Unlock the potential of Apple’s Notes app!

Take Control of

Josh Centers
(2 customer reviews)

This book tells you everything you need to know about Apple’s Notes app for iOS, macOS, and the web, from basic features like formatting to advanced features like scanning documents, password protecting notes, making sketches, and managing attachments.

All Take Control books are delivered in three ebook formats—PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket (Kindle)—and can be read on nearly any device.


Apple’s Notes has come a long way since it was first introduced with the iPhone as a simple note-taking app, but many users are still unaware of its expanded capabilities. Now available on Macs, on iOS/iPadOS devices, and on the web at iCloud.com, Notes has become a surprisingly powerful tool for writing, sketching, organizing, and sharing information of all kinds.

In Take Control of Notes, TidBITS Managing Editor Josh Centers provides a quick but thorough guide to this deceptively simple app, showing you how to master its many tools—and avoid or work around its limitations.

Among many other things, you’ll learn how to:

  • Choose where to stores notes (iCloud, IMAP, or a device) and whether or how they sync
  • Import notes from other apps and services
  • Apply and modify character-level and paragraph-level formatting in a note
  • Make lists (including checklists and lists with multiple levels of indentation)
  • Work with tables in notes
  • Encrypt notes with a password
  • Add photos, videos, audio, maps, and other content to your notes
  • Scan printed documents into Notes and save them as PDF attachments
  • Draw and sketch using your finger or an Apple Pencil
  • Share notes with other users
  • Organize your notes into folders and search their contents
Josh Centers

About Josh Centers

Josh Centers is the managing editor of TidBITS and a freelance writer who has written for Macworld, the Magazine, Boing Boing, and the Sweethome. He has been featured on Daring Fireball, the Loop, TUAW, and Scientific American, and is a frequent guest on MacVoices. He lives in Tennessee with his wife, Hannah, and their two children.

What’s New in Version 1.4

Version 1.4 of Take Control of Notes focuses on the changes in iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and macOS 11 Big Sur:

  • You can now collapse the pinned note list. See “Pin Notes.”
  • In iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, you can touch and hold the Format icon to see a quick formatting menu. See “Learn Basic Formatting.”
  • There is a new handwriting recognition tool. See “Drawing Tools in iOS/iPadOS Notes.”
  • Apple has added lines in iPadOS to adjust the drawing Area.
  • If you’d rather scribble without handwriting recognition, you can now select handwriting just like regular text and Notes in iPadOS 14 can detect data in handwriting. See “Work with Freehand Writing.”
  • There are changes to how you share from Notes.
  • Read Me First
    • Updates and More
    • What’s New in Version 1.4
    • What Was New in Version 1.3
  • Introduction
  • Notes Quick Start
  • Why Notes
  • Use iCloud Notes
  • Make and Manage Notes
    • Choose Where to Put Notes
    • Make a New Note
    • Import Notes from Other Services
    • Organize Notes
    • Search Notes
    • Password-Protect Notes
  • Format Notes
    • Learn Basic Formatting
    • Work with Lists
    • Make Tables
  • Use Graphics in Notes
    • Add Photos or Videos
    • Scan Documents
    • Write and Draw with Notes
  • Share to and from Notes
    • Share to Notes
    • Share from Notes
    • Browse Notes Attachments
  • About This Book
    • Ebook Extras
    • About the Author
    • About the Publisher
  • Copyright and Fine Print

2 reviews for Take Control of Notes

  1. David Forsyth (verified owner)

    Thank you very much for the book Take Control of Notes. I had not used the Notes app until I read about this book and bought it. I now use Notes daily for keeping track of a wide variety of information, adding photos, etc. I was using Evernote for many of these things but found that Notes works just about as well so have cancelled my Evernote account and saved several times the cost of the book.

    Thanks, David Forsyth

  2. Mike McGraw (verified owner)

    Josh, I’m reading your Notes book to learn the tool. One small issue I’ve found is that I cannot use your method to upload phots to notes. You say “In a note tap the “plus” icon and choose Photo Library to bring up the photo browser.” However, there is no plus icon in my version of Notes. (iPhone XR, all updates installed) I have found that I can open Photos, select and copy what I want, and then paste directly into a note.

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