There are dozens of note taking applications for iOS and Mac, including Apple’s Notes app that continues to get more powerful almost every year. The latest entry into this crowded field is called Tot, and it comes from The Iconfactory — which you may know best as the developers of popular apps such as Twitterrific and Linea Sketch.
Tot is available on Mac, iPhone, and iPad, and there’s iCloud support to keep everything in sync across your devices. The Iconfactory describes Tot as “your tiny text companion” and an “elegant, simple way to collect and edit text.” Whereas other note taking applications generally focus on packing in as many features as possible, Tot takes a different approach.
On the Mac, Tot can act like a normal application with a dock icon and everything, or you can move it to the menu bar. I’ve chosen to keep it in the menu bar for easy access without giving up a space in my dock. The easiest way to describe Tot is as a set of digital Post-it Notes or a whiteboard on your Apple devices.
The formatting is purposefully simple: there’s only italic and bold (with ⌘I and ⌘B keyboard shortcuts). The text is displayed in just one font (which you can customize). With Tot, the most important thing is the content, not how it looks.
Across Mac, iPhone, and iPad, Tot is a single-view application that limits you to only keeping seven “pages” of notes. Each note is represented by a small circle. The idea here is to use this constraint to prevent you from accumulating countless pages of random notes, many of which you’ll never go back to after creation.
Other features of Tot include Markdown support, keyboard commands, Dark Mode integration, rich and plaintext support, and the ability to share your notes as .txt or .rtf documents.
I’m a big fan of apps that embrace constraints such as Tot does. One look at my Apple Notes or Ulysses apps will show you that I have a habit of creating random pages of notes, which I let build up and ultimately never end up going back to. I’ve been using Tot for a few days now, and I’ve found it to be an excellent alternative that forces me to only create a new note when I need to, and to delete or export a note when I’m finished with it.
I’ve been using Tot to work through title iterations, to collect and store links, to jot down quick ideas, and much more. You can download Tot on the Mac App Store for free and the iOS version is available for $20. Federico Viticci at MacStories has a full review of the app with more details that is definitely worth a read as well.
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