Bear Writer is now my go-to application for virtually all my writing (the main exception being letters, where I use Apple’s Pages instead). I reviewed Bear Writer back in March but, despite the generally favourable review I gave it, I went with Ulysses instead.
I then encountered a problem with iCloud that affected Ulysses (which is still outstanding and being investigated by Apple). The problem was not Ulysses’ fault but I switched back to Bear Writer at that point because it wasn’t affected by the particular iCloud problem I was getting.
Ulysses was an unfortunate victim of circumstance here but I wasn’t too stressed about going back to Bear because it’s a gorgeous app that’s a joy to use. I merely felt it lacked some of the whistles and bells that Ulysses had.
However, I am now invested in Bear for the future because I’m certainly not switching back again. I am thus interested in how Bear develops and was please to note that on 30 April 2018 they released an update.
The main bits of the update are as follows:
This is what the Bear team call the little icons next to tags in the left pane of the Bear window. Bear used to pick the icon for you but you can now pick the icon yourself. All you do is long press the tag in the left pane and then select “Change Tag Icon...”. You can then select the icon you want from the pop-up window that follows.
You can now archive notes. Just right-swipe a note in the middle pane, select “More” and then select “Archive” from the pop-up. They’ll then disappear from the notes list and instead appear under a new “Archive” tag in the left pane.
Additional Default Tags
Besides the “Archive” tag mentioned above, there are also now default tags for “Untagged”, “ToDo” and “Today”. You’ll find these under the primary “Notes” tag in the left pane and they filter notes as the nomenclature of the tag would suggest.
I applaud the Bear team for making use of special tags in the left pane like this. I’ve always thought the use of default tags in the left pane has the potential to be really useful.
You can now export to the ePub format, export all notes under a particular tag in one go and there’s support for more code syntax languages.
There are other things too and you can read about them on Bear’s own blog about version 1.5.
I think this already great app has much potential for the future. The poor developers are inundated by feature requests on their Reddit channel, but the Bear team stay pretty calm.
As a former software developer myself, I know they’ll be trying to balance their own vision for the product with the most popular feature requests they get. I think they’re doing a fine job and the product is 90% of what I’d want it to be in an ideal world. It’s about being patient — I’m sure there are plenty great things to come from this app.