iOS 11 Notes app finally lets you search notes when you save

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search notes iOS 11
iOS 11 lets you narrow down your target notes by search whenever you save a new snippet.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple’s Notes app got a few headline updates in the iOS 11 section of the 2017 WWDC Keynote — in-line sketches and handwriting recognition for example — but there’s another tiny tweak that might be an even bigger deal than those two. Now, when you use the Share arrow to send a URL, snippet of text, or anything else, to the Notes app, you can search your existing notes, and choose which one you want to add it to.

This is huge, and takes Notes from being a higgledy-piggledy junk drawer to being a real replacement for things like Evernote and Microsoft’s One Note. Now you can keep a note for, say, planning an upcoming vacation, and easily add new places and plans to it as you find them, or quickly add links to a book reading list.

Search notes

What could be quicker than this?
What could be quicker than this?
Photo: Cult of Mac

The Notes app gets organized with search.

Previously in Notes, when you added a note using the iOS Share arrow, you could append to an existing note, but you had to scroll through a linear list of all your notes to do it. Notes put more recently-edited notes near the top of the list, but it was still a pain. Now, when you share something to Notes, you see this:

You can now save a new note straight to a folder.
You can now save a new note straight to a folder.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Those are your folders. That alone is pretty neat, as you can add brand-new notes to a folder as you save it. But it doesn’t end there. If you tap in the search bar and start typing, your list ofd notes is winnowed until you get the one you want. This makes adding new snippets to old notes trivial. Ands this in turn means that you are more likely to keep and update useful lists in Notes.

Keep lists and find them again

It's now super-fast to pin down that note you want to save to.
It’s now super-fast to pin down that note you want to save to.
Photo: Cult of Mac

For instance, it’s now easy to keep and update lists of books you want to read, or movies you want to watch. I keep notes about music theory for guitar, and this means I can add a link to a lesson I found, or add a chart or diagram, to a note on that particular subject. You can also clip recipes, make your own local version of Pinterest (and share it with others using shared notes), and anything else. In short, Notes app just got a ton more useful for not just news but for regular people.

Add to this the cool new features already announced at WWDC 2017, and Notes is finally ready to take over from any other note-clipping app you’re already using. Well, almost. It could still do with IFTTT integration, but that really is a nerd feature.

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