Once upon a time you’d see me clutching my trusty Filofax in one hand and cappuccino in the other. Today, not much has changed and the Filofax has been replaced by my iPhone 7plus and the cappuccino has become a cup of tea.

Mobile first

I live on my phone first and MacBook Air second, with the old Windows games / workstation a distant third. Why would I prefer a comparatively tiny touch screen to a massive one and physical keyboard? Simple, because it’s always where I need it and ready to accept input or connect me to other people.

Take this article for example, I am sitting on a train during my commute and there is neither space nor opportunity in the cramped conditions to whack out a laptop and start typing. While the phone fits everywhere at anytime, my laptop does not. So I am typing this into my phone, paragraphs at a time as inspiration strikes. Or later, I am in a pub waiting for friends and use the spare moment to edit this article.

Which neatly leads me to the point of this musing: where to keep such words?

Writing and note taking apps

I use Evernote, Notion amongst other apps day to day but have not found them perfect. Going back to my Filofax, it worked because it was flexible and had everything. I could jot down notes, check my diary, look up details. While you could say Evernote and Notion are somewhat feature complete, they are also bulky and often lack one or two key features – on mobile.

Take Notion for example, where you can do everything but you can’t export pages on mobile. They may introduce it soon – maybe. So how would you export this post to your blog? (No, you cannot copy and paste all – only paragraphs)

Evernote let’s you export pages but sucks when editing because of its awful editor. Why it doesn’t support Markdown yet I will never know. I also dislike its interface and generally feel using it awkward.

Enter Bear Writer, while not cross platform or web based, it iss delightfully straight forward and keeping things simple without lacking features. It is available for iOS and Mac from free or for a small subscription and syncs with iCloud.

I value how I can just use it jot down notes, to writing fully fletched articles with images and such then export it as Markdown or HTML or whatever. I can clip links or even full copies of web pages. I can easily use tags or choose not to. I can rely on it saving my work anytime and have no sync conflicts.

Most importantly though, it just works… really well on mobile, for which it was designed. It may not be all singing or dancing but it doesn’t require a manual or helpdesk to use. Just pick it up and go.


I am not paid to write this nor affiliated with the creators of Bear Writer, Shiny Frog.

Bear Writer app is available on iOS only.