Tech Tip: Sorting Notes in macOS and iOS

The Notes app for macOS and iOS is a surprisingly powerful tool for holding text and graphics, creating quick notes, creating small tables of data, sharing information with others, and even capturing quick sketches. By default, the notes are simply ordered by the date that they were last edited (see screenshot below), but for those of us who have a need to keep things in order, it’s nice to know that the Notes app has several options available. The sorting options are available in both the macOS and iOS versions of Notes, so no matter which device you’re using, it’s possible to get your notes in order.

The standard Notes sort order lists Notes by the edit date

The standard Notes sort order lists Notes by the edit date

Changing the sort order of Notes in macOS is quick and simple:

1) Launch the Notes app from Applications or the Dock

2) Select Notes  > Preferences

3) The top item in the Notes Preference window is “Sort notes by”. There are three options for sort order: Date Editing, Date Created and Title (see screenshot below).

Choices for Notes sort order are at the top of the Notes Preferences

(Choices for Notes sort order are at the top of the Notes Preferences.)

4) Select one of the three choices for sort order, and the order of the notes changes. For example, sorting by Title changes the sample list seen in the first screenshot so that the first note is “A Note,” the next is “B Note” and so on. Sorting by creation date always puts new notes at the top of your list of notes, while sorting by edit date places those notes that have been most recently edited at the top of the list.

As you’d probably guess, settings for the sort order of Notes are found in the Settings app on iOS devices.

1) Launch the Settings app

2) Scroll down until you see the section that highlights settings for Apple’s built-in apps like Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Notes…

3) Tap on Notes

4) Under the section titled “Viewing” you’ll see the same “Sort notes by” pop-up menu that’s available in macOS. Tap on “Sort notes by” to see the three choices and select the one you wish to use (see screenshot below):

Sort order choices in the iOS Settings app

(Notes sort order choices in the iOS Settings app.)

Other settings for both the iOS and macOS versions of Notes provide the ability to store notes locally rather than in iCloud (or vice versa), start notes with a heading, title or the body of the note, and add a password to lock notes and keep them safe from prying eyes. In the macOS version, the Preferences window is also where you’ll be able to adjust the default text size for your notes. For iOS, text size is adjusted under Display & Brightness > Text Size, and the size selected is used for all apps that support Dynamic Type.