21 tips and tricks to better organize your Notes app.
Looks can be deceiving, and Apple Notes is a perfect example of this. While the standard note-taking app for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS looks overly simplistic, it’s filled with all sorts of features that make it extremely versatile.
If you’re relatively new to the Notes app, here are 21 tips to get you started using Apple Notes effectively on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
1. Pin Notes
If you have a note in a folder that you want to quickly jump to, try pinning it to the top of the list. To do this, swipe the note to the right and tap the pin icon. On a Mac, Control-click a note and choose Pin Note instead. You can pin as many notes as you like this way.
Want to unpin a note? Just swipe right again (or Control-click the note on a Mac) and choose Unpin or Unpin Note.
2. Switch to Gallery View
The default list view of Apple Notes makes it difficult to distinguish between notes. If you prefer a more visual approach, consider switching to gallery view.
On iPhone and iPad, tap the More icon (three dots) in the top right corner of the screen and select View as Gallery. On the macOS version of Notes, select the Gallery icon at the top of the application window.
3. Add Password Protection
When composing a secret or confidential note, it’s a good idea to add an extra layer of protection by blocking it. To do this, tap the “More” icon and select “Block”. On a Mac, select the padlock icon in the upper-right corner of the Notes window instead.
The first time you do this, you must set a password, which you must use to unlock the note and any other notes you later lock. You can also unlock notes with Face ID or Touch ID to speed up the process.
4. Use Quick Notes
If you’re using an iPad or Mac with iPadOS 15 or macOS Monterey installed, you can use the Quick Note feature to quickly take notes without opening Notes. It can also grab links to web pages in browsers like Safari and Chrome.
To activate Quick Note, simply swipe your finger (or the tip of your Apple Pencil) over the bottom right corner of your iPad screen. On a Mac, click the cursor in the lower right corner of the screen instead.
Anything you write down this way will appear in the Quick Notes folder of the Notes app. You can also access this folder on your iPhone.
5. Store Notes Offline
By default, the Notes app stores notes in iCloud, which means they’re easily synced across iPhone, iPad, and Mac via your Apple ID. However, if you’re running out of iCloud storage, you also have the option to store notes locally.
On iPhone and iPad, go to Settings > Notes and turn on the toggle next to On my iPhone/iPad account. On the macOS version of Notes, select Notes > Preferences from the menu bar and check the box next to Enable the My Mac account.
You’ll then find a new section labeled “On my iPhone/iPad/Mac” on the home screen or sidebar of the Notes app. You can create folders and notes in it in the future.
6. Create Checklist
While your iPhone, iPad, and Mac come with a dedicated Reminders app, you can also use the Notes app as a replacement for your to-do manager. To create a quick checklist, simply tap the Checklist button at the top of the on-screen keyboard (iPhone and iPad) or at the top of the Notes window (Mac).
7. Use Text Formatting
The Apple Notes app isn’t just for simple note-taking. You can also structure your text with headings, bold text, bullets, and more. Simply tap the Aa button at the top of the on-screen keyboard (iPhone and iPad) or at the top of the Notes window (Mac) to access formatting options .
8. Shake to Undo
Made a mistake while writing a note? Just shake your iPhone or iPad and hit “Undo” to undo the action! Here are some other useful gestures you can use on iOS devices.
9. Start Dictating
Your iPhone, iPad, and Mac have a powerful built-in dictation feature that you can use to take notes faster. Just tap the microphone icon on the on-screen keyboard (iPhone and iPad) or choose File > Dictation from the menu bar (Mac) and start talking, and the Notes app will convert your words to text in real time.
10. Takes Notes With Siri
If you want to quickly create a new note, just ask Siri. Say “Hey Siri, take a note” or “Hey Siri, create a note” and whatever you say right after that becomes a headline. Then say “New line” and continue to the end of the note.
11. Use Hashtags
Starting with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, you can manage your notes with hashtags. Simply add a tag or multiple tags anywhere in your notes and they will appear in the tag browser on the home screen or sidebar of the Notes app. You can then quickly tap on them to filter your notes.
12. Create Smart Folders
Smart Folders are essentially saved collections of hashtags that you can use to filter your notes even faster. To create a Smart Folder, choose New Folder > New Smart Folder in the bottom left corner of the Notes app. Then add a name, enter the desired tags, and click Finish. You can then access it through the home screen or sidebar of the Notes app.
13. Convert Handwriting to Text
If you’re using an iPad with an Apple Pencil, the Notes app offers the perfect way to handwrite notes. But did you know that you can also convert this to real text? Just tap the A-shaped pen and Notes will transcribe everything you write in real time.
14. Draw Perfect Shapes
The Notes app on iPad also lets you draw perfect shapes with your Apple Pencil. Just press and hold your Apple Pencil after you draw a shape (circle, square, triangle, etc.) and the built-in shape recognition algorithm will automatically turn on and adjust it for you.
15. Drag and Drop Items
If you want to add an attachment (such as an image or PDF) to a note, you can simply drag and drop it into the Notes app on iPhone and iPad. Just press and hold on an item or items (like in Photos or Files), switch to the Notes app (you’ll have to use both hands), and release. It’s even faster on iPad with multitasking.
16. Scan Documents and Insert Multimedia
You can scan and paste documents directly into the Notes app on iPhone and iPad. With a note open, tap the camera icon on the bottom or top toolbar. Then place the document you want to scan into the camera’s viewfinder and tap the shutter icon. You can also take and paste photos and videos, or add items directly from your photo library.
17. Search Your Notes
If you hate organizing your notes, you can make up for it with the powerful search features built into the Notes app. Just select the search field and you can filter notes by text and type – attachments, checklists, pictures, and more. Notes is almost smart enough to detect text in scanned documents, so don’t forget to try that.
18. Use the Notes Widget
You can use the Notes widget on iPhone and iPad to quickly get your latest notes. Simply open the widget gallery (shake the home screen and tap the Plus icon), select the Notes widget, choose a size, and tap Add Widget. You can also add the Notes widget to Notification Center on Mac.
19. Access Notes via Lock Screen
On iPhone, you can access your latest notes right from the lock screen. To do this, add the widget to the Today view instead of the home screen. You can then swipe right on the lock screen to access the Notes widget in Today View.
20. Share Notes via iCloud
The Notes app lets you share notes (and even collaborate on them in real time) via iCloud. To share a note, tap the More icon and select Share Note. Then select a medium to share it, such as Messages, Mail, and more.
21. Restore Deleted Notes
Did you accidentally delete a note? Don’t worry – you have 30 days to restore it. Just tap or select the Recently Deleted option from the home screen or sidebar of the Notes app to open a list of deleted notes that you can recover.
Become an Apple Notes Pro
You just scratched the surface in Apple Notes. Keep taking regular notes and you’ll discover even more ways to get the most out of it. If you want to explore other note-taking options for Apple devices, try Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, and Notion.
21 tips and tricks to better organize your Notes app
21 tips and tricks to better organize your Notes app