4.3 out of 5 with 6 ratings

Bear Reviews

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Bear is an awesome choice for Apple enthusiasts. I love the watch app for a quick and dirty note. The iPhone app and the Mac app all synced and good to go.


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Worth every penny of my subscription. It’s so beautiful, so comfy to use... I love this app, much better than Notes. Tags organization are great, includes encrypted notes option and syncing with a very affordable subscription.


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The dark theme is awesome and the free version has lots of functionnalities! The perfect tool to be a writer


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My favorite note-taking app. Efficient, responsive and uses Markdown. Sync works very well.


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I am amazed that they have the audacity to charge for plain text notes!!
May be Mac users are more gullible. Windows users will never pay for plain text notes.


Ooh. Look, Mac user... Shiny Frog... screw your privacy... the frog is... so shiny...

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Below is my 2017 review of Bear, privacy concerns and all. A particularly vocal critic of my view seems to imply that my criticism is against the Italian origins of the Bear app. Even a cursory reading of what I wrote will show this is not the case. I have nothing against Italians. I was merely imploring the potential customers of Bear to consider that their data might be subject to Italian law, about which most will know very little.

Nearly three years later, I can offer more perspective. Consider this some kind of update.

  • Bear is a better app in function than Apple's Notes. (This is a near universal truth: Spotify is more functional than Apple Music; Bear is better than Notes, Word more functional than Pages; Fantastical better than the native Calendar; Firefox better than Safari. I could go on. The general trend, in fact, is that Apple's native apps are in almost every instance inferior than alternatives. Todoist is more functional than Reminders. And so on.

  • My initial concerns about the privacy of Bear ought to be mitigated by one enormous truth: Bear's data is synced through the Apple account's iCloud. There is no sense in which Apple or Bear are more "private". Apple's iCloud transmits and syncs the data, which dovetails privacy concerns to concerns over Apple's ability to protect private details against government and hackers' interference. Your confidences should not be high, based on precedent.

  • If function is your only concern, Bear is a good bet. If your choice is between Bear and Apple Notes, Bear wins. Every function of Apple notes is available plus tags, cross-note linking, markdown support, and much else besides. If you're Apple based already, Bear has much to recommend it.

I clearly have my critics (see below), but I have never and will never criticise Italians for creating software. All power to Italians! Grazie mille!

Old review:

Search "productivity" on Youtube and discover no end of hipsterific, Mac-oriented advice-beardies extolling the virtues of overtly privacy-violating services like Google, Evernote and Dropbox. Services that either directly leverage your privacy for profit (Google), store your data in viewable form (all three) and/or are compelled by US law to give up all of this to US authorities without even telling their customers (again, all three). "Productivity" is fast becoming a by-word for "Please take all my personal information, make money from it, give it to the authorities and... please, please, give it to others."

So, you should pause and ask about Bear. The app, and the necessities.

What does it do with your notes? In which legal jurisdiction is it based? Just where, exactly, does your data reside? Well, let me start by pointing out that presently (22nd March 2017) "Privacy" is not even a word, never mind a link, on their website. That should worry you profoundly and certainly as much as a shiny user interface makes you feel warm and comfortable. Just think about your priorities there, btw. Do you care less about how your own thoughts are presented to you than who stores them?

Bear is made by Shiny Frog, an Italian company. If you didn't know that but you use them, you'd do well to ask whether it matters to you that your dream diary, shortlist of tattoo designs or pseudo-beatnik love notes ends up in this legal framework or the other. Or don't you think the wrong government or corporate policy might use/leak/be subpoeanad to give them up for use against you? Well, anyway, Shiny Frog... (...ooh... look... shiny....) use Google Analytics) - not good. Go on... click the "Google Analytics" link and have a read.

So you have to ask. What is your Apple/Evernote alternative, really? And in a system where everything you wrote down was read by an over-arching information system driven by profit... is that where you see your ideals come to fruition? Where you'd want to raise your children?

And if you're in doubt: no, it's not sarcastic. You type into your "Apple". Where do the words go? You're paying for them to go, after all. So, where do they go? And why there? And who makes that decision? And what does it mean, for you and your thoughts? And what do you mean when you say "it's free"? And what do you mean when you think you are "free"?

Free to use Google? Or properly free?

[Edited by JohnFastman, February 01]


Thoroughly agree about Google Analytics!

Open Source Google Analytics Alternatives - AlternativeTo.net
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Can you provide references to Bear's use of Google Analytics? From what I can see (Nov, 2018), Bear goes out of their way to avoid storage and processing of personal information. When they must store or process (ie for syncing via iCloud), they encrypt it with the user keys, which means the note data is double encrypted since iCloud is also natively encrypted.


So... What I get from this comment is: Don't use Bear because it's developed by Italians. And when Italians steal your data that's not good because it's not the Americans who did it. Use some American made stuff so the Americans can have your data.
Well, let me tell you something about data protection in EU vs data privacy ANYWHERE ELSE!!!
I didn't put a link for US data protection Wanna guess why? Because my conclusion, after checking, is that there isn't such a thing. In the US if you want to protect your data... Well, you go medieval. Write your notes with pencil on paper under a blanket (so the satellites won't read it (idea taken from Snowden movie...)

And one more thing: in the reply manonstreet gave you (and you didn't answer, that's called hit and run) there are three links. You clearly didn't check them before you wrote your acid comment.