Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How I moved my daughters iOS Notes from school to personal iCloud account

Please don’t put data into iOS Notes. Really, it’s quite horrid [1]

If you do you may find it’s stuck there. We ran into this when my daughter’s school iPad had to be wiped and we needed to rescue Notes that were only stored on her iPad (school iCloud account doesn’t support Notes, neither does school Google Apps).

I did this:

  1. Used AirDrop to move notes one at a time from her iPad to my iPhone 6 (her 4s doesn’t support AirDrop).
  2. Since my iPhone 6 is configured to use iCloud, each time a note arrived via AirDrop it went via iCloud to on Mavericks [2]
  3. On Mavericks the notes appeared in my iCloud account. I added my daughters Google Account to my Mavericks User account. I could then select ALL notes (yay) and drag and drop them to the Google account.
  4. Then I created an OS X User account and associated it with her personal iCloud Account and added her personal Google Account. Then I did the drag and drop from her Google to her iCloud. 
I did something similar with her school Contacts. Interestingly the account drag and drop behaves differently — Notes are moved, but Contacts are copied.
- fn -

[1] I took a look at the folder where Apple stores data: ~/Library/Containers/ (Yes, the organization is bizarre). The data is in NotesV2.storedata-wal. I inspected the binary file in Mavericks [2] and found it contains text of Notes I deleted long ago. So if you had sensitive data in deleting it won’t remove it from your Mac. It seems the file is never purged.

More — in Mavericks, it only looks like you can drag and drop notes to the desktop. It doesn’t actually work.

More — Notes can sort of hold images and rich text, in some Apple OS but not in others. Definitely not in Google IMAP.

More — Notes was implemented unsung an oddball IMAP hack. It’s like nothing else.

More — Like Contacts Notes can have Groups / Folders in OS X, but in iOS you can’t do anything with these.

There’s still more…

[2] Yeah, I’m still on Mavericks. Yosemite has … issues. I’m waiting for a fix for the crazy network problem.

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