Seeking: notes app that lets you choose save location for individual notes OR a way to do this with Apple Notes?

The question: do any of you clever people know if there either: a notes app (similar to Apple Notes) that lets you choose where to save individual notes (as opposed to the whole database) and which can easily include images in notes? [Or, alternatively, a workaround to do this in Apple Notes]

Would need to work on iOS and macOS, and for bonus points would keep track of all the created notes within the app (though I don’t think this is essential).

(I probably wouldn’t get enough value out of something like this to pay a huge amount or a subscription for it, but if that’s the option you’ve got, tell me about it anyway and I can give it some consideration.)

I have been ruminating on the distinction between notes and files in my system.

On revisiting the few things I have stashed away in Apple Notes, I came to the conclusion that most of these would probably fit better elsewhere e.g.:

  • codes/membership numbers/etc in LastPass
  • snippets/quotes in Day One

That said, there are a few notes that I would describe as “ongoing reference” notes e.g. a list of less-than-obvious tweaks I’ve made to macOS that I would want to recreate (once I eventually get a new computer that can run Big Sur and do a clean install), or instructions on how I fixed a particular issue or set up a certain configuration.

The question I am wrestling with right now is: what do I do with these? I think the Notes app is great for this kind of thing, because I can quickly insert images/screenshots/links/etc. However, my reservation is that I would really prefer to store these in my existing file structure in iCloud (e.g. home-related stuff in my Household folder, system-related stuff in my System folder).

Other things I have thought about:

  • Creating a hyperlink to these notes and storing the link in a relevant place in my iCloud files - this would be a little clunky, but would I think make me feel better - however although I can “share” a link to myself with myself I haven’t been able to figure out a way to save a link in Files - am I missing something obvious? (I’m sure I could do this on Windows years and years ago!)

  • Not using Apple Notes at all, and instead using Markdown files (or some other format?) within my iCloud account. The issue with this I think would be that I wouldn’t have the ability to insert images as easily (I know this is technically possibly with Markdown, but it doesn’t feel seamless to me).

If you have any ideas for a better way to solve this problem, I’m open to those too! :slight_smile:

iA Writer will do this. I think I heard that Bear now offers this as well, but I haven’t been using Bear lately so I haven’t used the feature myself.

1 Like

Thanks Chris - I had a look at Bear, and it looks like it stores all its notes in a database:’s%20notes%20located/

Playing with the iAWriter now, and aside from the fact that I don’t visually like it very much (I could probably get over that!), it looks like it’s not possible to use images with files that are stored outside its ‘Library’ i.e. what I would like to do! I might be missing something obvious–please let me know if so! (I anticipate having a similar problem with most plain-text solutions.)

Adding a location to the iA Writer Library is not the same as adding it to iA Writer’s iCloud folder. Adding a location to the library simply makes that location show up in iA Writer’s left sidebar column, it doesn’t put it into iCloud. I should also note that even iA Writer’s iCloud location is just files in an iCloud drive folder, not a database in the way that the iCloud storage in Bear or Ulysses are.

Ah, thank you! That is what I was missing, I think (didn’t see that ‘Add’ button).

First impressions are that the app doesn’t quite “gel” with the way my brain works, but that said it does technically meet the requirements so further experimentation might be warranted, thanks!

Could you do this with Ulysses? If you set up a series of folders, added them into Ulysses as external folder locations, and set the file type as ‘.textbundle’ it might behave as you want. I think the external folder location thing works on iOS as well.

It’s been a while since I’ve worked with Ulysses, so apologies if I’ve gotten some of the terminology wrong or overlooked something.

1 Like

Actually I think this will do exactly what I want, and I already have Ulysses as part of Setapp! Thank you!

1 Like

Be aware that Setapp changed its subscription structure recently so if you want to use Ulysses on your Mac and on your iOS devices you will need separate subscriptions for each iOS/iPad OS device at $30/year per device. Because of this I changed over from Setapp to subscribing to Ulysses directly from the App Store.

I create notes in Markdown and save as individual files. Then I can access them with a variety of apps: IAWriter, Multimarkdown Composer, nvULTRA (in beta), and my new favorite Knowledge Management tool – Obsidian. This way I’m not tied to a database and I can use the unique features in each of the apps and everything is synchronized. Oh, you can also access the files with DEVONThink Pro, another long-time favorite.


Heavily seconding DEVONthink and Obsidian. Everything changed in my setup since regularly using them, having access to your own files and opening them as you wish is a vastly underestimated feature IMO. And DT is E2EE, and Obsidian will be. Love that about those apps.

1 Like

Obsidian vaults (folders) indexed in DEVONthink is a great Mac duo.

1 Like