Mail: Hiding Synced Notes in Your Inbox

| TMO Quick Tip

If you’re using an iOS device and an iCloud account, you probably really like the Notes app. It’s a user-friendly way to keep track of stuff you need to remember and have it sync across your machines. But one of the really frustrating things about it for me is when the notes are set to show up in Mail’s Inbox. 

I am a very happy camper because we have a way to turn this off. It’s the little things like this that keep me from writing angry letters to Cupertino.

So first, open Mail and choose the Mail > Preferences menu item. Then you’ll click on the Accounts tab, and from the list on the left, choose the misbehaving account that’s syncing your notes (probably your iCloud one).

This may be the universe’s way of telling me that I have too many e-mail accounts.


Once you’ve got that selected, click on the Mailbox Behaviors tab and deselect Show Notes in Inbox.

Now your notes will only show up in Mail’s sidebar under Reminders. That’s really a better place for them, don’t you think? It certainly seems much less messy to me.

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How timely of you to post this article today! My wife just typed a note into her new iPad yesterday, and was surprised to find it in her inbox. It was late last night, so I didn’t have a chance to look into it… first thing this morning, I loaded up The Mac Observer and got an answer! :D



Lee Dronick

Thank you!

I use Notes quite a bit and like the way that it is done in iOS, but not the way in Lion.

Lee Dronick

Interesting. I had more of a dozen notes in my iCloud account and all but one was hid after I changed the preferences. I will dig into it later because I slept in and am still on the first cup.

Melissa Holt

Thanks for the kind words, everyone, and thanks for reading. smile

Lee, if you go back to Mail > Preferences > Accounts and choose Mailbox Behaviors, you can then click on each of your accounts from the list on the left to see which account still has “Show Notes in Inbox” turned on. That’s a quick way to figure out the culprit!

Hope that helps.


Lee Dronick

It was showing in my iCloud inbox, not just in the common inbox.

Anyway I fixed it by copying the copy, creating a new note pasting the copy, then deleting the old note.


You rock!!  I quit using notes because they were messing up my inbox (my laziness prevented me from figuring it out).  Thank you Melissa!

Melissa Holt

Happy to help, Wayne! :D

Lee, I’m glad that fixed the problem. Thanks for letting me know?I find that very interesting. And also weird.


I’m with Wayne.  I wanted notes as, well, notes (where I write any random text that occurs to me at the time), not time-bound ToDos that turned up in my mailbox.  So now I can finally use them.

Tik Tok

Thanks for the tip, but I have a different question:  I used to use Notes, but had so many that I couldn’t find the ones I wanted, later.  Is there any way to organize them, by subject or other category, so you can focus a search?  My work-around is an app on my mobile devices, but when Notes comes to the computer, too, I’d love to be able to use it on all devices.  Can you advise?

Lee Dronick

Tik Tok, my collection of notes are not yet getting out of contro, but I want do something about them before I am featured on Hoarders. I might look into Bento and get the iOS and desktop versions which are supposed to work together.

Melissa Holt

Hey Tik Tok,

You can indeed organize your notes into folders, but it’s not at all obvious how. From Mail on your Mac, click on Mailbox > New Mailbox, and set the location as a subfolder of iCloud’s Notes (my selection for that is all the way at the top of the list). Name the new subfolder whatever you want, and repeat these steps until you have all of the folders you need. Then you can just drag and drop your existing notes into the proper new folders on your Mac.

On your phone, you can’t reorganize existing notes, but you can select which folder you want to add a new note to before you create it. So organizing is done on your Mac, but it’s pretty easy after that.

Does that make sense? Hope that helps!


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