I left Apple Notes for Google Keep, and Came Crawling Back

Keep on the left and Notes on the right.

When I first looked at Google Keep I blushed, taken aback by the beauty of its design. I felt a little guilty. I mean, Apple Notes worked just fine. It did want I wanted. It didn’t crash and flake out like Evernote. It was a solid partner. But when I looked at Google Keep I just got excited. It was something new, something that could maybe offer me more. I thought it could satisfy me in ways Apple Notes could not.

Labels (on Keep) vs. Folders (Apple) Really Caught My Eye, so I started spending more time with Keep.

With Apple Notes I’ve always found myself wanting to stash a note in multiple folders. For instance, perhaps a great sci-fi article I grabbed from the web (which I’ve intuitively listed in my “Great Sci-fi Articles” folder) would also draw inspiration for a new piece in my “Writing Ideas” folder. Notes wouldn’t let me put them in both places.

However, I could use a Label in Google Keep and organize the new note just the way I liked it. I could label the note, “Great Sci-fi,” “Writing Ideas,” and, “Stuff from Outer Space.” I could really do anything I wanted with Keep… so I thought.

Then, Keep started to let me down.

I like to write — obviously. Sometimes my little digital jottings might turn into an early draft. Apple Notes has the functionality of a basic word processing application. Google Keep does not. You can’t use bold or italics. Or a tab. Quickly, I figured out that Keep is essentially a cork board in a digital landscape. You can pin articles to the board and they look good — I mean really good. Better than Apples Notes ever looked, even in grid mode.

Grid Mode in Apple Notes… not all that exciting looking — but functional, efficient, and everything I need.

But being with Keep for a few weeks I realized I made a big mistake. Sure, Keep looked good, and throwing great label names on my notes was fun. But Apple Notes forced me to not live in excess. If I was grabbing an article or recipe online, or jotting down some ideas, I was sure to place it in a carefully named folder. Instead of wading through a beautiful mess of excess notes with Keep I was smart, efficient, and more organized in Apple Notes. I only collected what I needed.

Eventually I realized that Labels weren’t really all that big of a deal. I started writing mindful notes that were essentially keyworded for future use, and would just use the search function or spotlight to take a look through Apple Notes.

What I realized in the end was that Apple Notes made me a better person, a more productive human, and the best version of myself. Maybe, in the end, using Keep for a little while was a good thing. It made me realize that what I had to begin with was what I was always meant to be with.

Extra: Want to add paper to the equation? Check out how to make your paper notes work in the digital world.