As far as I know, the content for your stickies notes is stored in $HOME/Library/StickiesDatabase. If you are using Time Machine, or some other mechanism to do back-ups for your data that include this database, then you can try restoring an older version of this database to recover your data. Because of the way the Stickies app maintains its data (in a database), without access to some previous version of the database file, there’s really no way to reliably recover Stickies notes.
As of (at least) macOS Catalina 10.15.3, the
~/Library/StickiesDatabase is deprecated, and Stickies now stores the text of notes in
.rtfd files that can be easily read with TextEdit.
You can browse the data by looking at it with TextEdit but it’s a mess. This might be effective for recovering a lost password or some such, but I want to restore all the notes into a new stickies database.
I think the accepted answer no longer holds. My version: OS X 10.9.4
I had some dashboard stickies disappear after a dashboard crash and was searching how to recover them (I had a recent TimeMachine backup).
What did the trick was replacing the files:
in the directory
/Users/YOUR_USER_NAME/Library/Preferences with the old ones.
In my case the file $HOME/Library/StickiesDatabase was unmodified for the last couple of months, period during which I had created/deleted dashboard sticky notes.
The link above is definitely the way to recover deleted stickies notes: ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Stickies/Data/Library/Stickies
If you go into Time Machine and travel back to this folder, you will find your stickies notes. You do not even need to ‘enter time machine’. You can simply double click on the TM icon for the external hard drive and navigate to the folder to retrieve the stickie you are looking for.
All the advice on the internet about restoring ~/Library/StickiesDatabase is wrong – at least, it is wrong for Catalina.
NO, stickiesdatabase is NOT readable with normal text editor. if so, I could do “cat stickiesdatabase’ and read it, and that doesn’t work; it spits out binary garbage.