Unraveling the Mysteries of the Iphone: Sync Notes to iCloud

While perusing the Internet for the answer to a burning tech question, I came across the title Apple Heads, referring to people who spend a lot of time futzing with Apple devices.  Guilty as charged.  Gonna’ learn how to work this thing darnit.

Image: Son of Man, painting by Rene Magritte

Here’s a gem.  Have trouble figuring out why your iPhone Notes don’t sync to iCloud? Uh huh.  Never mind that we could just write a note on actual paper, and ‘sync’ it by carrying it around in a pocket.  True Apple Heads eschew paper and time.  Don’t give in to feeling stupid.  We are not alone. Check online.  Thousands are dying to know how to do this.  Seems we set up iCloud, turn it on, and just wait for the magic to happen.

It doesn’t happen because  notes created when iCloud is “off” are private.  This is good.  Nothing is private on the Internet, so iCloud makes you think about what you want public.  Maybe (like me) you don’t remember making notes with iCloud off, but try this anyway.  The fix takes less than two minutes. Promise.

1. On the iPhone, go to Settings, then iCloud, see if the switch next to Notes is “on”.  If not, hold your finger on the button until it switches to ‘on.’


Still in Settings, go to Notes, Make iCloud the default account.


2.  Open and compare your list of Notes on iCloud with your iPhone Notes.   Find a note missing on iCloud?   Open it on your phone.  Tap the icon at the bottom of the screen that looks like a box with an arrow coming out of it.

A screen will jump up from the bottom that looks more or less like this:
Tap ‘copy.’
Now you’re back to the original note. Tap the ‘+’ sign in the upper right corner …
…to open a new note,  and then tap anywhere on the page.  A cartoon bubble appears that says “paste”.  Tap it.  The note will appear.  After a few seconds, check your iCloud page.  Voila!  The rise of the zombies, I mean Apple Heads continues apace.
Optional: clean up the list of notes on your phone by putting the extra (older) copy in the trash.  Warning:  sometimes it takes iCloud ten minutes to sync, but who’s watching the clock?


  • Oh Julia, you just made my head hurt! It sounds like you are taking well to your new smartphone/iphone. Please tell me it isn’t as hard as I think it is. I am about to embark on the purchase of a new phone and cannot decide IF I want to invest in an Apple or a Samsung. All I know is that I am sooo behind with technology. I may call you for help Julia. Be afraid, be very afraid. LOL! 🙂


    • Trying not to be afraid… People 20 years younger seem to intuitively know how to work ‘smart’ devices, but for me, not so much. Don’t know about you, but I had to set time aside to learn the basics, and clean up old stuff that I’d let pile up and get outdated. The good thing is, once everything is rerouted, and your brain gets used to the new dump of information, it is fun. This morning I’m listening to a lecture featured on the Charlie Rose show, and it runs much better than videos on my old laptop. Still am a long way from qualifying as a resource though. Good on you for diving in!


  • You know what, I was given an iPad as a work tool by my employer. I still haven’t used it much. I already have my work laptop hooked up to 2 large screens at my workplace (for a huge employer).

    I feel very constrained by the iPad in terms by what it offers ..without me buying and downloading yet another app. (which my employer fully supports me cost-wise).

    As for iCloud, I seriously am not comfortable with clouds. However I wonder if the Internet providers will/have already just gone ahead to put our email accounts in a cloud without letting us know. Now, that would be a bad trend.

    The issue of clouds is taken very seriously by govn’t. I work for govn’t where our IT division did an analysis on the technology because after all, it is the general public’s personal information held by govn’t for health care, housing, taxation, etc.


  • You’re right about our e-mails going into a cloud. It was painful to watch how little reaction there was this week to the Supreme Court throwing out the challenge to FISA. Supposedly communications to and from Americans who are not terrorist suspects (couldn’t we all be terrorist suspects?) are protected by some kind of algorithm, and the non-nationals who communicate with us are not. Make you feel secure? https://holdouts.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/the-thin-thread-william-binney-and-the-nsa/

    I know others who find the iPad not worth the trouble, but don’t have one myself and can’t add anything other than that. I downloaded several free applications on the iPhone, one to protect passwords, some just for fun. I’m counting on my life being so boring that it will never attract the attention of government censors. Thanks for the visit Jean.


  • Just when I thought I understood iCloud. Sigh. Aren’t our ‘clouds’ only accessible to us? Well, as inaccessible as anything is in cyberspace, I guess.


  • Just us and the NSA. Everything goes into scary-sounding places called Intercept Centers, under the auspices of a program called Stellar Wind. The largest info gathering facility is in Utah, and is called, benignly, the Utah Data Center. It’s so big, we may never finish building it. So don’t go around using words like bomb and terrorist in your online stuff, Ok? Uh oh. Did I just say that?


  • Hi Julia,

    Every since I was first introduced to the cloud with storage of my photos, I’ve been a bit skittish about using it. I don’t know if it’s been fixed, but there was no way to delete individual cloud photos in the beginning. I didn’t like that. Syncing music works well, so I do that through iTunes, but not much else in the cloud.

    However, I use Dropbox along with the Pages app a lot for my writing. Saving my drafts in Dropbox allows me to pick up where I left off seamlessly from my PC, iPad, and iPhone. And Pages saves automatically, so you never lose a word. It’s terrific! It’s the same concept as iCloud, I guess, but I’ve become accustomed to doing it this way.


