Lost all reminders - any other ideas?

Ugh - so frustrated! A month ago I moved all personal tasks from OmniFocus to Reminders (partially thanks to David and Steven telling me how great reminders is now). Today I had just finished reorganizing my reminders into separate lists and they disappeared completely when I closed the app and all of my reminders disappeared (except for one list for some reason). I don’t think I deleted them because it would have asked me if I’m sure in a pop up window.

I’ve tried iCloud data recovery 3x, which didn’t work. I’ve talked to Apple support and they say the file was corrupted today at some point, so they can’t access it and the reminders can’t be recovered. I pointed out that the backups on Data Recovery should have the uncorrupted versions, but they say they all got corrupted today too, which makes no sense to me. I also have Time Machine (although I haven’t plugged in my external drive in a week), but they say reminders aren’t backed up there since iCloud backs them up. I use Backblaze too but Apple says there’s no local cache of the document since it’s synced on iCloud so there’s nothing to recover.

It’s so frustrating - I have Time Machine, iCloud backup, Dropbox, and Backblaze and NONE of them have a backup of my reminders!??

Any ideas? Thank you!

This is a very interesting issue with iCloud and Time Machine: if you restored a Time Machine backup of, say, Notes or Reminders, what would iCloud do with the differences? How could it notice that you have recovered a backup?

I don’t have an answer but it’s clearly a weak link in Apple’s iCloud offering. If the same had happened to me… I mainly use iCloud Drive, so at least I can do local backups (which I don’t! I don’t endorse it), but with Reminders I would face total data loss and a lot of frustration.

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Have you used new OSes (Sonoma, iOS17) along with older ones while doing this transition?

Having lost a lot of data to icloud “mishaps” over the years unfortunately I’ve found the best thing to do is sigh and start over.

Do you still have the original tasks in Omnifocus? At least that way you’d have a core list to start with.

This is a general problem with any app that maintains its data in a database other than plain text files. I’ve lost large chunks of Notes in the past , but at least that allows copies to be saved, which gives some back-up capability. Reminders don’t seem to do that.

Just looking at it now, I’m mystified by Reminders. Seems to me that the reminders used to be a part of Calendar app and use the same CalDAV server, but it appears to be completely separate (and proprietary?) now.

I use Reminders solely for shopping lists, so if I lose them I’m not out much.


The data used by Apple Reminders, as well as Apple Notes, is contained in databases and files located in multiple folders in your ~/Library folder. You may have a copy of this data in your Backblaze and Time Machine backups but good luck restoring it. I tried restoring Notes manually as a test a few years ago. It required replacing my entire collection of notes with a copy from an earlier date. I no longer use Reminders or Notes except as a temporary solution.

AFAIK restoring from iCloud is Apple’s only solution. Losing Reminders and Notes appears to be a common problem. For example:

Where are backups of Reminders kept on Ti… - Apple Community

You could also look (if it was not erased) in the backups directory of OF.

I don’t use Notes, but I do use Reminders in a very simplistic way.

I switched from Notes (and others) to UpNote as it creates automatic local backups of notes (and for other reasons). I appreciate Notes can be exported to Markdown using a third party tool, but that isn’t particularly convenient as there’s no way (as far as I know) to reliably restore and return to using Notes should I want to. Is there version control on Apple Notes in the new version?

As for Reminders, this does give me pause. Maybe Todo.txt is the way to go!

In the case of Notes, but not Reminders, you can have notes in iCloud or “On My Mac”. Which ever one you are using, you can drag a copy to the other to make a backup. I do that occasionally.

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Understood, and I’m not trying to be argumentative. But how do regular people recover if they never “drag a copy” and depend on Apple only solutions? I suspect most people think their data is safe. Or they don’t think about backups at all.

How to back up your Mac - Official Apple Support

Backup methods for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch - Apple Support

Restore your reminders on iCloud.com - Apple Support

Delete and recover notes on iCloud.com - Apple Support

If you’re missing notes on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch - Apple Support

Yes. Even as a non-regular person, I’ve been stung by this. And the problem extends beyond just Reminders and Notes. Add Calendars and Contacts as well as whatever you are using for password storage. None of these have easy backup paths.

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Isn’t OF also a database and could not the same thing happen with OF as well as other task managers unless one is using a text-based system? Is there any reason to think that a third-party option is safer? Perhaps, iCloud is the real culprit and apps that don’t use iCloud (e.g., OF), are less likely to have corrupted databases? Is database corruption a common problem?

