Evernote: The Best Free iPhone App

I could almost go so far as to say that Evernote is the best free app period, iPhone or otherwise. In Evernote’s case, it’s iPhone app and otherwise, seeing as it also works via a desktop app (both Windows and Mac OS), Firefox add-on, regular web, mobile web and email.

Evernote has many fans, many vocal fans, so I suppose I’m just joining the choir, but it’s a choir worth joining. At the same time, when I’ve sung the praises of Evernote to my friends and colleagues, I’ve struggled to articulate exactly what it’s good for. There are so many possible uses of Evernote, and I’ve only scratched the surface. Here’s what I use it for…

  • Organizing my wine list. I take a snapshot of each label with my iPhone or grab the description from the K & L Wines website (the best wine shop in SF, with an amazing website to boot). Evernote can read text in the images(!), so the labels are searchable.
  • Taking notes in meetings. Afterwards, my notes are tagged and searchable, and because Evernote syncs, my notes are immediately accessible across all my devices.
  • Keeping track of ideas. When I think of something I want to blog about, I’ll create a note in Evernote and tag it accordingly. Then I’ll build on it over time, adding more notes and often a few bookmarks and things clipped from web pages.
  • Planning a vacation. Leading up to my recent trip to New Zealand, I scribbled a rough itinerary down in my notebook, snapped a picture of it and saved it into Evernote. Even my sloppy handwriting was (mostly) searchable. Then, as I booked various activities and intra-country trips, I clipped the important bits (contact info, dates, confirmation numbers) from their webpages and saved these too. As I travelled, all of this was at my fingertips.
  • Local business info. I use Evernote to store the contact info, menus and other info germane to the businesses I use – or want to.
  • Recipes. I’ll grab a recipe off Epicurious or even snap a picture of a page in one of my cookbooks, and then I’ll access it at my girlfriend’s house – on my iPhone or her laptop – to make us dinner (her kitchen is much nicer than mine).
  • Whiteboards. Snapping pictures of a cluttered whiteboard after a meeting is nothing new, but when you do it with Evernote, your scrawlings are searchable!
  • Business cards. Who needs a fancy card scanner when you can snap a picture of a business card and save it into Evernote? Better integration with Address Book would be nice.
  • House hunting. I can take a picture of a house I see and/or the agent’s contact info (on the sign). Once it’s in Evernote, I can map it (Google maps) with one click, and the note is geo-tagged with the location (if I allow this on my iPhone).

There are lots of possibilities, like auto-forwarding your email to Evernote and dragging all your PDFs into it, and all kinds of other uses like those mentioned here.

Apparently, Evernote has been around a while, beginning with a desktop app. The iPhone app is where it hit its stride. It’s reported more than half of its half million users interact with it via their iPhone. I’m not sure I would have embraced it without iPhone support.

OK, I’m done rhapsodizing.

There are a handful of things I wish Evernote did better, but the only big thing on my wishlist is better offline support.

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