The main uses of note-taking apps vary from person to person. Some use it to take casual notes, others write every idea in the Notes app. Power users treat their favorite note-taking app as a second brain. It is a challenge for companies to develop a solution that works for every type of user. Apple users prefer to stick with the default Apple Notes app. The Notes app on Mac may seem simple at first, but the Notes app is full of tips and tricks on closer inspection.
Apple adds new features to the standard Notes app with every major macOS update. With macOS 11 Big Sur it gets a nice UI redesign and new functions. It’s finally ready to take on the third-party alternatives on the Mac App Store.
Let’s talk about the Apple Notes tips and tricks so that you can get a clear picture of how good Apple Notes app is on the Mac platform.
1. Organize notes
You need to keep the Apple Notes app organized. You can waste a lot of time searching through the note if your notes are not carefully organized. Apple Notes provides folders for organizing notes. The better news is that you can even create subfolders within folders. It’s similar to how pages and notebooks work in OneNote and Evernote, respectively.
Apple offers several ways to customize the notes view in the app. You can either use the standard list view or you can opt for the gallery view to view notes.
Go to any folder and tap the three-dot menu at the top. Select View as Gallery / List from the bottom menu. I prefer a list view.
I hope Apple manages to add tag support for even better organization.
2. Pinning notes at the top
Do you want to keep an eye on your most important notes at the top? Apple Notes on Mac has a handy pin-note feature to put notes on top. Right click on a note and use the pin note feature and Apple Notes will keep the note on top.
Above you can see a separate pinned section for easy access. You can always solve a note with the same trick.
3. Lock notes
You can use Apple Notes to protect sensitive information from others. You can password protect any note by using the Lock option in the note.
Just open the note with sensitive information and tap the lock icon at the top. Apple will ask you to set a password for the note. You can use Touch ID (on newer Macs) or password text to open the note the next time you try to view it.
4. Clip web articles
It may happen that you come across interesting readings on the Internet. Most note-taking apps like Evernote and Notion offer a dedicated one Chrome Extension for clipping web content.
Apple Notes lacks such functionality. You get a simple integration of the share menu into the Safari browser on the Mac. You can tap the share button while browsing the web and add the article to the Apple Notes app.
5. Move elements up and down
Let me be clear here. Apple Notes is not one modular productivity App. But it allows you to move things up and down quickly. To the example, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Command + Up / Down Arrow to move additional items up or down in the note.
I was surprised to find this trick. It can be a real time saver on long notes.
6. Activate dark mode
Do you often take notes at night? You may need to use macOS ‘dark theme to be easy on the eyes. Open the System Preferences menu and go to General> Appearance and choose the dark theme.
Enable dark mode and take notes to avoid the brightness after sunset.
7. Change the font color
As simple as it sounds, there is no easy way to change the font color in Apple Notes.
You can select the paragraph text and right-click (if you’re using a mouse) or double-click the trackpad and open the floating menu. Go to Fonts> Show Colors and the color wheel will open to choose your preferred color.
8. Save notes on Mac
By default, every note in the Apple Notes is synchronized with the iCloud platform. The problem is that iCloud only offers 5GB of storage at first. It’s easy to fill up space with photos, videos, iPhone backups, and more. In such cases, you can always save notes on the device.
Tap the Notes name in the menu bar and open Settings. Check the On My Mac option to save notes on the Mac.
Just keep in mind that if you use this option, you will not be able to see your notes on other Apple devices because your notes will not be synced with the iCloud platform.
9. Use the Notes widget
The macOS Big Sur takes a page from the iOS 14 notebook and also offers newly designed widgets in different sizes. Open the widget menu and tap Edit widgets at the bottom.
It opens the widget menu. Select the size of the note widget, preview it, and drag it to the main menu. From now on, you can access the recently added notes through the widget.
10. Share notes
The sharing options are limited compared to Apple Notes’ competitors on the Mac. However, if the recipient is already a Mac or iPhone user, you can use their Apple ID to share notes seamlessly.
Open the note you want to share and tap the profile icon in the toolbar. Add the recipient’s Apple ID and set permissions to edit or view.
11. Use Apple Notes keyboard shortcuts
If you are an Apple Notes power user, I would highly recommend that you master the Notes keyboard shortcut. There is a keyboard shortcut for practically every option / improvement / feature in the app. The good news is that Apple did a good job suggesting keyboard shortcuts for each option on the toolbar.
Master the Apple Notes
Suffice it to say that Apple Notes is more than a simple first-party app from Apple. The above tricks can help you leave established competitors and switch to Apple Notes with ease. Give Apple Notes a try and see if it fits your use. While you’re at it, share your favorite Apple Notes feature on Mac with us.
Are you confusing Apple Notes and Evernote? Read the comparison post below to choose a better note-taking app for you.