717: The Apple Notes Deep Dive


I use Apple Notes exclusively to store a small collection of information that I need frequently so it can be accessed quickly on multiple devices. Notes works well for this. However, it would be helpful to be able to rename notes.

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But you can, can’t you? Click in the title and change away

Duuuuh. My bad. The problem was with notes I had imported but I can create a new, note that can be renamed and transfer the data to it.

Good topic. Learned a couple things like the filtering on attachments with smart folders. Helped me clean out quite a bit of temporary things that were no longer needed.

The tables are a great idea and the inability to size the columns on my own drives me crazy.

I’ve been tempted to switch to Apple Notes so many times. It’s simple, supports the pencil, looks great, and it seems to get better every year.

But whenever I get tempted to start moving my furniture in, I remember it has no note versioning support, no great (easy) way to back things up, and a proprietary format that makes things difficult (though yes, possible) to get things out of. Then I hear stories on this forum about people losing notes, things not syncing as expected and I can’t. I just can’t.

I want to.

But I can’t.


Excited for this episode!!!

Great episode! I switched to Apple Notes two years ago after being a long time Evernote user. The app has gotten much better. If I could write in Markdown, it would be near perfect. (There is a third-party app that allows you to create notes in Markdown and saves them directly in Apple Notes but I don’t recall the name). I’m a terminal power-user and wrote my own free/open source tool for adding notes from the command line, available at macnotesapp. For the true power users, you can use this to write notes in Markdown or HTML from the terminal using vi (or emacs if that’s your thing). It can also search notes. I plan to eventually add import (from Markdown & HTML) and export (to a variety of formats). I’d love to be able to support editing from the Terminal but due to the very limited programmatic interface Apple provides, this isn’t currently possible.

Let me know if you give this a try and have any feedback!

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It’s ProNotes, which has worked flawlessly for me. I don’t use it for Markdown, but the formatting bar and AI functionality through Open AI has been useful many times over.

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I understood that the Alfred plugin for links would generate an “external link” that could be used outside of Notes to access a specific note (ie: in calendar, or safari, etc.). So far, the workflow only generates (for me) links that can be used inside of the Notes app. Did I misunderstand?


It sounded like moving from Evernote to Notes should be seamless, but in trying it out, aside from formatting issues, the images (pictures, screenshots) do not come over. Instead, I get something like: {{NotesAttachment:2262b7a18b326cadbe2999b4a383e90e}}{{NotesAttachment:3cfd9f30a7f729f8555a75ec37bd5f1a}}

Is there any way to actually bring them over without having to do it manually?!

Addendum: Just found a thread on EN forum that suggests this is an issue with Sonoma Notes, and it was working better in Ventura! Oh well…

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For me it creates html links which are treated as text by e.g. things 3. So I went and modified the script to create raw text links. Next step is to make a link to a shortcut so that desktop and mobile don’t need two separate links (the shortcut can distinguish between them and insert the ID number for the note as appropriate)

Great episode. I have done the Notes vision quest thing for several years going from Evernote to Apple Notes to Craft to Obsidian and now … contemplating a move back to Apple Notes. From what I have seen (and was supported by this episode) it has 90% of what I actually need (not including the shiny “gee whiz” features from some other apps that seem cool, but get lower usage in real life by me).

For me, the items that would put it over the top include:

  1. Just make it easy to pull the link to a note already! I should be able to send a link to a note to an app, copy the link to the clipboard, etc. (via the share sheet, right click, etc. – no more workarounds or hacks)

  2. Back links – if Apple want to keep it simple for the majority, just have a heading with a bulleted list at the bottom of the note that says “Links to this note”

  3. Give folders some love: Apple blessed folders and structure in earlier versions, but they could do a little bit more. I’d like to see the ability to rename the “Notes” folder to “Inbox” or something similar. So long as everyone knows you can’t delete the default folder, we should be able to name it whatever we want. Also, can I please create a deep link to a folder, not just an individual note? Many people use a collection of notes in a folder for a project, so it would make sense to be able to link a project in a task manager to the appropriate notes folder.

Oh, and one pet peeve (and maybe one that someone else has a solution for?) why do top level folder note counts not include the number of notes included in subfolders? I might have 50 notes in 6 different project folders within the “Projects” folder, and the count shows as “0” :thinking:

But honestly, despite the feature requests and the pet peeve, I think I may just want the simplicity of the notes app that I can reach and use anywhere, which is simple to use despite a fairly robust set of features.


I am using Sonoma. I just realized that this Alfred workflow may be a couple of years old. I cannot get it to create a link to a note which can be used in other apps. When I trigger the command to copy a link, it allow me to paste the title of the link into a note, and will link to that note, but I do not get a link that can be used outside of notes.

I use apple notes the majority of the time, my only wish would be for it to support markdown. Otherwise it works for me, keeps things simple and accessible.

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I’ve been happy using UpNote for a while now, but it’s still an Electron app and can’t be integrated into any operating system. I know why it’s an Electron app (and it’s a darn well designed Electron app), but I just have 8 gigs of ram. I’m trying out Apple Notes with Sonoma and iOS 17 for a while to see if the native experience is going to be better.

I found out I can use command k to link between notes, and I don’t usually need a link to a note to reference elsewhere. I want to see if the Mac Quick Notes hot corner is going to be useful. And I want to see if I can send emails to Notes.

I thought this was a great episode: I learnt a lot (I’ve not been using Apple Notes very much) and I thought the “use cases” were helpful in picturing how the app might work for me. It was good to hear a realistic overview too - that notes isn’t for everyone or everything but that it has some aspects which are genuinely excellent and ahead of the field (e.g. the handling of embedded pdfs)

I’m convinced that a lot of confusion arises because “note” can be anything from a two-or three word memo to yourself, to a detailed multi-layer summary of years of research to things you clip from other sources. Different apps are best suited to some kinds of notes more than others.

I do wish Apple would allow you to use a serifed font by default. It just feels more natural to me than a sans-serif.


How portable are notes between different operating systems? Say I switch my phone from iOS to Android , will I still be able to access my notes on the Android phone?

Not unless you export them.

So I left Evernote for UpNote migrating 4,300 notes. Why am I hearing the siren song of Evernote? <<come back, you loved it here>> :joy: