3.7 out of 5 with 18 ratings

Simplenote Reviews

Not a good privacy prospect.

about Simplenote and Laverna, Turtl · · Helpful Not helpful 33 Helpful Report as spam

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.

about Simplenote and Dropbox, Evernote, Turtl · · Helpful Not helpful 21 Helpful Report as spam

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 (http://turtlapp.tumblr.com/ ): 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 (https://simplenote.com/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

Isn't this supposed to be a review for simplenote not turtl


about Simplenote · · Helpful Not helpful 1 Helpful Report as spam

I like it but it needs more options such as the ability to lock notes, encryption keys, themes, etc.


I loved it until I discovered Standard Notes, which is features-rich (a ton of extensions), has a lot of great-looking themes (including dark themes) and is encrypted by default. Highly recommend you check it out:

Small Standard Notes iconStandard Notes

about Simplenote · · Helpful Not helpful 1 Helpful Report as spam

Great idea but too less features right now.. maybe becoming an alternative to microsoft onenote??


Definitely give a try to Standard Notes, I'm confident the features, extensions, themes and encryption will fit some of your needs: Small Standard Notes iconStandard Notes

about Simplenote · · Helpful Not helpful 1 Helpful Report as spam

The one true sync everywhere solution. Desktop clients are built on Electron and are a bit on the heavy side on filesize and memory usage, but there's many alternative clients, such as AlephNote (Windows), nvAlt (MacOS) etc Updated at a slow pace, but the supported by the company behind WordPress and hopefully safe for many years to come.


about Simplenote · · Helpful Not helpful 1 Helpful Report as spam

Data loss!!! The app and idea is OK but there is bug!

I have a PC and an android, BOTH use the app i.e. windows "app" and android "app".

I tried that, when you sort the topics by "name, reversed",
IF both PC and phone are offline.
If you edit on PC,
later when BOTH connected,
The android one will NOT have that content updated.
I am not sure what happens in the 3rd device if I have.

This is a note I made:

20180815-150852 both offline, PC ofcoz opening to type

20180815-150900 type in PC "this fxxx u"

20180815-150908 close and open PC app (hope to sync)

20180815-150926 PC online

20180815-150946 close and open PC app (hope to sync)

20180815-151257 both offline. both sort by name
editing in PC, ofcoz.

20180815-151318 see see if this will go both.


what I found using "web" as the 3rd device is that, the info I entered into PC, while PC is offline, IS NOT send to the server.
so neither web nor Android get it and thus means you got DATA lost.

my comment is:
when you are OFFLINE, dont ENTRY NEW DATA on that device.

I am using windows v1.1.6,
with Android (An) and web.

I found that if the windows is offline,
and you enter new info into the simplenote prog (v1.1.6).

Then even later your windows get online,
the info is NOT automatically send to the server UNLESS
you EDIT that note.

The reverse is NOT a problem (Entry on offline Android app
WILL get it to the server).

Hope that helps.

I am willing to help if u want more testing.


about Simplenote · · Helpful Not helpful 2 Helpful Report as spam

What makes Simplenote perfect for me:

  • electron-based app with simple and clean UI.
  • just a single click to create a new note. No titles, no categories, no other required fields. Click and start typing your note.
  • auto-save as you type. Say "No" to unsaved/lost changes.
  • instant search. You are a few symbols away from the note or text you are looking for.
  • sync. Two-way cross-platform sync. So your notes are always up-to-date on any device.
  • markdown support with preview. Probably the best usage of Markdown is for taking quick notes. Simplenote supports Markdown flavor similar to GitHub, so you can use checkboxes (e.g. for todo lists), emoji, tables, etc.
  • sharing functionality. You can either add collaborators or share a particular note with the public link.
  • history of changes with immediate restoration of revisions.
  • pin important notes to top.
  • configurable UI view, theme and sort order
  • trash bin. If you unintentionally deleted a note, you can restore it later.
  • export. During the export, all the existing notes are saved in .txt format and then archived.
  • words/characters counter. It is useful sometimes.

Missing features:

  • import. Simplenote has export, but you cannot import new notes in bulk, only one-by-one via copy-paste.

John, your comparison with Turtl is not fully correct. I want to argue about what Simplenote doesn't have.

  • end-to-end encryption: it's 50/50. Of course, notes are something personal that you, probably, don't want to share with someone else. But, what information gets stored as notes most often? I bet, these are your own thoughts, excerpts of articles or documents, useful tips. Not passwords or credit card information. So even if it is unintentionally exposed or hacked, chances are these notes will be useless for the attacker. Notes should be the things you wouldn't mind becoming public/published.
  • browser plugins for bookmarking: why do I need bookmarks in my notes? I just want to save some text info and access it from different devices. No more, no less. Need to save bookmarks - use Papaly or any similar software.
  • multi-word tags: it is related to bookmarks to better categorize them. Simplenote has the instant search that works juuust right. I have hundreds of notes and I can find everything I need by typing two or three symbols. I don't need any of these god damn tags.
  • attach images and other files: in case of emergency, you can upload the required file or image to a cloud storage and save the link in notes. For me, notes are about saving some text information but not making a note similar to a WordPress article.
  • note previews: Simplenote DOES have note previews for Markdown. Or you need preview for plain text? :) BTW, why did you tell in your previous reviews that Simplenote doesn't support Markdown, unlike Laverna. As I said above, it does support it.
  • active development: Simplenote has everything you need to enjoy taking notes on a daily basis. I'm not concerned at all about whether the dev team works actively on it (BTW, the latest release was on Feb 9, not so long ago). P.S: Turtl is under active development... maybe the reason is that it is still imperfect and needs some more really useful features?

Notes are just one of the feature Turtl has, and, as practice show, multi-purpose apps are not as good as the apps with just one dedicated functionality. The only purpose of Simplenote is to help you save your notes. And it does it flawlessly.


https://alternativeto.net/user/gold/ , here is my opinion :

  • End to end encryption is depends on users, some users really concerned about privacy to the point they hosted their own server to store data
  • Browser plugin for bookmarking did useful to simplify actions especially most ideas or notes are comes from bookmark.
  • Multi-word tags is also depends on users, some users get used to tags and makes them their navigation keys.
  • attach image and other files did important, because sometimes ideas or notes are better expressed with images or files, especially tutorial :)

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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It's literally just simple. While it does work for quick, simple notes it's still not a good choice if you care about your privacy. Their privacy policy is a bit... risky. A great alternative is Standard notes. The free version gives you the simplicity and encryption + sync.


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No encryption and no offline save is a big no. If some hacker manage to hack it's server there would be no protection


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It is too simple - plain text only!
I don't like that your notes are stored in their server! There should be an option to keep your notes in your own cloud sync platform like Dropbox etc.


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I've been using Simplenote since virtually its inception and absolutely love it.


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Amazing alternative to Google Keep!


cross-platform. open source. f...

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cross-platform. client applications are open source. free of charge. clean and simple user interface. made by big company. multi-tagging. markdown support. editing with collaboration. file versioning. simple search. no attachment. no folder or sub-folder.

[Edited by drliu1202, May 20]

[Edited by drliu1202, May 20]