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

Andrew George
Dec 12, 2017 · 3 min read
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 what 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 corkboard in a digital landscape. You can pin articles to the board and they look good — I mean really good. Better than Apple 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.

Efficient U

Pro tips on how to be more efficient and productive in life.

Andrew George

Written by

I write about tech and its impact on individuals and society, for the most part. I’m also a teacher. www.andrewjoegeorge.com

Efficient U

Pro tips on how to be more efficient and productive in life.

Andrew George

Written by

I write about tech and its impact on individuals and society, for the most part. I’m also a teacher. www.andrewjoegeorge.com

Efficient U

Pro tips on how to be more efficient and productive in life.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store