    • I use iCloud for notes and the calendar. My laptop is too old to sync iCal with iCloud, so using the calendar app that comes with the iPhone. It is not a happy substitute for Palm. So sad that Palm is no longer available. That was a cool set up.

      I love Dropbox! It feels private and is beaucoup (sp?) easy to use. It works well with keepass mini for protected passwords. If it had a calendar app I’d switch.


  • I love gadgets. I have an iPhone and an iPad and love having both for many reasons. I mostly stay away from cloud technology, though, because of the fact that it’s not very private, and I want *some* semblance of control over my privacy (however deluded that may be). I not only have my cloud setting turned off, but I don’t let many apps locate me geographically either.

    Like Ray, I use Dropbox, but only for a few simple things, like drafts. I also have Evernote which I use mostly for writing grocery lists. I used to write lists on paper. That was fine as long as I remembered to take the list with me to the store. Now my list is on my phone.

    Also, there’s the issue of $$$. Dropbox and iCloud, among others, only give you so much storage free before you have to pony up money for more storage. I’m not inclined to do that.

    Imagine what Huxley would think of our brave new world now, if he were still around?


  • That sounds like a novel. Huxley comes back in 2014. Want to write it? I’m only brave in this new world when I don’t think too closely about it. How about you?


  • Interesting. I had a weird Notes syncing issue where the Notes on my phone would get erased when my phone was syncing at home. But then notes on the Ipad weren’t. It was so weird. Apple mystery I suppose.


    • We could write books on the Apple mysteries. For some reason, calendars dates on icloud change when they show up on the phone. Must be me, but ???


  • You are friggin’ brilliant!!! I’ve been trying to figure out why all of my notes didn’t transfer to the cloud AND they weren’t in my e-mail folder on my Macbook Pro either. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!
    Now if I can figure out why my first generation iPad notes aren’t syncing with my iphone?? 🙂


    • Ha ha. No one has EVER put my name and brilliant in the same sentence when referring to anything tech. Determined maybe! When I cave and get an iPad, I will look into your question- or maybe by then you can tell me the answer. Cheers!


  • Hell, this actually worked. Apple’s bizzareness never ceases to amaze me. Like WHY would this be the case? Why can’t things just work? And now I have to copy all my notes? You’re kidding right? Really, apple? Really?
    And while I’m on the rant, I JUST WANT THE OLD MAPS BACK.


  • OMg! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I’ve been trying for DAYS to figure out why the notes were not syncing! This Cloud-thing is new to me.
    I share an Itunes acct w/ my kids. Unbeknownst to me, my son was deleting MY contacts from the cloud after we he bought a new Ipad mini this weekend. The last time I backed up to Itunes on my Hard drive was in mid January. So if I back up to the Cloud all my recent stuff, can I go back to a previous ITunes backup from January & pick up some contacts my son deleted from the cloud? ANd then just sync to the cloud the stuff I recently updated??



  • I’m glad to see that you are doing what I’m not doing—-learning how to use the iPhone. I use my iPhone less than 5 minutes a month. But i did, with help, manage to set up the voice app to be an Australian woman’s voice and when I ask my phone for the local weather report, I get to listen to that interesting, captivating voice tell me the temperature in my area.


  • You and “her”? Less than five minutes a month is an impressive demonstration of self-discipline and self-possession. Hope the temperature in your area suits you. Cheers —


  • The temperature where we live is about as perfect as one might want, but while most of America is being buried in snow and frigid or freezing temperature, in California we are suffering from the worst drought—or shortage of rain—in recorded history. The prediction for the high temperature today is 61 degrees F. and the low 41 degrees. The sky is an intense blue and the sun warm outside. In fact, the prediction is that, for the next ten days, it will be in the 60s (F) every day with not even a hint of rain.

    The farmers in California’s central valley are struggling due to that shortage of snow and water, and those farmers grow most of the fruits and vegetables consumed by all Americans. California’s central valley produces produce year around because of the climate here.


  • Wonderfully helpful, JB. I so love folks who know how to unravel the mysteries of the cloud and all the gadgets I’ve got connected (or accidentally unconnected) to them.
    Many thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Thanks for this wonderful post. Ever since I got the new phone there has been an annoying pop-up message that I was not logged in to iCloud. Somehow, after reading your instructions, I figured out how to actually change my password, link my new email address, and log back into iCloud.

    Now, if I could only figure out how to download all the old photos on there and delete them to free up some space I would be ecstatic.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Bonjour
    Toi mon amie
    Tu remplis mes jours de joie
    Le matin à mon réveil , tu seras présent au cours de ma journée
    Belle Amitié entre nous , tu ouvres mon cœur
    Tu me donnes ce que j’ai envie par tes petits messages
    Des fois je souries quand je suis mélancolique
    Bises passe une belle journée

    Profite de ton week-end et de la semaine à venir

    Liked by 1 person

  • Coucou Mon AMIE

    Je viens te chanter la ballade des bisous
    je viens faire une ballade des bisous

    Pour te montrer que je ne t’oublie pas

    1)Mon premier sera un bisou tout rond
    Juste sur le front

    2)Mon deuxième sera un bisou tous doux
    Sur les deux joues

    3)Mon troisième sera bisou délicieux
    Sur tes deux yeux

    4)Mon quatrième sera un bisou fripon
    Sur ton menton

    5)Rien de plus beau que de recevoir quelques bisous


    Je pense que tu auras appréciée (é)

    J’aime plaisanter ne soit pas vexée (é)
    Pour que ta semaine soit belle et resplendissante

    Liked by 1 person

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