The Notes app on iPhone is the purest reflection of our chaotic existence

In an informal survey of the contents of my co-workers’ note apps, I found that many people save drafts of texts or emails for friends or family members. There are lists of forgotten passwords and required travel packing lists. One person says they use Notes to pre-write posts for social media. Others kept lists of homes with rooftops, or a searchable list of the astrological signs of friends and family. Many people have written their wedding vows in a notes app and kept them saved there.

Everyone take note

Of course, we the general public aren’t the only Notes fans. Celebrities have apologized Screenshots of heartfelt notes For years. TikTok is full of users reminding each other to vent Notes application Instead of sending an angry text or making a inflammatory social media post. “What’s in your Notes app” is New “What’s in your bag.” We all have the Notes app. And we all pour the darkest (and brightest!) moments of our souls into them.

When Claire Mazur and Erica Cerullo were the duo behind the popular podcast A thing or twoan act episode Regarding the ways they used the feedback application, they were shocked by the intensity of the listeners’ responses. Many of those who wrote were keen to share personal ways they had used Notes, from listing the names of children they loved to keeping a ‘shame log’ as a reminder to be kinder to themselves. “Performance,” Mazur says in a Zoom interview. “You’re being your most authentic self, rather than performing what someone wants to see from you.”

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Our Notes apps put us in direct contact with our most intimate selves, Cerullo says. “It’s like one of our commenters said: ‘Forget my search history.’ When I die, my best friend needs to delete my notes app.’”

Unlike a photo app expressly dedicated to digital memories, My Notes has never given rise to the so-called “miscarriage problem” — the Internet’s tendency to give you painful, unexpected reminders of traumatic events in your life. I’m never saddened by what I see when I go through my notes, or when I ask to see someone else’s notes. Notes are not polished memories, etched in stone. They are hasty, chaotic and… Generally disturbed. It can even be lyrical. As my colleague Lauren Good (ha ha) notes, “Who hasn’t jotted down a random thought on the go and thought, ‘Oh my God, I… A poet.’” (For the record, I never thought about this.)

Especially if you’re a writer like me, it’s tempting to create your life story and stick with it. This is where you started, here you made mistakes, here you won, and here you made this decision that you can never take back. In contrast to all the oppressive, and potentially harmful, apps you might have on your phone, Notes is a fun reminder that we’re all just working on progress.

This is how we want to be remembered in 50,000 years. Not like the complex and perhaps artificial facades we present at work or on our holiday cards, but messy and complete. Here we are loving preposterous baby names or singing the worst songs out loud in public. Here we tried to remember what mattered to the people we loved, what socks they wanted, and what their favorite pizzeria order was. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good, and we write it all down.

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