Jot - Notes & Todos ($1.99) by Things That Are Brown is a no-fuss app for taking quick notes and nothing else. In a way, it's the antithesis to Collections, which is another recently released app that I've enjoyed. With Jot, you get quick text and basic lists, nothing more and nothing less.
When it comes to remembering things, I usually end up just jotting everything down on my phone somewhere. For years, I've been using Drafts for all of my note-taking needs, since the app quickly captures and allows you to do a multitude of actions with the text afterwards. I know others who just use Apple's default Notes app, and that's all fine and dandy, but maybe neither of them are for you. After all, one can be rather complicated, and the other is simple enough but has that weird paper texture thing going on, which can be distracting. What if you want an app that is completely distraction-free and super easy to use and has no bells-and-whistles to worry about? Then my friends, Jot - Notes & Todos is the answer.
Jot has a cute and simple icon, and once you tap it, you're taken to a barebones interface that is designed to get out of your way. You'll find the main screen is a list of existing notes, and a button in the bottom right corner (reminiscent of the "New Task" button in Things 3) lets you add a note with ease. Swiping horizontally on notes in the list reveal actions, and the omnipresent search bar at the top means you can search through your notes at any given moment. On the initial launch, there's a brief tutorial that shows you the ropes, but honestly, the app is so straightforward it's not needed and can be skipped through. Seriously, Jot is incredibly effortless to use, and perfect if that's what you're looking for. It's like dealing with a digital piece of paper that's always ready for you at any given moment.
By default, there's a few introductory notes waiting for you in the main screen. These notes pretty much give you the instructions on how to create a new note, take action on existing ones, and how to use the search. It's easy and there's no hassle involved.
If you swipe left on a note, it reveals the Pin and Archive actions. Pinning makes a note stick to the top so it never gets pushed down in the list, and Archive is for when you're done with a particular note. Even if a note is in the Archive, you can still search for it with the search bar, as the app looks through all text in notes.
When you swipe right, it reveals actions you can take with the text inside of the note itself. You can copy all of the text to paste somewhere else, or share it using the iOS Share Sheet. One nice touch about Jot is the fact that if you swipe and pull the note enough, it defaults to the action on the outside once you release your finger, meaning it's either copied or archived. If you want to share or pin, just swipe enough to reveal the actions in the drawer, and then tap to select.
When you need to create a new note, just tap on that big purple button. You'll find yourself in the note editing screen, which features it's own typewriter-like mode, so that the text shows up in the middle of the screen, pulling in your eye focus. When you move into the next line, or enter those line breaks, your current text just gets pushed up, and the cursor still remains in the center. It's distraction-free at its finest, and I also like the thicker cursor, as it feels more solid than many thinner counterparts I've seen.
Jot is also capable of simple to-do lists. To turn your note into a todo list with checkmarks, just tap on the checkmark toggle box. The clock button allows the app to remind you about your note or list with a few options, ranging from "Soon" to "Tomorrow" or "In a week" or a custom reminder date and time. According to Jot, "Soon" is considered one hour from now.
The search bar in Jot allows users to search their notes for anything, including archived notes. Just type in the words you're looking for, and Jot shows results in real-time. It's fast, responsive, and comprehensive since it searches through all text.
Jot is designed to be simple, barebones, and easy to use. You can access the settings by tapping on the notepad button in the top right corner. This brings up a menu with a few options, like autocorrect, auto-archiving of completed lists, launching in the compose screen by default, and requiring Touch or Face ID for authentication for access to the app. There's no syncing options or extra things to worry about, such as titles or manual saves.
Jot is perfect for those who want a simple and fast, distraction-free note-taking app without the fuss.
Jot lives up to its name — it's an no-fuss app that lets you quickly dump your ideas, notes, and other text quips, then get back out and carry on with your day. It's fast, simple, and has enough features to make typing easier, without being overwhelming. The swipe-based gestures mean you can take action on a note quickly, and being able to have basic todo lists with reminders is nice.
While Jot is good for what it is, this definitely won't appeal to everyone. The lack of syncing options could be a big drawback for certain people, even though Jot wasn't designed to be a long-term text editor or note app. It's for quick things you need to jot down, and then you copy the text for elsewhere while archiving it in Jot.
Also, the lack of titles could be an issue for some, and it's impossible to have a mix of basic text and list in one note. If you want a list, it's all or nothing here. So if you were looking to make a titled list, that's too bad — you just have to live with an untitled list here.
Another thing to note is the fact that longer notes appear truncated i n the note list, and there's no 3D Touch to peek and pop a note. This would be a perfect addition to the app to make it easier to view longer notes. And if you have phone numbers, emails, addresses, or URLs, they aren't clickable within Jot itself. While I understand that Jot is geared towards simple text only, having the option to launch other apps directly from within Jot saves a lot of trouble.
I love using my phone to take notes and write, so naturally I had to give Jot a try for myself. While I can see the use case for it, I don't think Jot will be replacing Drafts for me. This is simply because I prefer an app that has a way to save my data in the cloud, as I use it as my notepad for everything I need to reference later. And what if something happens to my phone and I didn't copy the text out of Jot? It might end up gone forever, and I don't want to take that chance.
However, if you're looking for a simple app for quick notes and lists, complete with reminders, and don't need iCloud or Dropbox syncing, then Jot may be for you. If my workflow was different, then this app may have worked for me.