Recently, I stumbled upon a nice little app called Bear which specialised in note-taking for iOS and macOS. About a year ago, when Evernote announced their pricing change, I thought long and hard what would replace it in my tool box. At first, I used OrgMode in combination with Dropbox which prevented me from working on my notes on the go, though. This is exactly where Bear comes in.
Bear is quite simple: you write notes in a Markdown-like syntax with nice highlighting and organise the content using tags. Unlike Evernote, these tags can be place everywhere inside the note. There is also some basic support for creating todo-lists with notes receiving a progress indicator if there are todo-items in them. That’s pretty much it. What Bear doesn’t offer is some kind of collaboration feature. Since I’ve used that only on very rare occasions, I can live with not having that especially since the note-taking experience itself is just so much more pleasant than with Evernote.
Regarding pricing, the app by itself is free but you pay a subscription for features such as additional themes, additional export formats, and synchronisation through Apple’s iCloud. This is what you get for around $15 per year. IMHO a fair price for keeping the app maintained.
For about a month now I’ve been using Bear more or less exclusively to take all my notes at the various user groups I attend or whenever I need to collect my thoughts about a certain topic.
The only problem I’ve faced during that time is with importing my huge Evernote notes-collection. At this point it feels like Bear is not yet dealing all that well with thousands of notes, especially when synchronising them for the first time across multiple devices. I have a feeling, thought, that it’s just a matter of time until this will be fixed. Oh, and you can also use a simple drawing tool inside your notes, which just recently was quite handy while solving a couple of dungeons in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 😁
I even thought about integrating it directly into my blogging workflow but for now I’m more than happy with using iA Writer for that. Note-taking, on the other hand, is just so more comfortable with Bear!