Top 10 Things You Didn’t Expect Apple’s Notes App Could Do

by Lily White
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Apple’s Notes is a note-taking application built into iPhone, iPad, and macOS. The app functions as a service for quickly making short text notes, and you can synchronize the notes across your Apple devices via iCloud service. However, that doesn’t mean you only have to use the Notes app. You can find other Mac notes app, such as Ghostnote and SideNotes.

In recent years, Apple has beefed up the Notes app, and the software has got a healthy dose of improvements. An update in 2019 added checklist options, a gallery view, shared folders to the applications, subfolders, and the update to iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 added noteworthy enhancements like navigation and interface improvements, Apple Pencil compatibility, widget support, and an enhanced search tool. With the launch of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the Notes application has got a bunch of new features, including a Search feature that recognizes handwritten or typed text.

Go to Settings > click General > select Software Update on your Apple device to install the latest update and enjoy all the latest features of the note-taking app.

While everyone knows the primary function of Apple’s Notes app, there are myriad hidden features and options that you might be unaware of. The application is more than a place to store quick ideas, comments, or your grocery list. Here, keep reading to know the incredible things you didn’t know the Notes app could do.

1. Smart folder creation

Apple added the new feature of smart folders to its Note app with iPadOS 15 and iOS 15. A smart folder is similar to other folders in the app but automatically groups all the notes with the same tag.

You can create a smart folder by selecting the New Folder button and clicking the option to create a New Smart Folder. After that, you need to choose what tag or tags you want the notes to populate in the smart folder. Then, any note specified with the preferred tag will get populated into the smart folder without any human intervention.

2. Lock and protect your notes with passwords or use Touch ID/Face ID

Are you worried someone might see your notes? If you’ve made notes storing significant numbers and documents, such as the passcode to your home’s alarm system or your kid’s social security number, you would want to keep those notes locked and private. You can protect those notes with a password.

Go to the note you want to protect > click the Share icon in the upper right-hand corner of the app > click Lock Note. Then, you have to enter a password, or you can choose to enable Touch ID/Face ID to lock and unlock the notes. You’ll see a lock icon next to the notes after you’ve successfully locked them.

3. Use the Tag feature to group notes

Apple’s Notes app gets a brand-new tagging feature, and it is great because you can group similar notes instantly. All you need to do is a common hashtag, and your notes will be grouped. For example, suppose you have created various notes that are focused on holiday (#holiday), birthday (#birthday), or work (#work). In that case, you can add the hashtag to each note, and they’ll be automatically organized. You can even add multiple hashtags to your notes so they can get added to different related groups.

For adding a tag to your notes, you have to type # and the tag name. When you enter #, you’ll see a dropdown menu consisting of your existing tags. You can select a tag from the existing list or create a new one.

If you want to add a tag to multiple notes, choose the folder with the list of notes > click the More button with the three dots > choose Select Notes and select the notes you wish to tag > choose the Tags option and choose the # you want to organize them all into.

After the tags have been created, you’ll find them in the Tag browser. From then, whenever you select one or two tags, the notes with those tags will appear.

So, there’s no need to sort out your notes and group them. The Tag feature does that work on your behalf.

4. Let Siri make a note for you

Introduced in 2011, Siri has come a long way. One of the foremost virtual assistants, Apple has in-built Siri across the Apple ecosystem. What’s more, Siri can take notes for you. All you need to say is ‘Hey Siri, start a new note’ and dictate what you want to note down. Siri will jot everything down and save it as a note.

Using Siri to take notes is a great option if you’re not in the mood to type or want to create hands-free notes.

5. Use the undo button to overturn mistakes

How many times has it happened that you’ve highlighted a piece of text and accidentally deleted it? Notes app users have faced it way too many times, and just when they were on the verge of pulling their hair out, Apple came up with the Shake to Undo feature.

Thanks to this feature, you have to shake your iPhone, and an Undo Typing menu will pop up. While the feature is turned on by default, you can change it in Settings. Click General > Accessibility > uncheck the Shake to Undo box.

6. Easily share your notes with friends/colleagues

What to share your notes with friends or colleagues? Apple’s Notes app makes it incredibly easy. If you don’t want people to edit your notes, you can set the ‘View Only’ permission or open it to allow everyone to add and make changes.

Open the note in question to share and choose the share button. Select whether you want to share it via iMessage, AirDrop, Mail, or third-party apps like Gmail or Slack.

The Notes app also has a feature called Activity View that allows you to see all the changes and additions made to your shared notes by the people who have access to them. You can even see the time and date when the edits were made. The Activity View feature can be accessed by clicking on the More button and selecting Show Note Activity.

7. Scan and sign a document quickly

There’s an in-built scanner function in the Notes application. Use the function to scan documents, mark them up or sign them and share them with others.

To scan and sign a document, you have to start a new note and select the camera icon. Then, choose Scan Documents. The app will automatically scan the document. You can even hold your phone over the document that needs to be scanned, and the app will detect and scan it when it is set to Auto mode. If it is in Manual mode, you have to snap the picture.

The scanned document can be messaged or emailed from within the Notes app.

8. Why create a list when you can create a checklist?

Checklists are interactive lists where the completed tasks can be marked. It allows you to understand the tasks that need to be finished and set a goal for yourself. You can create a checklist on the Notes app by creating a new note and selecting the icon with a checkmark inside a circle. Type something and press Enter when you’re done. Whenever you hit enter, a new task is created. You can select the circle next to the note to mark it as complete.

9. See the notes in Gallery View

By default, your notes will be displayed in List View in descending order. You can change this by tapping the ellipsis and selecting View as Gallery to see each note as a thumbnail image. Thumbnails display part of the text, along with the note’s name, including any pictures that might be in there.

You will see the lock icon and the name but no image or text preview if you’ve locked the note. You can tap the ellipsis menu icon again to return to List View.

10. Create a table

The Notes app isn’t trying to take over Excel, but the table functionality is quite handy when organizing information visually. You can create a table in Notes and expand it into several columns. On iPad and iPhone, the table icon is the first one in the keyboard view’s toolbar, and on Mac, the icon is found in the top toolbar.

After you’ve inserted the table, click the dotted menu button and add or delete columns and rows.

Wrapping up

The Notes app is an incredible gift from Apple to its users. The app can keep thoughts, ideas, and essential information organized. You can even password-protect sensitive data and keep them hidden from unwanted eyes. Furthermore, creating notes in the app doesn’t only mean writing text. You can add pictures, create checklists and make tables.

What’s more, the notes can be shared with others and given access to edit.

How many of the features of the Notes app were you already using? Use this guide to get the most of the application.

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