After discovering that I couldn’t restore notes from iCloud to my new iPad I set about discovering if there was a way I could recover the notes I had backed up through iTunes. It turns out that there is indeed a fairly straight forward process.
Why am I in this predicament?
When I first booted the iPad I did not restore from my previous version and I initially turned iCoud off. This meant that I had a virgin iPad that I then proceeded to load with apps. Some time later I realised that I had no previous notes! There doesn’t seem to be a way to restore notes from a backup that was made on another iOS device, so that means you need to be a little bit creative in your approach to getting to the data.
If like me you have had several iOS devices the chances are you have loads of data backed up on your computer from those devices, but there is no easy way to read this data. You therefore need to install a couple of apps that make this process easy.
Step 2: Launch iPhone Backup Extractor and click on the “Read Backups” button and proceed to choose which backup you wish to recover. At this point you you need to select the “Extract” button which will ask you to select a target folder to place the extracted files into.
Step 3: You now need to launch MesaSQLite which you will use to read the data in your iOS backup. If it doesn’t automatically ask “which database would you like to open?” go to File > Open Database and navigate to the folder you extracted your iOS backup to. As we are going to recover notes, you need to navigate to iOS Files > Library > Notes > and choose notes.sqlite
Step 4: Near the top left, where it says “Table Name”, select “ZNOTEBODY” and below that select “ZCONTENT”. Next select “contains” and finally hit “search”. This will return any notes that have been backed up to your Mac. From here, simply double click on the text and copy and paste into a text editor and save your note.
If you know of an easier way to do this please do share your knowledge in the comments below.