How and What Happened

On my iPhone, I keep iCloud notes and notes connected to other email addresses such as Gmail. I was editing a Gmail connected note and highlighted some very important text while riding as a passenger in a vehicle when it hit a bump and my finger hit the RETURN button wiping out all the data I highlighted. Later I found out that an easy way to correct this is to tap with three fingers on the screen and it will give you the UNDO button. But since I have never needed to UNDO anything on my iPhone that I couldn’t just delete, I panicked and started looking for ways to restore causing my virtual clipboard to erase my data. Now I was left with an edited version of the Note and the only option was to hit the back button or Done which saves your progress. I lost all the important data that I was highlighting.

What I found out was first, how notes are stored in Gmail. If you log into your Gmail account, your iPhone Notes attached to that account are just emails with a LABEL of Notes. I logged on my account and saw all the current notes for that account. However I didn’t delete the note, I just wiped out my data on the note which I needed to get back. Second, you can recover a deleted Note if you delete the whole note from within your Gmail. But this was not my case. I deleted the data within the note and the note still existed. It updated the server and over wrote my old note.

Gmail Connected iPhone Notes Recovered

I realized the way to fix this was to perform a restore to my iPhone from a backup that occurred the night before. The note that contained the important data was still intact during the last backup so I can just restore it right!? If you aren’t backing up your phone, there is no need to follow the rest of the steps. In order to perform a restore, you must wipe out and Erase All Content and Settings from your iPhone. You will lose any messages, phone calls, contacts, apps, or anything new to the phone that you added since your last backup. To me, losing some text messages was a small price to pay to recover the data lost from the note. To restore your iPhone, go to Settings>General>Transfer or Reset iPhone>Erase All Content and Settings. Enter your iCloud password and it will confirm you want to delete all your data.

Once you wipe out your phone, you will start at the Hello screen. Enter your language and Region and then it will prompt you for your options. The first option is Restore from Backup. Select this option and it will give you a list of all backups available. If you don’t have your phone backed up to iCloud, you just wiped out your entire phone. But if you are this far, you backed it up and can select the most recent backup. If you have Family Sharing with had music or apps from the other members, the restore process will prompt you with their iCloud password. Otherwise you can choose to skip that step. It will restore your backup to your phone and your phone will be put in the same state with the same data you had at the time of backup.

Not Done Yet!

While it is restoring your apps (shown by darkened logos), put your iPhone in Airplane mode. This way your cellular signal and Wi-Fi signals are disabled. Now your phone has no communication with the Gmail server. If you don’t follow this step, once you open the Notes section linked to the Gmail account, it will ONE WAY sync with the server. It will replace what is on your phone (which you just restored) with what is on the server. You will have to perform a restore of your phone all over again. Now that your phone is in Airplane Mode, open the note and the offline copy will still exist. Take a screen shot or copy and paste it to a different section or note. Now turn OFF Airplane Mode and your phone will continue to restore your apps. You now have recovered your Gmail linked Note! Hope this helps someone because it saved the day for me.