Apple Notes Alternative

Since Apple Notes is still unreliable (many, many complaints in Apple Discussions), I’m asking for recommendations to replace it. Whatever the app, it needs to synchronize flawlessly across iOS and macOS (unlike Notes). Thanks.

Notes has been reliable for me, but I’ve still switched to Agenda myself (there are UI/UX things about Notes I don’t like much.). You can sync with iCloud or Dropbox.

I’m a fan of Standard Notes:


  • Fast, reliable cross-platform sync including web app, iOS, macOS, Linux, Windows, Android
  • Open source
  • End-to-end encrypted
  • Notes are plain text internally (except, I think, one of their fancy formats) so notes are easily ported out
  • Support for formatted notes: Markdown, spreadsheets, checklists, etc. via editor extensions, even on iOS
  • Supports attached files, also e2e encrypted
  • Security audited
  • Self-hosting is supported


  • Subscription required for formatted notes, file storage
  • Electron app has some quirks on macOS

I use Notebooks from Alfons Schmid:

It’s not as slick as many, but it’s well supported, has a large feature set (easy to ignore what you don’t use) and uses standard formats (text, markdown, html, png, …) so there’s no data lock in. It can sync via icloud, dropbox and webdav; webdav is built in to the apps. I have the mac version running its webdav and the mobiles sync with that from time to time (I prefer to sync manually, instead of automatically); no troubles in years, and I frequently edit files behind its back with bbedit. I’ve never used icloud sync for anything though due to lack of trust.

The one feature that I consider lacking is separate encryption for the notes in bulk and/or for individual notes, but as long as all of the endpoints are encrypted (i.e. filevault for the macs) that should only be a problem if you’re likely to be targeted.

One time $16.50 os iOS, no subscription. Mac version is a separate mac store app, they aren’t bundled.

He’s kept version 8 available as a free app, but the current version is 12 so though 8 is a complete app and possibly enough, it’s missing a fair bit, including a few years of bug fixes.

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Evernote works…as does DEVONThink…but both of those are more expensive and/or have annual subscriptions than Notes…and while I’ve seen occasional complaints on lists/the web…Notes works just fine for wife and I sharing dozens of notes in addition to all of the non shared ones we each have. I have noticed an occasional slow (I.e., more than seconds) sync issue but either waiting a bit or quit and relaunch Notes on whatever device solves that. I’m not going to say thee are no issues with Notes…but the millions of users for whom it just works don’t contribute posts saying so to forums or support places…so the relative number of “apparent problems” can be exaggerated.


Yes, I also use Notes extensively including many shared notes with between 1–10 people and it’s been rock solid for me for years. My notes are always in sync. Have you tried contacting Apple Support with your specific issues? It should ‘just work’.


Not sure what you’re using Notes for but I like mine bare-bones and reliable, so I use Simplenote

I tried moving my notes from Drafts to Apple Notes, but the search function in Notes is unreliable, so I’ve moved back to Drafts.

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I’d like to second @gastropod’s recommendation of Notebooks, and specifically to call out the developer for his prompt, courteous engagement, quick turn-around time for solving well-reported bugs, and willingness to consider new features/UI enhancements.

I’d been using iCloud Drive for syncing between macOS and iPadOS, but it gummed up one too many times (no, it does not always “just work,” sadly) and now, like @gastropod, I sync manually using the built-in webdav. I thought this would be a step backwards, but actually it’s way less irritating than dealing with iCloud Drive.

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I’ve used Bear on and off for a long time. It is easy use and looks pretty … Both the iOS app and the Mac app are good, in my experience. Portability of notes in and out of Bear seems to be somewhat limited, however. Definitely worth a look, I suggest. BTW, I also use Apple Notes and personally I have never experienced any sync problems.

I’ve found Notes to be very reliable, easy to share notes with others, we have various shared across the family.

That said I prefer the structure and functionality as well as the experience of using Agenda for my own project related notes.

There are so many options in this field, a lot of great choices out there.

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The free version of Evernote has been fine for my needs, with iOS syncing and the ability to store multiple notebooks in different stacks. I particularly like being able to capture web pages with a Safari extension, although the free version has a 60MB monthly limit, which I have never breached. I am not a power user though, so there may be all sorts of limitations that have never bothered me.

I used to use Evernote but then regular Apple Notes improved so much I eventually exported from that and brought everything into Notes. Searching works very well.

The only thing that’s annoying to me is selecting doesn’t always work well. Like if you want to select a month in a string like 11/23/2024 and try double-clicking on the 23 it tends to grab more than just that.

I wish it had formatted tables. That would be nice.

But basically it’s ok for tech notes, drafts, and all sorts of miscellaneous things. It syncs immediately between devices so I can quickly jot some stuff down on my Mac and know that I’ll have access to it on my iPhone right away as I head out the door.

If, repeat IF you have a Microsoft subscription anyway (which also gives you 1TB of storage) you can use OneNote. Powerful, intuitively clear, syncs well (although sometimes devices have to be prodded to sync)

I’m pretty sure that OneNote doesn’t require a Microsoft 365 subscription. You’re limited to 5GB in OneDrive if you don’t pay for 365.

Yes. Microsoft 365 has a free tier. This tier means a small amount of storage (I think 5GB) and only the web and mobile apps (no desktop apps). But that may be good enough depending on what you require.

I may be mistaken, but I think the OneNote app is available for use, even at the free tier. You still need a Microsoft account to use it, though.

I’ve been using Evernote (the paid version) for about 10 years. So far it has always “just worked” and still works from iOS to Snow Leopard to the most recent OS versions. I have what might be described as a bit of a Mac habit, so there are quite a few OSes and devices using Evernote. It has features that are meaningless for me, but would maybe be useful if you need to collaborate with a workgroup or family members. I don’t use Safari, but the same web capability is available in at least one other browser. You can easily save articles/online content if you use Firefox by installing the Web Clipper extension.

I use OneNote for long term reference storage, and Notion for notes and extemporaneous writing. Sometimes I compose in a new Mail message window when I want Auto-Correct of my ballistic typing.

Evernote. You have to pay for it, i find it worth the cost.