The iPhone offer applications for all sorts of tasks and today we are going to take a look at a few that will help you jot down notes. Since requirements vary, we will cover simple apps that are enough for quickly taking down a song name or a simple list, but also more complex apps that meet specific needs.
Be sure to take a look at our companion roundup over at Mac.AppStorm, looking at note taking software for the Mac.
Yes, your iPhone comes with a built-in note taking application which you can use in both portrait and landscape mode. Notes can be synced via iTunes and show up in your Mail application. You can also email them right out of the mobile app.
If you have multiple notes, they are displayed in a list with their creation dates next to them. The note that has been most recently created or edited will be shown first. The user interface is simple, and the app doesn’t come with any fancy extras besides its main purpose.
The name suggests it already: you can attach photos and voice recordings to notes and you can color code them. The colors can be used for filtering notes (for example, if all your private notes have the color red); additionally you can use the in-built search function to find a specific note if you have quite a lot of them.
Writing down the note itself is very easy due to the landscape support of the app. You can email notes right from inside all-in Notes, with the title of the note being used as the email subject – neat!
If you want to make sure no one else takes a look at your notes, consider Safe Note, which allows you to protect your notes with a self assigned password. Other than that, the app lets you favorite a note (a yellow star will appear next to the note) or declare a note urgent (the icon next to the individual note will turn from green to red). You can filter by recent and favorite notes. An integrated search function and an index helps to quickly find a certain note, even if you have dozens of them.
Two tiny drawbacks are that even though you can email notes, it requires that you leave the app itself and enter Mail. For any more note editing, you will have to return to Safe Note and start the application again. In addition, there’s no landscape support.
This app takes a very different approach in actually taking down a note: you can write on the screen of your iDevice with your finger and the app will take your scribbles down as a note. Note Taker comes with a lengthy tutorial which you should follow when you start the app for the first time to understand it fully.
The great advantage is also that you can add small sketches, for example a schematic roadmap so you won’t forget how to get to a place. If you are not feeling comfortable with the virtual keyboard, this app might help you out, but you better have really neat handwriting!
This app resembles the standard note taking application that is already included on your iPhone, albeit with an extended set of functions. You can add voice recordings and images to your notes, as well as draw directly on the note canvas.
Since Mental Note does not support landscape mode, it will not be more practical to use if you need to type a lot. If you depend on supporting your notes with photos or sketches, it is a good all rounder.
Another app with an unusual approach is Stick It, which comes with a rich user interface and many fancy options to style your notes.
One feature stands out that makes Sticky Note really great: the ability to export your notes as a wallpaper, including a preview function so you will see if the content will be clearly visible on the lock screen. So the next time you go grocery shopping, you will have your information instantly accessible without having to start any app.
For more information, take the time to watch the introductory video at the beginning.
If your needs include the ability to sync your notes over the air, or if you want to enter notes from a desktop application and have them show up on your iPhone, try out Simplenote. It focuses on text only notes, while giving you the ability to include email, phone and web links.
There are a number of settings to tweak the functionality of the app with the two most noteworthy being Lock Orientation (have the app always display content in the landscape mode, for example) and web syncing. If you have TextExpander installed on your mobile device, it will play nicely with Simplenote.
Push + Pop
This is the perfect note taking app for grocery lists. The user interface is very simple but appealing. To enter a note or item, just tap the designated area and enter the text. There are no nested lists or attachments which you can add, just plain text.
You can edit your list items and easily delete them by swiping your finger across them. So, if you have to take down your next shopping list and want to comfortably update it while shopping, Push + Pop is perfect for the job.
Smart Notes offers more than just simple note taking features: you can create folders and projects to store notes in as well as checklists that can contain multiple items. If you have the need to organize your notes and assign people or tasks to them, then Smart Notes offers you this functionality.
Simple Notes requires some time to get to learn all the different options available and it offers more in the way of organizing notes than taking them down quickly. One nice feature is also the app badge which shows you the number of notes in your app.
Price: free version available, full version $3.99
This app allows you to not only write down notes, but also to categorize them into folders of your choosing. You can add photos right into your notes and what makes this app stand out: you can insert “Headers” into your text.
Obviously, that will only be of interest if you write a lengthy note, but it is handy to break down the text into more readable pieces with the bold headings. The background of a note can be customized and all notes can be mailed from right within the app or synced with Google Docs.
Is there anything this app can’t do? Awesome Note not only comes with a stunning user interface, it is also very easy and comfortable to use. The app starts up with a predefined set of categories, which will help you to organize your ideas, shopping, to do lists, etc quickly.
On its home screen, the application also allows for quick memos and new notes (without having to select a category first), it shows you how many notes you have in total and how many are due today (if you are using the app for task management).
Awesome Note easily has the most attractive interface with some incredible power beneath the pretty surface. Oh, and did I already mention Google Docs and Evernote integration?
WriteRoom is not intended for simple note taking, it’s more for actually writing on your iPhone or iPod touch. If you know the Mac desktop version, you will find that its little brother shares the same qualities: a distraction free writing environment with nothing but you and the keyboard.
So, if you have an idea for your next article or book while on the road, WriteRoom lets you focus on the content without burdening you with additional options. You can mail your texts or sync them through SimpleText.ws, giving you access to your notes whereever you are. And this app is also supported by TextExpander and you can import your notes into Scrivener.
WriteRoom for iPhone
Professional Writers, watch out! If you have ever struggled with nicely outlining a story while on the road, Manuscript might be just what you need. You can add pitch, synopsis and index cards which can hold story ideas or character descriptions.
You can also use Wikipedia from right within the app if you need to research some historical facts, persons, locations etc. And to top if off, you can export your ideas to RTF via Google Docs. There is no excuse anymore for you not writing.
Whichever app you choose will depend on your intended use, and you may find that a couple work better in different scenarios. Most of the apps mentioned here have free versions that allow you to get a feeling for the supported features and ease of use.
So, no matter what you need a note taking app for – grocery list, task management, simple reminders or mental notes – there truly is an app for that!