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How to access and sync iCloud notes on Linux

For all you multi-platform note-takers out there, iCloud Notes could soon become an indispensable app. Check out all these features.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
SOPA Images/Getty Images

I jump between Linux and MacOS throughout the day. I'm also a big fan of keeping notes, a task I've relegated to Google Keep for a long time. The problem with Google Keep, however, is that its features are limited. So, when I want to keep more extensive notes with better formatting and other handy features, I turn to the MacOS Notes app 

When an app that allows the managing of iCloud Notes on Linux appeared in the Snap store, I snapped it up and started using it.

Also: Why I use multiple operating systems to get my work done

The app in question is called, simply, iCloud Notes and it includes features like:

  • Notes
  • Folders
  • Checklist
  • Tables
  • Styles

This handy app isn't only limited to the Apple Notes app, as you'll also have access to other iCloud apps, such as:

  • Email
  • Calendar
  • Reminders
  • Pages Documents
  • Numbers Spreadsheets
  • Keynote Presentations

Effectively, when you install iCloud Notes, you can also the other tools (which are actually quite nice). But, for our purposes, we'll limit the discussion to iCloud Notes. As far as note-taking apps for Linux, this one is hard to beat.

For those who are open-source purists, do note that this app is under the MIT license and you can view/access the source on the developer's GitHub page.

So, without further ado, let's get this app installed.

Also: The best note-taking apps for iPad: Ditch the pen and paper

How to install iCloud Notes on Linux

What you'll need: You'll need three things for this: a Linux distribution that supports Snap applications, an iCloud account, and a user with sudo privileges. You do not need to do anything from the MacOS side of things (other than authenticate the login process).

That's it. Let's install!

1. Open a terminal window

The first thing to do is open your terminal window app. If your distribution has Snap support built into the GUI app store, you could search the store for iCloud Notes and install from there; otherwise, you'll need to do this from the command line.

2. Install iCloud Notes

To install the latest version of iCloud Notes, issue the following command:

sudo snap install icloud-notes

When the installation finishes, you can close your terminal window.

Also: Thinking about switching to Linux? 9 things you need to know

Logging into iCloud

The next thing you'll need to do is log into your iCloud account. 

1. Open iCloud Notes

From your desktop menu, open the iCloud Notes app. You should be presented with a Sign-in button right away. Click that button and then, when prompted, type your iCloud username and password.

The iCloud Notes sign-in window.

The sign-in process for iCloud Notes is very simple.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

2. Authenticate your login

Log into your MacOS device, where you should see a prompt asking you to allow the login. Once you've done that, you'll be presented with a 6-digit code. Go back to your Linux machine and type that code into the prompt in iCloud Notes. Once you've done that, you should see all of your notes, ready to use. 

The iCloud Notes activation prompt.

Your activation code will appear on your MacOS desktop.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

The interface for iCloud Notes should look instantly familiar because it mimics that of the official app. Because of this, you shouldn't have any problem hitting the ground running with this app.

The iCloud Notes main window.

iCloud Notes is one of the better note-taking apps on the market.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

So far I've been very pleased with this app. Although it doesn't include all of the features from the official app (such as note locking), it gives me nearly everything I need to manage my notes between Linux and MacOS.

Also: Standard Notes might be the best note-taking app on the market

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