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Is there any app,

That iCloud notes can sync to ?

I wanted to have a backup of my iCloud notes

I know iCloud is already supposed to be a backup, but I have heard of people having problems or notes being deleted out of nowhere, so that's why I wanted another kind of backup

That could sync to iCloud so I could keep my notes on iCloud, plus somewhere else

Does such a thing exist ?

Thank you.

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  • See the following post what you need to back up to restore your notes: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/343221/…
    – Redarm
    Mar 20 at 23:35
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    Just to explain the restoration process of my comment above (since iCloud notes would otherwise disappear): turn off iCloud Notes, restore the folder backed up earlier, enable the local "On my Mac" account in Notes' Preferences, drag the restored notes, or groups to your local "On my Mac" account, enable iCloud Notes again (the notes in your iCloud account should disappear), then drag the local notes back to your iCloud account.
    – Redarm
    Mar 21 at 0:14
  • @Redarm See my answer - particularly the second half. I did not realise that you had already summarised my solution (or very close) in your comment. It was not an intended plagiarism though it must seem so - sorry.
    – Gilby
    Mar 21 at 4:06
  • @Gilby Don't worry about it; it's a public forum and as such it doesn't matter who wrote what. Since Vincent asked for an app to take on the work of backing up, neither my comment, nor your Edit really matter anyway.
    – Redarm
    Mar 21 at 20:28
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Firstly iCloud is not a backup. It is a synchronisation tool. Hence the problems you have heard about with notes being accidentally deleted and then gone for ever.

So you need a backup.

But this is not so easy because the notes in Apple Notes are stored in a database and not as separate files.

One solution is to periodically export your notes out of Apple Notes into separate files in another format and store them somewhere included in your regular backups. For this get the app Exporter from the Mac App Store. But this is a one way operation - the only way to import into Apple Notes is by copy and paste of text.

The problem you have highlighted is in common with other popular note taking applications (e.g. Bear) which store notes in a database and synchronise with iCloud. Backup is not straightforward.

For myself, I have given up using apple Notes for anything I want to keep. I now use Typora and have learnt to use markdown for formatting. Each note is a separate file and backups become easier to manage. But I have lost Notes' ease of use and synchronisation to iPhone.

Edit: It is possible to recover lost or accidentally deleted notes.

The Apple Notes database (and other stuff) is located in ~/Library/Group Containers/group.com.apple.notes. This is part of the Time Machine backup. So there is potential to recover lost notes by using the content of that folder from a Time Machine backup.

Here is a process which I tested and works:

  1. Delete an unimportant note (to simulate the loss of an important note!),
  2. Exit Notes,
  3. Remove Notes from iCloud (in System Preferences - Internet Accounts),
  4. Recover the folder from Time Machine using drag and drop in Finder,
  5. Start Notes.

Notes shows all the notes that were present at the point in time when the TM backup was done. But it is not connected to iCloud and so can't merge the recovered database with any differences in iCloud.

Now:

  1. In Notes, move the recovered note from iCloud folder to the "On My Mac" folder,
  2. Exit Notes,
  3. Reconnect Apple Notes to iCloud (in System Preferences - Internet Accounts),
  4. Start Notes.

Notes merges Notes' iCloud folder with the content on iCloud, but leaves alone the recovered note which is in "On My Mac". If desired this can be moved back into one of Notes' iCloud folders.

This is not a straight forward process and is open to error and the risk of losing all notes. But it is possible if you need to recover an important note.

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  • Hi, thank you for your reply ! So I started to periodically export my iCloud notes onto "On My Mac"... I want to keep them on iCloud because of like you said ease of use and synchronisation to iPhone. Also if I lose iCloud notes, the last export will be on my Mac, and if I lose the Mac notes somehow, they will be on my iCloud, I wouldn't lose both at the same time right. I'm sorry I didn't quite understand the rest of the edits/comments, please be patient with me, after exporting to On My Mac do you think another back up would be necessary?
    – Vincent
    Mar 23 at 20:08
  • or would the 2 versions on iCloud and on my Mac be enough. Or if I on top of that periodically make a back up on an external drive ........
    – Vincent
    Mar 23 at 20:09
  • which is what Time Machine does correct . edit: sorry for my ignorance, just looked up Time Machine on the internet .
    – Vincent
    Mar 23 at 20:10
  • But then restoring form Time Machine would not be so simple ? Open to error and risk of losing all notes ?
    – Vincent
    Mar 23 at 20:15
  • Copying notes from Notes iCloud to Notes On My Mac seems like a good strategy to me. The ones in On My Mac are certainly included in Time Machine backup. Downside is that restoring from TimeMachine (from some past point in time) has to be all of On My Mac (it is a database) and not just the missing note. And that requires some messing about in Finder and Notes when recovering just a lost note. Yes, open to error and risk. But so is everything on a computer. You need to test this and get to understand how Time Machine works and what it does for you. Do you already use Time Machine for backup?
    – Gilby
    Mar 23 at 22:13

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