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Apple's 'Instant Notes' Is A Must-Have On Your iPhone Or iPad

Lifehacker Australia logo Lifehacker Australia 27/02/2020 David Murphy
Screenshot: David Murphy © Screenshot: David Murphy Screenshot: David Murphy

I’m terrible at taking notes, only because I don’t have one of those fancy Samsung smartphones that lets you draw your thoughts right on the lock screen. Instead, I have to yell at a digital assistant—which sometimes gets it right—or I have to authenticate into my phone, pull up my notes app, start a new note, type in my thoughts, make sure the note saves correctly, et cetera. It’s a process, but one that can be a made a little bit easier by enabling iOS’ buried “Instant Notes” feature.

Turn this on, and you’ll be able to add a quick Notes icon to your iPhone or iPad’s Control Centre. This means you won’t even have to fuss with unlocking your device in order to scribble down a quick thought. You can set your device to automatically pull up the last note you were working on, if you’d rather edit a larger, running list than create a new note each time you tap the button.

To get started, tap on your Settings app and pull up the Control Centre. Tap on Customise Controls, scroll down a bit, and tap on the plus sign next to Notes to add it to your Control Centre.

Screenshot: David Murphy © Screenshot: David Murphy Screenshot: David Murphy

Next, you’ll want to stay in your Settings app, but head back to the primary screen and scroll down until you see the Notes app. Tap on that to access its settings. Scroll down until you see the option to “Access Notes from Lock Screen,” and tap on that.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Screenshot: David Murphy © Screenshot: David Murphy Screenshot: David Murphy

From there, you’ll get one of two options to pick from. Choose wisely:

a screenshot of a cell phone: Screenshot: David Murphy © Screenshot: David Murphy Screenshot: David Murphy

Also, note that you get a number of specific options to adjust if you select “Resume Last Note,” including how long your device should wait before creating a brand-new note—an important security feature, in case someone gets their hands on your device.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Screenshot: David Murphy © Screenshot: David Murphy Screenshot: David Murphy

Once you’ve finished setting up the Notes app, you’ll now be able to swipe down from the upper-right corner of your iPhone or iPad—whether it’s locked or not—and tap the Notes icon to begin writing down your thoughts. The interface is the exact same as Apple’s regular Notes app with one small modification: You won’t be able to access the rest of your iPhone or iPad’s notes unless you authenticate into your device.

a black sign with white text on screen: Screenshot: David Murphy © Screenshot: David Murphy Screenshot: David Murphy

If you’re on an iPad and you happen to have an Apple Pencil, you can also activate your screen and tap twice with the Pencil to automatically pull up Instant Notes—no Control Centre shortcut required

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