I finally got my shit together and migrated my notes from Apple Notes to Obsidian, it turned out to be less painful than I was expecting, BUT it’s a FAF.
For over a decade, I’ve chosen to write all my documents using a Markdown editor of some variety: IAWriter, Bear and now Obsidian because I want access to my files in a format that won’t become obsolete. Markdown is perfect because when all’s said and done, it’s just a text file.
There is one notable exception to this rule, Apple Notes! Notes are so easy to use that I find myself using them by default; I just couldn’t get out of the habit.
There are two main stumbling blocks
1) It’s on all my devices by default
2) It’s where all my notes live
The device problem is pretty simple to overcome; I installed obsidian on all my devices. Stumbling block two has hindered me, though. Getting your notes out of Apple Notes is next to impossible. To do it, I needed to dedicate time, and it just wasn’t high enough on my list of priorities.
That changed this week, though, because I finally connected Obsidian to Readwise to import all my notes highlights from Kindle, Instapaper, Twitter and Apple Books, which I’ve also meant to do for a long time.
This morning I decided to put some time aside and get it done. Here’s a link to the migration guide I used https://forum.obsidian.md/t/import-from-apple-notes-to-obsidian/732. As I already have bear, I decided to go down the following route:
- Download Bear’s automation workflow
- Use it to export all notes to HTML pages
- import the HTML pages into Bear
- Export the HTML pages as Markdown files
- Copy the Markdown files into Obsidian.
There are some limitations to this approach as noted in the Bear documentation
- Text, lists, and photos should be included
- **Note** : only macOS 10.15 Catalina supports photo export. On earlier macOS versions, Apple Notes will not export photos
- Task lists convert into bulleted lists - Rich media links will convert to plain text links
- Non-photo attachments like PDFs or other files **are not supported** and will be excluded from export to HTML files. They will remain safely in Apple Notes
All in all, it took around 10 mins to migrate the notes, import, export and import again, but it’s done. Now, hopefully, I can use Obsidian for all my knowledge capture.