5 Reasons to Ditch Evernote (And How to Migrate Your Notes Elsewhere)
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I use Evernote on an almost daily basis. While the service is clearly doing some things right, I’m getting increasingly fed up with some of the limitations. What’s more, the company isn’t doing much to make me want to upgrade my account.

So I’m thinking about switching to something else. I don’t make great use of some of the app’s most powerful integrations, and a simpler solution could offer more flexibility in the areas I value most.

Today I’m going to take a look at some of those frustrations, and how they stack up against the competition.

1. Evernote Free Is Severely Limited

Evernote Basic Option

When I use a service for free, I don’t expect the world. But when Evernote cracked down on free accounts Evernote Free vs. Paid: Which Plan Is Right for You? Evernote Free vs. Paid: Which Plan Is Right for You? Should you upgrade from Evernote's Basic to it paid Plus or Premium plan? We show you who will benefit from the paid plan and when you should not bother. Read More back in 2016, they neutered the service for a large number of lightweight users. The company is well within their rights to do this, but whichever way you spin it the free option is no longer competitive.

Microsoft’s OneNote is free for all users. Apple Notes, should you be using iPhones and Macs, has improved exponentially since the company started revamping the app in 2017. Simplenote might be, well simple, but it’s always been free and there’s an app for just about every platform out there.

Evernote has clearly positioned itself as a premium product. That means it’s no longer a convincing choice for free users. The free version feels more like a free trial than a longterm solution. The biggest issues for those unwilling to cough up are:

  • An app limit of two devices per account. For example, your Mac and your iPhone, but not your Android tablet.
  • No access to your notes while browsing offline. Better hope your mobile reception doesn’t drop out!
  • A 60MB upload limit per month. Not an issue for those who use only text, but if you’re archiving PDFs, images, business cards and so on you’ll fill it up fast.
  • No email forwarding into Evernote. Previously a standout feature of the Web 2.0 era.

2. Evernote Premium Is Expensive

Evernote Pricing

There are two tiers available to Evernote users: Basic and Premium. Basic is free and includes all the limitations above. It’s fine for very light users, but there are some glaring omissions from the feature list that Evernote used to throw in for free.

Premium is an $89.99 per year (or $9.99 per month) service. For that you’ll get 10GB of new uploads every month, no device restrictions, the ability to search inside attached documents, offline access to your notes, email forwarding, PDF annotation, a presentation wizard, and a business card digitizer.

Many of those features, like PDF annotation and presentation mode, are completely lost on me and do not make compelling upgrades. Similarly, I could get a year’s subscription to Office 365 for $10 more ($99.99 yearly), shared with up to five family members while bathing in 1TB of OneDrive storage each. Evernote just doesn’t seem worth it by comparison.

The company used to offer an intermediate plan called Evernote Plus for around half the price, but that option is now absent. It’s all or nothing if you want to use Evernote now, and I’m being pushed in favor of “nothing.”

3. Evernote Still Lacks Some Premium Features

For its premium price tag, Evernote is still missing a few obvious premium features. Top of the list for me (and you may disagree) is markdown support. I don’t do any writing in my note-taking software, but I probably would if I could. Markdown support would help immensely in this regard.

It’s also not possible to lock individual notes. You can apply a lock to your mobile apps, which required a passcode or TouchID authentication on an iPhone, every time you return to the app. You can’t passcode protect notes across all platforms, on a per-note basis. Apple Notes has had this feature for a long time, so why hasn’t Evernote followed suit?

The seems to have put a lot of effort into developing features that I’m not interested in instead. There are separate apps for scanning documents The 7 Best Mobile Document Scanner Apps The 7 Best Mobile Document Scanner Apps You don't need a scanner if you have a smartphone! With these Android, iOS, and Windows apps scanning is at your fingertips. Scan, save to PDF, and be done. Read More , annotating screenshots, and creating handwritten notes with your iPad Enhance Your Note-Taking With the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro Enhance Your Note-Taking With the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro With these tips and tricks, you can really get the most out of your Apple Pencil and iPad Pro. Read More . There’s a web clipper which I never use, and Work Chat which serves no purpose for the solitary note-taker.

