When it comes to note-taking apps, the majority stick to what their devices offer out of the box. Apple integrates Apple Notes into the iPhone, while Microsoft used to make OneNote available on Windows devices. Having said that, choosing the right option to suit the use and requirements can be difficult for an iPhone user.
And if you make the wrong choice, the process of moving all your notes from one platform to another can be a hassle. In the past, we have already compared Google Keep to its competitors. In this post, we are going to put the Apple Notes app against Microsoft OneNote to see how they interact with each other.
All Apple apps come pre-installed and take up about 11GB of space including the operating system. Microsoft OneNote for iPhone weighs in at 204MB, which is not surprising given that the size of the best iPhone apps has ballooned over recent years.
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Apple Notes offers a simple yet effective user interface. By default, it categorizes notes based on folders. While there are default files like iCloud, Notes, and Recently Deleted, you can always add new folders to stack related notes with.
The feel and look of the Apple Notes built-in interface is real – that’s a nice touch. Another well-thought-out feature is the ability to view all documents, images, embedded maps, and attached web links from one place.
OneNote follows a different philosophy. First, you need to make a notebook, after which you can add a section for writing notes in it. It may seem confusing at first, but you will get used to it after a while.
OneNote integrates sticky notes that now come with cloud sync with your computer and are good for taking quick notes.
OneNote also allows you to color in notebooks, partitions, and password protect any partition. Just long press on any section and you will be presented with the option of color and lock feature.
The one thing that both apps are missing is tag integration. There is no easy way to find a related note based on tags. OneNote recently promised to roll out a similar feature in the future and we are waiting for its implementation.
Apple Notes provides several options while writing a note. You can add tables, change line types, add bitmaps, add media files, combine diagrams and draw, and so on.
In this area, OneNote is taking the lead by adding voice notes support along with the same options that are available in Apple Notes.
In short, both the apps pretty much offer all the basic editing features in a familiar user interface and should suffice for your use. I’d like to see the ability to change font colors in future updates.
Drawing capabilities remain rich in both apps, but OneNote does not support them for iPhones.
Apple Notes includes drawing tools such as a pencil, brush, pen, and eraser. You can also change the colors and thickness of the tips.
Note: The drawing feature remains inconsistent in OneNote. It’s available on Android and Windows 10 app, but oddly enough, functionality is missing on the iOS platform.
After using the Notes app for a while, it will be populated with many notes and folders. Searching for a particular note can become a paradoxical experience no matter how organized your notes are. Fortunately, OneNote and Apple Notes both offer a powerful search function.
Just search with a related term, and you will be able to find it. OneNote even lets you delete your search history. Simply swipe left on the searched term and delete a word from it.
Sharing is where Apple’s limitations become apparent. You can share the note with someone using their Apple ID or send a note directly via WhatsApp or an email. The share menu allows you to choose from several options such as lock note, convert pdf or send as a simple note.
OneNote goes a step further and lets you share your entire notebook with someone else. You can also send the note via email or any social network. Remember, while sharing a note with the likes of WhatsApp, the app will not send a simple note. Instead, it will create a pdf file and share it on the platform.
Apple Notes does not offer any kind of web clipping functionality while OneNote’s web clipping tool is available in most browsers.
Download OneNote Clipper for your browser, visit any website, choose a clipper option, you can add a bookmark, cut a specific part of a page, and even save the entire article directly in OneNote.
Apple Notes lets you collaborate in Notes by sending an invitation to anyone who’s set up iCloud on a Mac or PC. Once the person accepts the invitation, you can start adding text, images, links, and more to note and track all changes. Note that it may take some time for changes to appear in real time based on iCloud sync cycles.
OneNote users can share notebooks with other team members and work with others on text, spreadsheets, graphics, images, multimedia, and more. All changes made to the project appear in real time. While both offer collaborative features, OneNote gets an extra edge with richer text formatting and support for rich media attachments via Apple Notes.
Compatibility with different platforms
Apple Notes is only available on Apple platforms. You can find it on iOS, macOS, watchOS, and iMessage.
On the other hand, Microsoft offers OneNote on every platform you can think of. OneNote is available on iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Android Wear, Apple Watch, and the web. Its wide platform availability is what gives it a huge advantage over Apple Notes.
Before talking about pricing, you need to understand how sync works on both apps. Apple Notes stores all data in iCloud while OneNote uses OneDrive to back up the data.
All functions are free to use. The premium model starts when you run out of storage space. iCloud and OneDrive both offer 5GB of free storage when you sign up. After reaching the limit, you will need to purchase additional cloud storage to add new notes.
iCloud starts at $1 for 50 GB while OneDrive costs $2 for 50 GB which is enough space for Notes.
Who wears the crown?
For me, the answer is simple. I switch between Android and iOS frequently. My main workstation is a Windows PC. Hence, having access to all my notes at any time is a top priority for me. That’s why OneNote fits my requirements and usage perfectly.
If you use your Mac, iPhone, and iPad heavily, you may be comfortable in the Apple ecosystem with Apple Notes. However, you should give Microsoft OneNote a chance to give it a try if you miss something. Especially the ability to store clips of the site.