iCloud notes are thought to disappear from Apple’s system after a 30-day grace period that begins the moment a note is put in the trash. But Apple doesn’t appear to be fully removing the content.
Researchers with ElcomSoft, a Russian software company, claim Apple is holding onto notes longer than it’s supposed to. ElcomSoft’s Phone Breaker tool gave it access to notes that were older than 30 days.
In its test case, 50 notes older than 30 days were retrieved. One had existed since 2012.
ElcomSoft says the degree to which old notes are kept varies. Some accounts have a lot of notes that won’t disappear while others don’t.
We discovered that Apple apparently retains in the cloud copies of the users’ notes that were deleted by the user. Granted, deleted notes can be accessed on iCloud.com for some 30 days through the “Recently Deleted” folder; this is not it. We discovered that deleted notes are actually left in the cloud way past the 30-day period, even if they no longer appear in the “Recently Deleted” folder.