5 Best Evernote Alternatives


Evernote is a tried and tested note-taking app, but it’s not without its problems. If you’re sick of the restrictive free plan and slow native apps, here are some good alternatives you can try.

Why Ditch Evernote?

Evernote is a feature-rich note-taking app that goes beyond simply recording thoughts and ideas. It’s a household name in note-taking, with an ecosystem of plugins and integrations that make it a powerful tool for personal and professional tasks.

Despite this, Evernote has its drawbacks. The free plan has become highly restrictive and only allows you to sync two devices with no offline access. So you can sync your desktop and smartphone, but not your tablet, and nor can you use the Evernote web version (since that also counts as syncing). You’ll need a constant internet connection to access your notes, which can be a pain when traveling or in areas with no mobile reception.

Evernote for Mac (free plan)

Upgrading to the personal version of Evernote isn’t cheap either, with the app demanding $14.99 per month to remove restrictions, upgrade upload and note size limits, and add additional customization. For many, paying nearly $180 per year for a note-taking app is hard to justify. On top of this, Evernote’s apps can be sluggish and cumbersome compared to some of the alternatives.

The Evernote ecosystem is a bonus for those who use it, and being able to connect to Google Calendar, connect to Outlook, and integrate with Microsoft Teams could be a productivity boon. For many, these features go unused and so there may be better alternatives out there.

Remember: Evernote is a rich note-taking app. It has a huge number of features including the ability to upload within notes, a system of tags, inter-note linking, a notebook organization structure (with collections to combine multiple notebooks), a reminders system, and the ability to “clip” content like a web page. When you’re replacing Evernote, you’ll need to take heed of this feature set to avoid missing out on something you truly depend on.


OneNote is Microsoft’s contribution to the note-taking space, and it’s probably the first app you should consider if you’re moving away from Evernote. Like Evernote, OneNote takes a feature-rich approach to note-taking that should immediately remind you of Evernote. Unlike Evernote, OneNote is available completely free of charge.

You can use and sync OneNote on a huge number of devices, from Windows and Mac computers to both iPhone (iPad) and Android, plus a web version that you can access using a web browser. Notes are organized within notebooks, with further organization possible using sections and pages, plus a system of tags. You can link between notebooks, sections, and pages within notes too.

OneNote for Mac

Notes you take in OneNote can function just like standard notes in any other note-taking app, but Microsoft also allows for a more free-form note-taking experience. You can add elements to notes (like text boxes, tables, images, equations, diagrams, and more) and position them wherever you like within the body of a note. You can invite collaborators to notebooks or individual pages too.

You can also place files (including Word documents) within a note or record audio to accompany your note. Drawing tools allow you to sketch or take handwritten notes on any platform (even using a mouse cursor on a desktop or laptop), and there is a slew of extra productivity features like an immersive reader, password protection, translation, dark mode, versioning, and more.

Learn how to switch from Evernote to OneNote.

Apple Notes

Like OneNote, Apple Notes is another good starting place for Evernote refugees. The note-taking app is packed with features, easy to use, and completely free. Unlike OneNote, Apple Notes is only worth considering if you mostly use Apple products like the Mac, iPhone, and iPad. You can access Apple Notes using the web at iCloud.com, but this is far from the best way of using the note-taking app.

Apple Notes uses folders for organization, with the ability to place folders within folders to create an organizational structure. You can also use tags to organize your Apple Notes simply by typing the tag name (e.g. #homework) somewhere within the note body. Apple Notes is a bit more rigid than OneNote in terms of note design, but it still allows file uploads for popular formats like images, PDFs, and so on.

Apple Notes on macOS

Apple Notes also includes sharing features for collaborating on both individual notes and entire folders, with features like @mentions and summaries of changes. You can lock notes with a password or using Face ID and Touch ID on relevant devices, and take quick notes using a hot corner shortcut on Mac or a Control Center shortcut on iPhone or iPad.

Apple Notes lacks some of the more powerful features and integrations found in other note-taking apps. Being able to link between notes would be nice (you can at least pin certain notes), and there’s little in the way of third-party integrations. But the platform works great natively on the iPhone and Mac, and you can even design Apple Shortcuts that work with Notes.

