Notion can almost replace Apple Notes
I have to admit that I’m surprised how much I like Notion, I can’t remember why I started to use it last year but there’s a certain type of workflow that I’ve found I absolutely love Notion for.
Notion is what I always dreamed Evernote, or Dropbox, or the Apple Notes app could be (I’m a big fan of Apple Notes by the way).
Ironically my work tried it a few years ago as a replacement for Jira and project management and we all hated it. But fast forward to sometime last year I decided to try it for some personal note taking and thought organizing. I used it for one type of note-taking and it did really well, and now I’ve started to add other categories to it. The current type of note-taking I’ve been using it for is writing these blogs. Sometimes it’s just the idea for the title, other times it’s the entire rough draft, or final version. I am very pleased with the flow so far.
But I do have one fear: Killed by Google. Remember free photo storage for life? Not anymore. Like others that have gone before it, Notion could change its policy, or go out of business, or be acquired and then my amazing free tier experience is gone. Why not just pay a monthly user fee? For something like Notion I just might actually. The other note platforms haven’t been able to deliver what I’ve been experiencing with Notion. Here’s my current Pros & Cons list:
Pro #1: Shortcuts and things
Adding different types of heading levels or different types of resources is as easy as typing a forward slash “/” and then typing the thing you want to add. If Apple Notes had this I would love it. But Notion goes about and beyond with their concept of Pages where you can create instant link to a completely new document and start editing that document right away. This is great for quick placeholders or organized brain-dumping.
Pro #2: Reliable sync
This is really important when you’re working from multiple devices. Currently I switch between my iPhone, my laptop, and my iPad. Notion’s sync functionality has worked great whether I’m using the native app on my phone or iPad, or whether I’m using the web browser version on my laptop. 👌🏻
Related to sync is offline mode. Offline mode I when you’re working with an iPhone or iPad on a native app and your app loses connection to the internet so it unable to save your data immediately when you write it. This is pretty common while traveling on a plane, train, or bus, or if you just hit a bad service area while on the go. So far my experience with offline mode has been solid meaning I have yet to lose any work. Whenever I see offline mode I always get a little nervous because the syncing process always has potential for data loss.
Pro #3: Generous sharing policy
Services like Notion often limit sharing with other users or guests to a paid feature but Notion allows this with the free plan and it’s really smart. If you like the app share it, if you really like it, share it use it and upgrade for more features.
Now it’s not complete perfection so here’s a few cons I’ve experienced using it the last year or so.
Con #1: New things to learn
Still have to learn a new platform, new shortcuts, and a new workflow. This is not anything new, but if you’re used to one note-taking platform you might like the way it works or know it’s shortcuts and that’s always a potential barrier. Notion has A LOT of functionality. But the nice thing is you don’t have to use fancy things like Tables, Toggle Lists, or Databases (that’s right it has databases built into it that you an add at will—serious power user stuff here). You can just use basic headings and pages like I do and it adds a ton of value to my daily workflow.
Con #2: Moving Blocks/Drag and drop
Notion works with blocks. So a paragraph of text is treated as a “block” or “object” that can be moved independently. This is awesome for users to move things around, delete things, etc. But I’ve had some odd drag and drop experiences. Selecting text has been a little inconsistent, as well as trying to select all text in a document.
Con #3: Undo is finicky
I’ve lost some work with the undo feature. It’s not perfect but usually works pretty well for me. Because Notion works with “blocks” as I mentioned above I think they bypass the normal undo “tree” which is not an easy problem to solve. Nevertheless this has been pretty rare so I will just mention it but not harp on it.
Overall I’m pretty impressed with how Notion has fit into my workflow and opened up new creative ways for me to organize thoughts, writing, links, etc.
Will Notion replace Apple Notes for me? I don’t think so. Apple has a pretty solid app and they continue to add useful features, so I think it will continue to have a place in my daily life for the foreseeable future. Also, if Notion does disappear I don’t see that happening to Apple Notes anytime soon!
Let me know your experience with Notion if you’ve used it before!
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