Top 11 Apple Notes Tips and Tricks for Mac Users

Top 11 Apple Notes Tips and Tricks for Mac Users

The main use of note-taking apps differs from person to person. Some use it to take occasional notes, others dump every idea into the note-taking app. Power users treat their favorite note-taking app like the second brain. It’s a challenge for companies to develop a solution that works for every type of user. When it comes to Apple users, people prefer to stick with the default Apple Notes app. The Notes app on Mac might seem basic at first glance, but the Notes app is full of tips and tricks for you to take a closer look at.

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Apple Notes tips and tricks for Mac

Apple is adding new features to the default Notes app with an ever-major macOS update. With macOS 11 Big Sur, it gets a nice user interface overhaul and new features. Finally, it’s ready to take its third-party alternatives from the Mac App Store.

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

1. Organize notes

You need to keep the Apple Notes app organized. You could waste a lot of time searching for the note if your notes are not organized neatly. Apple Notes offers folders for organizing notes. The best news is that you can even create subfolders within folders. It’s similar to how Pages and Notepad work in OneNote and Evernote, respectively.

Apple offers several ways to customize how notes appear in the app. You can either use the default list view or opt for the gallery view to view the notes.

Viewing Apple Notes

Navigate to any folder and tap the three-dot menu at the top. Select the view as gallery / list from the bottom menu. I prefer a List view.

I hope Apple manages to add tag support for even better organization.

2. Pin notes at the top

Do you want to keep track of your most important notes at the top? Apple Notes on Mac offers a handy Note Pin feature to keep notes on top. Right click on any note and use the Pin Note function and Apple Notes will keep the note on top.

Pin apple notes

You’ll see a separate pinned section at the top for easy access. At any time, you can detach a note using the same trick.

3. Lock notes

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

Lock apple notes

Just open the note with confidential information and tap the lock icon at the top. Apple will ask you to set a password for the note. You can use Touch ID (on newer Macs) or the password text to open the note the next time you try to view it.

4. Web article clip

There may be times when you come across interesting reading on the web. Most note-taking apps, such as Evernote and Notion, offer a dedicated Chrome extension for capturing web content.

Share clip articles

Apple Notes does not have such a feature. You get simple share menu integration in Safari browser on Mac. You can press the share button while browsing the web and add the article to the Apple Notes app.

5. Move items up and down

Let me be clear here. Apple Notes is not a modular productivity app. But it allows you to quickly move things up and down. For example, you can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Command + Up / Down Arrow for more items up or down in the note.

I was surprised to find this tip. This can be a real time saver during long notes.

6. Activate dark mode

Do you take frequent notes at night? You may need to use the dark macOS theme to relax. Open the System Preferences menu and go to General> Appearance and select the dark theme.

Dark theme

Turn on dark mode and start taking notes to avoid the brightness after sunset.

7. Change the font color

As simple as it may sound, there is no easy way to change the font color on Apple Notes.

You can select the paragraph text and use the right click (if using a mouse) or double-click the trackpad and open the floating menu. Go to Fonts> Show Colors, and it will open the color wheel to select the preferable color.

Change the font color

8. Store notes on Mac

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

Tap the Notes name in the menu bar and open Preferences. Enable the “On my Mac” option to store notes on Mac.

On my mac

Just keep in mind that when using this option, you won’t be able to see your notes on other Apple devices because your notes won’t sync with iCloud platform.

9. Use the Notes widget

Taking a page from the iOS 14 notebook, the macOS Big Sur also features redesigned widgets in various sizes. Open the widget menu and tap Edit widgets at the bottom.

Notes Widget

This will open the widget menu. Select the size of the Note widget, watch the preview and drag it to the main menu. From now on, you can access recently added notes from the widget.

10. Share notes

Sharing options are limited compared to rivals Apple Notes on Mac. However, if the recipient is already a Mac or iPhone user, you can use their Apple ID to share notes seamlessly.

Open the note you want to share and tap the profile icon on the toolbar. Add recipient’s Apple ID and set permission to edit or view.

11. Use Apple Notes keyboard shortcuts

If you are an experienced Apple Notes user, I highly recommend that you are familiar with the Notes keyboard shortcut. There is a keyboard shortcut for pretty much every option / modification / function in the app. The good news is that Apple has done a good job of suggesting keyboard shortcuts for each toolbar option.

Also on Guiding Tech

Master Apple Notes

Suffice it to say, Apple Notes is more than Apple’s basic first-party app. Using the tips above, you can leave your established rivals and switch to Apple Notes in comfort. Go ahead, try Apple Notes and see if that fits your usage. While you’re at it, let us know your favorite feature of Apple Notes on Mac.


Are you wrong between Apple Notes and Evernote? Read the comparison article below to choose a best note-taking app for you.

Last updated Sep 27, 2020

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