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I'm using a company-issued MacBook where we cannot use iCloud to backup notes. But I would like to have a way to create backups of the notes, since they are not included in the company backup software. Is there a way to do this by hand?

I tried copying the folder:

$HOME/Library/Containers/com.apple.Notes

but when I copied that one to a new Mac, the notes didn't show up when running Notes.app.

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You may have copied the wrong directory, depending on your operating system.

Newer operating systems (I believe El Capitan and above, but certainly Sierra and above) use this folder:
~/Library/Group Containers/group.com.apple.notes/

Without iCloud there should be no issue with disappearing notes, which you would have to work around, if you were signed into iCloud Notes.

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    Thank you, i copied this folder and the other one and all my notes including attachments were restored on the other MacBook. – Harpe Nov 20 '18 at 13:07
  • @Harpe, what is "the other one"? What other folder? – Adam Johns Aug 5 '19 at 14:37
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    I think s/he means the folder mentioned in his/her original post: $HOME/Library/Containers/com.apple.Notes – Redarm Aug 7 '19 at 10:24
  • Yes, what Redarm says – Harpe Aug 17 '19 at 13:19
  • this is great relieve. It worked for me for new OS - macOS Mojave by copying ~/Library/Group Containers/group.com.apple.notes/. Before copying this, I had copied $HOME/Library/Containers/com.apple.Notes (didnt worked) but kept as it is, it is not hurting. – Ketan Oct 1 '19 at 16:34
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Apple's official recommendation to backup notes is to save them in a text/document file or export as PDF. From the Apple support article, Archive or make copies of the information you store in iCloud - Notes and Voice Memos

Notes and Voice Memos

Make a copy of a note on your Mac or at iCloud.com:

  1. Open the Notes app and select the note that you want.

  2. Copy and paste the text into a document on your computer, such as a Pages or TextEdit document.

  3. Save the document to your computer.

You can also export a note. Just select the note, click File > Export as PDF, and choose a location.

The approach is a bit clumsy and doesn't let you backup all the various notes in one go.

  • Thanks for the answer, but the problem with this approach is that you cannot restore the backups easily. I'm looking for a way to backup and restore notes, in case the original notes get lost. – Harpe Nov 20 '18 at 10:20
  • Alternatively, if there is another note taking app that allows easier local backups with restore, and where I can easily import my current notes including nested folders of notes, that would also be very helpful. – Harpe Nov 20 '18 at 10:21
  • @Harpe You can find a plethora of note taking apps which do not backup to iCloud. Try doing a Web search. – Nimesh Neema Nov 20 '18 at 10:22
  • Thanks I did, but I was hoping for a recommendation, especially wrt to importing existing notes. I'll add a comment if I find a good one. – Harpe Nov 20 '18 at 10:38
  • There is a 3rd party app named Note2txt which exports all your notes to a text file. Each note generates a separate file. i backup my notes by using this and exporting files to a folder with the date in the name. like notes_11202018 – jmh Nov 20 '18 at 14:31

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