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Top tips for getting the most from the iPhone Notes app.


The iPhone Notes app is one of the best note-taking apps available on the iPhone. It comes for free on every iPhone – and most people will find it is the only note-taking app they need!

And the best thing about the iPhone Notes app is that there are companion Notes apps on the Mac and iPad – and your notes are synced across all of them. That means that you can begin taking a note on one Apple device and continue updating it on another – with all updates saved on every device!

Here are some best practices for using the iPhone Notes app. Information in this guide includes the Notes app in iOS 16.

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#1) Keep Your iPhone Notes Secure By Locking Them Down

Without a doubt, hands down, the very best feature in the new Notes app is the ability to lock notes. When a note is locked you will not be able to see the contents of the note unless you authenticated with Face ID, Touch ID, or enter the password you have set for your locked notes.

This feature is immensely useful for those who store personal information in their Notes app, such as health data or PIN numbers. Even if someone gains access to your computer they won’t be able to read any locked notes without your password or Face ID or Touch ID authentication.

To put a lock on a note, you first must set a password for it. Do this by doing the following:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Notes.
  3. Tap Password.
  4. Choose if you want to use your iPhone’s lock screen PIN code for the password or set up an individual password. If you choose the latter, follow the onscreen instructions.
  5. Now toggle the switch next to Use Face/Touch ID to ON (green).

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do NOT forget your password/PIN or else you will lose access to the locked note if you can’t authenticate it with Face ID or Touch ID. Apple cannot help you unlock a note.

Once you’ve set up the above, you can now lock individual notes. To do that:

  1. Open the Notes app.
  2. Tap the note you want to lock.
  3. Tap the three-dots-in-a-circle button.
  4. Tap Lock.
  5. Authenticate with your PIN/password or Touch Id or Face ID.
  6. A new padlock symbol will now appear at the top of the note. Tap it to lock the note.

To unlock the note again, tap the View Note button and then authenticate with your chosen method.

#2) Organize Your Notes Into Folders For Easier Management

Another great feature is the ability to organize your notes into folders. The new Notes app features a sidebar that houses all the folders. To access this sidebar, click the Folders button at the top of the Notes app. By default, the sidebar includes the All iCloud folder. This contains all the notes you have saved and synced with iCloud.

To create additional folders:

  1. Tap the New Folder button at the bottom of the Folders screen.
  2. Name the new folder.
  3. Tap Done.

You can now move existing notes to the folder or create new notes in the folder.

#3) Easily Create Checklists 

Apple discovered that many people were using their old Notes app to create to-do lists, so the company built in a checklist feature into Notes. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Type a list of things in a note.
  2. Highlight all the items that you want to be in the list using iOS’s text selection tool.
  3. In the toolbar that appears above the keyboard in Notes, tap the checklist button.
  4. All the highlighted text will now have a circle before them. You can tap the circle to put a yellow checkmark in it.

#4) How To Add Formatting To Your Notes Inside Apple Notes App 

Apple has also added the ability to create rich text in Notes. Notes supports Title, Heading, and Body formatting as well as support for multiple fonts, sizes, and colors. To format text in a note:

  1. Select the text.
  2. Tap the “Aa” button in the note’s toolbar above the keyboard.
  3. In the tool that appears you can format the text by adding headers, bold, italics, indentations and more.

#5) You Can Add Photos Inside The Notes App

A lot of times people like to save photos in Notes. Apple has made this easy. Here’s how to add a photo in the Notes app:

  1. In the note, tap the camera icon in the note toolbar above the keyboard.
  2. To add an existing photo from your photo library, tap the “Choose Photo or Video” button.
  3. Select the photo or video from the picker.
  4. Tap Add.

The photo will now be added to the note.

#6) Apple’s Notes App Will Save All Your Links Too…

Another great new feature is the ability to save rich web links and directions in Notes. Unfortunately, you can’t do this by dragging or dropping or simply typing a URL or address in a note. You must add web links to Notes from Safari. Here’s how:

  1. Open Safari and go to the web page you want to save a link for in the Notes app.
  2. Tap the Share button in Safari.
  3. Tape Notes in the share sheet.
  4. Choose whether to save the link to a new note or an existing note.
  5. You can also add text to your note above the embedded link.
  6. When you are done, tap Save.

Now go back to your notes app to find the note with the Safari URL saved in it.

Taking Your Notetaking To The Next Level… 

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If you want to get SUPER serious about your note-taking, you might want to check out the Livescribe 3 Smartpen Pro Edition for Android & iOS, which converts your scribbled notes into digital copies in real-time as you write.

This means you can scribble on paper or in a notebook and the pen will automatically send your notes to an application like Notes or Evernote.

If you take a lot of notes, a pen-like this is great as it keeps everything stored in the cloud, so you’ll never lose an idea ever again.

This is kind of just the tip of the iceberg though when it comes to what this smartpen can do, read on below for its full features set:

  • Connects to your iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth Smart (Low Energy) to sync everything you write or draw to the free Livescribe+ app
  • The quickest, simplest way to bring valuable information from paper onto your tablet and smartphone, where it becomes more useful
  • Uses your smartphone or tablet’s microphone to record audio that’s synchronized to everything you write on paper
  • Once your notes are in the Livescribe+ mobile app, you can organize, tag, playback audio and send/share notes to any of the devices you use
  • Search your handwritten notes and convert what you write into digital text with amazing accuracy.
  • Built-in memory on the smartpen captures and stores your notes, allowing you to sync to up to 4 iOS and Android devices
  • Comes with Leather Smartpen Portfolio and hardbound journal
  • Includes One-Year Subscription to Evernote Premium ($45 value)