I have OS X 10.8, and there is an empty list of notes on my Mac. But I have some notes on my iPhone, which are not in iCloud. Instead, they are local notes in the "On My iPhone" folder. How to move them into iCloud?

  • Are you sure you're signed in to the same Apple account on both devices? If you're using a recent version of iOS your notes should all be in iCloud automatically. Jul 25 '12 at 17:58
  • Yes, they are when I create new ones, but old notes are not.
    – scrat
    Jul 25 '12 at 18:45
  • 4
    I have the same issue. AFAIK, it's the Notes that were created prior to iCloud that are the ones that are missing from my iCloud.
    – Keen
    Jul 25 '12 at 19:06
  • Great question. I have exactly the same issue, and it seems the only way to accomplish this transfer is to move each note over manually! Bah.
    – Noldorin
    Aug 7 '12 at 1:23

Using OSX 10.8 it is simply not possible at the moment, what you need to do is to access a Mac running 10.7 or lower and sync them to that Mac and move them to an IMAP notes account. Then, you can access the IMAP notes in 10.8 Notes app and drag them all to iCloud. The only manual part necessary is to remove the duplicate notes left "On your iPhone" - they need to be removed one by one (or simply left alone).


  1. Turn off iCloud Notes sync (Settings -> iCloud -> Notes switch to Off)
  2. Set up an IMAP account in Mail on both computers (running 10.7 and 10.8)
  3. Set up iTunes synchronization with the Mac running 10.7 (Make sure to select to synchronize Notes in iTunes)
  4. Synchronize with iTunes
  5. Go to Mail in 10.7 and drag the notes "On your Mac" to the IMAP notes folder
  6. Turn on iCloud Notes sync (Settings -> iCloud -> Notes switch to On)
  7. Open the Notes app in 10.8 and drag the notes from your IMAP notes account to the iCloud notes account
  8. (Optional) Switch to your "On my iPhone" notes account and remove all notes, one-by-one, in order to avoid confusion later.
  9. On your phone, make sure that you are using the iCloud notes account (Notes -> Accounts -> iCloud) when using notes

Just make sure that you have your iCloud notes sync enabled on your iPhone as per:

Transfer iPhone notes via iCloud

Note that notes which were already on your iPhone before you enabled iCloud Notes sync will not automatically sync to your iCloud account.

What I would do in your case is simply email the notes to your @me.com account which you created just before you enabled iCloud Notes sync. This should move these specific notes to your iCloud account.


Make sure that "Notes" is enabled in the iCloud settings on iOS.

Secondly, you will have to upgrade your notes to the new iOS 9 / OS X El Capitan version (if you haven't already). In the top level of your iOS Notes app (tap the Accounts button), you will have a little button that allows you to upgrade your iCloud notes. (More info here: http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204987)

Finally, go into your "On My iPhone" notes folder, then select "Move All" (or select specific notes to move) and select your iCloud Notes folder as the destination.

(Thank you to 'airplay' of http://discussions.apple.com/thread/4961565 for the original advice)


If you've got other mail accounts set up on your iPhone, the notes might be synced into that account rather than your iCloud account. The problem is that there's no way, that I've found, on an iPhone anyway to move your notes from one account to another.

If they are synced into, let's say, Gmail, you may be able to log into your Gmail account online and copy them manually into the Notes.app on 10.8.

The other problem may be that your notes are automatically stored "On My iPhone" rather than your iCloud account. You can find this out if you go into your Settings, then the Notes section.

If this is the case, your best bet will be to copy the notes individually, and recreate them under the iCloud account. It would also be a good idea to set the default to iCloud from now on.


If you can sync the notes from your iPhone to your mac and Notes App, you can move them to iCloud by selecting the small drawer icon located at the bottom of the Notes App. That should open a drawer which shows local notes and iCloud notes. Then use drag'n'drop to move them


There are two reasons:

  1. You need an Apple ID/iCloud account to make sure the notes sync!

  2. But if you already have a @me.com email, and you're logged in, it still doesn't show up! Well, in system preferences, in iCloud, make sure "notes" are checked on all your devices


I agree, you must check how many Notes accounts you have on your iPhone. To do so go to your Notes app and tap on "Accounts" on the upper right cornder. If you see On My iPhone, then you can do the following:

Some people have found that the issue was sorted once they disabled iCloud Notes sync on the iPhone and re-enabled it. Therefore, go to Settings > iCloud and toggle the Notes switch from ON to OFF and then back to ON. This chould sync your entire set of iPhone notes to your iCloud account.


I found a way to extract the old notes from the backup of an iOS 7 device, and then import them into the Notes app on a mac (where you can reupload to iCloud if you like).

First find the folder where iTunes stores the backup of the phone. For me it was:

/Users/myself/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/89e6c98d92887913cadf06b2adb97f26cde4849b

Open a command line terminal, and use grep to search for files containing ZNOTEBODY:

grep ZNOTEBODY -r /Users/myself/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/89e6c98d92887913cadf06b2adb97f26cde4849b

For me this reported ca3bc056d4da0bbf88b5fb3be254f3b7147e639c

Then create a php file extractnotes.php containing the following code:

$file = '/Users/myself/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/89e6c98d92887913cadf06b2adb97f26cde4849b/2b66fd261ee5c6cfc8de7fa466bab600bcfe4f69';
$sqlite = new PDO('sqlite:' . $file);
$query = 'SELECT ztitle, zcontent from znotebody JOIN ZNOTE USING(z_pk) ORDER BY zmodificationdate';
$rs = $sqlite->query($query);
$data = $rs->fetchAll(PDO::FETCH_NUM);
foreach( $data as $row ) {
    file_put_contents('/Users/myself/Desktop/notes/' . str_replace( '/', '_', $row[0] ) . '.html', $row[1] );

and run it via php extractnotes.php - making sure to update the folder names.

You can then use the Notes app on macOS to import the entire folder of notes.

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