I went to BayCon 2013 on Memorial Day weekend and went to lots of panels. I took lots of notes using my iPad and an older Zaggmate keyboard cover. Several days later, I tried to open that document. A popup window told me that “The document can’t be opened.” I also could not email the document or copy it to DropBox (I have Documents 2 Free for DropBox): the document could not be converted to Pages, PDF, or .doc, which it has to be before it can be emailed.
I figured that if I could get that document onto my MacBook Pro, I would find some way to open it and extract the yummy gooey notes within. So I thought, it is about time I used my iCloud. I had an iCloud account, I had just never used it before. Silly, since I use DropBox a lot.
On my MacBook Pro, OS 10.8:
- In System Preferences / iCloud, I clicked Documents & Data. I think I also signed in here, but I also signed in through Safari.
- In Safari (hmm, maybe I should be using Chrome!), I went to iCloud I signed in. (I entered my mac.com email to sign in, since I was not using my iCloud.com email.)
- In Safari, at https://www.icloud.com/#iwork, I clicked on the Pages tab. Guess what. Empty. I need to set up the iPad to sync.
On my iPad (I have an iPad 1, so I am stuck in iOS 5):
- In Settings, and under iCloud, I turned on Documents and Data.
- Under Apps: Pages, I turned on Use iCloud.
On the http://www.icloud.com/#iwork page, all my document icons showed up. But they were not synced yet. It took a LONG time for all my pages documents to sync to iCloud. In fact, some were still syncing, after SEVERAL HOURS!
The document I wanted finally synced. I clicked on it and tried to download it. And I could not. The document had to be converted to Pages, PDF, or .doc before being downloaded. And as before, it could not be converted.
So after some googling (http://www.macworld.com/article/1163291/icloud_iwork_sync.html), I found another way to access the document from my Mac.
On my MacBook Pro, in the Finder:
- I navigated to (my user name)/Library/Mobile Documents/com~apple~Pages/Documents/. Note: I have my MacBook Pro set up so the Finder shows hidden files, like the Library folder (you could also select go to folder on the Finder menu and find Library). Also, once I clicked on Mobile Documents, the Finder said I was in iCloud. I was!
- In the iCloud-based Mobile Documents folder, I opened com~apple~Pages and then Documents.
- In Documents, I saw a list of my Pages documents that were in iCloud. (By the way, I did NOT perform ANY changes within these iCloud folders, for fear of really messing things up, because Apple does NOT intend for you to access iCloud in this convoluted way.)
- I found the document that contained my BayCon notes! YAY! But I could not copy/paste it onto my Mac; again the conversion problem when I tried to paste.
So I had to crack open the document directly in iCloud.
- I highlighted the document, and from the Action icon, I selected Show Package Contents. Yes, Pages docs are packages with various goodies within.
- In the package contents, I used TextMate to open the index.db file; TextMate seemed a good choice to open a generic file and find text within, but maybe TextEdit would have worked also). index.db was the only file that seemed to contain the text for my notes. (The other files were plists or pngs.) Lots of garbage symbols and useless text in index.db.
- I scrolled down, and found LOTS of my notes. I copied and pasted them into a TextEdit file on my MacBook Pro.
- I repeat: I did NOT change anything on iCloud, such as the index.db file contents!
- TRIUMPH! I have my notes back!
I also selected all in index.db and copy/pasted into another TextEdit file. I’ll try editing out the garbage and see if I get more notes that way, just in case I missed anything. But so far, I think I have recovered nearly all my notes. It is good to be a nerd.