iPhone Notes Disappeared? Your Guide to Troubleshooting the iPhone Notes App

Apple's native Notes app on your iPhone is one of the most convenient ways to take a note, but there are a few problems people encounter with the app. If you’ve lost notes or noticed notes disappearing on your iPhone, this article is your guide to getting them back. iPhone notes disappearing, or the entire Notes app being lost are common issues. Beginning with iOS 10, the Notes app on the iPhone is able to be deleted entirely, so we’ll cover how to reinstall the Notes app on your iPhone. If you’re wondering where specific notes disappeared to, don’t worry—we’ll go over how to recover your lost notes using iCloud. We’ll also show you how to recover notes you accidentally deleted. Whether you need to find lost notes, redownload the Notes app, or undelete notes, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to get them (and the iPhone Notes app) back.

Related: My Mail App Has Disappeared from My iPhone. How Do I Get It Back?

How to Reinstall the Notes App on iPhone

This is the easiest Notes app problem to fix. If you simply can’t find the Notes app, swipe down from the middle of your Home screen. This will open Siri search on your iPhone. Type in Notes; if the app icon doesn't appear in your search options or if it appears under App Store, it got deleted somehow. Keep in mind that the Notes app can only be removed from an iPhone running iOS 10 or later. Here’s how to reinstall the Notes app and get your notes back on iPhone:

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  • Open the App Store on your iPhone.

  • Tap Search and look for Notes.

  • Find the Apple Notes app and redownload it.

  • When you open the reinstalled Notes app, it will direct you to iCloud. Allow it to take you to Settings.

  • Tap on iCloud, then toggle on Notes within the iCloud settings. Then return to the Notes app, and all of your iCloud notes will be recovered.

Unfortunately, if you had notes stored locally on your iPhone that weren't in iCloud when you deleted the Notes app, the only way to get those lost notes back is to restore an iPhone backup that included them. If you had iCloud backups automatically turned on, you should be able to restore a recent enough backup that you don't lose other information in the process. I was able to do this after deleting my Notes app for this article. It's not super fun to erase and restore your iPhone, but if those notes were important to you, it's nice that getting them back is possible.

How to Get Back iPhone Notes that Disappeared

If you have notes on your iPhone that have disappeared, there’s an easy fix for getting them back—if the notes that disappeared were part of your iCloud, Gmail, Yahoo, or another mail account. If the notes you’ve lost were stored locally, you’ll need to restore an older iPhone backup to recover those notes (here’s how to recover an iPhone backup.) Otherwise, getting your notes back is easy thanks to iCloud and other online services. To retrieve iPhone notes that have disappeared:

  • Open the Settings app on iPhone.

  • Select Passwords & Accounts.

  • Under Accounts, select iCloud, Gmail, Yahoo, or another mail provider you’ve used for Notes.

notes appicloud notes
  • Toggle on Notes.

  • Return to Notes app and swipe down from the top to refresh and retrieve those lost notes.

You can do this for any or all other email accounts you have. Turning Notes on in your Mail accounts will recover any notes you had stored in those folders within the Notes app. If you’ve lost notes that were on your iPhone, you’ll need to restore an iPhone backup, as mentioned above.

A good practice is to set your iCloud to your default Notes folder, which will help make sure you don’t lose any notes in the future. You can do this by going to Notes in the Settings app, selecting Default Account, and selecting iCloud. You can also turn off the “On My iPhone” account here so that all your iPhone notes are part of an online cloud service like iCloud or Gmail.

How to Recover Deleted Notes on iPhone

Notes you’ve recently deleted on your iPhone appear in a special folder dedicated to recently deleted Notes. Notes will stay in the recently deleted folder for 30 days, after which they will be completely removed from your device. If you recently deleted a note and realized you need to get it back, here’s how to recover deleted notes on iPhone:

  • Open the Notes app on iPhone.

  • Make sure you’re in the Folders view in the Notes app. If not, tap the back arrow in the upper left corner until you are.

  • Each account (iCloud, Gmail, On My iPhone, Yahoo, etc.) has its own Recently Deleted folder. If you’re not sure where the note you deleted was stored, simply check each folder.

  • Tap on the Recently Deleted folder to look through your deleted notes and find the one you want to recover.

  • To recover a note, thereby removing it from the deleted folder and moving it back into your regular notes folder, tap Edit in the top right corner.

note taking app
  • Select the notes you want to undelete. Tap Move To…

  • Select the folder you want to move the notes to.

notepad appinotes

What other problems are you having in the Notes app on your iPhone? Let us know in the comments, and we'll update this article to include solutions!

Top Image Credit: Kaspars Grinvalds / Shutterstock

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Author Details

Conner Carey's picture

Author Details

Conner Carey

Conner Carey's writing can be found at conpoet.com. She is currently writing a book, creating lots of content, and writing poetry via @conpoet on Instagram. She lives in an RV full-time with her mom, Jan and dog, Jodi as they slow-travel around the country.