Simplenote Reviews

Not a good privacy prospect.

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Not only is the service not fully open source (it was listed as open source here before - now corrected to "free" (as in beer, not birds)), the privacy policy is every bit as alarming as for any other service that "for free" stores your information on its servers in unencrypted format in US juridiction, including that they may sell it. From the privacy policy (10th January 2017):

Automattic, Inc may sell, transfer or otherwise share some or all of its assets, including your personally identifiable information...

Careful what you put into Simplenote, therefore. And follow the default advice for cloud services: put on other people's servers (services) only things you wouldn't mind becoming public/published.

For a much more private, open source alternative, try Turtl. It might not be mature/stable enough yet though, so check back every now and again to see if it will serve your needs. Otherwise, Laverna is also a good online note-taking app with security built in. It's also open source and supports markdown, unlike Simplenote.

[Edited by JohnFastman, March 10]


Simple, convenient but not private. Not like Turtl.

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Everywhere you turn, Simplenote is celebrated as wonderfully convenient and brilliant for productivity. Oh, and it's free, didn't you know? But in truth, it's not very private - at least in principle. Your information is stored with a 3rd party in a form they can read and which they can give away to others (in fact they have to if the NSA asks). In that respect, your Simplenote data is every bit as vulnerable as it is in Dropbox or Evernote (both of which have been hacked before: see here for Dropbox, here for Evernote).

The alternative is Turtl. All the same and - in many cases - better features and, crucially, it's end-to-end encrypted. That means your data is encrypted using your password (don't forget it!) before it leaves your computer. The server responsible for syncing and the admins responsible for Turtl can't read your notes. If hackers get it they won't be able to read your data. And if the NSA asks for it, it won't matter: it's encrypted.

Not convinced?

Things that Simplenote and Turtl BOTH have:

  • open source (Simplenote not fully, it seems)
  • pay nothing
  • tags
  • markdown support
  • note sharing
  • instant search
  • supports Windows, Mac, Linux & Android
  • sync hosted in US

What Turtl has that Simplenote doesn't:

  • end-to-end encryption (much better privacy: Turtl can't give your data away to others)
  • browser plugins for bookmarking
  • multi-word tags
  • attach images and other files
  • note previews
  • active development (Simplenote hasn't evolved much recently)

What Simplenote has that Turtl doesn't:

  • iOS app (Turtl is working on it now...)

Compare the privacy policies: Here for Turtl, here for Simplenote. Then think about where you want your notes to live.

Turtl for Android has only "Semi-offline mode" while SimpleNote has the full-fledged offline.
Turtl blog ( ): Semi-offline mode is here, with one exception: you must be connected to log in to or join Turtl. Other than that, all changes you make to your profile will be queued up and synced to the server the next time you connect.
Simplenote help ( ): Can I search notes without a connection to the internet?
Yes, using Simplenote for iOS and Android, you can search your notes even when you’re offline. Searching from our web app, however, currently requires a connection to the internet.
Also, Turtl always shows you his icon in notification bar (i didn't found way to disable it)

Turtl can be self-hosted --- solving the "sync hosted in US" issue.

Small Turtl iconTurtl


Fast, with great RTL support!

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Supports working with Right-to-left languages, on Android, Windows & Web apps.


Formatting notes + Unofficial android apps

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It has now markdown with extra formatting!

It has unofficial android apps (Jadenotes, and there are others)

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Simple. Efficient. Only bad point is that it's not clearly open source