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How to Recover Deleted Notes on a Mac

How to Recover Deleted Notes on a Mac

Losing important files on your Mac can be a stressful experience, but fortunately, there are ways to recover deleted files, including notes, documents, and other data. Whether your files were deleted by accident or you’ve experienced data loss due to system errors, understanding the recovery process can help you retrieve lost information. In this detailed how-to guide, we’ll explore various methods to recover deleted files on a Mac, specifically utilizing the powerful data recovery software named Disk Drill.


Common Scenarios:

Accidental Deletion 🗑

  • One of the most common scenarios is accidental deletion, where you may have inadvertently moved files to the Trash and emptied it without realizing some important notes were included.
  • You might also accidentally delete files using the Command + Delete shortcut, bypassing the Trash entirely.

System Errors or Corruption 💾

  • Data loss can occur due to system errors that cause file corruption or deletion without user intervention.
  • File system corruption can lead to inaccessible files, which might be presumed deleted or lost.

Software Update Disruption 🔄

  • An interruption during a software update could result in the loss of your files, especially if the process affects the directories where the notes are stored.
  • Power outages or sudden reboots during updates could lead to potential file loss.

Step-by-Step Guide. Recover Deleted Notes Mac:

Method 1: Recover from the Trash 🗃

  • Open the Trash bin by clicking on its icon in the Dock.
  • Look for the deleted files or notes. If you find them, you can drag them back onto the Desktop or right-click and select ‘Put Back’ to restore them to their original location.

Note: This method is only effective if the files have not been permanently deleted from the Trash.

Conclusion: Recovering files from the Trash is the simplest method if the files have not been emptied from there.

Method 2: Time Machine Backup 🕒

  • Connect the Time Machine backup drive to your Mac.
  • Open Time Machine by clicking on its icon in the Menu bar or opening it from System Preferences.
  • Navigate through the backups to find the files or notes you want to recover, and click ‘Restore’ to get them back.

Note: Ensure that you have a Time Machine backup set up prior to the deletion of your files.

Conclusion: Time Machine is an effective way to restore deleted files if you have been maintaining regular backups.

Method 3: Use Disk Drill 💽

  • Download and install Disk Drill from the official website: CleverFiles.
  • Launch Disk Drill and select the drive where your deleted files were stored.
  • Click on ‘Recover’ to let Disk Drill scan for recoverable files. Preview and select the files you wish to recover, then hit ‘Recover’ again to save them to a safe location.

Note: For a higher chance of success, stop using the drive where the files were located as soon as you realize the data is lost.

Conclusion: Disk Drill is a robust software that offers a high chance of recovering lost files on a Mac.

Method 4: Terminal Command 💻

  • Open Terminal from the Utilities folder or use Spotlight (Command + Space) to search and open it.
  • Type ‘cd .Trash’ to navigate to the Trash directory.
  • Type ‘ls’ to list all files. If you identify your deleted file, use the ‘mv’ command to move it back to your Desktop or another location.

Note: This method is for advanced users who are comfortable using Terminal commands.

Conclusion: Terminal commands can sometimes recover files that are not apparent through the normal Trash interface.

Method 5: Professional Data Recovery Service 🔧

  • If all software-based methods fail, consider seeking a professional data recovery service that handles Mac data retrieval.
  • Research and choose a reputable service, and take your Mac or drive to them for a diagnostic and recovery process.

Note: This method can be more expensive but may be necessary for critical data loss situations or hardware-based issues.

Conclusion: Professional services offer the expertise to recover data in cases where software solutions are ineffective.


Precautions and Tips:

Immediate Response to Deletion ⚡

  • As soon as you notice that files have been deleted, stop using the device to prevent new data from overwriting the space where the lost files reside.
  • Avoid installing new apps or saving new files to the disk where the data was lost.

Consistent Backups 💼

  • Regularly back up your system using Time Machine or another backup solution to minimize the risk of data loss.
  • Consider using cloud-based services like iCloud to keep your notes and important files synced and retrievable.

Understanding Data Recovery on Mac

When it comes to data recovery on a Mac, it’s essential to understand how Mac OS handles file deletion. When you delete a file, the system marks the space the file occupied as available for new data. The original file still resides on the hard drive until it is overwritten by new data. That’s why it’s crucial to act quickly when you notice that a file is missing.

Using Disk Drill is one of the most reliable ways to recover your data. Unlike simple undelete operations, Disk Drill offers deep scanning technology that digs into the drive to find remnants of lost data. It’s straightforward to use with its user-friendly interface, which is particularly useful for those who may not be tech-savvy.

One of the often-overlooked aspects of data recovery is preventing loss in the first place. Good digital hygiene practices such as ejecting drives safely, ensuring regular system updates, and avoiding potential malware can significantly reduce the chances of file corruption and loss.

For those interested in learning more about data recovery processes and best practices, resources like Apple Support might be useful for official guidelines, while forums like Apple Discussions might offer community insights.


Recovering deleted files on a Mac might seem daunting, but with the right tools and a prompt response, it’s often possible to restore the data you thought was lost. From using simple solutions like the Trash bin to sophisticated software like Disk Drill, the key to successful file recovery is to assess the situation quickly and choose the most appropriate method. Applying preventive measures can further ensure that your important files remain safe and easily retrievable should accidental deletion or data loss occur.


The first place to check is the Recently Deleted folder within the Notes app. Deleted notes are kept there for 30 days before being permanently erased.

Yes, you can restore notes from Time Machine by entering Time Machine while the Notes app is open and restoring the desired note from a previous snapshot.

If a note isn't in the Recently Deleted folder, check any backups you may have, such as Time Machine or iCloud backups. You can also consider professional data recovery services.

Once the Recently Deleted folder is emptied, recovery without backup is challenging. If no backup exists, consider using third-party recovery software.

Yes, third-party applications such as Wondershare Dr.Fone or Disk Drill can help recover deleted data, including notes, but success isn't guaranteed.

Go to, sign in with your Apple ID, open Notes, and check the Recently Deleted folder for your notes.

iCloud keeps deleted notes in the Recently Deleted folder for up to 30 days before permanent deletion.

The time limit depends on the backup solution. Time Machine and iCloud maintain backups based on available space and personal settings, usually spanning back days or weeks.

To prevent accidental deletions, regularly backup your data, consider using note-locking features within the Notes app, and double-check before emptying the Recently Deleted folder.

Enable automatic backups to iCloud by going to System Preferences > Apple ID > iCloud, and check the box for Notes to keep them continuously synced and backed up.