Considering notes on iOS

The guys over at the Mac Power Users podcast spent a while reviewing the various options we iOS users have when it comes to Notes apps. The podcast covers the pros and cons of the popular apps, including: Apple Notes, Evernote, OneNote and just using plain text files (!!).

You can listen to the notes episode here.

As might be obvious from this blog, I’m an Evernote user and, while I don’t think it’s perfect, it’s the best option I’ve found in years. It needs tightening up and speeding up, but for me, it’s light years ahead of OneNote. And I don’t have the discipline to simply use plain text notes.

The podcast got me thinking about how to take notes and how to make them more useful. I think it’s helpful not just to consider how you’re going to record the information, but to make it easy to find again in future (otherwise, why record it in the first place?). Evernote allows me to put notes in ‘notebooks’, add tags to each note and has a very powerful search that also leverages OCR – optical character recognition.

This is a magic-like technology that can take scanned information and recognise the words on the page. It’s pretty good at understanding my handwriting, via scanned notes, and superb at parsing PDFs I’ve put into Evernote. As a result, I never have to take more than a few seconds to find anything I’ve put in Evernote.

Yes, it’s a bit bloated now and can take a while to sync – but I’m hopeful the new leadership at Evernote are now more focused on their core product and want to make the kinds of improvements that will stem the flow of people abandoning the platform for Apple Notes.

The podcast is definitely worth a listen – I’m a subscriber – especially if you’re thinking about organising your key information in an app.

4 comments on “Considering notes on iOS

  1. I did change to the better Notes app for personal stuff but still rely on EN for businessy stuff. OmniFocus is still on my mobile but it’s just too much BS.

    I mean. Well, you know.


    • MacPsych

      How are you finding Apple Notes? I have everything in Evernote – couldn’t imagine trying to split things across more than one app. Which means it’ll be a nightmare when/if I find a successor to Evernote!

      I’ve deleted OmniFocus from all my devices to avoid the temptation of using it again. ToDoist is where it’s at for me!


      • I love Apple Notes but for only personal brain-dump/ to dos.

        Before formatting it was shite.

        If it’s bits and bobs I need to keep track of, EN’s for tagging and organising in folders, sharing, etc.

        I can’t imagine migrating to Notes as it is now…though I never thought I’d use it at all, it was such a POS for years. Maybe one day with improvements.


        • MacPsych

          I’ll be interested to see how they develop it over time. Not sure they want yo compete with Evernote and the like. But it’s definitely better than it was.


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