A note taking app that does not use iCloud to sync

I’ve been happily using Bear, but I was just given a new MBP at work and suddenly we can’t use our own (personal) iCloud accounts. We are a GSuite office, so I can sync Notes using that account and I’m trying to force myself to use Notes, but I just don’t love it.

I really loved the simplicity of Bear. The formatting in Apple Notes drives me crazy. All of the notes I imported from Bear have super tiny font and you can’t batch update the formatting of notes.

Does anyone know a note taking app that I can use on my iPhone and Mac that will sync with something other than iCloud? I’ve used Evernote in the past, but just not sure it’s right for me.

Thanks for any advice.

How about Dropbox?
Both Agenda and Ulysses support Dropbox. Ulysses is probably closer to Bear than is Agenda.


I’m a big fan of Google Keep; I use it mainly for lists but it can be used for regular and voice notes (and images, and basic drawing too). And I like the card metaphor. Not sure it would work well with long notes, however.

There of course is Evernote and Microsoft OneNote.


I use OneNote, should synch with any cloud drive.

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as far as you use goggle sync app (Backup and Sync or something like that) you can use any text editor that allows external folders and use one on GDrive as storage for notes

edit: hmm… looks like that in iOS you cannot “pin” an external folder that resides in GDrive to be permanent, only use it to open in place (I tried in Ulysses, iA Writer and 1 Writer)


Well, in this context I think I can humbly mention my own app, Notenik. It’s only available on the Mac, but notes can be viewed and edited using any text editor on iOS. Store your notes anywhere you like, and sync them using any service capable of syncing files. Available on the Mac App Store. Open source and free,

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Thanks! I did use Ulysses for more long-form writing at one point. Hadn’t considered it here and I do have a Dropbox account!

Thanks, I’ll check it out!

I actually tried Google Keep for a few days (since we’re a Google org), but I think I need something a bit more robust. I also was having a hard time importing my previous Bear notes. But yes Evernote and OneNote - I’ll check them both out. I’ve used both in the past at various times, but not in a bit.

Are you using Bear for work notes, personal notes, or both? Also, do you use Gmail for your personal mail? I ask because moving your data, should you change jobs, could be a problem depending on the choice you make. Dragging my attachments out of Apple Notes then exporting the notes as PDFs one at a time is something I have done before and cannot recommend.

If you are a Gmail user, opening your Gmail in a second tab next to your GSuite account and using your personal Google Keep for everything would be one solution. I use GK for short notes, quotes, bookmarks, etc. but not everything since it doesn’t allow me to add attachments

Then there is Evernote. I use EN for many years then abandoned it for a number of reasons (concern about the company, price increases, etc.). After much thought I have once again made it my primary note taking program. It works on all platforms, has the best web clipper I have ever used, and can accept most file types. And this time I know what to expect should I ever need to export my data.

My personal opinion is their new CEO is turning the company around. And with 225 million users, even if only a fraction are active, there is likely still more people using it every day than any app other than Apple Notes. It might be worth a second look.

I’m using Bear for both, so I will keep using Bear for my personal notes/writing.

This new app I’m looking for would be work-only now that they’re not allowing us to connect it to any of our personal accounts.

Thanks for another plug for Evernote. I also used it for years and then abandoned it much like you have. I actually just looked and I’m still a paid up user, so maybe that’s the route I should take as it won’t cost me any extra money (I love the thought of trying Ulysses, but it would be a little costly).

I also like the idea that if I leave my job, I wouldn’t lose every single note I ever took. That’s a really great point.