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How to Use Tags in Apple Notes on iPhone and Mac

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The default Notes app on iPhone and Mac adopts a folder/subfolder style for organizing notes. That’s changed with iOS 15 since Apple introduced tags for note-taking apps on iPhone, iPad, and Mac to organize your notes. Here’s how to use tags in the Apple Notes app.

With the latest Notes app on Apple hardware, the company is stealing Evernote’s best features for organizing notes on iPhone and Mac. If you’re on the fence about switching from Evernote or Bear to Apple Notes, now is the ideal time to make the leap.

At first, Apple’s implementation seems basic but dig a little deeper, and you’ll see a secret weapon called Smart Folders that takes the entire logging experience of the organization to the next level. Let’s talk about everything in detail.

Add Tags in Apple Notes on iPhone and Mac

True to Apple style, all Notes features are available on all platforms, including iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. In the screenshot below, we’re using the Notes app from the iPhone. You can expect the same functionality on iPad and Mac.

Notes: The tag function in the Apple Notes app is available on iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS 12.0 Monterey. They are currently in beta. You can download the relevant OS on the main machine at your own risk or wait for Apple to release a stable version this fall.

With the above notes in mind, let’s get started.

Step 1: Open the Notes app on your iPhone.

Step 2: Open any note or create a new note from scratch.

Step 3: While writing notes, you can generate relevant #tags to find them quickly.

In the screenshot below, we’ve added the #GT and #Writing tags to identify the relevant notes.

Step 4: As soon as you add a tag, you’ll see a Notes section on creating a Tag on the Folders page.

The tag appears under iCloud, Gmail, and Outlook notes in the app. Tap on the little arrow icon and you can expand tags.

Here, you’ll see all the tags you created in Apple Notes. Tap All Tags and expand the tag list. Here’s what the tags look like in Apple Notes for Mac.

Organizing Notes with Tags in Apple Notes

Open your Notes in Apple Notes and start adding relevant tags to each note. If you add too many tags, it will be difficult for you to find relevant notes from the tags menu.

Unfortunately, there is no way to set tags via nested tags. This is a term popularized by the Bear notes app on the iPhone. It allows users to create sub-tags under the main tag.

For example, one can create a primary Finance tag and add Crypto, Budget, Bank and similar finance related tags below it. Maybe Apple is saving it for future updates? We will see later.

How to Remove Tags in Apple Notes

Unfortunately, there’s no way to remove a tag from the Apple Note sidebar or the tags menu on the iPhone.

You have to open the relevant notes and remove the tags one by one. Only then will you see the tag disappear from the Apple Notes app.

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How to Create a Smart Folder Based on Tags

This is the killer feature of Apple Notes. You can create folders and add notes in them automatically based on tags. Sounds interesting, right? Here’s how to use Smart Folders in Apple Notes.

Step 1: Open the Apple Notes app on your iPhone.

Step 2: Tap the create folder option at the bottom.

Step 3: Select the New Smart Folder option.

Step 4: Name the relevant folder and select the tag below it.

Step 5: Press Done at the top.

Apple Notes will create a Smart Folder for you. This is different from other folders in the Notes app. You will see a small gear icon next to the folder indicating that it is a Smart Folder.

As soon as you add the specified tag in any note, Apple Notes will automatically add it to the created Smart Folder. Neat, isn’t it? The possibilities are endless here and we can see this function saving countless hours of manual labor moving notes between folders in Apple Notes.

Organize Notes Like a Pro

Apple has finally taken default apps seriously with the latest OS update. On the surface, tags might look like a small add-on, but add Smart Folders to the mix and you can see how end users are really enjoying it with this new addition to the Notes app.

Last updated on August 6, 2021
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