• Steve Huffman

Converting From Evernote to Apple Notes

I have been an avid and vocal user supporter of Evernote for over 10 years. I have, at times, explored other options but rarely found that the power Evernote offered in other applications. However after a period of wondering if Evernote and I were on the same page as it relates to notes application direction I have finally decided to transition away from Evernote. I’m still a paid Evernote Premium subscriber until 2020 because… well, because I had prepaid and had some rewards points and applied it to my subscription…

Major Reasons behind the decision to switch:

  • The performance was, at best, declining on every platform - I have thousands of notes in many folders and the performance of the application just never improved. I happily applied every release including Beta releases whenever they were available, normally on the day they were available. The performance just continued to decline.

  • Sharing notes went from antiquated to confusing to a burden - I don’t share many notes, but it is nice to share a few notes with my spouse. With the addition of “work chat” (why call it that?), the sharing function just became confusing and burdensome. It probably is confusing because something I am not doing right, but shouldn’t sharing be easier?

  • The editor received some nice enhancements and tables are great, but I just lost my love for the editor and lack of enhancements. *cough* *cough* MARKDOWN?

  • Additions that took the direction of the app off of NOTES - It seemed with every new *feature*, Evernote was trying to woo paying corporate customers. That’s awesome, but what about just enhancing the core of the application. Make the writing process beautiful!

Deciding on the application to land on:

I tried many of the note taking applications including Bear, Ulysses, Apple Notes, Scrivener and finally landed on Apple Notes (v4.6 as of this writing). Apple Notes is not perfect, but here are the reasons I chose to convert everything to Apple Notes. Keep in mind that I have an Apple ecosystem (iPhone, Mac and iPad)

  • The folder functionality is similar to Evernote so I could organize my notes in a similar manner

  • The note sharing function not only works, but it is a joy to use. I can share with multiple people and see what each person changed.

  • The writing environment is not perfect, but it also doesn’t make me want to run away

  • I can scan documents directly with the “take photo” function from my Mac and use my phone…. (That’s pretty cool)

  • Linking to Apple Notes via the share link is similar to Evernote and works seamlessly

The conversion process to Notes was fairly easy. Here are the steps I took:

  1. Choose the folders I wanted to convert INDIVIDUALLY - I did NOT do a full Evernote conversion as I have folders of notes that I have not used or accessed for years.

  2. In the folder that I was converting I selected all notes and exported to an .ENEX file. This was done by choosing FILE, and EXPORT in the Evernote Menu.

  3. In Notes I imported the .ENEX file which brought every note into an IMPORTED NOTES folder.

  4. Created the new folder and moved all of the imported notes into the new folder

Conversion problems - None of these have stopped me from using Apple Notes going forward:

  • Tables - While Notes has tables the columns aren’t adjustable and you can’t make them as pretty as Evernote.

  • PDF search - You can save attachments in Notes but the search isn’t as good as Evernote. HOWEVER - The Evernote search is terribly slow and wonky at times.

  • The folders are organized alphabetically in Notes and I heavily utilized Shortcuts in the sidebar for Evernote. I had to number prioritize my notes in the order I was used to in Evernote.