Foil Notes

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Foil Notes allows you to encrypt notes with a password stronger than the lock code. Strictly speaking, each note is encrypted with a unique random 256-bit AES key which in turn is encrypted with an RSA key which in turn is encrypted with your password. If the bad guys get your encrypted notes, they would have to crack the AES key (different for each note) or the RSA key (shared by all notes but harder to crack) in order to extract the content. If they get the encrypted RSA key as well, then they can brute force your password. So in the end, the encryption is as strong as your password.

The format of the encrypted file is described here - it's the same format as used by Foil Pics and Foil Auth apps. Plain text (unencrypted) notes are stored in the format understood by Jolla Notes. Encrypted files are stored in ~/Documents/FoilNotes.

The RSA key is shared with Foil Pics and Foil Auth apps. It's stored in ~/.local/share/foil/foil.key - you can copy it from one device to another. Using the same RSA key on different devices, protected with different passwords, is actually not such a bad idea. If you forget the password, you can use the backup key to decrypt your notes, assuming that it's protected with a password that you still remember.

Note that you can add your encrypted files and the Foil key to the backup with the help of My Backup app.

Source code:

Application versions: 
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.25-1.aarch64.rpm263.48 KB13/09/2021 - 20:30
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.25-1.armv7hl.rpm233.36 KB13/09/2021 - 20:30
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.25-1.i486.rpm267.44 KB13/09/2021 - 20:30
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.24-1.aarch64.rpm254.35 KB12/09/2021 - 02:44
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.24-1.armv7hl.rpm224.62 KB12/09/2021 - 02:44
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.24-1.i486.rpm258.69 KB12/09/2021 - 02:44
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.22-26.1.aarch64.rpm242.13 KB18/06/2021 - 21:25
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.22-26.1.armv7hl.rpm217.38 KB18/06/2021 - 21:25
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.22-26.1.i486.rpm250.25 KB18/06/2021 - 21:25
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.21-25.1.aarch64.rpm231.77 KB31/03/2021 - 02:01
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.21-25.1.armv7hl.rpm198.49 KB31/03/2021 - 02:01
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.21-25.1.i486.rpm239.78 KB31/03/2021 - 02:01
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.20-23.1.armv7hl.rpm197.89 KB03/01/2021 - 04:58
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.20-23.1.i486.rpm239.2 KB03/01/2021 - 04:58
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.19-22.1.armv7hl.rpm196.83 KB14/12/2020 - 02:10
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.19-22.1.i486.rpm239.08 KB14/12/2020 - 02:10
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.18-21.1.armv7hl.rpm195.65 KB12/12/2020 - 23:12
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.18-21.1.i486.rpm237.4 KB12/12/2020 - 23:12
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.17-20.1.armv7hl.rpm195.04 KB21/11/2020 - 20:45
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.17-20.1.i486.rpm237.02 KB21/11/2020 - 20:45
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.16-19.1.armv7hl.rpm191.86 KB16/11/2020 - 00:31
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.16-19.1.i486.rpm232.88 KB16/11/2020 - 00:31
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.15-17.1.armv7hl.rpm190.67 KB31/10/2020 - 04:52
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.15-17.1.i486.rpm231.77 KB31/10/2020 - 04:52
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.14-16.1.armv7hl.rpm187.69 KB12/10/2020 - 04:34
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.14-16.1.i486.rpm228.76 KB12/10/2020 - 04:34
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.13-15.1.armv7hl.rpm189.31 KB06/09/2020 - 02:02
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.13-15.1.i486.rpm230.31 KB06/09/2020 - 02:02
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.12-14.1.armv7hl.rpm188.74 KB01/03/2020 - 20:44
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.12-14.1.i486.rpm229.38 KB01/03/2020 - 20:44
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.11-13.1.armv7hl.rpm188.04 KB05/01/2020 - 20:21
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.11-13.1.i486.rpm229.21 KB05/01/2020 - 20:21
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.10-12.1.armv7hl.rpm180.88 KB03/05/2019 - 00:55
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.10-12.1.i486.rpm220.64 KB03/05/2019 - 00:55
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.9-11.1.armv7hl.rpm180.7 KB30/04/2019 - 02:06
