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The Best Apple Notes Alternatives in 2021

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By Spike Team, March 23, 2021
Apple Notes alternatives

What Are the Best Alternative Options to Apple Notes?

Note-taking is a key part of any productivity workflow, whether jotting down points in a meeting, collaborating on a new project idea with your team, or getting your thoughts organized. For many people working on Mac or iOS devices, the in-built note-taking app is THE go-to, but what are some of the most popular Apple Notes alternatives?

 

Below is a quick overview of the features that some of these note-taking platforms offer before we take a deeper dive into the pros and cons of each. Some of the key considerations here are inputs (multimedia, text, and formatting), native platforms, and collaboration tools.

 

Quick-Comparison of the Best Alternatives to Apple Notes

Text


Live Collaboration 


Videos


Images


Audio


Cross-device Syncing


Google Keep


Yes


Yes


No


Yes


Yes


Yes


OneNote 


Yes


Yes


Yes


Yes


Yes


Yes


Spike 


Yes


Yes


Yes


Yes


Yes


Yes


Bear 


Yes


No


No


Yes


Only on Apple Watch


Premium


Craft 


Yes


Yes


No


Premium plan needed for high-quality media 


No


Yes


Evernote 


Yes


Business Premium only


Premium


Yes


Yes


Only 2 devices without Premium


Simplenote 


Yes


No


No


No


No


Yes


 

 

Best Alternatives to Apple Notes

There are plenty of Apple Notes alternatives out there, with many users requiring online notes as well as native apps on different platforms (an iPhone and a Windows laptop, for example). Some of the best apps are part of broader, more powerful productivity software, but all of the options below have the basic features you’ll need for alternative Apple Notes options.

 

 

Spike

Apple Notes alternatives

 

If you’re looking for the best email client based note-taking application, look no further. Spike has created a powerful productivity suite with email at its core, including collaborative note-taking with multimedia, cross-device synchronization, and more.

Pros 

  • Everything in one app means more focus and productivity.

  • Multimedia support allows for images, gifs, and videos in notes.

  • Huge range of formatting options to tailor your notes and bring greater clarity to your points.

Cons

  • No voice notes (but can drop audio files into notes).

  • No free draw for doodled notes.

 

Google Keep

Apple Notes alternatives

 

Google has created an entire productivity ecosystem, which wouldn’t be complete without note-taking. Google Keep is a free app available on Android, iOS, and through web browsers. It offers collaborative note-taking, syncing across platforms, and supports multimedia such as images and gifs making it a good Apple Notes alternative. That said, Google has been known to strip features out of notes before, so this may change.

Pros  

  • Photo-to-text through optical character recognition.

  • Voice notes are a great feature for some users.

  • Integration with other Google products, such as Google Now for reminders.

Cons

  • No video.

  • A standalone app means swapping for other tasks.

  • Google has switched core features to other product lines.

 

 

OneNote

Apple Notes alternatives

 

The Microsoft alternative to Apple Notes, OneNote, is one of the old guards when it comes to productivity software, launched way back in 2003. It is an obvious alternative for those working in the Microsoft ecosystem and offers a number of powerful features within a very comprehensive organizational system.

Pros 

  • Allows for a variety of inputs such as free-hand drawing.

  • A comprehensive organization system allows for personal or enterprise use.

  • The free-form style allows for natural note-taking, unrestricted by text.

Cons

  • The many layers of organization can make OneNote confusing, with a steep learning curve.

  • Requires a Microsoft account.

  • The standalone app means switching software for other tasks.

 

 

Bear

Apple Notes alternatives

 

Bear is an Apple-only note-taking app with advanced Markup editing, making it a great Apple Notes alternative for those who regularly work with this format. It offers basic features but lacks any collaborative tools for team workflows.

Pros

  • Advanced markup options.

  • Cross-note linking.

  • Individual notes can be encrypted with Face/Touch ID.

Cons

  • Only for Apple with no plan for Android or Windows.

  • Can only sync between devices with premium.

  • Voice notes only on Apple Watch.

  • No tables or free draw.

 

Craft

Apple Notes alternatives

 

Another Apple Notes alternative is Craft, also natively built for Macs, iPhones, and iPads. It uses an interface of blocks rather than lists of text, which can be valuable for more visual notetakers. It allows for various inputs such as images, sketches, lists, and more but many features are only available for premium users.

Pros

  • A focus on live collaboration.

  • Native apps take advantage of Mac capabilities.

Cons

  • Only on macOS and iOS.

  • Blocks system may not work for everyone.

  • Features such as high-quality media and advanced searches only in the paid version.

 

 

Evernote

 

One of the most well-known alternatives to Apple Notes, Evernote is available across all major platforms and on the web. It has a range of features for different workflows but reserves many of its most standout tools for premium and business users.

Pros

  • Multiple formats within a single note (such as text, images, and tables) make for powerful note-taking.

  • Annotation and free-hand note-taking.

  • Integrates with existing productivity applications.

Cons

  • Many features are only available for Premium users.

  • Live collaboration only available for Business users.

  • The standalone app still requires other software for a full productivity suite.

 

Simplenote

Apple Notes alternatives

 

Simplenote is a great Apple Notes alternative for Linux users (as well as running on iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and browsers). However, this cross-platform usability comes at the cost of functionality, with Simplenote living up to its name and offering only text. That said, it does offer Markdown support, but if you regularly use emojis, images, or more – forget it.

Pros

  • Very good cross-platform support, including Linux.

  • Completely free.

  • Simplicity can be good for some.

Cons

  • Very few features.

  • Live collaboration not possible.

 

When you’re looking for the best Apple Notes alternative, there are now some fantastic online notes options available for everyone, from individual freelancers to large-scale enterprises. Using notes effectively can improve productivity as well as simplifying and streamlining tasks. For more productivity tips and tricks, subscribe to the Spike blog or Tweet us @SpikeNowHQ.

Apple Notes Alternatives FAQS

For those searching for an Apple Notes alternative for Windows, you may not have to! Apple Notes can be accessed on a Windows machine through a browser and iCloud. However, if you’re a Windows user (or cross-platform user), it’s almost certainly better to opt for a note-taking app with native apps for Mac, Windows, iOS, Android and web-based use.

Using Apple Notes is as simple as opening the app and jotting down your ideas. Linking it across your other Apple devices is also simple using iCloud. However, if you operate on multiple platforms (iOS, Android, Windows), you will probably have difficulty accessing them. Best to go for a note-taking app that covers all your devices, such as Spike.

There are many apps that support Apple Pencil on the iPad, and choosing one will depend on exactly what you need. Some are more designed focussed, providing plenty of options for illustrators and artists, while others are purely for note-taking. In the end, your specific requirements will guide you.

Yes and no. You can access Apple Notes through iCloud if you have another Apple device. However, if not, you’ll have to choose another alternative, and cross-platform options such as Spike deliver everything you need and more.

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Spike Team The Spike team posts about productivity, time management, and the future of email, messaging and collaboration.

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