Bear App (opens in new tab) is a product of Shiny Frog, an app studio specializing in the design of applications for the Apple ecosystem (iOS and macOS). The company is based in Dublin, Ireland, and Bear is its most popular product.
In 2017, Bear won an Apple Design Award, receiving formal recognition from the company for being an outstanding app. This award helped Bear to become popular and attract millions of users.
Many people who use the Bear app praise it for being very effective at keeping and managing notes. We tried ourselves to see if this note-taking app (opens in new tab) stood up to the scrutiny.
(image credit: Bear)
Bear: Plans and Pricing
Bear app is freemium. Anyone can download and use the free version, but it has restricted features. You can only access the full features of the app if you pay for the premium version.
The premium version of the app is called Bear Pro and costs $1.49 monthly or $14.99 annually.
Compared to most note-taking apps, Bear is quite affordable. Some rival apps with similar features charge up to three times what they charge.
To use Bear, you’ll need to download the app to your iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer. It doesn’t have a web-based interface, which we consider to be a drawback. The app is readily available to download from the Apple App Store.
After launching the app, the first feature you should see is adding notes, There is a visible sign for this purpose, a + symbol within a notebook at the bottom corner of the screen. Click on it and the app will launch a notepad.
You can type anything on Notepad and it gets saved automatically. At the top of Notepad, there is a notification icon Embedded as the letter ‘i’ within a circle. Click this icon, and you’ll see important metrics related to your text, such as the number of words and characters, and estimated reading time. but that’s not all. You can do many more things on Notepad.
(image credit: Bear)
One great feature about Bear is that it supports markdown text formatting syntax, This syntax lets you format text the same way you would in a dedicated word processing software. For example, you can insert sketches, add headers and footers, bold and italicize text, and more. You can do this via a shortcut, for example, enclosing any text in * (asterisk) will make it italicized.
When you’re finished taking notes, you can leave it stored on the app or convert them to external documents. You can convert them into PDF or Word documents, JPEG images, or HTML webpages in other formats. You can share notes (via a link) with your contacts directly from the app.
One of the unique features we noticed in the Bear app is that it lets you encrypt notes With Password or Face/Touch ID. This feature helps you hide sensitive information and prevent unauthorized access.
Another notable feature is that you can use #Hashtags To organize your notes and find them easily. This comes in handy for those who have multiple notes on the app.
(image credit: Bear)
Bear: Interface and Uses
We found the Bear app quite easy to use. After downloading the app, you don’t even need to create an account if you are using the free version.
Navigating the app was mostly simple. The only place where we had some hiccups was in the text editor (opens in new tab). With complex editing features and Markdown syntax (for those who have enabled it), you might find it difficult to use. But, you should be familiar with continuous practice.
There is a dedicated support email (opens in new tab) you can hit up on if you have difficulties with the Bear app. There is also an official help page with detailed answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to the app. If you don’t get suitable answers then the help page should be the first place to consult when you encounter any problem before selecting email support.
Popular alternatives to the Bear app include Evernote (opens in new tab), Simplenote (opens in new tab), and Ulysses (opens in new tab). The bear is limited to the Apple ecosystem, compared to two of these apps (Evernote and Simplenote) that offer native apps for Android and Windows users, which puts it at a disadvantage. But, Bear beats them all in terms of pricing, as it offers more bang for your buck.
Bear: Final Verdict
We find Bear to be a good note-taking app for people using an iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer. Thanks to the user-friendly interface, using the app was a pleasant experience. Relative affordability is also something we appreciate.
The main drawback we found with the app is its restriction on the Apple ecosystem. The lack of a web-based interface was also a noticeable drawback.
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