Instant Notes is a feature of Apple's stock Notes app that enables you to make a fast note or return to a recently viewed note, without even needing to unlock your iPhone or iPad.


It's a really handy function to use if you want to quickly jot down something and then go about the rest of your day, or if you want to add to an existing note or refer back to one on the fly that you created earlier.

Instead of unlocking your device, opening the Notes app, and then creating a document, with Instant Notes you can start typing almost immediately. And as you'd expect, when Apple designed Instant Notes, it also factored in security. So when you create a new note with it, you can't access other existing notes in the Notes app unless you unlock your iOS device first.

It's the same story when you set up the Instant Notes feature so that it always returns you to your last viewed note. You can even choose how much time elapses before the last viewed note is no longer accessible without unlocking your device.

Before getting started with Instant Notes, you need to add Notes to your device's Control Center. The following set of steps show you how. After that, we'll show you how to set up Instant Notes on an ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌ running iOS 11 or later, and then how you can use it.

How to Add Notes to the iOS Control Center

  1. Launch the Settings app on your ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌.
  2. Tap Control Center.
  3. Tap Customize Controls.
    settings

  4. Scroll down to More Controls.
  5. Tap on the "+" sign to the left of Notes to add it to Control Center.

How to Set Up Instant Notes on Your iPhone or iPad

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iOS device.
  2. Scroll down and tap Notes.
  3. Scroll down and tap Access Notes from Lock Screen.
    settings

  4. If you always want to create a new note each time you use Instant Notes, tap Always Create a New Note. If you only want to use this option, you can skip ahead to the next set of steps.
  5. To keep returning to a note you created earlier, tap Resume Last Note, and you'll see more options revealed on the screen.
    settings

  6. To always resume the last note you created from the Lock screen, tap Created on Lock Screen. To always resume the last note you created from within the Notes app when your device was unlocked, tap Viewed in Notes App.
  7. The last series of options lets you set up Instant Notes so that it sends you to a new note from the Lock screen After 5 minutes, After 15 minutes, After 1 Hour, After Today, or Never. The shorter the time limit, the safer your note will be from potential prying eyes.

How to Use Instant Notes on iPhone and iPad

Now that you've set up Instant Notes on your device, it's time to use it as it's intended, i.e. when your device is locked. Here's how it works.

  1. Raise your device to wake the screen.
  2. Access the Control Center: On an ‌‌iPad‌‌ with a Home button, simply double-tap the Home button; on ‌iPhone‌ 8 or earlier, swipe up from the bottom of the screen; and on a 2018 iPad Pro or ‌‌iPhone‌‌ X and later, swipe down from the upper right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap the Notes button you added to the Control Center previously.
    control center

  4. Simply start typing your new note, or check and/or add to the last note you viewed, depending on how you set up the feature.
  5. Tap Done when you're finished, then sleep your device's screen.

That's all there is to it. You can also access Instant Notes on ‌iPad‌ using an Apple Pencil.

Related Forum: iPad Accessories

Popular Stories

Cyber Monday Deals Feature 2022

Best Cyber Monday Apple Deals Still Available for AirPods, Apple TV, iPad, and More

Monday November 28, 2022 5:24 am PST by
The Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping rush is drawing to a close, but there are still some good deals to be had out there. For Apple products, many of the deals you've seen since last week are still available, though some have expired. So for anyone who missed out on Black Friday deals, there's still an opportunity to get some of the year's best prices on many Apple devices. Note: ...
iPhone 14 Pro Rear Camera

iPhone 15 to Use 'State-of-the-Art' Image Sensor From Sony for Better Low-Light Performance

Monday November 28, 2022 11:00 am PST by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 15 models will be equipped with Sony's newest "state of the art" image sensors, according to a report from Nikkei. Compared to standard sensors, Sony's image sensor doubles the saturation signal in each pixel, allowing it to capture more light to cut down on underexposure and overexposure. Nikkei says that it is able to better photograph a person's face even with...
Apple Watch Ultra Oceanic Plus App

Apple Announces Oceanic+ App Now Available for Apple Watch Ultra

Monday November 28, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Apple today announced that the Oceanic+ app is available for the Apple Watch Ultra starting today. Designed by Huish Outdoors in collaboration with Apple, the app serves as a dive computer for recreational scuba diving at depths up to 40 meters/130 feet. Apple already offers a basic Depth app on the Apple Watch Ultra for viewing your current depth, maximum depth reached, water temperature,...
app store awards 2021

Apple Announces 2022 App Store Award Winners, Highlighting Best Apps of the Year

Tuesday November 29, 2022 3:10 am PST by
Apple today announced its 2022 App Store Award winners, highlighting the 16 best apps and games selected by Apple's global App Store editorial team. The top apps were chosen by Apple for their quality, innovative technology, creative design, positive cultural impact, and ability to deliver "exceptional experiences." Apple CEO Tim Cook said: This year's App Store Award winners reimagined...
rapid security response

Apple Releases Another Rapid Security Response Update for iOS 16.2 Beta Users

Monday November 28, 2022 10:16 am PST by
Apple today released a Rapid Security Response update that is available for those running the iOS 16.2 beta, marking the launch of the second RSR update since the feature was released in iOS 16. The Rapid Security Response Update is designed to provide iOS 16.2 beta users with bug fixes without the need to install a full update. The initial RSR release for iOS 16.2 beta users was a test with ...
twitter elon musk

Elon Musk Claims Apple Has 'Mostly Stopped' Offering Ads on Twitter and Is Making Moderation Demands

Monday November 28, 2022 10:42 am PST by
Apple has cut back on its Twitter advertising, according to Twitter CEO Elon Musk. In a tweet, Musk said that Apple has "mostly stopped" its Twitter ads, asking if Apple hates "free speech." Musk went on to publish a poll asking if Apple should "publish all censorship actions" taken that impact customers and he began retweeting content from companies that Apple has had moderation discussions ...
iphone 11 tesla cybertruck close up

Elon Musk Pledges to Build iPhone Rival If Apple Ousts Twitter

Tuesday November 29, 2022 2:48 am PST by
Elon Musk has pledged to offer an "alternative phone" if Apple and Google remove Twitter from their app stores, adding to long-standing rumors about an iPhone rival from Tesla. Modified iPhone 11 Pro in the style of the Tesla Cybertruck, by Caviar. Musk's remark came after being asked about the potential scenario of Twitter being removed from app stores, which could conceivably happen if the...
General Black Friday Deals 2022 Green

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Still Get

Friday November 25, 2022 4:40 am PST by
Although Black Friday is now technically over, many Apple products are still seeing major discounts through the weekend as we head into Cyber Monday. In this article, you'll find every Apple device with a notable Black Friday sale that's still available. We'll be updating as prices change and new deals arrive, so be sure to keep an eye out if you don't see the sale you're looking for yet. Note:...