Apple Notes Could Be Getting Some Cool Upgrades in iOS 18

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The iPhone’s Notes app already packs in a lot of powerful features that make it one of the best note-taking apps for most people. That’s partly because Apple has been relatively proactive in expanding it over the years, and it looks like that trend may continue with some exciting new things in store in iOS 18.

Despite all the hype around iOS 18 and generative AI, it seems that Apple isn’t merely going to follow in the footsteps of others by adding things like AI-generated note summaries. Some of that may be coming, but the really interesting stuff will have little to do with machine learning.

In an exclusive report earlier this week, AppleInsider shared some details it’s learned from its sources that suggest Notes will evolve in a few more practical ways, adopting features that have been commonly found in other note-taking apps to make Apple Notes a more compelling first-party alternative.

This includes the ability to record voice notes and other audio and tighter integration with Apple’s Calculator app to create new “Math Notes.”

Voice Memos in Notes

It’s already possible to record audio in Apple’s Voice Memos app and save it into Apple Notes, where it will be attached as an M4A file and can be played directly from the note. However, Apple reportedly plans to bake that recording capability directly into Apple Notes.

This will expose a feature many didn’t realize existed while also saving the additional steps of opening the Voice Memos app and then using the share sheet to send the recording to a note.

Apple Notes already has a built-in interface for playing back any attached audio file, and a note with an audio recording can also contain additional text, images, and even freeform drawings. The only thing it’s missing is the ability to record an audio clip directly — an omission that seems odd now that we think about it but presumably isn’t too hard for Apple to add in iOS 18.

It’s likely Voice Memos will continue to exist as a separate application, although the new “Voice Notes” feature could make it unnecessary for many folks.

Math Notes

While Voice Notes seems like an obvious feature that’s long overdue, Apple apparently has a more unique twist up its sleeve in the form of linking Notes up with the Calculator app to open up new ways of using the app for science and engineering students and professionals alike.

AppleInsider says this one isn’t quite finished yet, but in addition to allowing for quick calculations from the Calculator app, it should also support proper mathematical shorthand notation in Notes. That’s long been a feature of rivals like Microsoft’s OneNote, and its lack in Notes makes Apple’s app a non-starter for those who need more sophisticated math support.

However, it’s unclear how far Apple plans to take this. For instance, OneNote supports a wide range of functions, from recognizing handwritten formulas and equations to producing graphs.

A New Calculator for the Mac

Along similar lines to Math Notes, AppleInsider reported earlier today that Apple will be giving the Calculator app a significant boost, at least in macOS. The Mac Calculator will adopt the look of its iOS counterpart, marking the first time in years that it’s gained any significant design changes.

Other improvements will include support for enhanced unit conversions, integration with Math Notes in the macOS Notes app, a history tape in the sidebar to show all previous calculations, and variable window sizes with buttons that adjust to match.

Apple is expected to unveil iOS 18 and macOS 15 during its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) Keynote on June 10, so it stands to reason that many of these new features are getting close to readiness. However, it’s still a good idea to take info like this with a healthy dose of salt, as even if the rumors are accurate, it’s Apple’s prerogative to change its mind if they don’t come together as hoped.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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