
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 21:58
  • 2
    @drew Once you've cleared your search, the last highlighted note remains highlighted, so you can still find it and then drag it.
    – grg
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 22:00
  • Thank you.. that did it, although it is great for only ONE note in a sequence. Very unlike Apple to be so illogical. Each click on a found note should highlight the location, not force us to close down the search to see where it is. But.. thank you.
    – drew..
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 22:41
  • @drew I've edited my answer, it's in the next version of macOS.
    – grg
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 8:36

Though I know the question seems to focus on folder within the UI of the Notes app itself, I was interested in trying to find the actual source files so I could copy them all to Google Drive, since I prefer the Google ecosystem for syncing my data between devices. But Apple really really REALLY does not want you getting at the actual Notes files residing on your Mac. They are kept in a single file archive kind of like (I think) those old Windows Outlook .pst files that contained individual emails... A Macworld help article from 2014 is still mostly relevant in 2018 which reveals the obscure directory where the aggregated Notes file resides:


I could not get there via the Finder's "GO to Folder" command — Apple's blocked that off too... And SEARCH will not find it either, even with "include System files" — unless you truncate it to just


...then sort by date and it will be the first of many such folders with that exact name... But thankfully you can then double-click on that folder and it's then easy to get to the nested Notes file.

Or you could just matriculate down to the buried folder by selecting your "Home" Library folder in the GO Menu (or COMMAND-SHIFT-L )

Either way, this is what Macworld says once you get there:

You should see a small assortment of similarly named files, with names such as NotesV2.storedata. The text of all your notes, typically including recently deleted notes, is stored within one or more of these files. Unfortunately, the format of these files does not make it easy to view the content of each note. To recover an individual note, you have a bit more work to do.

  1. The two files that offer the best bet for data recovery are the .storedata and (especially!) the .storedata-wal files. Make a copy of these files and move them to a separate location, such as the desktop.

Making copies is a common safeguard. You’ll work with these copied files. In case anything goes wrong, the original files remain untouched and in place.

  1. Add an .html extension to the name of the copied files, confirming that you want to make this change when the question dialog box pops up.

As it turns out, these files employ HMTL tags. Adding the extension allows the critical text to appear in a more easily readable format.

  1. Open one of the files in a text processing app (such as TextEdit) or in a web browser. Interspersed among all the cryptic text should be readable versions of both your current and recently deleted notes. Because there can be a lot of data here, I suggest using the app’s search feature to locate the text you want to recover. Once you have, copy and save it to a separate location. If the first of the two files does not bear fruit, try the other.

Hope this helps. But it's not user friendly. Just like with with Photos and iTunes Music and Videos, Apple prefers their walled garden approach that keeps users tethered to their apps and iCloud.

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