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.9-11.1.i486.rpm219.99 KB30/04/2019 - 02:06
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.8-10.1.armv7hl.rpm165.16 KB11/03/2019 - 03:26
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.8-10.1.i486.rpm200.13 KB11/03/2019 - 03:26
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.6-8.1.armv7hl.rpm160.36 KB19/02/2019 - 02:47
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.6-8.1.i486.rpm195.22 KB19/02/2019 - 02:47
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.5-7.1.armv7hl.rpm160.8 KB17/02/2019 - 16:58
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.5-7.1.i486.rpm194.72 KB17/02/2019 - 16:58
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.4-6.1.armv7hl.rpm160.81 KB17/02/2019 - 12:52
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.4-6.1.i486.rpm195.11 KB17/02/2019 - 12:52
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.3-5.1.armv7hl.rpm160.06 KB17/02/2019 - 02:24
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.3-5.1.i486.rpm194.65 KB17/02/2019 - 02:24
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.2-4.1.armv7hl.rpm157.45 KB12/01/2019 - 22:55
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.2-4.1.i486.rpm192.28 KB12/01/2019 - 22:55
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.1-3.1.armv7hl.rpm156.22 KB07/01/2019 - 12:44
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.1-3.1.i486.rpm190.96 KB07/01/2019 - 12:44
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.0-2.1.armv7hl.rpm151.85 KB06/01/2019 - 12:42
File harbour-foilnotes-1.0.0-2.1.i486.rpm186.77 KB06/01/2019 - 12:42
  • 1.0.25 (Sep 13 2021)
    - Allow selecting arbitrary colors
    - Updated Polish translation (Atlochowski)
  • 1.0.24 (Sep 12 2021)
    - Save/restore the last view (encrypted vs plaintext)
    - Improved context menu behavior
    - Removed unnecessary notification
    - Updated Polish translation (Atlochowski)
  • 1.0.22 (Jun 18 2021)
    - Search mode improvements and fixes
  • 1.0.21 (Mar 31 2021)
    - Updated Polish translation (Atlochowski)
    - Added aarch64 package
  • 1.0.20 (Jan 2 2021)
    - Fixed hints
    - Harmonized pulley menu behavior
    - Don't activate search on empty pages
    - Integration with My Backup
  • 1.0.19 (Dec 13 2020)
    - Added Spanish translation
  • 1.0.18 (Dec 12 2020)
    - Improved sync with plaintext Jolla Notes database
    - Miscellaneous UI tweaks
  • 1.0.17 (Nov 21 2020)
    - Fixed cover behavior
    - Added fancy cover lock animation
    - Adapted to Jolla Notes changes
  • 1.0.16 (Nov 15 2020)
    - Adapted to recent changes in Sailfish OS
    - Fixed a few minor UI glitches
  • 1.0.15 (Oct 31 2020)
    - Fancy headers
    - Improved orientation transition
    - Fixed a problem with the page stack after cover action
  • 1.0.14 (Oct 12 2020)
    - Miscellaneous UI tweaks
  • 1.0.13 (Sep 6 2020)
    - Fixed remorse item positioning
    - Freshened up selection and reorder UI
  • 1.0.12 (Mar 1 2020)
    - Fixed a battery drain issue (animators suck)
    - Ditch MD5 and use SHA256 for signing
  • 1.0.11 (Jan 5 2020)
    - Delay autolock by 15 seconds
    - Freshened up the UI
  • 1.0.10 (May 3 2019)
    - Fixed QR code rendering defect
    - Updated Chinese translations
  • 1.0.9 (Apr 30 2019)
    - Added QR code generation
    - Tweaked translations
  • 1.0.8 (Mar 10 2019)
    - Fixed password change functionality
    - Redesigned shared key warning
  • 1.0.6 (Feb 19 2019)
    - Updated French translations
  • 1.0.5 (Feb 17 2019)
    - Updated Chinese translations
  • 1.0.4 (Feb 17 2019)
    - Updated Polish and Swedish translations
  • 1.0.3 (Feb 17 2019)
    - Undo and redo
    - French translations
  • 1.0.2 (Jan 12 2019)
    - Fixed German translations
    - Chinese translations
    - Fixed deletion of a new note
  • 1.0.1 (Jan 7 2019)
    - Polish translations
    - Swedish translations
    - German translations
  • 1.0.0 (Jan 6 2019)
    - Initial version


illyrion's picture

For backup: is it sufficient to add the application to the backup, or do I need also to select a folder for backup with MyBackup?

slava's picture

If application appears in the list of available applications in My Backup, then you can assume that it has listed everything it needs to back up in its .desktop file, so you don't have to add anything manually.

apozaf's picture

Thx a lot, deleting the key solved it. Sorry fir not looking at the description and thx for your effort.

apozaf's picture

Xperia 10 - II, 4.1 (x64), TIA

slava's picture

Try the latest version and if the problem is still there, please create an issue at

For some reason openrepos doesn't notify me of new comments, gitlab is more reliable in that (and not only that) respect.

And check if anything suspicious shows up at the console if you run harbour-foilnotes from the command line.

