I’ve been looking for a better notes app for a while. That may sound like a easily solved problem, but changing core services like email, documents, and notes is like moving to a new house – a lot of annoying work with tons of stuff to keep track of. Because of that, I don’t change them often because they should be like a solid, reliable wrench that’s always within reach. That has been Evernote in one way or another for many years, but there’s a new tool in the garage that is becoming the new standard.
Bear is a great new notes tool for macOS and iOS that focuses on minimalist design and popular themes like hashtags for organization. It’s super fast, has just the right features like clean formatting, code snippet support, and quick syncing. It’s rich text editing wrapped around a very simple core. Where something like Google Docs excels at collaborative content creation, Bear excels at individual content creation.
It’s all of the above wrapped in a dead simple design that makes Bear so great. Evernote is good, but bloated except ironically on their web app. I’m also worried they don’t seems to know what tools people need anymore and are banking on corporate-focused features that large businesses wouldn’t change platforms for and individuals don’t need.
Bear is definitely still young though. It’s locked to iOS and macOS only with n browser version and there’s no way to password protect the app or specific notes. There’s also some minor but semi-frustrating usability issues on iOS when using the touch screen. For example, when highlighting text more moving the cursor, it will only highlight an entire in body tag so if you typo them or want to change the sub-directory of them, you have to rewrite the entire thing every time.
These are small kinks and the larger ones like broader platform support and locking the app down are coming soon, something I found out via their super fast response time on their subreddit. Bear is free but syncing and themes are gated behind a pro subscription that’s less than two bucks a month. If you need a fast, reliable note system that just feels like a home for designers, I think Bear is your next candidate.