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December 16, 2016

Don’t like Evernote invading your privacy? Try these other note apps

by John_A

Evernote has updated its privacy policy to include some alarming changes, and now users are ditching the note-taking service.

In its latest privacy policy release, unveiled Wednesday, Evernote said its employees sometimes review users’ notes in an effort to improve the company’s machine-learning capabilities, which may include searching with natural language queries. Although users can opt-out of the changes, Evernote employees can still access your data, like with resellers, for sales and delivery requests, and law enforcement, according to ZDNet.

Just take a look at Twitter to see how users are responding to this news. (Hint: They’re not happy.) In response, Evernote CEO Chris O’Neill published a note on Thursday to clarify that employees only view random notes, without any idea who they belong to, etc. Still, if you don’t accept the updated policy, which goes into effect on 23 January 2017, you’re basically left with the option of exporting your data and quitting the service.

Also, Evernote doesn’t encrypt users’ notes by default, which makes them viewable to employees or hackers. While it does encrypt messages in-transit, they’re still readable on the company’s servers. So, even if users aren’t upset about the company peeking at their notes when it receives a legal warrant or to improve its machine learning, users should at least call upon Evernote to enable end-to-end encryption by default.

Or Evernote’s 100 million+ users could just ditch the service altogether. If you choose to go that route, here’s three alternatives.

Microsoft OneNote


Evernote offers some powerful features, such as clipping content from websites, attaching PDFs to notes, drawing and table tools, and more. If you need granular organisational controls like these, consider OneNote by Microsoft. It’s completely free and offers a large feature set, including templates for notes that you customise and the ability to sort notes into tabs and notebooks.

Download: Windows | Mac | iOS | Android | Windows Phone | Web



SimpleNote, which is from the company behind WordPress, is a very basic note-taking app. It lets you save and sync text across devices, and it supports MarkDown for formatting your text. It also lets you scroll through different versions of each note, allows you to publish your work to the web with a simple click, and auto-saves everything on both mobile and desktop. The interface is bare-bones, though; you get a note list, support for tags, and a search function. There’s no ability to clip or merge notes. But it is free – with no usage limits.

Download: Windows | Mac | Linux | Android | Kindle Fire | iOS | Web

Google Keep

If you just want something that lets you jot down your thoughts quickly, and then those notes will auto sync across your devices, Google Keep is a good option. It lets you make notes, lists, and even supports scribbling by hand. You can also recording voice memos and capture images, but the simple interface keeps formatting options at a minimal. You can tag your notes to find them later. Plus, it automatically categorises them by topic. And if you want to clip from the web, you can use a Chrome extension to save pages, text, or images.

Download: Android | iOS | Web | Chrome

Still looking for more alternatives?

Here’s two others you can explore:

Workflowy (compatible with Android, iOS, and web)

Google Docs (compatible with iOS, Android, and web)

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