The Evernote Exodus

One of the most important, yet simplest, tasks that do every day is to take notes. While this probably isn’t the right post to discuss exactly how many hours of my life is spent in meetings, note-taking has easily become one of the single most critical tasks for my computing needs. This need is ubiquitous for me, it doesn’t really matter if I am on the MacBook or the iPad Pro or the iPhone — I need my “backup brain” with me.

The concept of a “backup brain” is one I’ve been thinking about in various forms over the years, but generally it’s a place to store all your random thoughts, web clippings, important facts, bookmarks, and pretty much everything possible. The tools I’ve experimented with have varied over the years from personal wiki’s (VoodooPad) to OneNote to almost any and every tool I could find.

Then 3 years ago, I discovered Evernote — and since then my workflow, my world, has centered around it.

  • Taking notes in a meeting? Evernote.
  • Long term archive of articles? Evernote.
  • Shopping lists? Packing lists? Evernote.
  • Scanned file storage? Evernote.
  • Commonplace Book? Evernote.
  • Evernote, Evernote, Evernote.

While Evernote wasn’t perfect — it basically accomplished what I wanted — a place for me to store notes in a manner where I could find it quickly and easily. On whatever device/computer I used.

And still for some odd reason, every year, I’ve continued to look for a replacement. I’m not sure why — perhaps it was the integration of their silly “work chat” feature. Or the fact that I was paying for another premium service. Or, perhaps it is just the constant drive that I have to keep simplifying my workflow.

The final push for me though was the pricing changes this past month. I was a premium customer for the last 3 years and $70/yr just felt wrong to me. I’m not the only one — lots of backlash here and here.

Migration to Notes

I finally pulled the trigger and migrated the thousands of notes out of Evernote this past week and into Apple Notes. It’s pretty easy to do — Export a series of notes out of the desktop Evernote application using the “Evernote XML Format”, then just import it into Notes directly. There is a great article describing the process as well.

  • Is Apple Notes as feature rich as Evernote? Nope.
  • Does it matter? Nope.
  • Is my workflow simplified? Yes.

And that in the end, is what matters most to me.

Update 12.19.16

Evernote has further angered people by releasing, and now backtracking from a new privacy policy. I am now fully off of Evernote, and have no plans on looking back.

User data must be treated as a liability, and not an asset.