Migrate from Apple Notes

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Currently, Apple Notes does not have a way to export all your notes for importing into Bear. But we do have a workaround for Mac users, and we’re exploring one for iPhone and iPad users.

Mac: use our Automator Workflow

Download our Automator Workflow Minimum system requirements: macOS 10.14 Mojave

We built an Automator Workflow for macOS that can export all your Apple Notes as HTML files. This will include most note contents, but not all. See the breakdown below:

  • Text, lists, and photos should be included
  • Note: only macOS 10.15 Catalina supports photo export. On earlier macOS versions, Apple Notes will not export photos
  • Task lists convert into bulleted lists
  • Rich media links will convert to plain text links
  • Non-photo attachments like PDFs or other files are not supported and will be excluded from export to HTML files. They will remain safely in Apple Notes

In case your HTML files or the imported notes show an incorrect encoding in Bear, please try to run the following command in your HTML files directory using Terminal

find . -name \*.html -type f | \
(while read file; do
iconv -f UTF-16 -t UTF-8 "$file" > "${file%.xxx}-utf8.html";

How to use this Automator Workflow

  • Download our AppleScript
  • Double-click it to open Automator
  • Press the Play button
  • Choose or create a new folder to store your exported Apple Notes
  • In Bear, click File > Import Notes
  • In the dialog that opens, find the folder containing your exported notes
  • Select the folder containing the exported files
  • (Optional) Adjust any import features such as whether to keep the original creation date, and whether to use the first line or file name for note titles
  • Click Import Notes

How to select multiple items on a Mac

Here’s a bonus tip for working on a Mac. In the macOS Finder and many apps, there are a couple ways to select multiple items, including in some file dialogs like this:

  • Select a large group of items: Click the first file, hold Shift, then click a second file. All files in between will also be selected
  • Select multiple, individual items: Hold Command and select multiple files. Only those files will be selected
  • Select all items: In a file dialog like the one above, click anywhere in the folder, then press ⌘ + A

About privacy and this AppleScript

One nice thing about this AppleScript is that it runs entirely on your device. None of your notes pass through our hands, it simply creates HTML files in a folder of your choice.

On iOS you can access the importers using the More (⫶) menu in the sidebar.

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Some solutions to common problems.

Sync Troubleshooting Conflicted Notes Bear's Database

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