Write Notes from Your iPhone’s Lock Screen with This Hidden Feature

iPhone Notes App Credit: XanderST / Shutterstock
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We all know the feeling of needing to jot down a quick note with our iPhones, but there’s a quicker method than what you’re doing now.

Most users probably just unlock their iPhones and open the Notes app. Siri-savvy users may make use of the digital assistant to dictate notes. But there’s actually a hidden “Instant Notes” feature that’s actually more convenient than either of those.

You’ve probably never heard of Instant Notes, and that’s because it’s actually a buried Control Center feature. But it lets you quickly create a note from anywhere that the Control Center is accessible.

If you enable one particular setting, you can even quickly create a new note without even needing to unlock your device.

How to Turn on iPhone Instant Notes

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Control Center.
  3. Tap on Customize Controls.
  4. Scroll down until you find Notes. Tap on the green Plus icon next to it.

At this point, there will be a new Notes icon in your Control Center.

iPhone Notes Control Center

Tapping on it will quickly open up the Notes app in either a new note or an existing one (we’ll get to editing that behavior in a second).

Resume Last Note

There’s one additional step before the feature becomes super convenient. Head back to the Settings app and navigate to Notes. Scroll down until you see Access Notes from Lock Screen. Tap on it to enable it.

Now, you’ll get one of two options.

  • Always Create New Note. This will, as the name suggests, create a new note every time you access Notes from the Lock Screen.
  • Resume Last Note. This will resume the last note, but comes with some additional options. You can set the feature to open the last note you used in Notes or the last note you created via the Lock Screen. You can also set a time limit dictating when a new note is created instead — which is a handy security measure.

In either case, don’t worry about someone being able to see all of your existing Notes from the Lock Screen. Like the Lock Screen Camera shortcut, you won’t be able to access any Notes except the current one until you unlock your device.

Now, all you need to down is swipe down from the upper-right corner of your iPhone or iPad and tap the Notes icon. (You’ll swipe up from the bottom of the display, right above the Home button, on older devices.)

For even more convenience, you can use an Apple Pencil on iPad. If you have an Apple tablet that’s compatible with either Apple Pencil generation, you can simply tap twice with the stylus to automatically pull up a new Instant Note.

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