Folders Won’t Delete in Apple Notes? Here’s the Fix

Apple Notes is a great program to jot down quick bits of information throughout the day, but the service should be more reliable.

Folders Won’t Delete in Apple Notes? Here’s the Fix

What does that mean? It means I have folders in my Apple Notes iCloud library that can’t be deleted. No matter which device, I try it on.

Well, how does that happen? I’m not really sure.

It all started on a cold, dreary night. Just kidding. It was hot and steamy. Kidding again. I can't remember what the weather was.

Anyway, it all started when I downloaded iOS 13 beta on my 2018 iPad Pro 12.9” in the middle of 2019. What a disaster that software release was. In all my years of using Apple products, I have never seen a software release cause so many problems on devices.

I have tried deleting the folders on, on each of my devices (iPad, iPhone, or Mac), and I have completely restored devices thinking there was a corruption with one of the devices. No bueno.

Contacted Apple Support

The first public beta for iOS 13 released on June 24th 2019. That is when I started having issues with my Apple Notes.

From that point forward, I spent over a year trying to get the issue resolved with Apple Support on the phone. Many phone calls were over an hour and ended up being a complete waste of time.

When you call Apple support, they will tell you there is no way to speak to a cloud engineer. I was confused as to why they couldn’t just delete the folders with my permission. They had already qualified me over the phone to determine I was who I said I was.

I ran many diagnostics tests they requested and uploaded them through a portal they specified. Anyway, long story short, we went back and forth for months and months with nothing resolved.

Apple vs. Google Support

We pay for Google business email because it is some of the best email there is, hands down. Whenever we have issues with our Google services, I pick up the phone and the problems are resolved usually on the first phone call. There have been a few times they had to get back with us.

With the Apple Notes issues, no go. I finally gave up trying as I was spending too much time on the issue.

iClouds Sketchy Past

iCloud has never been the industry standard by which all cloud services are measured. In my experience, it could not be trusted in the beginning. The worst part about it was that many software developers were being blamed for syncing issues that they had no control over.

As of late, it has been working quite well. Maybe they have finally got the bugs worked out with syncing.

Contacted Apple Support Again

I have contacted Apple Support two additional times over the course of a year and the issues have not been resolved. Apple Support wants me to spend hours on the phone and on my devices recording data logs to see what the issue is. I have tried on several occasions to accommodate their requests, but when I call back and reach a different support person, they say the information I submitted was never received.

Either way, contacting Apple Support is not like contacting Google Support. Every time I have contacted Google with issues with our Google Apps for Business Account (now called Google Workspace), my issue always got resolved in no more than a day or two. Usually over the phone.

Now What?

I am currently running the latest version of iOS 15 and to this day, I still cannot delete these folders.

I know this for a fact, I will never download a beta software again. It’s not worth the trouble.

Update June 2022

I still have not got this issue resolved, and it has actually gotten worse. There are a few additional folders in Apple Notes that will not delete. It doesn’t matter if I try deleting them on my iPhone, Mac, or iCloud. They go away for a bit and come right back.

I have tried on multiple occasions to get this resolved with Apple Support, and every time it has been extremely time-consuming. Every phone call is hours long and nothing seems to get resolved. I am told the engineers who are capable of resolving the issue cannot be contacted. All they can do is escalate the case and wait.

Update October 2022

After the release of iOS16 and macOS Ventura, I decided to contact Apple support one last time to see if I could once and for all get the issues with my Apple Notes resolved. When I called support, the first few phone calls were an absolute waste of time, as they asked me to update my devices and reschedule a call a week later. This happened twice before we ever got into trying to diagnose the issue.

The support representative I was dealing with was in communication with Apple iCloud engineering, since customers are not allowed to communicate directly with the engineering department. We had several phone calls that took many hours to complete because they requested for me to delete the folders three times and let them know how much time went by before they re-appeared in my Apple Notes.

The amount of time Apple expects you to spend on the phone for issues with iCloud is mind-boggling. The issue I have been having with folders not deleting in my Apple Notes in iCloud has been going on since 2019, and it still isn’t fixed. I have given up at this point.

Issue Fixed June 2023

After wrestling with this issue for 5 years, I finally found the solution in a thread on the Apple Community support page. A user who goes by the name Ocean Digital left the response, so I would like to thank that person for doing so.

Here are the steps I took to solve my issue of folders not deleting in Apple Notes on iCloud. My computer was running macOS Ventura.

Clicking the “manage” button next to account storage under the iCloud settings will take you to the next screen where you can delete Apple Notes data on iCloud.
Clicking the “manage” button next to account storage under the iCloud settings will take you to the next screen where you can delete Apple Notes data on iCloud.
  • On your Mac, go to System Settings
  • Click on your name, which is your Apple ID
  • Click on iCloud
  • Under Account Storage, click on the “Manage” button
  • Click on Apple Notes
  • Last, click “Delete from iCloud and All Devices”

Before moving forward with this step, I had already moved all my Apple Notes to “On My Mac” and I had backed up my Apple Notes database just in case. The next step does say it will delete all Apple Notes data on iCloud and devices, but it left the notes in place that were on my Mac.

After deleting from iCloud and all devices, all the folders that would not delete in my iCloud were gone forever and never came back. Previously I would delete these folders only to find them come back within minutes or the next day. I don't understand why the Apple Support team could not steer me in this direction to resolve the issue.


Apple support has always seemed good at resolving software and hardware issues on their devices in a timely manner. We have owned over thirty Apple devices over the years and the support for their products has been very reasonable.

Their cloud implementation has been hit or miss over the years, and there never seems to be an urgency to improve their services. Instead of trying to reinvent the cloud, I have alway thought Apple should have purchased Dropbox for their technologies and put their wrapper on the outside. The experience would be what we have come to expect from an Apple product.