tldr: My MacBook Pro (10.13.6) is broken but I can retrieve files. I got the Notes database files from ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Notes/Data/Notes and moved them into the corresponding location on another Macbook Pro with the same OS. Only 2 of my dozens of notes are available. What else can I do?

I have a 2016 MacBook Pro running 10.13.6. I took dozens of notes with the Notes app. It's never been connected to iCloud, so everything is stored locally. Now my computer is nonfunctional due to what tech support believes to be a permanent hardware failure, but I can still boot into recovery mode and transfer files off. I'd like to retrieve my notes (I thought they were being backed up, but my backup solution wasn't working the way I thought it was).

Following the process from this question, I went to ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Notes/Data/Notes which contains the following: -rw-r--r--@ 1 zipslime staff 192K Dec 14 11:58 NotesV7.storedata -rw-r--r--@ 1 zipslime staff 32K Dec 14 22:49 NotesV7.storedata-shm -rw-r--r--@ 1 zipslime staff 2.7M Dec 15 08:45 NotesV7.storedata-wal

I copied these files and put them on another MacBook Pro that's running the same OS and that never had any notes taken on it. When I opened Notes on that computer, it showed only the demo note that appears on a fresh installation of notes. After a reboot, it started showing two of my old notes, but there's no sign of the rest.

If I manually examine NotesV7.storedata-wal it's mostly human-unreadable but I can see fragments of some of my old notes, including ones that are not appearing in Notes now. Additionally, I know that my notes were accessible up to the moment the original computer kicked the bucket, so I have no reason to believe the content would be corrupted or otherwise irretrievable. Is there anything else I can try?

  • 1
    Confirming that the solution in the duplicate question works for me. Hopefully my version of this question will be of use to others who are trying to use the old solution without realizing that it's changed. Thank you!
    – octern
    Dec 15, 2018 at 19:46


Browse other questions tagged .