Bear: iOS and Mac App for Writing

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Ready for a faster, more elegant alternative to Evernote?

The iOS Bear app has rightly received its share of hype. The “beautiful, flexible writing app for crafting notes and prose” can be used for anything from simple notes and task lists to long-form writing and Web article and PDF clipping.

Bear has a lot in common with Ulysses: both are Markdown-based and feature a three-paned workspace with library, file, and editor access. Here’s what Bear looks like (featuring one of the Pro themes)

 

 

You can pop out individual notes to focus on your writing or reading.

 

 

As with Ulysses, you can also pop out the Markdown panel:

 

 

What sets Bear apart is how you organize your notes. Rather than create folders yourself, you add a tag (and nested sub-tags) to a note, which then moves the note into a “folder” with that tag. There is even an auto-complete option, as you start typing a tag into a note:

 

 

Bear is now in version 1.5 and has received some substantial updates since v. 1.0. One recent feature—which makes scanning the tag list much easier—is “TagCons,” some of which are automatically applied, or you can apply one manually from Bear’s TagCons. Check it out:

 

 

The app looks great on iPhone, too:

 

 

 

There are lots of nice, little touches, like the ability to pin a note to the top of your list:

 

 

Bear is available as a free iOS and macOS app. Pro subscriptions ($1.49/month or $14.99/year, some of the least expensive on the market) allow for access to premium themes, export options, and syncing across devices. Find the app here (iOS) and here (macOS).

There’s also an excellent Website with lots of great support articles and links here.

 


 

Thanks to the folks at Shiny Frog Ltd. for the year’s access to Bear Pro, so I could review the app.

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