Note-Taking Apps for MacOS and iOS


Always start an article with a piece of fruit.

I use Ulysses for note taking. It syncs across all devices and it has replaced everything I have used before, including nvALT, SimpleNote, Evernote – and those are just the ones I can think of.

It’s not cheap. It’s great though. But if you want to try something else – there is Bear, which I found on Product Hunt. It is still being developed, so if you want to sync to iOS you have to sign up to use the developer version.

I haven’t used it, so it may not be as good as it looks. But it got a big score on Product Hunt, so I am guessing it is good. If I did not have Ulysses, I would definitely try it. As it is, I dare not try it.

That’s because I have a habit of spreading my note taking across multiple apps. Sometimes you could find me staring intently into space trying to remember where else the note could be besides all the places I had already looked.

I cleaned everything out and put it into Ulysses. Well, that and Apple Notes – I have some things there. I am not going to stop using that, but I have a mental division of labour between what I put in which app.

Oh yes, there’s stickies. I use them for a few things.


On my iPhone I use Drafts for temporary notes – it is great. Write a draft of something – it could be an email or a blog post or just somewhere to copy and paste text or a URL or a snippet from a website into it. And from there you have multiple options to export what you have written.

Oh Dear, Here’s Another One

Better Notes for iOS is a notes app that ties notes together with #hashtags. It syncs between iOS devices with iCloud and there is a Mac web versions ‘in the works’.

The author, Chris Ladd, says:

I built Better Notes because I was frustrated with how complicated all the existing solutions were. Evernote is too complicated, the stock Notes app is too stripped down. Most notes apps are set up for “documents,” which are for other people. Notes are for yourself.

Better Notes should already be syncing your notes between devices, as long as you’re signed in to iCloud. It’s kind of a soft launch now—once there’s a Mac/Web version, that sync will be a lot more important.

You can type #hashtags into your notes and the #hashtags link all the tagged notes together. Then if you want to see all the notes tagged with a particular #hashtag, tap on any of them to see them all.

Phone numbers, email addresses, or links in your notes are live, so you can tap on those to call, email, or go to the web.

A dash and then a space makes a list—you can tap the dash later to cross things off.

You can attach #photos of things you’d like to remember. Tap the little photos to see them bigger. Swipe down on big photos to make them smaller.

It’s a pretty good app. I couldn’t resist it – resistance is futile.

A shout-out to Fraser Smith, who pointed me to ProductHunt, where people go to find things they might not otherwise find.


  1. Rebekah M says:

    I downloaded Bear when I first read about it. It crashed so badly in the beginning, so I’ve just let it be for a while. It looks very pretty. Will check it out more.

    Today I installed BetterNotes on my iPhone. I like it. I will probably like it more as it evolves. “when you’re signed in to iCloud” … what does that even mean? There is some sort of backup option, but iCloud isn’t on the list.

    If he adds some kind of import feature, I’d probably _love_ this app. Hashtags are great, how links are live and so on.


    1. I only have one iOS device, so I have nothing to sync with – and I don’t recall whether I created an account or just started using it. I recall he said sync was a ‘soft launch’. Ask the author?


      1. Rebekah M says:

        There’s no account creation in there. I tested it on the iPad, but no sync took place. It is for iPhone only at this point. I’m sure it will be fine … I like it.


        1. Yes, me too. Half of me wishes they would stop inventing these lovely writing apps and the other half of me is using them 🙂


        2. Rebekah M says:

          I do too, because I keep spreading myself out. I’ve even used DayOne for certain notes, even though I’d decided to keep that for journaling.

          However, I think I like this well enough to settle [for a while 🙂]. For once, I held myself back, and didn’t buy Ulysses.


        3. I have DayOne but I stopped using it because I make most/all diary entries on my phone and I use Momento, which is iOS only. I would use DayOne but it syncs via its own server – and although it claims to be secure and end-to-end encrypted, I just prefer not to sync private thoughts that way. What was the name of that diary that syncs – you mentioned it a little while ago, if I remember correctly?


        4. Rebekah M says:

          I have Momento too. It’s really good, but then again … there’s the delight of typing on the computer. The one I mentioned is GridDiary. It’s terrific. There, you really have _options_! 🙂 It so ‘cool’, in some way, how you connect it to the computer with the QR code.


        5. Thanks – off to look at GridDiary 🙂


        6. Mmmm… I thought it was MacOS as well, but it seems to say it is iOS only?


        7. Rebekah M says:

          Well, yes. But you connect it with online. In the settings, there’s Cloud access (I think it says), and then you go to, you get the QR code and then you’re all set. It’s awesome.


  2. Rebekah M says:

    BetterNotes now has an import feature for AppleNotes. It worked like a breeze.

    Love your new header image! 🙂


    1. Thanks 🙂 How does the import work?


      1. Rebekah M says:

        It has to do with iCloud. I downloaded a zipped file from BetterNotes, and extracted it. Then I just hit a button and it all happened … magically 🙂


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.