Help Me Find a Good Notes App – Updated: I Found a Good Solution – Wait, It Doesn’t Work!

With OS X Mountain Lion coming out very soon, Apple’s Notes app has the kind of annoyingly skeuomorphic interface that drives me batty, just like the iOS version of Notes.

(Image from this Macworld article.)

I’m looking for a simple notes app that has the following:

  • Both OS X and iOS versions
  • That sync via iCloud (Dropbox is fine; see my update below)

The first point is less important, as long as I can find good apps on both platforms. Notational Velocity would be perfect on the OS X side, but it doesn’t sync to iCloud. And I don’t need Evernote or Simplenote, as I only need this for a handful of notes, and I don’t want to see ads in my notes, and don’t need to pay for “premium” service to get rid of ads. (After all, I have iCloud already. SimpleNote is pretty good, actually, but I don’t need notes enough to pay even $20 a year.)

So, any recommendations?

Update: I found this blog post which explains how to use Notational Velocity with Hog Bay Software’s Plain Text iOS text editor, which I already have, syncing the two via Dropbox. I’m going to try this out; after setting it up, it seems to be an excellent solution.

Update 2: It started out well. But then I found that Notational Velocity on my Mac mini wasn’t updating for notes I created with my MaCBook Pro. I’m not sure why, as the files are in the folder. So it looks like this solution isn’t ideal.

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13 thoughts on “Help Me Find a Good Notes App – Updated: I Found a Good Solution – Wait, It Doesn’t Work!

  1. I would give NotebooksApp (.com) a serious look.

    It is very full featured, syncs flawlessly with Dropbox, has iPhone and iPad versions and just recently put its OS X version into public beta.

    I’ve relied on it since it came out and tried virtually everything out there available on IOS.

  2. I second the Notebooks post. You can make it simple or complex as you like, and it has enough features to produce acceptable documents with illustrations. Syncing is easy via Dropbox.

  3. I recommend Notefile from Junecloud, the maker of Delivery Status. There’s an iOS version and an OS X Dashboard widget. They sync through Junecloud’s servers.

  4. I use Catch (, it’s dead-simple, I create short or long notes on the fly and it’s free! My info syncs to their ‘cloud’ servers and my info does 2-way syncs to my iPad and Android phone (free apps for both), as well as my MacBook Air (website).
    Oh yeah, you’re not just limited to ‘text’ notes, you can also snap a photo or voice-record your ‘notes’.


  5. Or you can use Notational Velocity to sync with Simplenote, or use a utility like Fluid to create a web app of Simplenote.

  6. Kirk, you can use nvALT for this, save the database to Dropbox as separate text files, and access that same set from a number of plain text iOS apps. Some of my faves include Notesy and Byword, which both support Markdown — plus, Byword has an OS X version that will stay in sync.

    And there are many options: Brett Terpstra keeps an extensive list of top-notch iOS plain text apps on his site.

    Hope this helps.

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