Mac users will find there is no shortage of apps to take notes. Many are free, most cost a few dollars, some record audio to match the notes, and the number of notes apps continues to grow. Why? What’s so special about taking notes? Which app is the best?
As usual, the answer to the latter is, “It depends.” The answer to the former is much the same. Here’s my look at two notes apps for the Mac and I love and use, both free, and both sync up nicely between devices.
This rather simplistic Mac notes app is from the same folks who create WordPress. Simplenote is free, instantly backed up, and works on multiple devices– from iOS to Android, Kindle to Mac, but, oddly enough, there’s not a version for Windows PCs.
You’re required to organize your notes files yourself in Simplenote, but the app keeps multiple versions of a note document, and makes it easy to search with built-in tags. Simplenote is a good way to create a list, capture an idea, write an article, and not be encumbered with a learning curve (no buttons, no toolbar).
What else do you need? If you need more, Evernote provides it.
Evernote should probably be renamed EverywhereNotes but that’s a bit cumbersome. Evernote is free if you don’t use too much storage, but unlike Simplenote, this app runs everywhere and is packed with features.
Notes stay in sync between devices, but organizing tools are more extensive, and the notes app itself is more like a mini-word processor. Evernote saves almost everything; from webpages to photos, audio notes, maps, plans, documents, itineraries. Everything but email. Each platform– from Mac to Windows, from iOS to Android, and others– has its own app, and each app has companion products that extend Evernote enough to compete with Microsoft Word in usage.
Evernote, while free for many of us depending on how much storage we need and which features we want, isn’t expensive even in Premium or Business class, starting at $5 or $10 per month (even with a $45 annual discount, and $450 over 10 years, Evernote remains a bargain when compared to the capability), but workgroup capabilities make it easier to justify the price tag.
So, which do I use?
I prefer to segregate business notes from personal notes. Evernote gets the former while Simplenote gets the latter. I don’t do Windows so Simplenote’s one platform misfire doesn’t count. Evernote, while not as simple to use is sufficiently packed with features that there’s a true world learning curve. If you can type then you’ve already mastered Simplenote.