Guide to Restoring iPhone Notes Using a Mac Computer

Should you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where a firmware update has erased your notes, the following guidelines might assist in retrieving them. Be advised, the technical skill required is considered advanced.

  1. Ensure Apple Developer Tools are installed on your system.

  2. Download this script, rename it to dbextract, make it executable, and save it in a directory included in your system’s PATH.

  3. Open your terminal and navigate to ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup.

  4. Sort the backup folders by date with the command: ls -lt

  5. Enter the most recent backup folder and execute the dbextract script on the mdbackup files: dbextract *.mdbackup

  6. Review the databases extracted.

    If necessary, open them using sqlite3 and use the .dump command to view the contents. If your notes are there, you’ve succeeded.

    If not, proceed to the previous backup folder and repeat the process.

  7. When you locate the correct notes.db file, transfer it to your iPhone using scp or sftp to /var/root/Library/Notes.

Following these steps should help you recover your lost notes, though the process requires careful attention to detail and some familiarity with command-line tools.

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Jennifer is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to the world of Apple news. With a deep love for all things Apple, Jennifer covers everything from the latest iPhone and iPad releases to the newest features in macOS and watchOS. Her insightful articles and engaging style make complex tech topics accessible to everyone. Jennifer’s expertise and genuine interest in Apple products shine through in every piece she writes, making her a valued member of the TUAW team.