How to use the Notes app in iOS 9

Prior to iOS 9 Notes was pretty limited, but following the iOS 9 update it’s now placed in the same league as heavyweights like Evernote and Microsoft OneNote. Updated 22 March 2016 with the inclusion of password-protected notes.

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  • notes on ios Notes for iOS 9
  • notes colouring in Drawing in Notes
  • ios 9 ruler in notes Using the ruler
  • notes Formatting in Notes
  • add images to notes Add images
  • share to notes Sharing to Notes
  • attachment browser The Attachment Browser
  • icloud synd Syncing Notes
  • new features in notes in ios 9 password protect your notes Password-protected notes
  • More stories
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What is the Notes app?

The Notes app allows you to type notes that can be synchronised between your various devices - iPad, iPhone and Mac. Prior to iOS 9 it was a pretty limited app, with little in the way of formatting, however, as frustrating as it was to use, the Notes app on the iPad and iPhone has proved popular with anyone wishing to make notes on their iOS device that can then be opened on their Mac.

Notes has also always been a handy place to cut and paste information into, or to draft an email if you want to be able to keep a log of it. And because it's easily searchable it's also a great place to log information you need to keep at your fingertips.

The good news is that Notes got a lot better and is even more useful than ever in iOS 9. 

Read: Advanced iOS 9 tips

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Next Prev notes on ios

The Notes app allows you to type notes that can be synchronised between your various devices - iPad, iPhone and Mac. Prior to iOS 9 it was a pretty limited app, with little in the way of formatting, however, as frustrating as it was to use, the Notes app on the iPad and iPhone has proved popular with anyone wishing to make notes on their iOS device that can then be opened on their Mac.

Notes has also always been a handy place to cut and paste information into, or to draft an email if you want to be able to keep a log of it. And because it's easily searchable it's also a great place to log information you need to keep at your fingertips.

The good news is that Notes got a lot better and is even more useful than ever in iOS 9. 

Read: Advanced iOS 9 tips

 

Step 2 of 9: New features in Notes in iOS 9: Drawing notes in iOS 9

One of the best features in the Notes app on the iPad and iPhone in iOS 9 is the ability to go beyond simple text notes and start drawing straight onto the screen with your finger (or with the Apple Pencil for anyone thinking of purchasing the iPad Pro).

To start drawing, tap the squiggle icon at the bottom of the screen. If the keyboard is loaded you may need to tap the + above the keyboard to see the drawing icon.

You can select from one of the tools, which include a fine pen, a felt tip pen, and a pencil, as well as an eraser. There’s also a colour picker and ruler, more on that below.

Choose your tool and start sketching, what you sketch is inserted as an image within your note.

If you’d like to change the colour, tap on the circle on the right and choose from the 24 colour options. You can mix colours - as you can see from our example, yellow and blue make green. Also, you can make the colour darker if you zoom in with your fingers). Unfortunately we are no better at colouring in now than we were as children.

Once you have chosen a colour tap on the tool you are drawing with to return to the view that gives you access to the other drawing tools.

For more precise drawing you can zoom into your image.

You can also undo and redo your artistic attempts by tapping on the curly back and forward icons.

And rotating your image in 90-degree increments is a case of tapping on the rotate icon top right.

 

Step 3 of 9: New features in Notes in iOS 9: Drawing with the ruler in iOS 9

Back to the ruler… Tap on the ruler and you can draw straight lines. The measurements indicated appear to be cm (although it’s not completely clear - it would be useful if it actually showed you what the measurements are!) As you draw a line you’ll see a counter indicating how ‘long’ the line is. We found it frustrating that if you were aiming for 100, for example, and went over slightly, you can’t just drag your finger backwards to undo it. If you want to make very precise measurements this probably isn’t the app to do it in.

It also took us a while to realise that the orientation of the ruler can be changed. Put two fingers on it and rotate. You’ll see the degrees of rotation in the centre of the ruler, so you can aim for 90-degrees, for example. You can also move the ruler around, tap on it with one finger and drag.

 

Step 4 of 9: New features in Notes in iOS 9: text formatting tools

Not everyone will be using Notes to draw pictures of course. There are also also new text formatting tools, such as the ability to style what you type as headers or bulleted lists. You can even add tick boxes for your lists.

To access the text formatting options start with the keyboard view and press the + sign that now appears above it. Tap Aa and you will see various text styles including: Title, Heading, Body, Bullets, Dashes, and Numbers. That’s all you are getting though, if you were hoping for font options that will only be available in the El Capitan version of Notes.

