Use Notes as a Super Clipboard to Sync Data Between Macs and iOS Devices
Notes has been around in iOS for a while, but it’s new to the Mac with OS X Mountain Lion, and if you think it’s just a place to keep track of a few thoughts you’re greatly underestimating the usefulness of this app. In fact, Notes can function as a powerful cross-platform clipboard, because not only will it store your quick text notes, but Notes can actually store just about anything else too, including images and even documents and files – yes, files like PDF documents, zip archives, and much more.
The best part? Because Notes syncs automatically from Mac OS X to other Macs and iPhone and iPad through iCloud, whatever you put in a Note will end up accessible on your other Macs and iOS devices that are iCloud enabled. Sound good? It is, and it’s so easy to use that you can get started instantly:
- Launch Notes in Mac OS X (found in /Applications/) and create a new note
- Paste virtually anything from the clipboard into a note to store it there, including images, text blocks, and files
- Drag & drop files from the OS X Finder directly into Notes to add a file
- Open files with a double-click directly from Notes, just like it was in the filesystem, and it will launch into it’s default app
The notes are instantly accessible with full contents from other Macs. After the note has synced with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you can see the the text notes from iOS too. There is a limitation on viewing all data from the iOS side, since rich note formats are (currently) not entirely viewable on the iOS side.
The video embedded below demonstrates how easy it is to drag files and paste images into a Notes file, which are then automatically synced around between all your other Apple gear:
You must have iCloud set up to use the same Apple ID on each device that you want Notes to sync between, whether it’s a Mac, iPad, iPod, or iPhone. If you’re having any issues with the syncing, be sure to check that out first, and be sure iCloud is enabled.
You will find that not all image content is going to sync everywhere, specifically between a Mac and iOS device, because the iOS based Notes apps do not support direct image embedding. That is almost certainly a limitation that will be lifted soon as the iOS Notes app gains support for images and multimedia content, but for the time being do be aware that images, video, and multimedia content will sync best between Macs for the time being.