The iPad has replaced a lot of things – it’s a TV, it’s a games console, it’s a book, it’s a (huge) device photo, and it’s even a typewriter. But until recently, it has not made a very good alternative to paper. But thanks to the Apple Pencil, and iOS 11, this has changed. Now you can write and draw a note without even unlocking your iPad, and you can search anything you write, like it’s text. Let’s take a look at the notes of the lock screen.
The Apple Pencil Is Essential
If you have tried to take notes on the iPad in the past, you will have encountered some problems. One was that if you used a stylus, your hand would always smear your ink. In other words, every time you put your hand on the screen to write, it means that you touch. You will end up trying to write with your hand on the page to prevent it from touching the paper, just as left-handed people have had to do since we invented lettering from left to right.
Apple’s pencil cures that completely. Whenever you use thr, the iPad ignores the inputs of your hand. This allows you to use the iPad as a sheet of paper, putting your hand as you see fit, without the risk of errant marks. Best of all, the iPad can make the difference between your fingers and your pencil, so it can trigger different actions. The iOS drawing app, for example, Linea Sketch, lets you erase the drawing with one finger, without having to first select an eraser tool.
Then, the Apple pencil is pressure-sensitive, to better reproduce the feel of the pen on paper and can even make different marks depending on the angle at which you hold it. In short, the pencil Apple is a very good computer version of a pencil in wood and graphite. With the Notes application, it’s a great tool.
Notes on the lock screen
The other part of the equation is the notes of the lock screen. This feature (new in iOS 11) lets you create or open a note by simply tapping the Apple Pencil on the lock screen of the iPad. You must first wake up by pressing the Sleep / Wake button or Home button, then simply tap Pencil to display the screen and a new note opens on the screen.
It makes a huge difference to taking notes with the iPad. The previous worst-case scenario was that you had to wake up your iPad, find and open the Notes application, and then tap to create a new note or navigate to the one you were using. Even in the best case, you had to wake the iPad and unlock it, just to get to the note you wrote a moment ago.
It was boring when you used it alone, but if you were in a meeting or in a classroom, it distracted you and others.
The new behavior is almost as good as the pen and the paper. The gadget is that the iPad will open a note even if the iPad is locked with a password. This means that you should never think about unlocking before writing.
If it does not seem so safe, it is not. Even if in reality, anyone wishing to steal your shopping list or doodles must have access to your iPad, as well as your Apple Pencil, this is not really a big deal. You can also access only the note on the lock screen. To open other notes, you will need to authenticate as usual.
There are several settings to customize for the lock screen notes.
Note settings on the lock screen
The settings for the lock screen notes can be found in Settings> Notes> Access Notes on the lock screen. You have two options that can be changed. One is what happens when you tap the lock screen with your Apple Pencil. Off is explicit. Always creating a new note will create a new blank note each time you access the notes on the lock screen. Resume the last note created on the lock screen keeps the same note for a little longer (you can choose the duration), so you can continue working on it.
And picking up the last note displayed in the Notes application will show you the last note you created, whether it was created in the Notes application or created from the lock screen. This can be a security risk. You can therefore choose to require a password after a given period.
The second section of note settings on the lock screen is time. You can set the lock duration of a note or set the delay before creating a new note from the lock screen. I put mine on After Today. This gives me a new note every day, which I can use for tasks to do, shopping lists or anything else I need to note.
Search your notes
Since iOS 11, you have been able to search for handwritten text in your notes. It’s a fantastic feature because it means you can write and draw like paper, but your writing is