What’s new in Apple Notes for iOS 18: collapsible sections, highlights, and more

Notes app icon

iOS 18 is a big release for the iPhone, with brand new apps like Passwords and Image Playground, as well as some significant updates to existing apps like Messages, Photos, and Settings.

One of my most-used apps, Notes, is also getting a variety of powerful new features in iOS 18 including live audio transcription, highlights, and more.

Here’s a look at what’s new.

Collapse note sections for a cleaner, more organized look

iOS 18 Notes collapsible sections

If you’re a heavy Notes user, you know that sometimes a note can get unruly if you add too much content to it. Personally I have a lot of notes that require a lot of scrolling to see their full contents.

Now, in iOS and iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Notes will automatically detect where you have a heading or subheading and make the contents underneath that heading collapsible.

On iPadOS and macOS, hovering your cursor near the left edge of a heading or subheading reveals a new down-facing arrow that you can click to collapse that section—instantly hiding everything in it until you choose to click the arrow again and reveal it. On iOS, you’ll need to tap on the appropriate header first to see the arrow pop up.

Highlight colors for text

Highlights in iPadOS 18’s Notes app also

Apple Notes keeps adding powerful new options each year for formatting your text. This year’s addition is highlights.

In iOS 18, when you select some text inside a note, you can now highlight it in one of five colors:

  • Purple
  • Pink
  • Orange
  • Mint
  • Blue

Not only does this apply a highlight, but it also changes the color of the text itself for a two-tone approach.

Live audio transcripts for all

Apple Notes audio transcripts

In the lead-up to WWDC, one rumored AI feature was the ability to get live transcripts of recordings in Voice Memos or Notes. It turns out, audio transcripts is a new feature that does not require the new Apple Intelligence capabilities coming later this year. It will be available sooner and with fewer device restrictions.

So the next time you’re in a meeting or a class, once iOS 18 releases the Notes app will be able to record audio for you and provide a running transcript of what’s spoken.

Smart Script, for digitally-enhanced handwriting

Smart Script in Apple Notes

My handwriting is not great. And in a time when using keyboards and touchscreens has become far more prevalent than handwriting, I’m guessing I’m not the only one with handwriting struggles.

Smart Script is a new Apple Pencil feature in Notes that lets you handwrite in notes using a uniform, beautifully designed script that’s probably a lot nicer looking than your own natural handwriting.

With Smart Script you can get the benefits of handwritten notes without the potential legibility issues that some people’s handwriting might bring. In a nice touch, the feature even works for pasting text into a handwritten form.

Math Notes and automatic equations

Math Notes in iOS 18

Finally, the Notes app also benefits from the chief feature of the iPad’s new Calculator: Math Notes.

Here’s my colleague Fernando Silva describing the feature:

It takes whatever math equation you write and can instantly solve it. Not only that, but you can modify the equations, and the answer changes in real-time. Another awesome feature is that you can also write down a graph equation and it will graph it for you. The ability here seems pretty limitless.

One nice detail is that you don’t have to use an Apple Pencil to benefit from automatic calculations, as any typed equations on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac will be automatically solved too.


Apple Notes has grown into one of Apple’s most powerful, versatile apps on its platforms. These handful of updates in iOS and iPadOS 18 and macOS Sequoia seem posed to make an already great app even better.

What are your favorite iOS 18 updates to Notes? Let us know in the comments.

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Title: What’s new in Apple Notes for iOS 18: collapsible sections, highlights, and more
URL: https://9to5mac.com/2024/06/11/whats-new-in-apple-notes-for-ios-18/
Source: 9to5Mac
Source URL: https://9to5mac.com/
Date: June 11, 2024 at 08:04PM
Feedly Board(s): Technologie