Bear is back!

The return of the best notes app ever.

Bear is back!

It's a weird time for me and apps. I'm trying to scale back on what I use and I'm trying to favour apps that exhibit some level of simplicity and elegance. For all task managers like Akiflow are amazing, I find myself drawn back to Things right now, because it just seems calmer.

Likewise, I have been experimenting with all kinds on notes apps recently, and I've been variously impressed with all of them. But then, last night, I made an earth-shattering discovery...


OK, not earth-shattering, but you know what I mean.

Bear is a simple, beautifully designed notes app with almost no bells and whistles. It just works, and it does all of the things you NEED a notes app to do and almost none of the things that seem like features, but which you will actually never use. Bear was my primary notes app from 2016, when it launched, through to some time in 2019 when my head was turned by shinier things and I pretty much forgot about Bear for a long time.

I had read that there was a Bear 2 in the works, but I didn’t pay too much attention to it. But last night, as I was contemplating a return to simplicity, it occurred to me to look Bear up. And there it was. Bear 2. A completely re-written app that has been 5 years in the making. This release actually happened back in 2023, but I must not have been paying attention. Bear 2 still looks like Bear, it still smells like Bear. Under the hood, I’m sure it’s different in many ways. But it still feels like the old app and it still works beautifully.

Bear clips from the internet WAY more elegantly and usably than Evernote. It does links as well as Obsidian. It’s design and layout is better than Craft. The iOS and iPad apps are a joy to use (the syncing is rock-solid and everything orks offline). You can insert images, PDFs, weblinks… It’s more than just a notes app, you could happily write a novel in this thing.

And then there are the tags. The organisational system for Bear is so simple, it’s genius. You tag a file. That tag becomes a folder and the file automatically lives in there, alongside anyting else with the same tag. You tag it twice, it’s in two different places. As simple as that.

It’s so great when something just works and all the effort that has gone into it has been directed towards usability and simplicity. Give Bear a try.