I’d be far more inclined to plump for the premium option if the company was focusing on improving the core functionality of the service with note-taking features, rather than widening the ecosystem. Of course, this is a reflection of how I use the service so your own mileage may vary.

4. Evernote Apps Are Frustrating to Use

I’ve noticed the Mac app slow down considerably in the time I’ve been using the service. Despite this, the iPhone app is what causes me the most frustration. After reinstalling the app on multiple occasions in a bid to fix it, Evernote seems to constantly fall out of memory on iOS.

As an example, switching between Evernote and two or three other apps causes the note I was browsing to disappear entirely. I’m dumped back into the search engine, where I have to find the note all over again. This doesn’t happen with Apple Notes, nor does it happen with anywhere near as much frequency in other apps.

Lastly, I’ve had to revoke microphone permission from Evernote on iOS purely because the “record voice note” button is so easy to tap by mistake. It’s right there above my home button, and it destroys your free upload quota if the file gets sent to the server.

Evernote Microphone Access

If it sounds like I’m grumbling, you’re right. I’ve used the service for long enough that I now audibly sigh when I have to search for a note again, delete a voice recording I never wanted, or have the Mac app slowly chug its way through a search.

5. Free Evernote Alternatives Are Plentiful

Maybe you don’t share any of my frustrations. That doesn’t mean Evernote is the be-all and end-all of note-taking. Well, not anymore anyway. There are plenty of convincing Evernote alternatives The Best Alternatives to Evernote You Need Today The Best Alternatives to Evernote You Need Today Has Evernote's recent price increase and two-device restriction for the free plan disturbed your note-taking workflow? Then, it's time to take another look at some of the best Evernote alternatives. Read More to choose from, many of them premium products also.

Microsoft OneNote is probably the closest thing you’ll get to an Evernote clone. It’s free for everyone, with no Office 365 subscription required. You get a total of 5GB storage shared with your OneDrive account and no device restrictions. There’s a web clipper, integration with services like WordPress and IFTTT, and an app for all platforms.

Note added to OneNote using Cortana

Simplenote will satisfy you if you’re a text-only purist. There are no storage limits, no device limits, and no fees to pay whatsoever. You can’t attach media, so you’re going to have to find another way to organize your receipts and expenses How to Track Expenses and Receipts for Tax Season How to Track Expenses and Receipts for Tax Season Use these tips and the right expense tracking software to record, organize, and manage your personal and business expenses. Stay prepared for tax day. Read More .

Apple Notes is another worthy competitor, but you’ll need Apple devices in order to make decent use of it. There is no Apple Notes app for Windows or Android, but you can use it via the web at iCloud.com. It’s a simple note-taking app, with attachments, folders, locking, and built-in document scanning to boot.

Bear Notes Tags

Bear is a compelling option for Mac and iOS users who are displeased with Apple’s free option. The core service is free or you can pay $15 every year to lift device restrictions, data exporting, and new themes. It looks like a cleaner version of Evernote 10 Reasons Why Bear Notes Is Better Than Apple Notes 10 Reasons Why Bear Notes Is Better Than Apple Notes Bear is an excellent note-taking app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Here are several reasons it wins the Bear Notes vs. Apple Notes battle. Read More , it’s fast, it includes markdown support and a focus on typography that will please writers.

But there’s more to it than this small selection. We’ve rounded up unique note-taking apps for Apple users Forget Apple Notes: 5 Unique Note-Taking Apps for Mac Forget Apple Notes: 5 Unique Note-Taking Apps for Mac Looking for a better note-taking app for Mac? Don't settle for Apple Notes! Give one of these unique note apps a try instead. Read More , the best free Android note-taking apps What Is the Best Free Note-Taking App for Android? What Is the Best Free Note-Taking App for Android? If you want to take notes on your Android smartphone or tablet, you need one of these apps. Read More , and productivity solutions for Linux users Productivity on Linux: 7 Apps for Note-Taking Productivity on Linux: 7 Apps for Note-Taking Here are seven different applications you can use to write notes and increase your productivity in Linux. Often there are web versions available, but we'll instead focus on alternative desktop applications you can use. Read More too.

