How to Sync iPhone Notes

By Diana V. Faustmann

Your iPhone notes typically reside within the Notes app or the Notes folder of an IMAP email account such as Yahoo, Gmail or AOL. By simply tweaking iCloud and IMAP account settings, you can instantaneously sync these iPhone notes with other devices, making your Notes app a one-stop repository for all notes. Private notes need a tad more effort to sync – simply copy them from the On My iPhone section of the Notes app to an iCloud or IMAP account.

Sync iCloud Notes

Step 1

Tap “Settings” on your iPhone.

Step 2

Tap “iCloud” and then toggle the “Notes” switch to the “On” position. This enables your device to push and receive iCloud notes over the air to and from other devices on the same iCloud account as the iPhone. (See link in Resources.)

Step 3

Activate the Notes option on your linked devices as well. Perform Step 2 on all iOS devices. On a Mac, check the “Notes” option in your iCloud system preferences. On a PC, check the “Mail, Contacts, Calendars & Tasks” option in your iCloud control panel. (See link in Resources.)

Step 4

Use the Notes apps on your iPhone, Mac or iOS devices to access and use your freshly synchronized iCloud notes. On a PC, open the Notes folder of your iCloud email account within Microsoft Outlook. Alternatively, use the Web browser of any device to access your notes at iCloud.com/#notes. Sign in using the Apple ID credentials you use with iCloud.

Sync IMAP Notes

Step 1

Tap “Settings” on your iPhone, then touch “Mail Contacts Calendars.”

Step 2

Locate the email account that you typically use for notes. Tap it to view its settings.

Step 3

Toggle the “Notes” switch to “On” to enable notes syncing between the email account and your iPhone. Note that this removes the email account’s Notes folder from within the Mail app. Use the Notes app instead to view, add, delete and modify the email account’s notes going forward.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you prefer to use iTunes rather than iCloud to sync notes, connect your iPhone to the computer with iTunes launched and then choose your iPhone under Devices on the left sidebar. Next, click the “Info” tab on the main pane. Check the “Sync Notes” check box under Other, then choose the email account with which you want notes synced. Click “Apply.” Note that you can no longer sync notes using iTunes on Macs running OS X v10.8 and later.
  • If notes don’t sync from an email account within Microsoft Outlook, remove any blank notes from the email account and add a subject line to notes that don’t have one.
  • IMAP notes sync in one direction only – from the iPhone Notes app to the email account’s Notes folder on the Web. To enjoy two-way syncing between both, access, create and edit IMAP notes from within an email program such as Apple Mail, Entourage or Microsoft Outlook.
  • Information in this article applies to iPhones running iOS 7.1. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.