iOS 9 Shared Notes

Or why I moved to google keep.

Prior to iOS 9 notes were stored in an email account via IMAP. This is a slightly odd place to store notes, but it had the advantage that you could add your notes to another person’s iPhone by adding an email account but disabling email and enabling notes. My wife and I used this extensively to share useful information.

In iOS 9 Apple added some bells and whistles to notes (drawings, photos, lists) which are great, I embraced the additions until I realised that our notes were no longer syncing. The reason is that notes are now stored in iCloud rather than an email box. When the notes app prompts to “upgrade” notes, what it really means is migrate. Storing notes in iCloud allows a richer format of notes. The problem is that the iCloud account used for notes must be the same one as used for iMessage and there is currently no provision to share across accounts. So if I signed into iCloud as me on my wife’s phone she would be able to see my notes, but she’d get my iMessages instead of hers 🙁

When Apple screw up a service there is normally a Google replacement that has solved the problems already, in this case Google keep. It has a web interface and an  iOS App. It allows sharing notes between users, tagging and offline editing. It also supports tick lists reminders and inserting pictures. The only downside so far is that each note must be shared individually- you can’t share by default or share an entire label – yet.



I have since stopped using google keep as I lost data due to the way the iOS app syncs. It seems that it only syncs when a note is closed – not during editing. So if you open a note on one device enter a load of text, then sleep the device, the content won’t be synced. If you then open the note on  another device and make a change, the text entered previously will be lost. There is no history.

So looking for another notes app that syncs.. maybe trello?

Update 2

Now we’re on iOS 11 which does allow iCloud stored notes to be shared, but its individual notes rather than a whole folder which is tedious.