One of the most cherished changes to occur with Apple’s products in recent years is the ability to create and save and use documents from one end of the product spectrum to the other. Take Notes as an example. It’s on Mac, iPhone, and iPad which means your notes go wherever you go.
The knock on Notes is obvious. It’s a note-taking app and not quite a mini-word processor. Not to worry. Apple’s got your six with Pages, also on Mac, iPhone, and iPad so your more creative documents go everywhere. But even Pages gets a knock because it’s cumbersome to use. Period.
Enter Bear, another cross platform (assuming your platform of choice is all about Apple) writing app that is made for those who want to write but prefer the writing effort to be more about, well, writing than learning. And, yes, Bear goes everywhere but with a single caveat (more on that later).
If you like to write and what you write goes beyond just capturing a few notes here and there then you’ll like Bear’s approach; not quite minimalist, not quite word processor, but with an elegance that fits well with Apple’s hardware, macOS and iOS. For Mac users, Bear is instantly familiar (if you’ve used Notes).
Bear has a focus mode so you can concentrate. Bear has enough word processor tools and writing functions that it’s more than familiar. For example, you can strike through words and phrases but leave them intact in the document. Links are actual links. It comes with themes and additional fonts that are better for writing.
Editing tools are obvious but out of the way and include reading times, word counts, and options to convert your prose into a Word document to share, or a PDF. Even better for writers is the option to create your own shortcuts that can be implemented with a keyboard combo.
Those two floating palettes alone are almost worth the price of admission. Almost. The built-in markup editor handles highlighting for more than 20 programming languages so Bear has some geek street cred. Yet, the rich previews let you see what you wrote and not the code.
Yes, of course, Bear handles images and photos, and exports documents to HTML, PDF, JPG, DOCX, and other file formats. And, it’s smart enough to know a link from an address from an email. The hashtags are good for finding and organizing notes, but everything is stored in plain text so you can use it everywhere.
Did I mention everywhere? Or, maybe it’s anywhere.
Bear saves documents to iCloud so the same document is available to edit or view from Mac to iPhone to iPad.
Nice, right? Bear isn’t as cumbersome as Page but more flexible than Notes. Bear is free. Sort of. There’s a basic Bear that is free but doesn’t have all the pro-level options, including sync– but those can be unlocked with a subscription.
Yes. Bear works as a subscription service, by the month, or by the year. That makes Bear easy to try and use, but if you want all the goodies there’s an ongoing price tag which is in keeping with the trend toward pay forever apps. Hey, Microsoft does it with Office. Adobe does it with Photoshop. So, why not everyone else?