Updated w/ MD Table: Features of Apple Notes, Craft, iA Writer

UPDATE: I thought it would be easier for those interested in this to have the table in markdown rather than as a dropbox link. Below is the MD created table.

In my journey to settle on my Note and Task management applications I created a table to compare the various features of Apple Notes, Craft, and iA Writer. I have the features listed in relative priority for my needs. Others will have different needs and preferences.

CAVEATS: I am not claiming comprehensiveness. I may have left out features from one or more of the three applications. I may have made a mistake in assessing a feature—if so, let me know. Finally, I am not attempting to compare other apps like Obsidian, Bear, etc., only the three I’ve listed because these are the apps I’ve been most interested in using. iA Writer is listed because it can be a nice bridge working with markdown files that are created in Obsidian.

With that said, here is my table. I hope this is helpful to others. It was created in Apple Notes.

CORRECTED: @anon41602260 was kind enough to point out two typos in my table. I have corrected those.

Features of Apple Notes, Craft & iA Writer Compared

Feature Apple Notes Craft iA Writer
File format Proprietary Json Plain text
Sync across devices Yes Yes Yes
Embed files (PDF, Pages, Numbers Word, Image, etc) Yes Yes Yes using MD transclusion (cumbersome)
Task export Reminders with link, Things with NO link Things with link Reminders with link, Things with NO link
Tables Yes Yes but they export in MD format MD only
Export PDF PDF, MD, Word, MD, Image, Textbundle PDF, Word, MD, HTML
Manually sort files No Yes (Files can be opened in any application that supports plain text files)
External Linking Yes but cumbersome (share, create link, copy, paste—except to other Apple applications. Easier on iOS-just copy link) Yes via Deeplinks No
Embedded text hyperlinks Yes on Mac, Yes iOS but cumbersome Yes No
Find and Replace Yes but replace is not available on iOS Yes Ye
Text to speech Yes No Yes
Spelling Yes Yes Yes
Grammar Yes No Yes
Internal Linking Yes but cumbersome (share, create link, copy, paste) Yes No
Screen Zoom Yes No Yes
Tags Yes No Yes
Smart Folders Yes No No
Footnotes No No Yes MD [^]
Open files in other applications No Only if exported to MD, Word or PDF Yes
Dictation Yes Yes No
Change text color Yes Yes Yes
Highlight text No Yes Yes with MD
Lock note Yes No No
Text Recognition in images, PDFs; OCR image text in full text search Yes No No
Apple Pencil Support Yes Yes, limited No
Markdown No Yes Yes
Quick Note Yes No No
“Add a link” to an open external application Yes No No
Take photo or add sketch from iPad or iPhone directly (not import) Yes No No
Create note with Siri Yes No No
Scan to add document, image Yes Yes No
Share and collaborate Yes Yes No
Add comments No Yes No

Thank you for doing this. As someone that is looking again at Notes (I made a comment about Quick Note yesterday), this is definitely helpful.

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Just a thought:

“Jason” might be “JSON”
“translucent” might be “transclusion”


You are correct, sorry for the typos. :flushed:

Thank you for this table @Bmosbacker. I’ve been using Notes for shared family lists in particular, and really digging into Craft for my commonplace book, project and reading notes, etc.

Craft is probably my favorite app right now, It’s really improving my ability to take notes and be creative!

I still don’t have an Apple Pencil, although the more I do on my iPad the more I’d like one. I wonder if Craft will get more support for it in the future?

@pkondo, quick note is something I’m enjoying a lot and I would welcome the ability to do something similar to put data directly into Craft.

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I’m glad you found it helpful. I too like Craft a great deal!

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