Three ways we use Notes app as a family

The Notes app comes on every iOS and macOS device by default. In the early days, it wasn't very reliable or feature filled and that turned some people away from it. The current app is great though. You can easily scan text or full documents to a note. You can draw out sketches or markup a photo. You can lock notes and use Face ID to view them. It's a perfect way to store your safe and alarm codes and anything else that needs to be securely remembered.

Notes is the only app I use for writing and storing text. (Tech tip: go find all the random bits of text you have scattered in different apps and services and put them all in Notes with nice organization. It's so helpful to have a single spot to search.)

Over time, we have found a few ways to use Notes as a family as well. Here are three examples that might be helpful for others:

Record all Medical Visits and Illnesses

Candace and I share a folder in notes called Medical. Since the whole folder is shared, any note created in it can be read and edited by each of us.

When any member of the family visits a doctor or has an illness of any sort, we start a new note in the Medical folder. We list out things like types and dates of symptoms, medicine taken, etc.

If a visit is made to a medical professional, we note their name, number, advice, and diagnosis. We capture receipts and any documents we are handed.

A note might look something like this:

The note is made up, the struggle is real

Writing all of this down each time has made it much easier to provide dates of past surgeries, visits, and other information. It's also been nice to reference back to past illnesses to remember what kind of medicine or procedures to take should they resurface.

Sitting in a doctor's office cane be overwhelming. There can also be a lot of downtime. Creating a note like this is one way to stay productive.

Share Important Numbers

As our kids grow older, it's become more important for them to have access to their personal information. This might include things like their social security number, frequent flyer account numbers, passport numbers and expiration, etc.

I have a shared note with each kid so they can reference their personal info when needed. It's come in handy many times.

I also have one master note with all of this information available only to me. This way, if the shared note is ever edited or deleted accidentally, I can easily replace the data. (Maintaining all of this is a good skill for kids as they grow up but it's a process.)

Travel notes for trips

Whenever we take a trip as a family, whether big or small, I create a note with all of the details.

Example note from our family Europe trip in 2023

It includes things like:

  • dates of travel
  • address and photos of the hotel or airbnb
  • plane confirmation numbers
  • itineraries for the day
  • PDF maps of places we're going to visit
  • links to important people or places from history
  • QR code tickets to scan

It can be a bit of work to get these notes made up, but they've proven invaluable. It brings travel questions way down because they know they can "check the note." Everything is in one place.

I've also seen that it builds anticipation as a vacation nears. They have an idea of activities to anticipate. The younger kids also see the photos and then recognize the place in real life. They can tell themselves "this place is important because..." and it helps them better remember what we've done or learned.

When we get home, I'll remind everyone to get a copy of the note if they want to keep it for their own records. It's a great way to look back on a trip.

I then un-share the note to keep things clean.


The notes app is free, fast, and incredibly useful. In addition to the practical uses, it's been good training for all of us to remember to write things down. The more you write, the better you can think, remember, and understand things. It's an invaluable skill.

Does your family use Notes in any way? I'd love to hear about it.

I also plan to do a similar post for how we use Reminders as a family. Be sure you're subscribed so you don't miss that.

Feedback? Send me an email.