As the app description says, the encryption key is ~/.local/share/foil/foil.key and the key itself is additionally encrypted with your password (that's what ssh-keygen calls a passphrase). The password is not stored anywhere in plain text, you have to remember it.

apozaf's picture

Cannot write pw anymore, screen stays empty. Showing non encryptet notes normally when swiping left. Same with FoilPics. Where is the pw stored to wipe the settings? Reinstallation does not help. Tia

slava's picture

Which device and OS version?

glanternier's picture

Do you plan to add the Aarch64 version to the official Jolla Store?

slava's picture

That's an easy thing to do, but unfortunately that bumps OS version requirement for 32-bit packages to 4.0.1 and I want to keep those packages available for earlier versions of Sailfish OS. I humbly asked Jolla Store guys to do something about it (i.e. support per-arch OS version requirements) but AFAICT the problem is still there.

64-bit rpm is going to be only on OpenRepos for the time being. Sorry for the inconvenience!

TMavica's picture


TMavica's picture

Any 64 bit package?

slava's picture

Here we go!

carlosgonz's picture

Thank you slava. Good improves.

lxmx's picture

Hi Slava, thanks for all the Foil apps! Wondering what is the best workflow to have the encrypted notes in sync between the phone and e.g. a desktop? (I am not worried if the notes are stored decrypted on the desktop but I do care about the phone)

slava's picture

This might actually be helpful. Even though that issue describes decrypting Foil Pics files, the procedure would be exactly the same for Foil Notes or Foil Auth, since they all use the same encrypted file format.

lxmx's picture

Thank you!

objectifnul's picture

Is this release 1.0.11 supposed to auto-lock after 15 seconds? Or to auto-lock only 15 seconds after the device itself is locked? If so, it doesn't on my XperiaX.

slava's picture

And no, it's not supposed to auto-lock while the screen is on.

Here's why I did this in the first place. I have my "Automatic locking" setting set to "No delay", and display to sleep after 30 seconds. As a result, it I don't tap the screen when it gets dimmed, the phone gets locked and every time I unlock it I have to re-enter the Foil password. That was annoying.

Now this logic gives me 15 seconds to unlock the phone (e.g. by swiping a finger) before I have to re-enter my long and secure Foil password. That's what I was after.

slava's picture

Notes are now supposed to get auto-locked 15 seconds after the phone is auto-locked  (i.e. when you leave it unattended, the display is first dimmed then turns off, then after certain period of time the phone gets locked and then 15 seconds later notes are locked). In all other cases notes should still be locked immediately.

Historyscholar's picture

Can we add recordings and  photos   to notes ?

slava's picture

For photos there's Foil Pics app!

vista_narvas's picture

is there a easy way to decode Notes on a other device ?

slava's picture

If your copy the key and the notes to another device, sure. You can even do that on a regular Linux machine from the command line like this:

foilmsg -d -s foil.key -P qqqqqqqq -f 75A3CD846F5B6150

where foil.key if your foil key, qqqqqqqq is your foil password and 75A3CD846F5B6150 is a foiled note (the decoded text is dumped to stdout). foilmsg sources can be found here:

eson's picture


Great app! I'm using it all the time. Would it be possible to add Timestamped sections to Foil Notes?

TheJullus's picture

My Foil Notes doesn't open anymode. Do you have any suggestions what to do?

slava's picture

The app doesn't start? Which device/SFOS version?

TheJullus's picture

Xperia XA2 Dual sim/ Sailfish X

slava's picture

Hmm.... I'm using XA2 as a daily device and never experienced any problem with Foil Notes on any released version of Sailfish OS including Is there any way you could produce a core file, a backtrace or something that would give a clue on what's going on?

As a user, I would try reinstalling the package.

TheJullus's picture

What way on reinstalling would you recommend? I don't want to lose my notes. I tried to just install the .rpm file again without uninstalling the app. Didn't solve the problem

slava's picture

FWIW, uninstalling the app doesn't delete the notes (perhaps it should but currently it doesn't). I would be very curious to know what's going on, but like I said, I can't reproduce it. If you reinstal the app but the problem persists, it most likely means one of two things - a problem with dependencies (the app doesn't have any unusual dependencies, so that's unlikely unless you replaced or something) or damaged data (notes).

You can check how the storage for unencrypted notes is doing by running Jolla Notes app. As for the encrypted notes, I suggest that you tar and send me the entire contents of your ~/Documents/FoilNotes directory and I'll see if I can reproduce the crash with those files. I won't be able to actually read your notes because they are encrypted and I don't have your key and don't know the password for it, but since the crash seems to happen before you even have a chance to enter your password, that shouldn't matter.