Bear: Beautiful Note Taking App for iPhone, iPad and Mac

Developer Tools

January 7th, 2017

I am a fiddly writer. I store all of my written prose as text files in Dropbox. Not only are my writings saved for many future generations, but I am not locked into any particular writing ecosystem. I can switch between various writing apps (which happens often) with ease. Hopefully, these small details on how I personally approach an app like Bear is useful to you when you need to decide if it’s worth believing me. Now, onward.

You can’t move your mouse in the Mac App Store without hitting a distraction-free writing app. I originally thought that’s what I was getting with Bear. I was wrong.

When you first click on it’s playfully subtle red and white icon, you see a simple app that looks incredible. When you first tap out a short note in Bear is when you realize this app isn’t just well designed, It’s handcrafted software everyone can use.

Bear is simple but surprisingly deep. For instance, Bear has it’s own writing syntax that is similar but not exactly the same as John Gruber’s Markdown. I found this peculiar at first but after poking around in the settings I found that Bear contains an option that will force it to abide by the Markdown syntax instead.

Bear contains just enough features to get a fiddly writer like myself ready to go. One of my favorite features is the ability to link to other notes within the app with ease. This makes it possible to do all sorts of things, from stringing together a series of notes about various projects all the way up to writing a book.

There’s also a simple but surprisingly extendable tags systems that makes it easy to organize all kinds of writings. You can put all of your written words into Bear without the fear of losing them.

The most impressive thing about Bear isn’t even a feature at all. It’s the pricing structure. It’s free to download on Mac and iOS. You can get syncing if you subscribe to Bear Pro which is $1.49 per month or $14.99 per year. This is one of the most affordable subscriptions I’ve seen for an application of this caliber. I am very impressed the developers have launched Bear in this way.

If you like fussy coffee, quality leather shoes, or a handmade desk, then you’ll like Bear. It’s handcrafted software that anyone can use.

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Reagan Knopp is a tech and Apple enthusiast. He appreciates a good cup of coffee, well-designed software, and a symmetrical logo. When he's not writing for Laravel News, he designs websites and digital advertising for his non-profit, business, and political clients at Knopp & Company. He enjoys spending his free time playing video games and board games with his wife and going on adventures together with their new puppy.