The Redesigned Evernote iPhone App


Several of us at ProfHacker use Evernote (exhibit a, exhibit b, exhibit c), the popular external-brain software. It lets you put all a satisfyingly wide array of information all in one place, and makes it searchable, without a great deal of fuss. And in those earlier posts, we’ve talked a bit about it the iPhone/iPod app for Evernote, which, theoretically, is a big part of its appeal: use the camera, the microphone, or the keyboard to take notes in whatever format you find most appealing. There’s a new version of the app out, and while in general we don’t intend to go version-chasing every time a smartphone app updates, there are some interesting changes this time that are worth mentioning.

Although I use Evernote heavily, the iPhone app has never really worked for me. I love the desktop app, for the ease with which it lets me clip and sort information (this really helps with the Weekend Reading posts, as well as my weekly poetry roundups at Blog of a Bookslut). And I like the iPad app, both for reading that clipped information, and for notetaking during meetings. The main problem with the iPhone app, though, has been the start screen:

Evernote Screenshot

When starting the old version of the app, you were immediately presented with tools for capturing more information. And that’s probably a good thing, since ubiquitous capture is definitely a selling point for Evernote in general. But *for me*, 75% of the time when I open that app, I want to find information, not to capture new stuff. Maybe I’m at the Little League field, and I need the combination for the equipment locker. Maybe I’m at the grocery store and I can’t remember the 6th thing I’m supposed to get. You get the idea. In the old version, you had to tap on “Notes,” wait for the headers to sync, try to find the note you wanted–it wasn’t horrible by any means, but it didn’t feel as though the app fit my desire for an external brain quite as closely as I might’ve wanted.

Evernote has just released a major upgrade to their iPhone and iPod Touch app (the iPad app update isn’t as dramatic), and it addresses many of these concerns. Here’s the home screen in the new app:

Improved Evernote screenshot

For the way I use Evernote, this is awesome: As soon as the app starts, there are snippets of recent notes, a prominent icon for adding new notes, and easy access to my notebooks and to search. This is *exactly* the way I use this app. (Especially for things like the store, where the I’d be able to see, even in the snippet view, the thing that I’m looking for.

Tapping the “new note” icon brings up this nifty editing interface:

Evernote screenshot

The instant you tap that microphone, it starts to record. It is a remarkably seamless implementation.

I’m not sure if it *is* faster, although I think so–and the reorganized interface certainly feels much faster. It’s a great re-thinking of an already useful app. If you’ve tried Evernote before and it didn’t fit your workflow very well, you might consider giving it another look.

Evernote has provided an overview of some of the new functionality:

Do you have a favorite Evernote trick? Let us know in comments!

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