My questions are sincere because I have my entire to-do list–professional and personal–in Reminders. I’d be up the proverbial creek without a paddle if I lost my Reminders tasks. Or, I’d take a vacation! :rofl:

OmniFocus makes backups automatically! Reverting to an OmniFocus for Mac database backup - Support - The Omni Group

I’ve never attempted a revert, so I guess I’m still overly trusting.

I don’t understand why this doesn’t solve the problem. With this method aren’t we, under most circumstances, “protected” by having a way to restore Reminders?

Restore your reminders on iCloud.com

You can restore your reminders and reminder lists (together with your calendars and events) from an earlier version that was automatically archived in iCloud.

If you have shared reminder lists, all sharing information is removed when you restore them. You have to share your reminder lists again, and ask other people to reinvite you to share their reminder lists.

  1. If you don’t have shared reminder lists, go to the next step.If you do have shared reminder lists, write down which ones you’re sharing, who you invited to share each one, and whether each participant can view and edit or only view. Also note which reminder lists other people are sharing with you.

  2. On iCloud.com, click the App Launcher button in the toolbar, then click Data Recovery.

  3. Click Restore Calendars and Reminders.Available versions are listed by the date and time they were archived.

  4. To the right of the version you want to restore, click Restore.There may be more versions than can be displayed. Scroll to see them all.

5.Note:* Wait until iCloud finishes restoring your reminder lists before you change them. During the restore process, any changes you make aren’t saved.

  1. If you had shared reminder lists, reshare them and ask other people to reinvite you to share their reminder lists and calendars. See Share a reminder list on iCloud.com.
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Per @kevindern terrifying story, this method was not possible due to some failure on Apple’s side. In the end it is about backup ownership and responsibility. Either you rely on iCloud never failing, or you perform your backup strategy due dilligences yourself. That’s normal and needs to be considered for all the apps and data we use, but in the case of Reminders it is not easy to do your own backups.

Note to add that I am not stating that @kevindern did anything wrong by himself! If Apple says they are doing backups… then they are doing backups and it’s their fault these backups cannot be restored.


I presume then that, like Apple, third-party apps have backup schemes, and at the end of the day, any of them could fail. That said, I get the impression, perhaps wrong, that while it is challenging to do personal backups of Apple Reminders, it is easier to back up third-party to-do apps like OF and Things. This assumes that the databases for OF and Things are more readily available and accessible on the Mac hard drive so that those databases can be included on external backup drives and BackBlaze.

Am I thinking correctly about this?

That’s my take.

I tried Apple notes a while back and ran a backup for testing purposes using Time Machine. It worked, but then 2 mins later it reverted to the way it was just prior to the backup. I suspect due to syncing with the cloud/other devices.

It was a huge hassle to back things up and restore them in a manner that made sense. I didn’t have similar issues w third party apps.

The Apple stuff seems cryptic and hidden.

I’m trying not to overreact based on this thread.

That said, I have ALL my to-dos in Reminders, including all of my work tasks related to critical projects. Reminders has worked perfectly with no issues (something I cannot say about Notes, which is why I do a monthly export of Notes to DT) up to this point. But there is no export option in Reminders.

The thought of losing all of my tasks in Reminders and not being able to restore from a backup is, to put it mildly, concerning. I hate the thought of moving back to a third-party solution (e.g., OF or Things), but losing my tasks would be worse. I’m just weighing the actual risks versus an emotional fear-based overreaction. :slightly_smiling_face:

Thoughts on this?

I wouldn’t switch over this. It’s really unusual. My advice to ya when Notes gave you trouble:

Time for me to tell my Notes story. Yes it isn’t Reminders, but the same suspicions apply! My notes are shared across my desk iMac, iPhone, and travel MBP via iCloud. The iMac and iPhone are running 24/7. Anyway, one day I went to my Notes and a whole bunch of them (in this case notes about various wines) were gone! Thanks to synchronization in the cloud, they were missing on both my iMac and my iPhone. Deleted notes are supposed to be recoverable, according to Apple, but they had completely vanished with no recovery possible! There is supposed to be a Deleted Notes folder in Notes that appears when you delete a note, but this did not happen.

Then I got the idea. I shut off WiFi in my home and started up my MBP. Because it couldn’t synchronize with WiFi unavailable, the notes appeared! I copied them to “On My Mac”, turned WiFi back on, and then copied the notes back to iCloud. This also restored them on my phone and iMac. If I hadn’t shut off the home WiFi and did the copying those notes would have been completely lost.