Find All Notes HELPER

This shortcut returns all Notes app note titles sorted by Last Modified Date (most recent first). If it is run interactively, it displays a Choose list* and subsequently opens the selected note. If it is run as a helper, it exits quietly and returns (to the caller) the sorted note titles. To run the shortcut as a helper, the calling shortcut needs to use the Run Shortcut action and pass any value (except a Dictionary). The passed value is not used within this helper, it’s just used to recognize that it was run from a caller, not interactively.

* The Choose list heading includes a note count and the number of shortcut runs required to retrieve all of the notes. This could be used in the future to determine if the iOS Shortcuts app no longer includes the Find Notes bug. See more information below.

With iOS 13.5.1, the Shortcuts app appears to have a bug with the Find Notes (All Notes) action: it returns a maximum of 26 notes.

  • reproduce the bug using this simple shortcut.

  • Reddit user u/Shoculad noted this bug and created a helper/function shortcut with a creative work-around. More information here. Thanks, u/Shoculad!

  • Working off u/Shoculad’s idea, I created a similar helper, but employs recursion rather than a Repeat action (that necessitates simple adjustment as a Notes library grows).

The following related shortcuts are available on RoutineHub:

All shortcuts above that have Smart List in the name, include simple configuration (one LIST action) and logic that generates a notes list with specified priority notes displayed (and grouped by Title) before all others. After the priority notes, the remainder notes are included, sorted by Last Modified Date (most recent first).

All shortcuts above that have [sort settings] in the name, include the Smart List logic above plus the configuration (in the same List action) and logic to specify the sorting characteristics: by Title (with or without grouping) or Last Modified Date of the priority and other notes.

Find All Notes HELPER and all shortcuts above that have (All Notes) in the name, include the recursion logic that circumvents the iOS bug and returns all of the notes. Unfortunately, however, shortcuts may not function as expected when they are launched via the Run Shortcut action (the technique used to recurse). For example, the Dictate Text action sounds the expected chime prompt, but does not display its normal dialog box that shows the text as it is recognized and includes the red button that is used to dismiss it once speaking is complete.

All shortcuts above that have (All Notes subset) in the name, retrieve a configured number of notes using a Repeat action that runs the necessary number of Find Notes actions. For many shortcuts, this technique is a good compromise because it is simpler than the recursion technique and does not cause the issue noted above.

If you are interested in the topic, I suggest you start by downloading, inspecting, and testing Find All Notes HELPER.

Note: I discovered the above iOS 13.5.1 bug while testing a new version of Notes & Clipboard Assistant. To address the bug, version 2.0 of that shortcut includes the logic from Note Smart List (All Notes subset) since Notes & Clipboard Assistant includes a Dictate Text action. Note that I could have employed Find All Notes HELPER, but: 1) Notes & Clipboard Assistant doesn’t need to retrieve all of the notes, and 2) downloading and retaining a helper is somewhat inconvenient.

Unfortunately, will testing of Notes & Clipboard Assistant, version 2.0, I discovered a second iOS 13.5.1 Shortcuts app bug associated with the Find Notes action:

If a note title (e.g., My Note ABC) includes a string (e.g., ABC), and the string is deleted from the note title (i.e., changed to My Note), the Find Notes action will still match that note if the action Filter is: Name contains ABC

This issue can be circumvented with these steps:

  1. Open the note, Select All, and Copy the note.
  2. Delete the note.
  3. Create a new note and Paste.