How to Export Your Evernote Contents

You can export your Evernote contents using a desktop version for Mac or Windows. Ultimately the app you’re replacing Evernote with will determine how best to go about this. The best way is to export notes notebook-by-notebook by right-clicking an individual notebook and choosing Export Notes in the ENEX format.

Evernote Export

If you’re switching from Evernote to OneNote, there is a process to migrate from Evernote to OneNote Migrating From Evernote to OneNote? Everything You Need to Know! Migrating From Evernote to OneNote? Everything You Need to Know! OneNote is one of the best alternatives to Evernote and it's free. We'll show you how OneNote is different and show you the tools to migrate smoothly. Read More . For Evernote to Apple Notes, we have this guide to help you switch Thinking of Switching From Evernote to Apple Notes? Here's How Thinking of Switching From Evernote to Apple Notes? Here's How Apple has a free notes app, and it received a rather substantial overhaul with iOS 9 and El Capitan. But should you ditch Evernote for it? That depends. Read More . Since rival apps want to make it as easy as possible for you to make the switch, each should provide a relatively simple way of doing this in the relevant documentation.

Evernote Is Still a Powerhouse

If I’ve not convinced you that the grass is greener, that’s great. You clearly value some of the features I never look twice at. Maybe you’re happy to pay a small amount each month because you prefer Evernote’s way of doing things. More power to you.

But simply using a service because you’re used to it, missing out on better functionality, as a result, is doing yourself a disservice. It’s always a good idea re-evaluate your tools and habits in the name of increased productivity A No-Excuse Productivity Guide for Unproductive People A No-Excuse Productivity Guide for Unproductive People All of us underestimate our productivity from time to time. These apps will help you overcome mental obstacles and achieve your optimum productivity. Read More . And if Evernote is no good, why not try Google Keep Google Keep vs. Evernote: Which Note Keeping App Is Best for You? Google Keep vs. Evernote: Which Note Keeping App Is Best for You? Confused between Google Keep and Evernote? We compared the two to help you decide which one is best for you. Read More ?

Explore more about: Apple Notes, Bear Notes, Evernote,

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  1. Martin
    September 11, 2018 at 6:56 am

    I'm actually considering switching back to Evernote (or maybe some alternative).

    I switched from EN to ON a few years back, but I found out that I don't use it much. There's just something about ON that makes me reluctant to use it even after all those years. ON sync is terrible and slow (even bugged all my notebooks once)! Also the content organization in ON seems not to work for me very well - though this is just personal preference. While I like some features of ON, I just can't get myself to use it much (before, when I used EN, I didn't have this "problem").

    One thing I like a lot about ON is it's "canvas" approach to notes. But that's about it - and it's not bug proof either.

    2. About the pricing - there is also a PLUS plan that is much cheaper and has most options a regular/advanced user would use.

    3. Markdown? seriously? who would want to write extra symbols around the text when you can just hit a keyboard shortcut to make it bold/italic/whatever... If anything, it's faster than markdown. I actually don't see why it would be impossible for you to write in EN. It has pretty much all formatting options - except headlines, which I'm missing too.

    I agree with the poor note locking options though.

    -

    While ON is definitely not perfect, I realized over the years of using it (or trying to use it) that I kept thinking about switching back to EN. I'm still looking though as I have my own issues with EN.

    • Martin
      September 11, 2018 at 7:22 am

      Just found a Zoho notebook. Windows app is not finished yet, but it looks like an interesting alternative.

  2. Skully
    August 28, 2018 at 5:01 am

    I have tried so many note taking apps and whilst Evernote has flaws, others are much much worst.

