Apps

5 best note-taking apps for Android and iOS

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There are plenty of ways to take notes. You could do it the traditional way with a notebook and pen, or something out of the ordinary like jotting down on a napkin during lunch. Or, better yet, use your smartphone!

Here are some of the best note-taking apps available on both Android and iOS.

Evernote

Evernote is perhaps the most popular digital notebook. Since I started embracing paperless ways of taking notes, Evernote has always been helpful. It’s simplistic yet has powerful features that you can explore. You can add images, audio, and files to your notes; and collate them to be part of a categorized notebook.

The basic features of Evernote are available for free, but you can go for the Plus plan (US$ 34.99/year) if you want to get hold of additional features like email integrations, offline notebook access, and more.

Download: Android, iOS

Microsoft OneNote

If you want your digital notebook to be as flexible as real paper, Microsoft OneNote is the one for you. There’s a bit of a learning curve for OneNote unlike most note-taking apps, especially with the interface. If there’s something unique about this, it’s the ability to type and doodle in the middle of the page — perfect for pen input. You can also add attachments, to-do lists, audio, and even videos.

The app is available for free on mobile devices. A full desktop version of OneNote is also available, but it requires a subscription for Office 365.

Download: Android, iOS

Google Keep

Google Keep is a favorite, not just for me but for the whole GadgetMatch team. While the app looks like basic sticky-note software, its minimalist look is what makes it an excellent app. One can enjoy Keep to jot down ideas, checklists, and just about anything. Since this is a Google product, anything written here is automatically backed up to your account, making it available on virtually any platform.

Like with other Google apps, Keep is free and uses your Google account for syncing.

Download: Android, iOS

Simplenote

If you want something really simple, check out Simplenote. True to its name, it offers a clean and straightforward interface for typing. It’s white and clutter-free without the unnecessary visual elements that could distract you. While it doesn’t offer attachments (i.e., images, audio clips), it offers online syncing, peer collaboration, and a search function.

It’s pretty obvious that Simplenote is not meant to replace the likes of Evernote, but it’s a free app that you can use as an alternative.

Download: Android, iOS

Zoho Notebook

Zoho Notebook is the most visually pleasing note-taking app on this list. Rather than using side bars and text menus, Notebook is in favor of — well — notebooks. There are preset designs, or you could customize your own art for the covers of the notebooks. Once inside the notebooks, things become familiar with cards and featured images. Of course, everything is synced to the cloud.

Another great aspect of Zoho Notebook is that it’s free and doesn’t rely on ads or premium upgrades.

Download: Android, iOS

SEE MORE: 5 essential tips for buying a new phone

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Apps

Snapchat officially launches Snapchat Plus

Featuring the ability to call someone your BFF

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How much do you love Snapchat? Prior to the unbridled dominance of TikTok, Snapchat was the unparalleled video-sharing platform for those who wanted an alternative to Instagram. Though the platform isn’t as dominant anymore, it still has a dedicated following. If you’re one of those users, Snapchat has a (pricey) treat for you. The platform has officially launched Snapchat Plus, a premium subscription service baked into the main app.

To be fair to anyone considering the new service, Snapchat Plus isn’t an entirely different platform. As initial reports revealed, Snapchat Plus introduces only a handful of changes to the main app. (For now, at least).

First among the new features is the ability to label one of your friends as your “BFF” on the app. Subscribers can also view who watched their content. They will also have access to custom icons.

Now, they don’t seem like much for a paid subscription. Even worse, the service will not block users from seeing ads on the app. If anything, Snap does hint that Snapchat Plus will expand its features in the long run, potentially offering early access to future features.

Currently, Snapchat Plus will cost US$ 3.99 per month. For now, the service will launch only in some countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United States, and United Kingdom.

SEE ALSO: Snapchat is working on a premium subscription

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Apps

U.S. urges Google, Apple to ban TikTok

It’s about national security again

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Here we go again. Years since the last kerfuffle with the platform, the United States government is once again pursuing a ban against TikTok. However, instead of a geopolitical wave of infractions, the government’s latest pursuit will potentially untold damage on the video-sharing platform.

Recently, FCC commissioner Brendan Carr tweeted a letter he sent Apple and Google about the risks of TikTok. Carr is calling for an absolute ban from both the App Store and the Play Store. But unsurprisingly, the letter’s reasoning goes back to the old fears surrounding the Chinese app.

As reiterated in the letter, TikTok reportedly harvests an absurd amount of information from its millions of users. The platform’s owners, ByteDance, then ships that data off to servers in China. As stated in most anti-China fears, the Chinese government can notoriously request unlimited access of this data, marking a potential security risk on Americans. The letter cites evidence going as far back as 2019.

Carr urges Apple and Google to follow their policies regarding apps in their respective stores. If followed, TikTok might disappear from official sources, leaving third-party sources as the only places to get the app from.

Besides the regulatory, TikTok is also facing struggles in the competitive front. Meta’s Facebook and Instagram are reportedly taking renewed steps to compete more effectively with the platform.

SEE ALSO: Facebook is going to become more like TikTok

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Apps

Instagram is using facial recognition AI to verify your age

Currently testing

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For kids of the early 2000s, the biggest lies everyone told were whenever websites asked if they were 18 years old. Because of how limited technology was, a website’s age prompt was about as useful as blowing into a flat tire. Now, the internet has more tools at its disposal. Marking the next step in this evolution, Instagram is testing a tool that supposedly identifies a user’s age by scanning their face.

Though it’s not readily apparent with the number of children who have social media accounts, Instagram is one of those sites that require users to be at least 13 years old. But, like those old websites from yesteryear, the policy isn’t really useful for keeping children out.

Now, as reported by The Verge, Instagram wants to make the platform more secure. When a teenager wants to change their age to 18 years old or older, the app will prompt them to verify their age using one of three verification methods — at least in the United States.

The first method is simpler: submitting photos of official ID cards. The second method is a bit more complex: asking three of the user’s above-18 followers to verify the age change. On the other hand, the third uses an AI tool called Yoti.

With Yoti, users can submit a video of themselves for verification. Artificial intelligence will then analyze facial details, taking sex and race into consideration, to estimate the user’s age.

Naturally, it’s not a perfect system. There are ways to bypass it, including using someone else’s face. Regardless, it’s a bigger evolution than just simple yes-or-no prompts.

SEE ALSO: Instagram created its own font, and it’s wacky

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