Top 11 Apple Notes Tips and Tricks on iPhone

Parth Shah

Reviewers often dismiss Apple’s first-party apps as too basic and average compared to its rich rivals from the App Store. And that’s a fair observation for the power users. But when it comes to the general public, they stick with whatever comes by default on their new iPhone. Credit to Apple, the company does add new functions to the default iPhone apps with each major iOS update. Among them, Apple Notes is perhaps my most favorite out of the box iOS apps on iPhone.

Apple notes tips

As for other iOS apps like Apple Mail and Reminders, I usually ask readers to find an alternative for it. That’s not the case with Apple Notes. The app is feature-rich, offers solid sync, has tight integration with the iOS system (more on that later), and it’s more than good enough for most users.

Let’s talk about Apple Notes tips and tricks so that you can get a clear picture of how good Apple’s note-taking app is on the iPhone.

1. Organize Notes

The organization is the key when you are dealing with hundreds of notes at a time. You might waste a lot of time if your notes aren’t organized carefully. Apple Notes offers folders to organize notes. The better news is, you can even create subfolders within folders. It’s similar to how pages and notebook work in OneNote and Evernote respectively.

Folders in folder

I hope Apple adds Tags support so that it becomes even easier for users to find the relevant note.

2. Pin Notes at Top

Do you want to keep your most important notes at the top? You can use the Apple Notes Pin option to pin your frequently used notes at the top. Open the note that you want to Pin and tap on the three-dot menu at the top. Select Pin and you will see a separate Pinned section in the Notes app.

Pin notes

3. Lock Notes

Apple Notes allows you to protect sensitive information from others. You can password-protect any note using the Lock option inside the note.

Lock notes

Open a note that contains private information and tap on the three-dot menu at the top. Select Lock and add a new password. You will see a small lock icon beside the note in the app. From now on, you won’t able to take a peek at note preview in the app.

4. Use 3D Touch in Apple Notes

This is my favorite addition and something that I use frequently. You can long-press on any note and quickly access functions like Pin Note, Lock Note, Share a note, Send a Copy, Move, and Delete. No need to go through a separate menu to get the job done.

3d touch in notes

You can also use 3D touch action on the app icon to swiftly add a new note, to-do list, and more.

5. View Notes as Gallery or List

Apple offers a couple of ways to customize the notes view in the app.You can either use the default list view or opt for the Gallery view to display notes.

View as list

Go to any folder and tap on the three-dot menu at the top. Select view as Gallery/List from the bottom menu. I prefer a List view, what about you?

6. Add Tables in Apple Notes

Many popular note-taking apps from the App Store lack this function. You can integrate tables in any note. While editing, simply taps on the table icon and a 2x2 table in the note. You can even convert a table to text from the table menu.

Add table in notes

7. Use Dark Mode

Are you taking frequent notes at night? You might need to use the iOS 13 dark theme to go easy on the eyes. Go to Control Centre and long tap on the brightness menu. Enable dark mode and start taking notes when the Sun goes down.

8. Store Notes on the Device

By default, every note in the Apple Notes gets synced to the iCloud platform. The problem is, iCloud only offers 5GB of space to start with. It’s quite easy to fill up space with photos, videos, iPhone backup, and more. In such cases, you can always store notes on the device.

On my iphone

Open the Settings app on the iPhone, go to Notes and enable ‘On My iPhone’ account. Do remember that your notes won’t be accessible on other Apple devices using the same Apple ID.

9. Add Notes Widgets

You can use Apple Notes widget to quickly glance over the added notes in the app. The practice is even better with the iOS 14 update as iOS now lets you choose from three different sizes for the widget and even allows you to add these widgets on the home.

Notes widget

Read our dedicated post to learn how to add iOS widgets to the home screen.

10. Siri Integration

The last couple of tricks are about close integration with other iOS services and systems. The first is Siri. You can simply ask Siri, ‘Hey Siri, take a note’. Siri will ask you to record notes and display the transcription in real-time. Stop Speaking for a few seconds and Siri will recognize that you have finished. It will add the note in the Notes app.

Siri notes

11. Compose Notes From the Lock Screen

You can quickly add new notes from the iPhone lock screens. It’s handy in some situations. You need to add Notes toggle in the Control Centre.

Open the Settings app on the iPhone and go to Notes > Allow Notes from Lock Screen > Always Create New Note. Now move back to the Settings menu. Go to Control Centre and add Notes toggle on the menu.

Create from lockscreen
Add notes toggle

From now on, you can swipe down from the upper right corner to open Control Centre and access Note toggle to create a new note in the app.

Take notes from lockscreen

Use Apple Notes Like a Pro

Apple Notes is a solid note-taking app for iPhone users. And it’s only getting better with each iOS iteration. Besides, you can expect close integration with the operating system. That's something which the rivals can’t offer. Which feature did you like the most in Apple Notes? Sound off in the comments section below.

Next up: Getting confused between Apple Notes and OneNote? Read the comparison post below to find the differences.


The above article may contain affiliate links which help support Guiding Tech. However, it does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains unbiased and authentic.

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Parth Shah

Written By

Parth Shah

Parth previously worked at EOTO.tech covering tech news. He is currently freelancing at Guiding Tech writing about apps comparison, tutorials, software tips and tricks and diving deep into iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows platforms.