    One note sync is the most painful and I have lost countless notes and information. The webclipper is a deal breaker and Onenote and Evernote are the only one providing the service. I guess it depends your working style, what you need the app for and how much you are willing to invest.

    One last thing: always be wary of free services.

    • Darryl Brooks
      September 6, 2018 at 7:44 pm

      Agree. I've been with Evernote for 10 years, and every few years, I try the competition, if for nothing else, as a safety net. OneDrive is painful to use. The sync and interaction with OneDrive is confusing. And while it is free, if you go over the data limit, and most hardcore Evernote users would, OneDrive is no longer free. So saying an app is free when you have to pay to store the data is misleading. EN is far from perfect and is very frustrating. But I haven't found anything better, and believe me, I've tried.

  3. Guillermo
    August 23, 2018 at 1:57 am

    Thank you for the insights, finally an easy way to move he notes to OneNote got me to ditch Evernote and save some cash.

  4. John
    August 22, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    While they (Evernote) will readily state that your data is encrypted, this isn't entirely true. While your information is in transit between their servers and your device, the data is encrypted (TLS/SSL), and the storage being used on their servers is encrypted.
    But, the storage is decrypted in order for Evernote to access it and your data is in the clear to read for anyone with any amount of proper access at Evernote. Basically, they've protected your data from someone being able to read it if they randomly gained access to the Evernote Storage (disks).

  5. Carl Dean Cox
    August 22, 2018 at 1:58 am

    I bought into the hype surrounding Evernote about eight years ago, and paid for a year of premium. The nightmare started almost immediately: the web clipper stopped working, the standalone Windows app stopped working, and worst of all, I encountered what is quite possibly the most toxic on-line community I've ever encountered. Every single post I made about the problems with Evernote was met with snide and condescending belittlement from the "evangelists" who consider any criticism of Evernote to be heresy. I was basically told that I should be glad that Evernote deigned to take my money, and that it was unreasonable to expect everything to work a hundred percent of the time. When I countered with what I expect from a product that I am actually paying for, my posts were deleted and I was banned. It was the weirdest experience I've ever had with a company, and when the year was up I switched to OneNote and have never looked back. Frankly, I'm surprised that they are still in business.

    • Ann O'Hara
      November 13, 2018 at 7:35 pm

      I agree. This is my most compelling reason for dumping EN - their unbelievable arrogance toward paying customers. If I have a minor, simple problem, it's impossible to find a fix. EN is tripping over itself trying to come up with all sorts of complicated, unique features when it can't even perform the basics anymore. I don't need free, but EN has been steadily declining for years. Sad.

  6. Tim Ozenne
    August 16, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    Why do you ignore Evernote Plus? I use it on Windows and Mac platforms and it works fine without the limits of Basic and without the high fees of Premium. Works for us non-pro users.

    Are you trying to undermine Evernote?

    • Karen
      October 5, 2018 at 3:09 am

      Because EN is no longer offering Plus. It's Premium or Basic now.

  7. Wally Hass
    August 16, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Linux client would be nice after all these years...

  8. Chris
    August 16, 2018 at 9:46 am

    Try Nimbus Note. It's cross-platform, looks more similar to Evernote than other mentionned apps, has 100mb free quota, has offline search in the free version.

    • TonyCr
      August 16, 2018 at 1:37 pm

      Hadn't heard about that one. Will definitely give it a try.

      Just to clarify. That's 100mb/month uploads on the free plan and 10mb max attachment size. The pro plan bumps everything up quite a bit and is only $4.99/month or $44.99/year.

    • Darryl Brooks
      September 6, 2018 at 7:46 pm

      I second Nimbus. It's the best of the alternatives.

  9. myk1e
    August 16, 2018 at 8:55 am

    I quite agree with this article and I would add 2 additional complaints :
    - Evernote Web clipper is particularly buggy
    - Importing your notes in OneNote is a mess!

  10. TonyCr
    August 16, 2018 at 2:55 am

    I would like to look at moving everything into Dropbox. Problem is, I keep just a few folders on my local computer due to space restrictions. However, I'd like to be able to search all my Dropbox content. If I could find an app that would read the online (full) content and create a searchable catalog, I'd feel OK about migrating. I'd also like to have the ability to add tags to files and folder through that app.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks.