You can still bold, italicise or underline text in the same way as you could in the Notes app in iOS 8. Either start by typing what you want and then highlight it and tap the highlight so the pop-up menu appears. Or just double tap the screen. You will see a black bar of formatting tools including Select, Select All, Paste, BIU and Indent. Tap the BIU option (you may have to tap the arrow button before you see that option) and choose Bold, Italic or Underline.

Alas, that’s about the only text formatting you’re allowed in iOS. If you really want more control over your Notes, and own a Mac, then create the note there (and you’ll get even more features after the El Capitan update). Notes on iOS can understand sophisticated text formatting. It just can’t create it.

Read: Complete guide: How to to download and install Mac OS X El Capitan

 

Step 5 of 9: New features in Notes in iOS 9: Add pictures to your Notes

Pictures can now be added to your notes. Choose the camera icon from the icons either along the bottom of the screen or above the keyboard.

Choose Photo Library, or if you are about to take the photo, choose Take Photo or Video.

You can add as many images as you like to a note.

You may be wondering  what you will gain by adding photos to your notes. There are a few benefits. For one any image you add will then appear in Notes on your Mac or other iOS devices (at least it will appear in Notes on your Mac once El Capitan launches - unfortunately for now the new notes in iOS 9 and Notes on the Mac don’t appear to be syncing properly).

Notes is also being updated in El Capitan is launching on 30 September. Here's a guide to using Notes on the Mac.

Another benefit is that any images you add will be available in the new Attachment Browser in Notes (more on that below). It’s also a great way to keep photos related to a project together.

Plus, if you attach a picture to a note then a thumbnail will appear in the main notes listing, making it much easier to spot the note you're looking for if you are a particularly visual person.

 

Step 6 of 9: New features in Notes in iOS 9: Sharing web pages and Maps in Notes in iOS 9

Notes is now an option within the sharing system of iOS 9. Just tap the share button in an app like Safari or Apple Maps, then select Notes, and a pop-up card will appear where you can insert text and select whether you want to create a new note or append an existing note. The shared content will then be inserted into the note as a thumbnail.

You can share Google Maps to Notes, but it doesn’t work as well. To share a Google Map tap on the icon to the furthest right of the screen and choose Share > Notes. It will be saved as a webpage and will open Google Maps in Safari if you tap on it.

Again you will be able to view these Maps and web pages in the Attachment Browser.

 

Step 7 of 9: New features in Notes in iOS 9: Using the Attachment Browser in Notes

On to this new Attachment Browser as promised…

The Attachment Browser is accessed via an icon that appears when you view the list of notes. It looks like four small boxes and it’s in the bottom left of the screen. Tap on this and you can see at a glance any images, web pages, or Apple Maps you have shared to Notes.

This is why people are drawing comparisons with Notes and apps like Evernote, the Attachment Browser turns Notes into a receptacle for useful information, images, web pages and more. Great for managing a project, for example.

 

Step 8 of 9: New features in Notes in iOS 9: Syncing improvements in iOS 9

Finally there’s another way that Notes has improved in iOS 9 and it’s also the reason why you may not initially see all the features described above.  To take full advantage of the new Notes features you need to be using iCloud to sync your Notes. Randomly, since Notes first launched it’s been syncing via IMAP, in other words it’s been piggy backing your email service. But now it is using Apple’s iCloud servers.

Using the ages-old IMAP system, designed originally for email, was a bizarre decision on behalf of Apple’s software engineers when Notes was introduced three years ago so it makes sense that the change has been made.

In order to sync your notes across devices they'll need to be on iOS 9 or El Capitan, where you’ll be able to start a note on your iPhone and then switch over to continue it on your iPad or Mac near-instantaneously. 

Also read:

31 brilliant iOS 9 tips

How to get the Apple News app in iOS 9

How to use Proactive in iOS 9

How to search in iOS 9

How to use public-transport directions in iOS 9 Apple Maps

 

Step 9 of 9: New features in Notes in iOS 9: Password-protect your notes

In the latest iOS 9.3 update that was announced at the 21 March event, Apple has added the ability to password-protect notes. This is a handy feature for those of us who wish to add another layer of security.

To enable this feature, you must go into your Settings > Notes > Password. In the Password screen, you'll be able to set up a password and include associate your Touch ID. 

Once enabled, head over to the Notes app and you'll now be able to password-protect notes by hitting the share icon at the top right hand-side of your screen and selecting Lock Note.

When you choose to Lock Note, you'll be prompted to enter your password or use your Touch ID. Once added, simply hit the lock icon that's now appeared next to the share icon at the top of your screen.

To unlock the note, simply hit the padlock icon again. If you wish to remove password-protection, hit the share icon again and select Remove Lock.

Read next: iOS 9 features & update advice.

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