Apple's built-in Notes app on the iPhone and iPad is a powerful and well-designed app. It works great as a quick place to jot down a note that you may only refer to once in the future, but it also works well as a place to store important information that you need to refer to from time to time. For example, I have a note with the file numbers for all of the cases that I'm working on, a note of the items that I frequently pack when I take a trip (so that I can review the list and make sure I'm not forgetting anything whenever I prepare to travel), a note listing the team members on my daughter's soccer team, a note to keep track of the James Bond movies I'm watching with my kids (next on our list is Goldeneye from 1995), and many more. Here are two tips which make it faster and easier to bring up specific notes that you want to access the most often.
In the Settings app, you can choose to sort notes by the date edited, date created, or title. I have mine set to the date edited, which usually makes the most sense for me. Chose whatever method you think will make it easiest for you to find your notes.
Sorting by date is often helpful for me, but there are some notes that I don't edit very often (so they are not near the top) but which I am most likely to want to view. Apple has a solution for this called Pinned Notes. When you are looking at your list of notes, if you swipe from left to right on a note, you will see a pin icon. Keep dragging to the right to turn on the pin. That will move the note to the very top of your list of Notes.
The same left-to-right swipe can be used to remove a pin. Pinning notes is a useful way to keep your most important notes at the top of your list, regardless of the sort order that you selected in Settings.
Jump directly to a note
If you want to get a little more sophisticated, you can use one of the iPhone apps that have an automation feature to create a shortcut to jump to a specific note, no matter where it is in your list. I briefly mentioned this tip on April 13, 2018 when I linked to an article by Federico Viticci of MacStories, and today I'm providing more details on how it works. In this example, I'm using the Launch Center Pro app, a $4.99 app which I last reviewed back in 2012. (The app has improved a lot since then, but that old post will still give you a general idea of what the app does.)
First, you need to get an iCloud URL for your specific note. To get that, look at a note and tap the share button at the top right of the screen — the icon with a circle around a generic person with a plus sign.
The next screen says Add People. Tap on the icon near the bottom that says Copy Link. Then on the next screen, tap Copy Link at the top right, and then you can tap Cancel because you are not going to actually email that link to anyone.
Open the Launch Center Pro app, tap the pencil at the top right to enter Edit mode, and then tap the plus sign in any empty location and create a new Action. In the next screen, type whatever title you want in the Name field, and then paste into the URL field the contents of your clipboard, which will be the iCloud.com URL for your specific note. The default icon is the Safari icon, but feel free to change it to something more meaningful to you if you want.
That's it. Now, whenever you want to access your specific note, you can open the Launch Center Pro app and tap the icon for your note. That will cause the Notes app to open, and then your specific note will come up, no matter where it is located in your list of notes.
If you want an even faster way to launch your specific note, use Quick Actions. In the Launch Center Pro app, tap the gear at the top left to open up the app settings. Then tap Quick Actions and add the shortcut you just created to the QUICK ACTION WIDGET setting. As long as it is in the first row of icons, in the future, you can 3D Touch on the Launch Center Pro icon on your home screen, and then select the icon for your note. This will jump you directly to your note without even having to fully open the Launch Center Pro app.
The Notes app is a useful place to store tons of different notes. With these two tips, you can directly access your most important notes quickly and easily.
This article won the BlawgWorld Pick of the Week award on April 30, 2018. The editors of BlawgWorld, a free weekly email newsletter for lawyers and law firm administrators, give this award to one article every week that they feel is a must-read for this audience.