Like Rocky, Simplenote Is Back In Front After Years Of Neglect

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Simplenote was one of the first iOS note-taking apps that could sync with apps on the Mac or the web. And despite tweaks and added complexity over the years, it really didn’t change.

Unfortunately, what passed for simple and minimal five years ago looks like a Linux spreadsheet app today, and this – along with some weird bugs – ended with me removing Simplenote from my iOS devices.

But now Simplenote is back. It’s simpler, it’s fast, and it also comes on the Mac.

Simplenote is all about speed. It launches to your list of notes, and you can either scroll them, hit the “plus” to add a new note, or tap in the search box to, uh, search. The new layout is ultra-simple, but manages to pack a few features.

Tap on a note to display it, and you’ll see that your tags are at bottom left. You can tap to add a new tag, or remove an existing one.

Gone is the split view with a note list at left and the note itself on the right. Now notes are seen full-screen only, and if there is a sidebar on screen at all it only shows tags.

Search is just as good as before, and has one unique (as far as I know) feature among note apps: if you enter multiple words into the search box, it will return notes with both those words present, even if they’re not adjacent in the text. This is helpful in many ways, and can be used search on a home-rolled tag system (a search containing #hot babes will return all your notes tagged #hot and containing the word babes, conveniently filtering out the #hot boys notes).

You can still roll back the history of your edits, “collaborate” (share, by adding the e-mail address of another Simplenote user), pin notes to the top of the list, and share notes to the web as web pages. You can also send notes via AirDrop.

Also new is the Mac version of the app, which looks just like the iOS7 iPad update, only in a window on your Mac. It’s limited right now, so power users might want to stick with something like Notational Velocity or NVAlt, but it looks gorgeous and is as fast and slick as the new iOS apps.

Go check it out. For me it was easy – even though I dropped Simplenote, I had kept NVAlt syncing with it in anticipation of an update as good as this one. I launched it, logged in and a few moments later I was back up and running. Best of all, Simplenote is back on my first home screen.

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  • ronbrinkmann

    Boy, there sure are a lot of pissed-off reviews on the app store for this update – seems like there’s more to the story here…

  • seraschka

    Sometimes the iPad app crashes, but it is not terrible and no data gets lost. This is a brand new release and a complete overhaul, I am sure the developer is already getting the next patch out very soon.

    Besides that, SImplenote works very reliably for me so far, and its sync is freaking fast. When you have it open on multiple devices you can see the changes almost in real-time.

    I like the new UI a lot, it combines functionality and simplicity, and it is just pure joy to use it. I recently moved my GTD system into Simplenote, and it works just great.
    I have written a Guide about how to implement GTD in Simplenote if you want to try it out: http://bit.ly/1aVkVsZ

About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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