by James A. Martin

Evernote for iOS Gets New Features to Streamline Note Taking

Nov 12, 20122 mins

Popular iOS note-taking app Evernote received a significant revamp, with the goal of making it easier to access and create notes. blogger James A. Martin likes the new interface but warns that devoted Evernote users might not. Here's why.

Evernote is an app that many people are very passionate about. The free notetaking app, which is available for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone, has a strong following among those who depend on it as an “external brain” to help collect and organize scraps of information and then sync that info across multiple devices. An entire ecosystem of apps and software work with Evernote, too.

Late last week, a brand-new version of Evernote was released for iOS (but not yet for the other mobile platforms). The new Evernote version 5.0 sports a redesigned home screen meant to make finding and creating notes quicker and easier. The home screen is divided between “Quick Note” buttons for quickly adding new text, photos or scanned documents, and a folder-like view for fast navigation to “All Notes,” “Notebooks,” “Tags” and “Places.” iPad users also get a “Recent Notes” view that lets you easily jump to a note you’ve reviewed, created or updated.

Evernote 5 screen shot iOS

I’ve never been a regular Evernote user; I rely more on Springpad and Catch, two similar apps. Both of these apps offer some form of notebook sharing for collaboration at no charge, while that feature is limited to Evernote’s premium edition ($5 a month or $45 a year). Even so, the new Evernote home screen feels more inviting and better organized than in past versions, so I’m willing to give this update another try.

A quick look at Evernote version 5’s reviews in the Apple iTunes store might give devoted Evernote users pause, however. One reviewer rated Evernote 5 only one star and wrote: “This new version is a total mess. The horrible card interface on the main screen makes it harder to switch between views and tries to upsell the premium account I already have. The ‘favorite’ notes don’t sync between my devices like literally everything else does.”

Another user who gave the new version one star wrote: “I am not a big fan of the redesign. It now takes more time to do what I want to do. For example, it takes 3 taps now to switch between notes where it only took one before. Why does Evernote keep taking great software and making it worse?”

I don’t agree with those two reviewers. Then again, I’ve not been a devoted Evernote user. And as I mentioned, people are passionate—positively and negatively—about Evernote.