Regarding Notes for iOS 9 and El Capitan: why I’m sticking with Evernote
Here’s a question I’ve been asked several times in the last couple of weeks since iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan hit stable release:
Bro, are you going to stop using Evernote and start using Notes.app on OS X and iOS? It looks like it could be a serious competitor, bro.
No, I’m sticking with Evernote.
If you’re curious about the specific reasons, why I’m sticking with my beloved Evernote, keep reading. If you’re busy and need to take off, the short version is that Evernote is a vastly superior application with more features and flexibility.
A quick side-by-side comparison of Notes.app and Evernote might give you the impression that they offer a surprisingly similar set of features.
That’s sort of true…
Both apps offer basic text formatting, the ability to attach images and other files to notes. Both can have checkboxes in the body of their resident notes. They both sync notes between devices—Notes.app using iCloud, Evernote using it’s own web service—so you can view and edit all of your stuff anywhere (including on the web).
You can organize your folders into containers within both apps; Evernote calls these Notebooks, while Notes.app calls them Folders.
Notes.app supports very rudimentary sharing. If your note is around the length of a tweet, selecting Twitter from the share sheet will launch the native “Send a Tweet” dialog and contain whatever text you’ve got in the selected note. Ditto for Facebook, though the length requirement isn’t there. Notes with images in them are shareable, too. The embedded image will be included in the social update just like you’d expect.
If you attach any other kind of file, you lose the ability to share on social networks (at least Twitter and Facebook).
Here’s all you need to know about sharing in Notes.app: the contents of the note you want to share will be shoehorned into whatever format the destination app/service likes best.
Notes.app supports searching the content of notes. Notes.app also supports finding text within PDFs, but based on my limited testing, it only works if the PDF was generated by a computer, not a scanner. Notes.app won’t perform OCR on your attached PDFs or images, in other words.
With that, we come to the end of our short list of ways in which Evernote and Notes.app are similar.
The funny thing I just realized: The above section describes almost all of what Notes.app can do. Evernote can do a whole hell of a lot more. That’s why I’m sticking with it.
You should probably grab a copy of the book if you want an exhaustive tour of Evernote’s capabilities, but I’ll make a quick list of the big Evernote features Notes.app is missing:
- Two-way sharing of both notes and notebooks. Meaning, I can share a note or notebook with Francine in such a way that we can both edit the contents.
- Evernote’s badass ability to index images and scanned PDFs for search.
- Evernote offers a second level of organization besides notebooks: collections of notebooks called “stacks.”
- Evernote also lets you apply tags to notes for more organizational flexibility.
- Evernote works on platforms beside OS X; if you’re all hot to trot with Notes.app and you have a Windows computer at work, Notes becomes a whole lot less usable.
Anyway, I could go on.
Notes.app is a very nice app and a hell of an improvement over the skeuomorphic “legal pad with a marker typeface” monstrosity that preceded it, but as for me and my notes, we’ll be sticking with the elephant.
(Elephant image courtesy of Caitlin)