Bear is everything we wanted Apple’s Notes to be

“‘Bear’ is what Notes should have been,” Bryan Clark writes for TNW. “Hell, it might be what Notes still aspires to be. It walks the perfect line between simple and feature-rich while offering robust options for organization, search, and — I could hardly contain myself on this one — Markdown support. It’s the first app in this space (and I’ve used them all) that I’d truly consider great — and it’s getting better every day.”

“‘Notes’ is perhaps Apple’s best-designed and most disappointing app. With each coat of paint it gets slightly better, but to date Apple has really missed out on tapping it’s full potential,” Clark writes. “Instead, we’re left with third-party solutions like SimpleNote, Evernote, or OneNote. All are passable alternatives, but none are great — at least on a Mac.”

Clark writes, “Created by Italian studio ‘Shiny Frog,’ Bear is the perfect marriage of features and simplicity. It’s what happens when you dress up Notes with Markdown support, better categorization, themes, customization options, and Apple-like embellishments that bring a polished feel a sorely-needed application.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Bear is free and also offers a $15-a-year (or $1.50-a-month) ‘Pro’ subscription that delivers multi-device syncing and additional features.


    1. I don’t subscribe to *anything*, as a rule. I even hunt down old versions of stuff to avoid it – I would rather “own” (I know, you still don’t ever own it, but you know what I mean) it outright and be a little out of date than rent it for a monthly fee and have automatic “updates” that change my workflow and usability on a regular basis. Oh, and have to be connected to the internet to even use it – believe it or don’t, but we’re not all always connected!

      1. Yeah, that’s what’s still disturbing about Adobe Creative Cloud subscriptions with their monthly nut squeezed out of your own. Plus they still don’t have a lower priced plan for those who just want Photoshop, After Effects & Premiere Pro with their “Most Popular” $49.95 the only one that makes sense for most – hence the disingenuous “most popular” crap. $29.95 for the 3 apps I’ve listed would end up being the “most popular” if they offered it. It’s like you have the choice of only Photoshop or everything instead of 9.95 per app ala carte stopping at 49.95 for all.

        Only a “record” earnings quarter because of the financial squeeze shakedown.

  1. I am trying to find a replacement for Evernote since the news of their new privacy policy broke today. Maybe I’ll just live off the grid and the only Apples in my house will be the edible kind. 🙂

    1. Take a look at DEVONthink. Trial download can be made at

      It doesn’t capture your documents into a proprietary format and you control where they are stored and how they are backed up. That means you are in control of security.

      In many respects DEVONthink is far more powerful than Evernote. As a database grows, artificial intelligence assistants that are unique to DEVONthink become more and more useful.

        1. Agree with BillD and Derek Currie regarding DEVONthink. DT makes a reasonably good job of importing Evernote files.

          The other point to bear in mind is that Devon Technologies is a software company, not one that needs to profile its users for sale to the highest bidder. Whilst user profiling may not be happening now, the increasing involvement with Google makes me doubt how long that will last.

          Evernote could have stuck to the business of providing a superior note application with serious end-to-end security.

        2. Derek, I value your opinion and so wonder if you have tried OmniOutliner?

          I’m still on the older version and am almost certain to upgrade, given the number of files I have.

          1. I would absolutely enjoy owning the latest OmniOutliner. (I have old version 3, which came with mos Tiger. But it self-immolates on mos 10.12). I’ve tried it and like it. It generally has a great reputation. I typically enjoy software from the Omni Group. I still beta-test OmniWeb.

            Unfortunately, version 4 has also had some vehement criticism from a lot of users. Check it out over at MacUpdate. Omni Group is currently beta testing version 5. You might contact them and ask to join the test.

            My usual rule is to verify the software accomplishes what you need then weigh its cost against the reward it would provide. For my work, minimal old outlining alongside my other tools is all I need.

  2. I like GoodNote because that is all I use a note app for: taking notes. Good category tools, syncs everywhere, works great with Apple Pencil. No more yellow legal pads for me.

    1. Everyone has a favorite note taking app and the the problem becomes changing when you have thousands or tens of thousands of files over the years.

      I looked at a lot, but stuck with something I don’t see mentioned hardly at all in OmniOutliner from OmniGroup.

      I see OO as intuitive and bullet proof and that is enough for me.

  3. A while ago I was looking for a replacement for Notes but didn’t find any single product that ticked every box for my needs.

    Then Apple updated Notes to allow shared lists and it made Notes indispensable for me. Initially, one thing I was looking for was a means of creating shared shopping lists with my wife. The idea was that either of us can add things whenever we think of them and whoever is in the shop can pick up everything on the list, deleting items as they go. If both spouses happened to go into different shops simultaneously, the list would still reflect what the other spouse hasn’t yet purchased.

    In itself, that wasn’t a particularly hard task to solve by other means, but the unexpected advantage of Apple’s Notes is that it’s automatically there on every iPhone. At work I can now use shared lists to create connection lists for the equipment that several of us are setting up. Any changes automatically appear on everybody else’s list and they are always up to date. Just to ensure that nobody trashes the entire list, I copy and paste the list to a new note every so often, which means that I can revert the list to previous states if anything goes wrong.

    When it comes to collaboration with people you are only working with for a couple of days at a time, there’s a lot to be said for using apps that are already installed on everybody else’s iPhone.

  4. Evernote and One Note are completely useless to my workflow. I see them as completely superfluous to the existing tools you get with this thing called a computer.

  5. Apple’s Notes is great as it is.

    I use it with macOS Server, so there’s no privacy issue at all, my notes are synced to my devices using my server.

    I am very much uninterested in a “cloud” solution – always remember, all “cloud” really means is storing your data on someone else’s server.

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