Use the Apple Notes app to its full potential with these tips


The Notes app is a frequently underused tool on iPhone. It is a free product developed by Apple which is available on iPhone, iPad and Mac. Thanks to iCloud, you can easily work on notes on all your Apple devices.

Although intended for the iPhone, many of these tips can be used on the Notes app for iPad and Mac.

(Index: it’s even better on iPad)

Notes app is as secure as you want it to be

One of my favorite features in the app is the ability to lock a note with a password or Face ID. This will need to be configured in the settings before use. Tap Settings, Notes, then Password to create a password or turn on “Use Face ID”. Please note that if your device uses Touch ID, you will need to unlock it that way instead of Face ID.

To lock a note, navigate to the three dots in the upper right corner of the note and click “Lock”.

Collaborate with others

Share notes with others to give them editing access. Activity view comes with the iOS 15 update, which gives a summary of changes made since the last time you opened the note. It also includes a daily list of activities for each employee.

Swipe right in the note to reveal in depth the highlights of the changes. It will show edit times and dates and include the color-coded names of other collaborators. You can even mention others with an “@” to tag them.

If you want to share a note without giving others editing access, just send a copy.

Easily scan documents

No need to use a clunky old scanner. Just tap the camera icon and tap “Scan Documents”. Position your document in the frame (one page at a time) and Notes will take care of the rest.

In the camera icon, you can also take photos or videos to automatically upload to the note. While you can’t make serious edits, you can draw over your content or leave it placed in the note. Any photos or videos taken in the Notes app can be saved to Photos. You can also upload existing photos or videos saved in the Photos app.

Pro tip: On Mac, your iPhone or iPad will sync to take photos or scan documents for you. They will automatically appear in the note on your Mac.

Apple Support YouTube channel video

Draw or write

Notes can be a great way to draw or jot down something. Although the iPhone does not support Apple Pencil, you can use your finger or a third-party stylus found here.

When you tap the pencil icon at the bottom, you’re offered six tools: a pencil, highlighter, marker, eraser, lasso tool, and ruler. These tools give users the ability to create and create stunning notes in the free app. Most of the tools functionality is self-explanatory. However, what you might not know about the lasso tool is that you can grab a section to click and drag it to another location.

Do you also have an iPad? Don’t Miss These Awesome Features

  • Apple Pencil adds to the experience: If you have an iPad with a second-generation Apple Pencil, double-tap the flat end near the tip of the pencil to switch between pencil and eraser
  • There’s a shortcut for everything: My favorite shortcut lets you double-tap the lock screen to go straight to a new note. You can set it up by going to Settings, Notes and tapping “Access notes from lock screen”
  • Convert handwritten notes to text: The pen with the letter A is what you will use to convert your writing. Just write and it will be converted to text

Format as you wish

Notes app users can change the text format to suit different styles. You can add a title, header, italics, bullets, etc. Although most of the notes are short, this is a great option for users who want more freedom within the app. There’s even an option to create boards and to-do lists.

Organization is easy

Channel your inner Marie Kondo. You can:

  • Pin important notes at the top of your feed so they’re easy to find;
  • Create folders save notes as;
  • Generate tags by typing a # in the note to organize them into smart folders. For example, if I type #applewatch, all of my notes with that tag will appear when I search for #applewatch;
  • Search by keywords at the top of the app by typing or speaking to find a certain note or keyword;
  • Add a calendar event or reminder by entering a date. Tap “Done” and the date will appear highlighted. Tap the highlighted date to create an event

Pro tip: If you have multiple email accounts in the Mail app, you can create and save notes under a specific account.

When you’re done with a note, the app lets you easily print it or save it to the Files app. Heck, you can even save it to Pinterest if you want.

Win time

Quick Notes are a quick way to record a memo. This can be done on Mac using hot corners or by swiping from the lower right corner on iPad. You can edit quick notes from Mac and iPad on iPhone.

For quick access to the app, you can also add Notes to your iPhone’s Control Center. Go to Settings, Control Center and tap the + sign next to “Notes”.

Don’t feel like typing? Ask Siri to write the note for you or use dictation. You can even scan text from another source.

Apple Support YouTube channel video

Do you have any other Notes app tips?

Why do you use the Notes app? Are there any features I missed? Let me know below.

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