Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

A Brief History of iOS’ Notes App

Jason Snell, writing in 2016 about the tendency of public figures to use screenshots of the Notes app to issue statements:

The report that Twitter may be extending character limits reminded me of a Notes-related trend I noticed once again over the holiday break. When you want to tweet out a long message to your followers, but you’re on your iPhone, what do you do?

Apparently you type up a message in the Notes app, take a screen shot of it, and then post the image in a Tweet.

Bobby Finger, writing in Jezebel the same year, collected several examples of celebrities and organizations doing this:

Apple’s Notes app is an essential supplement to any social media account run by a celebrity. No other text editor makes it easier to share your words with the world — if only because it’s always there, synced to all your Apple devices.

Lindsey Weber, writing for the New York Times earlier this year about how the Notes app is used for apologies:

The reasons for writing these Notes notes vary, but oftentimes they are mea culpas for public errors. Armie Hammer apologized with a Notes app note for criticizing his peers for posting grief selfies after Stan Lee’s death (“I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart and will be working on my Twitter impulse control”). Kendall Jenner apologized for her clothing line’s insensitive use of the Notorious B.I.G.’s and Tupac Shakur’s likenesses (“we are huge fans of their music”). Logan Paul apologized for videotaping a dead body in Japan (“I intended to raise awareness for suicide and suicide prevention”). Cardi B notably did not apologize for secretly marrying Offset (“at least ya can stop saying i had a baby out of wedlock”). Ariana Grande once apologized for licking a doughnut (“I will strive to be better”).

David Mack, writing for Buzzfeed News today (capitalization his):

This benign app isn’t usually used for matters of national or international consequence — until Thursday, that is.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders used Twitter to share the news, via the trusty Notes app, that the president was going to declare a national emergency.


Appropriately enough, Mack’s article is written in several segmented screenshots of the Notes app. Unfortunately, that means that I had to retype the above in order to quote it. And, if you use text-to-speech software, you won’t be able to listen to this article as none of the alt tags are filled in.