Meet the new Notes
IOS 9’s featured-packed Evernote rival
The Notes app for iOS has always existed as a utilitarian way to quickly jot down whatever comes to mind. It’s devoid of fuss, which is perfect for times when you just need to make a quick list, but the lack of features opened the door to other, better note-taking apps such as Evernote, Awesome Note and OneNote.
But in iOS 9, Apple’s native note-taking application catches up to those feature-filled rivals from third parties – and if you don’t need a cross-platform solution, Notes might just become your go-to organiser.
The most obvious change when you start to add text is formatting. You can finally adjust font size by selecting the title, heading or body – you don’t have a range of font point sizes to choose from, but those three sizes are enough to get started. Bold, italicise, underline are all new options. You can make lists useful with bullet points, dashes and number formatting, plus you can turn a task into an item to be checked off with just a tap. Entire notes can be turned into checklists, or you can make specific sections of your text into to-dos to be checked off.
Using iCloud to sync your notes across your devices isn’t new, but now you can add rich media to notes, the ability to resume a note on the go that you started on your Mac is even more convenient. You can shoot iPhone photos or videos and add them to notes you created on a desktop, and that information will be synced across all of your Apple gadgets.
If you were comfortable with the bare-bones Notes of old, you’ll be delighted with these new tools. If you’ve found a feature-packed note-taking alternative, it’s worth giving Notes a second look in iOS 9 – it might finally meet your expectations.
Sketches and photos
Notes supported photos before, but not like this. iOS 9 lets you shoot images and videos from within the app in addition to choosing an image from your Camera Roll. You can also add sketches to notes, which is perfect for those who use a stylus with their iPads.
Just tap the squiggle that marks the sketch function on the bottom-right side of a note, then pick between the pen, marker, or pencil and choose which of the eight colours you want to use. There’s even a ruler that you can tap to lay on the blank sketch pad for more precise drawing.
But it’s the share sheet I’ve been using more than any other Notes tool. Now when you use certain built-in apps, such as Safari, Maps and Pages, you can tap to embed a web address, map or page in a specific note. It’s as simple as picking which note you want to add the card to. I’m expecting a slew of apps to integrate the Notes share sheet over the coming months, which will make note creation even easier.
And if you forget which note you’ve added an attachment to, iOS 9’s attachment browser displays which items are attached to which notes.