How to Store Apple Notes Locally on Your Device (Not iCloud)


Apple Notes for iPhone, iPad, and Mac seamlessly sync content between devices for free thanks to iCloud. But what if you don’t want everything to sync between devices? What if you want some notes to stay on a particular device?

RELATED: How (and Why) to Switch to Apple Notes

Stop uploading notes to iCloud

By default on all devices, Apple enables iCloud upload for everything. All your folders are stored in iCloud and when you create a new note, you can rest assured that it will be available on all your other devices soon enough.

There used to be an option to save notes “On my iPhone” or “On my Mac” on the respective devices. This was a bit confusing as it was easy to put things in the wrong place and not have access to them. But you can re-enable this option to keep notes on a local device.

To do this on an iPhone, go to Settings > Notes and toggle the “On my iPhone” account switch. You can then change the “Default Account” setting to “On My iPhone” if you prefer to save notes locally by default.

On a Mac, launch Apple Notes, then click Notes > Preferences, then select the “Enable it on my Mac account” checkbox. You can also define which account is default using the “Default Account” drop-down menu if you prefer to save notes offline by default.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll see a new option appear on the Notes home screen (iPhone or iPad) or sidebar (Mac). You can move a note between the two by using the “Move Note” button in a note’s options (iPhone and iPad) or simply by dragging and dropping it on a Mac.

RELATED: How to Find Downloaded Files on an iPhone or iPad

Why bother doing this?

If you’re looking for a reason to enable this setting, you might as well leave it disabled. The ability to seamlessly sync between devices is one of the best features of the Notes app, and some note-taking solutions cost to enable this functionality.

But there are a few good reasons why you might want to do this. If you share your Mac’s user account with other people, but you have things you want to keep private and away from iCloud, keeping them on your iPhone (in addition to locking your notes) is an option.

You may also have device-specific stuff that you don’t need to sync. For example, if you keep some items backed up and don’t want to clutter up your note collection or have those items show up in Spotlight on an iPhone, keeping them in the “On My Mac” section is an option.

Be sure to specify a “Default Account” and keep track of where things are stored. This avoids the problem of not being able to find something in the future while you are away from one of your devices.

Another reason to use Apple Notes

Apple Notes has improved dramatically in recent years with features like note tags and note sharing, giving apps like Evernote a run for their money. You can even use Apple Notes on Windows or Android. Give those features a try if you haven’t already.

RELATED: How to Use Tags and Smart Folders in Apple Notes

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