My Take On Evernote in 2017

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Evernote has had a rockier time in the public eye in the past year. Last June they increased their pricing and put some harder limits on the free accounts. This opened the service up to a lot of criticism from free users, who were actually getting a very good deal from the service. Previous to that price change, you could use Evernote across as many devices as you wanted, as long as you stayed within the monthly upload limit. That was pretty generous for a company whose income comes from a subset of paying users.

However, I do also understand the backlash to Evernote’s pricing change: it wasn’t announced alongside any significant new features, so it just looked like a price increase on both paid plans, and a sudden limitation of the free plan that so many people were enjoying. I think this move challenged Evernote’s user base, many of whom were suddenly looking at other note apps that they could use for free. Apple Notes had made some big changes to its feature set with iOS 9, and OneNote introduced an Evernote to OneNote importerto make it easier to move large note libraries to Microsoft’s free note-taking service. Late in 2016 also saw the launch of Bear, which featured its own Evernote import (in the Mac app) and its own set of tagging, attachment, and in-line picture support.

I’ve spent a lot of time testing Evernote competitors over the past year. OneNote really should have been the winner because it rivals Evernote in terms of cross-platform support and a functional web app, but it just never clicked. I had concluded previously that I stuck with Evernote because nothing else quite worked how I wanted it to, but I wanted to update that thought after the past few months of regular Evernote usage.

It took a while, but I’m enjoying using Evernote again. The sync feels fast and consistent on iOS, and the background sync does a pretty good job. I’m using the Plus plan ($47 USD/year) with 1 GB of monthly uploads, and I haven’t felt any need to move to Premium (aside from the strange “upgrade now!” nagging within parts of the UI). I’m making copious use of tags in my notes for quick searching, and just a handful of notebooks to keep things organized. Evernote is my space for quick thoughts, notes on how I’ve set up a device or workflow, and also a repository for quick receipts, thanks to the excellent Scannable app.

The speed on the iPad Pro has been pretty good; it’s a far cry from the days where it was faster to run Drafts and upload notes from there, instead of actually typing new notes into the Evernote app. The upcoming iOS update for Evernote, which was teased on the company blog, takes improvements even further. I can’t talk about the update until they release it, but I joined the beta group for Evernote a few years ago, and this release really is a big step forward.

So I have to say, although last year wasn’t a great year for Evernote in the news, I’m optimistic about Evernote in 2017. I’m back to enjoying the service, and I’ve been really impressed by the updates they’ve been launching across macOS, Windows, and iOS. It’s looking like that price increase is starting to pay off.

Although the company doesn’t feel as whimsical as when Phil Libin was a regular part of the company podcast and they called the service “your external brain”, I have hopes that Evernote can stick around as a viable note service for a while to come.

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10 thoughts on “My Take On Evernote in 2017”

  1. I only paid $34.99 for the plus plan (and got 6 months extra as a special). I also tested out evernote alternatives when the price increases hit. I kicked the tires on OneNote extensively, importing all 6000 notes from evernote into onenote. There were a couple of things I liked better about OneNote, but mostly I didn’t like a lot of things. The sync was horrible, getting all my notebooks to sync was almost impossible. Also didn’t like how limited the apps on the devices are.
    As much as people like EN for the note taking abililties, I actually like it best for it’s note clipping abilities. No other app has a web clipper that has half the functionality of Evernote’s web clipper or works as accurately.

    1. I think I actually preferred OneNote’s clipper, at least on iOS. If I remember right, it makes a PDF screenshot of the page you were on, and also notes the URL. I prefer that to Evernote trying (and failing) to copy the layout of the webpage into my notes. Maybe the desktop clipper is better, but I barely ever use it there.

      1. By default the iOS clipper takes screen pics of the web page. However, they are these tiny little images. Here’s a clip I took with my iphone of this article using the onenote clipper:

        Now, it is possible to take any webpage and get a pdf file of it in iOS by long clicking the print preview and then sending it using your onenote email address, but that only puts it in your default notebook.

  2. I was a paying customer, used it exclusively, and liked Evernote enough that I didn’t look elsewhere in the years that I had it. However, I was unhappy with their pricing change all while the application itself seem to stagnate . I canceled my account and moved on to Apple’s Notes. I’ve tried a few others over the past year as well. In fact, I have Bear installed and waiting to see how it matures. I used OneNote for a long time as it’s utilized at work. However, its MS and I refuse to use MS in my personal life. One thing I don’t see you mentioning in the article is the fact that Evernote authorized their employees to be able to access customer’s data. I don’t care if they changed their policy AGAIN. I refuse to trust them again. I struggle to find an app like Scannable or their web clipper, but I’ll find something as I will never use Evernote again.

    1. I had read up on that news a little after it happened (when people were already talking about the backlash). I agree it doesn’t look good, but I’m glad they reversed the change. Evernote has definitely has made a bunch of mis-steps in the public eye and they are paying the price with users like you leaving. However, it’s still the best service around for my needs, and I thought that because I’d taken the time to share my displeasure in 2016, I’d take a moment to say that I am enjoying the service again in 2017.

  3. When will Evernote allow user to choose thumbnail photo for the captured note? We can choose our userID photo…why not for thumbnails?

  4. Careful with the Plus plan.
    It does NOT include the ability to check at previous versions of the note. I had an issue with the Windows client getting unresponsive when I fat fingered and deleted accidentally the content of a very important note. I had to pay for Premium to be able to rollback the note, as the app synced on the background and didn’t let me undo my accidental change.

    1. Ugh, that’s scary, but glad you were able to temp upgrade and get the change undone. It’s good to know the notes keep the history even while I’m on Plus, and I can go Premium to get them back if need be.

  5. Hi, Thomas! I love Evernote and I want it to love me back. But much like my ex-husband, it’s slow on the uptake and makes me batsh*t. Any predictions on the typing-lag issue? I use Evernote on Mac & iOS. Cheers! HOPE

    1. Evernote 8.0 is out now, so I’d give that a try. It does feel pretty fast to me on the 6S Plus and iPad Pro.

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