Learn how to switch from Evernote to Apple Notes.


For some, Joplin is perhaps the closest Evernote alternative on this list. The app looks and functions a lot like Evernote, but there’s one big difference: Joplin is a completely free and open-source project. Joplin syncs your notes between devices (including Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, and Android) using your choice of cloud storage providers like Dropbox or OneDrive, or you can pay for Joplin Cloud (starting at €1.99 per month, just over $2 in USD at the time of writing).

Like Evernote, Joplin takes a feature-rich approach to note-taking. Notes are organized within notebooks, with the ability to nest notebooks within others for organization. You can add tags to your notes using a field at the bottom of each entry, and Joplin supports note attachments for images, videos, PDFs, and audio.

Joplin for macOS

Joplin favors Markdown for formatting purposes, making it ideal for long-form text-based note-taking. You can switch to a more limited rich text editor if you’d rather with a click, and notes can be exported to a variety of formats including HTML and PDF. Notes that you create can be converted into to-do items (and converted back), and you can even set alarms on a per-note basis. Collaboration depends on a Joplin Cloud subscription.

Joplin has a rich database of plugins to expand its functionality. Use these to tweak the UI, add support for more content like sheet music, create backups of your collection, quickly publish notes to the web, and much more. There are themes to choose from, lots of preferences to tweak, support for end-to-end encryption, and a web clipper plugin for Chrome and Firefox.


Obsidian is an Evernote alternative for power-users. The app is free for personal use forever, but you’ll need to pay $8 per month if you want to unlock syncing on your other devices. Obsidian has a learning curve and it’s the sort of app you’re either going to love or hate. It’s best suited to research, education, creative processes, and quickly turning your notes into published works.

Obsidian uses “Vaults” in which to store its data, with nested folders and tags used to further organize notes. A big part of note-taking with Obsidian is creating links between notes, which can then be displayed on a graph that shows the different relationships between your notes. It’s nifty, if not entirely useful.

Obsidian for macOS

You can also lay your notes out on canvasses, which is where the app comes into its own for research and planning. Files can be added to Obsidian and then linked to within notes. These files show up as separate entries within your note structure, though you can reorganize them as you see fit.

Obsidian doesn’t necessarily hold your hand, so you’ll need to consult the Obsidian documentation to figure out how much of it works. The app includes plugins that expand functionality, the ability to create templates, a highly customizable interface and editing experience, and the ability to very quickly publish single notes or an entire vault’s worth of ideas.


Bear is a note-taking app that made quite a splash for its polished UI and clean design when it first arrived on the scene. Bear is free to download and use, but the app isn’t of much use as an Evernote replacement without the Pro upgrade. Pay $2.99 per month (or $29.99 per year) to sync between devices, export to a wide range of formats, access themes, and more.

Though developers have stated that Bear for web is in the works, there are no plans to bring the app to Windows or Android. As such, Bear is only useful to Mac, iPhone, and iPad users. Bear sync takes place exclusively via iCloud, and the app is built purely for Apple’s platforms. As a result, it looks great and functions incredibly well on its native platforms.

Bear Notes for macOS

Bear is another app that uses Markdown for formatting, with the app also supporting in-line image uploads (but not other types of attachments). Bear doesn’t use folders for organization, instead preferring a system of tags that can be added on a per-note basis. You can nest tags to create a folder-like organization structure and customize tag icons with emoji.

There are a handful of themes for Bear Pro subscribers to choose from, and Bear can easily be used to publish in HTML, PDF, and even Word formats. You can create links between notes within Bear, but you can’t collaborate on notes with other Bear users (yet, anyway). Perhaps Bear’s most appealing aspect is its simplicity, and though it’s not free, it’s a lot cheaper than Evernote.

More Note-Taking Apps to Try

There are a few glaring omissions here that usually make it into our best note-taking apps roundup, notably Simplenote and Google Keep. These are quite different from Evernote in terms of the overall feature set and approach.

Google Keep is great when combined with other Google products, while Simplenote is a text-only notes app that doesn’t support attachments or images. Another free and open-source option is the privacy-focused Laverna, which uses markdown formatting.

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