6 Replies Latest reply: Jan 24, 2010 3:19 PM by wjosten
ozcatwoman Level 1 (0 points)
This afternoon I inadvertently - and still without knowing how - while viewing a NOTE created on my iPhone in my MacBook's Mail program, deleted it. I'd like to extract it from a back-up (even if just the text).

From Google, I've worked out:
* backup files for iPhone are stored on your computer at ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup
* the files are stored as *.mddata and *.mdinfo files. The former are binary libraries that Apple use to store data, while the latter are text files that don't seem to be viewable with something like TextEdit
* to view *.mddata files you download SQLite Manager, a plug-in for Firefox

So, for example, if you want to retrieve your SMS, you open SQLite then open the file called 3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28.mddata and you can export your SMS as a CSV file (amongst other file types). I tried this for this file and it works, so I know my backup files are not encrypted.

I've tried going through all of the backup files (*.mddata) to find the one that stores my Solitaire app stats and advertisements stats but ...

MY QUESTION: which of the backup files (*.mddata) is for NOTES on the iPhone?

Is anybody able to help?

Message was edited by: ozcatwoman

MacBook, MacMini, iPhone3GS
  • ozcatwoman Level 1 (0 points)
  • wjosten Level 10 (94,210 points)
  • ozcatwoman Level 1 (0 points)
    Wjosten- thanks! that was really helpful. The extractor converted the files into something legible then I used SQLite to read the new db, and export an Excel document from the copy of the backup I made at the time. Still can't find the missing note but will try again!

    HOWEVER, now I can't find my normal iPhone backup! I went to follow the filepath in the Library but can't find MobileSync (even using Spotlight)!! HELP!!
  • ozcatwoman Level 1 (0 points)
    Well, I've tried extracting databases from different backup days then pointing SQLite Manager at the different extracted databases but the same CSV file keeps coming out - one containing my current notes, not the ones from whatever day I'm trying to see.

    So, my next Q: Despite keeping separate files for each backup that occurs, does iPhone simply record over the files? so that the Note that would have been there on 5 Jan was overwritten on 9 Jan, meaning the 5 Jan files aren't unique anymore? If this is the case, it seems odd because I thought backups were there precisely so you could recover different versions of files.
  • Graham Outterside Level 4 (2,910 points)
    Yes it does overwrite as it assumes that the sensible precaution of regular backups is being taken. On my machine, I can go to my TC and using Time Machine, recover the backup from individuals days, end of months etc etc and those backups have the right backup file to recover old notes.
  • wjosten Level 10 (94,210 points)
    Technically, only one backup is kept(except for restore backups which aren't overwritten), and it is overwritten each time you sync or backup. In actuality, it is, as you have observed, an incremental backup.

    Your backup is located here:

    ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/