There are two notes apps already on your Mac, and there’s a corresponding notes app on the iPhone and iPad. Apple went all out on creativity and named the notes app Notes. There’s also TextEdit on the Mac, which is more of a mini-word processor than a notes app.
Notes apps are all the rage these days and I’m not sure why. They don’t have many features and some have hefty price tags. Others are more todo list apps than true notes apps. Many have Mac, iPhone, and iPad versions that sync notes between devices. Here are a couple of favorites.
Simple Is As Simple Does
First, I need to segregate the notes apps from the simple task managers and todo list apps. They’re not really the same. Then, I need to drop the mini word processors from the list because, well, they’re not really the same, either. Then, just because I can, and partly because free is good, let me drop all the notes apps that come with a price tag. That leaves me with the two I use the most. Apple’s Notes, which is built in to OS X and iOS. And, the one I like but can’t figure out why it exists.
Simplenote is a free notes app that runs on Mac, iPhone, iPad, Kindle and Android devices, and has a web app (ostensibly for Windows users who, apparently, don’t deserve a Simplenote app of their own).
There isn’t much to Simplenote, which is what makes it so worthy of the price. No. Wait. That’s not right. Simplenote is free. And simple. And syncs up notes between devices. That makes it worthy.
Click the Plus button at the top to create a new note. Click the Arrow button in the lower left corner to toggle the sidebar. The sidebar is where your notes are visible. Click on one and it gets displayed in the main section.
There’s more than meets the eye in Simplenote. Click the three-dotted Menu in the upper right corner to view word count, character count, and last modified date. There’s also an option to View History, Collaborate (which requires an email address), and a clever option to publish the note as a web page viewable by anyone with the URL Simplenote provides. Delete the note and the URL is removed, too.
That’s very cool and a handy way to share notes with many at the same time.
As good as Simplenote is, unless you have a requirement for Android or Kindle, my favorite notes app is the Notes app in OS X and iOS in El Capitan which makes it more usable, more friendly, and a bit more like TextEdit but still obviously a notes app, and not a word processor, but with all kinds of useful features from graphics and photos to lists and much more. Even better, unlike Simplenote, Notes syncs between devices by using iCloud.