Microsoft delivers new OneNote features for iOS, Mac users

Microsoft delivers new OneNote features for iOS, Mac users

Summary: Microsoft is rolling out new OneNote features for iPhones, iPads and Macs, as well as first steps on the promised support for OneDrive for Business for Macs.


Microsoft is rolling out a number of OneNote enhancements for iOS and Mac users on July 29, plus the first steps toward promised OneDrive for Business support for Mac OS X.


The updates allow OneNote for Mac and iOS users to insert documents, PDFs and audio and video files into their notes. They also will allow Mac and iOS users to open, access, lock and unlock password-protected notebook sections created using OneNote for Windows, among other features. 

As of today, OneNote for Mac includes OneDrive for Business support only for OneNote. Microsoft officials have said they would provide a OneDrive for Business for Mac OS X client before the end of calendar 2014.

Here's what's new, update-wise, as of today:

OneNote for Mac updates

  • OneDrive for Business: Create, open, edit, and sync OneDrive for Business notebooks alongside personal OneDrive notebooks.
  • Insert Files: Office documents, PDFs, video/audio files can be inserted into notes, opened as read-only and saved for later.
  • Protected Sections: Lock or unlock password-protected sections created in OneNote for Windows.
  • PDF Printouts: Add a PDF printout to any page and then take notes on it in OneNote.
  • Move within notebooks: Move pages and sections around in notebooks to get them organized the way you want. 
  • Share a Page as Email: With HTML, formatting maintained.

OneNote for iOS updates

  • Streamlined First Run Experience: Access notebooks across OneDrive and OneDrive for Business faster with a prompt for Microsoft Account and Organizational Account.
  • Insert Files: Office documents, PDFs, video/audio files can be inserted into notes, opened with a double-tap, and shared with AirDrop.
  • Protected Sections: Lock or unlock password-protected sections created in OneNote for Windows.
  • PDF Printouts: Add a PDF printout to any page and then take notes on it in OneNote.
  • Move within notebooks: Move pages and sections around in notebooks to get them organized the way you want.

The OneNote for iOS updates are available via the OneNote for iPad and OneNote for iPhone apps in the Apple App Store. Ditto for the OneNote for Mac OS updates.

OneDrive for Business, in spite of its name, is not related to the consumer version of OneDrive. OneDrive for Business is Microsoft's cloud-storage service for business users and uses SharePoint Online/Office 365 as its back end. 

OneNote is one of Microsoft's flagship productivity offerings. The OneNote team has been releasing updates and new features to a variety of different clients across a variety of operating systems — and browsers, if you include OneNote Online — for the past couple of years. 

Topics: Mobile OS, Apple, Cloud, Collaboration, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • PDF

    PDF's still seem to be the biggest hole in OneNote. It would be great if you could just include them in your OneNote folder and take notes on them. The printout route is kind of cumbersome.

    Interesting point is that the reader that comes with Windows 8.X which is an RT app allows you to take notes on the PDF, highlight things, and save them away. In the regular Windows program from Acrobat you cannot do this. When you open the saved PDF in Acrobat you see your notes but cannot change them. I have been expecting this feature to be added but it is now over a year and it still is not there.
    • Maybe licensing

      Maybe that's a licensing restriction?
      Buster Friendly
      • There are licensing restrictions if you use Adobe's PDF library

        but not if you roll your own solution.
  • Why is always Apple before Android?

    Why is always Apple before Android?
    • Why is Apple and Android before Windows Phone?

      Android Beta just got an update this week that includes inking. The choice is becoming more clear by the week. If you want the best possible mobile experience of Microsoft apps then stay away from Windows Phone. I've been on WP for 2 years, patiently waiting for an update to OneNote (or any of the Office 'hub'). Any update. Each Android/iOS just makes me feel like more of a fool.
      • What are you missing?

        You don't need an update to add things that are already there.
        Buster Friendly
        • For starters, you can now ink on Android and not WP....

          There are five bullet points about new iOS features in this article. 4 of them WP can't do. Android has had widget support for a while now, you'd think WP would have a similar LiveTile experience. Navigating through notebooks, moving pages and sections, etc is also something that WP now lags way behind on.

          In 2012, OneNote on WP was great in comparison. In fact, it's still not too far behind Android/iOS. But it is clearly behind.

          I really hope that this is all because Microsoft has been preparing a spectacular universal Office Touch app that will be released very soon. If not then I guess the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 may be the best mobile OneNote device when it is released.
          • Makes Galaxy Note 4 Intriguing

            I've never been an Android fan, but the inclusion of inking in the latest beta of Android OneNote has me picking up a used Galaxy Note 3 with hopes that I can get used to it enough to move to the 4 this fall when my iPhone contract is up. I had really hoped for a Lumia 1020 successor with 5" screen and N-Trig inking, but that looks like more of a longshot than another manned moon mission.

            I wonder if MS has ANY IDEA how annoyed the faithful are getting because they have everything Windows on hold for Gemini while iOS and Android get all of the love? And don't reply with "but Office/OneNote will be better on Windows" because that doesn't really matter when there IS not unpdated touch for Windows NOW.
          • GNote 4 will be water resistant too!

            The rumors say that the GN4 will have the same water/dust resistant design as the Galaxy 5. As someone who has been following digital inking since the tablet PC for XP days it's been strange to see Samsung sell so many notes that use those crappy 's-pen' apps and for it to be more popular than Microsoft's inking solution ever was. If only we could have the perfect software AND hardware for mobile inking. Unless Nokia has a pen phablet coming out soon I'll be taking a really hard look at the GN4 this fall.
    • Because that's where the money is

  • YES!

    Finally I have been waiting patiently for these updates for some time now. When they actually get released, assuming they work well, it will be a good day.
  • Local Storage

    When is MS going to let Mac users store files locally. I don't want to store everything in the cloud.
    • Huh?

      I can store my files locally on my Mac, it just has to sync first. :|
      Michael Alan Goff
      • Local only I assume

        I assume he means a 100% local document. On the Windows 8 version I just do File->New and select "Computer" as the storage location.
        Buster Friendly
    • Do you have Office 365?

      Maybe that's a full version feature? I don't have a Mac handy to try it out but I can store local only on Windows 8.
      Buster Friendly
  • Great stuff, I love onenote

    I have used those features quite a bit on Windows, very grateful to have them on the Mac.
  • New OneNote App Features

    Microsoft has very recently launched the OneNote application for iPhones to support iOS devices. This is precisely the app one was looking for. Please visit -