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.

Version 1.3 of Take Control of Notes adds more new changes in iOS and iPadOS (including version 13.2 of each), and macOS 10.15 Catalina, most notably:

  • The new subheading style. See “Apply Styles.”
  • Drawing tools, which used to be awkwardly split into separate sketch and inline drawing functions, and have now been merged. See “Drawing Tools in iOS/iPadOS Notes.”
  • The new capability to make a sketch on an iPhone or iPad and import it into a note on a Mac. See “Import a Sketch to macOS Catalina.”

The book has also been updated to reflect lots of other small changes Apple has made to Notes.

June 26, 2020—We are evaluating forthcoming changes to the Notes app in Big Sur and iOS 14/iPadOS 14 this fall.

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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