For a built-in app, Notes works reasonably well and rivals some of the best third-party note-taking tools. Apple continues to update it with every iteration of iOS, adding new features and improving existing ones to make writing down your daily thoughts a smooth and effective experience. With iOS 14, there are twelve such changes that we think you’ll want to know.
Now Apple Notes has by no means made the center of the iOS 14 update. If you open the app now, you might not even immediately notice what’s new. While these new features aren’t a lot of changes on your face, they’re really cool and should give you some extra tools to keep track of your important notes.
: Notes has a home screen widget!
Like so many Apple iOS apps, Notes now has a home screen widget. One of the options allows you to view notes from a selected Notes folder in either small (one note), medium (three notes), or large (up to six notes) notes. The other option allows you to view a specific note and is only available in the small size for a note.
However, it lacks some features compared to the old-style old-style view-only widget. There were quick shortcuts to create a new note, create a new checklist, take a new photo, scan a document, and draw. You can still use most of these from the Quick Actions on the Home icon or from the Notes control in the Control Center, but not from the iOS 14 widget.
Feature 2: It has a better interface
On the more subtle side of Notes new features, all of the folders for each section, as well as the list of notes in each folder, are enclosed in a rounded box with a different color than the background. For some reason, it makes accounts easier to read and navigate.
Feature 3: And a search bar on the main page
Previously, in any folder on an account, you could use the search bar to find specific things, either looking for the current account or all of your accounts. That’s still the case in iOS 14, but now there’s a search bar on the main page too folder Page so you can search without going into a folder first.
Feature 4: The search bars appear immediately
In iOS 13 and older, the search bar is not immediately visible when opening a folder. To find it, you’ll have to swipe down on the screen to reveal it. In iOS 14, it is visible by default. You can still hide it, but no longer need to reveal it unless you’ve hidden it yourself.
Feature 5: Notes Have an updated action menu
The Actions menu in iOS 14 has been redesigned in a number of ways. When in a note, instead of tapping the Share icon, tap the ellipsis icon (•••). Instead of the regular release sheet, you will receive an action sheet just for notes.
In the new action menu, the options Pin / Unpin, Lock / Unlock and Delete are displayed as colorful square buttons at the top. There is also a new scan button there. Below that you’ll see the other options for adding people (Share Share), finding text (Find in Note), moving it to another folder (Move Note), and changing the layout (Lines & Grid). Another new button is “Send a Copy”, which opens the regular Share Sheet with advanced options like “Copy” and “AirDrop”.
Feature 6: And folders too
Tapping the ellipsis (•••) in a folder view brings up a better looking action sheet and consolidated tools. So if you want to view or sort your notes as a gallery, do so here instead of under the search bar. You also get your good ol ‘Select Notes and View Attachments buttons.
Folders that you created in iCloud (that is, not the Notes folder) also show options to add a folder, move the current one, share, or rename it.
Feature 7: You can collapse the pinned notes section
If you want to pin important notes to the top of your folders, you’ll love this feature. Now you can collapse your pinned notes so you can focus on the unpinned notes below. Would you like to see these notes again? Just tap the chevron and your pinned notes will revert to the original layout.
Feature 8: Search is Better with ‘Top Hits’
Are you looking for something in particular? Notes’ new Top Hits feature separates what you think is most relevant to your search so you can quickly find the note you’re thinking of.
Feature 9: Notes can recognize shapes you have drawn
This is really cool: when you draw a shape in Notes, hold down your finger on the end. After about half a second, an outline of a rectilinear version of your shape will appear on the screen. Let go and Notes will replace your drawing with the more perfect one. It works with lines, arcs, hearts, stars, arrows, clouds, hexagons, and more.
Pro tip: If you like your scribbled graphic, tap the Undo button at the top.
Feature 10: You can switch text styles faster
There is a faster way to change the style of the text on a note. Just long press the Aa key and Notes will bring up a list of style options. You can change the bold face and size of the text using options such as Title and Heading, or you can add the text to a list using one of the three list options instead.
Feature 11: Scanning has been improved
According to Apple, the Notes document scanner now captures sharper scans and has more precise automatic cropping. Great news for one of the most underrated features on iOS!
Feature 12: You can start a new note from the main directory
If you’re in a hurry and don’t feel like choosing a folder to start a new note, you don’t have to. From the main street folder Directory, you can tap the new note icon and start writing right away. The note is saved in your default Notes folder in iCloud.
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