It looks like whenever you delete your iCloud Notes, they don’t really get deleted. In fact, they might get stored in Apple’s servers for months, and maybe years. Russian security firm, ElcomSoft, has discovered that Apple stores these deleted notes for way beyond the 30-day window. The company retrieved that there were notes that were supposed to have been deleted from as far back as 2015.
Whenever you delete your notes on iCloud, it will get stored in the “Recently Deleted” folder for a 30-day period. Once the grace period is over, the Cupertino company is supposed to delete it permanently. It does get deleted from the users’ Recently Deleted folder, however, Elcomsoft’s Phone Breaker tool was able to retrieve some of these deleted notes past the 30-day retention period.
Don’t be too worried though, your notes will note be published for the world to view. Elcomsoft uses its own Phone Breaker tool to access these files that “would not be accessible by using any other means”. It is also worth noting that according to the security firm’s finding, only some notes gets stored beyond the grace period. Some accounts retained notes going all the way back to 2015, while some other accounts contained much less than that.
This is not the first time Elcomsoft discovered that Apple has been storing data that was supposed to be deleted. Earlier this year, the company found that Apple has been quietly storing cleared browsing histories on iCloud. Apple has solved that issue, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that they will be prompt in solving this issue as well.