    Tony

  11. gbeason
    August 16, 2018 at 2:11 am

    Evernote on Android works fine. In fact that's one key reason that I use it: Evernote works well in the browser and on my phone. I can't say that about the apprentices that you listed, especially since I don't use a Mac, which you focus on. I use OneNote at work extensively so I tried it as a personal replacement for Evernote, but it has a different organization approach that I don't find useful, especially since I find tags more useful. Evernote had its faults, but what made it good to begin with is still very good. I looked hard at replacements during the privacy debacle. And the best was actually an app offered through Synology, which I use for a NAS. But it really wasn't a good replacement.

  12. Bob Patterson
    August 16, 2018 at 1:11 am

    Evernote was my choice, mainly because it was the first. I could sync my PC, tablet and phone. Their 2-device limit drove me away, otherwise I would not have checked out alternatives.
    Now I use Google Keep for lists and quick notes and OneNote at work for larger projects.

  13. Delaney H.
    August 15, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    Perhaps Evernote would be more innovative if they were willing to pay potential employees a higher and more realistic salary based on their background and experience. I considered a job with them, but their salary offer was a total insult. I felt like telling them where to stick it. You don't get great, innovative products paying mediocre salaries. You get mediocre employees and products.

  14. Roy
    August 15, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    I'm an Evernote power user, just shy of 50,000 notes, mostly PDF and jpg notes. I pay for premium because I rely on it's ability to search text inside PDF files and the larger upload limit. That said I'm always on the lookout for an alternative. I use the windows desktop version and every update makes changes that disrupt my workflow. I've been ignoring updates and using version 6.5 for the past year which is the last version that worked well until it finally stopped syncing and I had to update. They've messed up stack search (now fixed), the way they show PDFs, the way they print and, as you said, markdown is horrid. They can't even place the cursor where I click! It also freezes constantly which I doubt is my computer (Ryzen 1700x, 16gb ram and Evo 960 SSD). Ironically I keep a physical notepad on my desk in case of freezing when I'm on the phone with a client. I'll keep using it but as you said, I wish they would focus on it's core functionally instead of gimmicky features.

  15. Mike Glish
    August 15, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    I have a love/hate relationship with Evernote. I use it for many things and love having ideas m, thoughts, web clips, etc., at my fingertips. I’ve tried OneNote and just don’t care for it.

    I think the note:writing tools are too basic. The dictionary function is weak. I recently switched to Windows. The user interface is really antiquated. I occasionally use the iPhone and iPad versions. Are they from the same company? The UI of both is almost unusable.

    I use the web clipper all the time. I’m eager to look at the alternatives in this article but if one doesn’t have a web clipper it will be a showstopper.

    Evernote is the original so you’d think they would have ironed out he wrinkles. I don’t think they’ve truly innovated in the past 3-5 years.

  16. Roy Cardozo
    August 15, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    I too was seduced by free OneNote, but their version of the Web Clipper doesn't work well. For my research purposes, that's a no-go. Evernote's Web Clipper works perfectly. I might add that I don't mind paying for Premium. As Jeffrey Herr states, the flexible search beats OneNote. Lastly, I tried exporting notes to OneNote from Evernote. Unfortunately, the formatting was haphazard and a fruitless exercise. Back to Evernote.

  17. Jeffrey Herr
    August 15, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    I believe, from your options to Evernote that you speak of, that you aren’t a power user of Evernote. And that’s fine...
    But let’s not suggest that some of those tools provide anywhere near the value Evernote provides. Here’s some examples (correct me if I’m wrong):
    - email notes into storage
    - autoingest files from a disk location
    - search INSIDE files stored in Evernote
    - flexible search to help you find a not no matter what you remember about it

    I use OneNote at work at miss these features (and more) all the time. If I’m wrong, please tell me so I can like OneNote better!