Notes is an official app from Apple for note taking purposes. The app allows you to add text content, tables, insert photos, links and share with others quickly. The latest macOS version allows you to setup Quick Note using hot corner function. You can also sync all your notes across iPhone and Mac using iCloud account. Good part is that you can set password for your notes and protect the private and confidential data. In this article, we will explain how you can setup password and lock notes in Mac and iPhone.
Using Notes App in Mac and iPhone
Since the app is available on both macOS and iOS, you can set password from either device. However, if you want to sync all you notes across devices you need to login with the same Apple ID and enabled the iCloud sync option for Notes app. We will explain the setup with Mac and then show how it will look on the iPhone. Before that it is necessary to understand how the password setup works.
- You need to setup a master password for Notes app.
- Choose individual notes that you want to lock with the master password. You can also have notes without password lock.
- Unlock locked notes using the master password.
So, it is not possible to setup different password for different notes. There will be a one single master password and you can choose the notes to lock with that password. Remember, if you forget the master password, there will be no way to unlock the locked notes from the app.
Setup Master Password for Notes in Mac
Follow the below instructions to setup password for Notes app in Mac:
- Open Notes app and go to “Notes > Preferences…” menu or press “Command + ,” shortcut keys.
- When you are in the preferences section, click on “Set Password…” button showing next to “Locked notes” option.
- Enter your password and verify by reentering it again. It is highly recommended to set the hint which will be useful to remember your password when you forgot.
- Click “Set Password” button to set the master password for your Notes app.
Remember the following when you setup the password:
- The master password will not be used for unlocking the Notes app. The app will open without prompting the password.
- You can lock or unlock all the protected notes at once. This means when you unlock one protected note with master password, you do not need to enter the password again for viewing other protected notes in the app.
- You can also enable the “Touch ID” option if it is available on your Mac.
- You will see the password hint after entering the wrong password for two times.
Lock or Unlock Notes with Password in Mac
Now that you have setup a password, let us lock and unlock a note.
- Create a new note or open any of your existing notes in the app.
- Now, click on the open lock icon showing just above the note on the toolbar.
- Select “Lock Note” option from the menu that appears.
- Enter the master password you setup and click “OK” button to lock your note.
- Once you enter the password, Notes app will remember it. Now you can simply click on the lock icon to set or remove the lock for any of your note without reentering the password.
- After locking a note, it will show an open lock icon before its name. This indicates the password is set, but the note is unlocked for viewing the content. You can click on the open lock icon showing on the toolbar and select “Close All Locked Notes” option.
- Now the note will be closed for viewing and you need to enter the password to unlock it again.
Changing, Resetting and Removing Notes Password
At any point later, you can remove the lock for a note by clicking on the padlock icon from the toolbar.
If you want to change or reset the master password, go to Notes preferences section. Click on “Change Password…” button and enter your old and new password to set a new password for all locked notes.
Resetting password will allow you to set a new password for all new notes that will lock in future. However, already locked notes will not have any impact and you need to use the old password for unlocking them. As mentioned, if you have forgotten the old password then there are no ways to unlock those notes.
Enable iCloud Sync for Notes
You can enable iCloud sync for Notes app to synchronize the password and notes across your iPhone and Mac.
- Click on the Apple logo icon on top left corner and select “System Preferences…” option.
- Click “Apple ID” option showing next to your name on the top section.
- On the next screen, click “iCloud” option from the sidebar and enable the checkbox against “Notes” app.
Now you can view all your notes from Mac to other devices like iPhone. If you have setup the password lock, you need to enter the same password in iPhone as well to unlock the note.
Setup Master Password in iPhone
In case if you are only using iPhone or wanted to setup Notes password from iPhone, then follow the below instructions.
- Tap on the “Settings” app and go to “Notes” section.
- If you are using multiple accounts, select the correct account. otherwise, the settings should show “iCloud” as your “Default Account”.
- Tap on the “Password” option and setup a new password. You can also enable Face ID to view locked notes. Since, we have already setup the password from Mac, the screen in the below picture shows “Change Password…” and “Reset Password…” options. These options work exactly like Mac as explained above.
Viewing Locked Notes in iPhone
Follow the below steps if you want to view your locked Mac notes in iPhone.
- Open Notes app in iPhone.
- The note will show a padlock icon before its name indicating it needs password to unlock.
- Tapping on the note will show you a “This note is locked” message.
- Tap on “View Note” link showing just below that message and enter your master Notes app password.
- This will unlock the note and allow you to view its content. As mentioned, once you unlock a note, all locked notes will be unlocked and you do not need a password till you close Notes app.
- If you have setup Face ID, iPhone will ask you to confirm whether you want to unlock notes with Face ID. Selecting “OK” will show you another prompt indicating the master password is required even you use Touch / Face ID.
View Locked Notes When You Forget Password
We recommend setting Face/Touch ID for unlocking your notes. This would help you to view the content of locked notes in case if you forgot the master password. You could manually copy content of each locked note and create new notes using Touch/Face ID on iPhone. Then you can reset the password which will be applied to all your new notes.
You can follow the same process in Mac if your device supports Touch ID.
Enable iCloud Sync from iPhone
You can also enable iCloud sync of all your notes from iPhone.
- Go to “Settings” app and tap on your Apple ID.
- Select “iCloud” option and enable “Notes” from the list.
Remember, iCloud sync for locked notes will work only on iOS 9.3, iPadOS 13, macOS 10.11.4 or later versions. You will not see the locked notes, if your device is using older OS version.