The Sweet Setup: Best Evernote Replacement App for Long-Term Research

June 19th, 2019 by Steve Harris

The Sweet Setup has named Keep It the Best Evernote Replacement App for Long-Term Research for general users:

The biggest reason that Keep It wins the mantel as the best long-term research app for iPhone and iPad is that its the same app for iOS and macOS. No feature we could find wasn’t present on both platforms. That means if you’re an iOS-only user, you’re not missing out on any power by not having a Mac around.

The Sweet Setup: How to Use Keep It for Long-Term Research

May 25th, 2019 by Steve Harris

Josh Ginter has written a great post about Keep It on The Sweet Setup, How to Use Keep It for Long-Term Research, which is very much appreciated. Near the end he raises two concerns:

First, while I appreciate Keep It is paid for via subscription — and thereby, at least somewhat, ensuring more consistent revenue throughout the app’s lifespan — the app is way less known than other major players in this category. The fear of Keep It being swallowed up by a competitor or being sunsetted due to business reasons scares me, especially when looking at the long-term. For shorter-term users — perhaps those writing a dissertation or thesis, or those writing a book — I don’t expect this will be a major factor in your decision process. But with the rate of change in the iOS app industry, will my notes and research be available for my entire lifetime inside Keep It?

Second, while the benefits of using a digital tool far outweigh the consequences, there’s still something about physically writing in a book. Especially an heirloom item like a Bible. Perhaps this is specific to my use-case, to which I plead ignorance. But one day, I’d like to pass on my research and thoughts to the best of my ability. Keeping everything inside Keep It — if it’s around when I’m in my elderly years — is probably less safe than keeping it in a physical format.

First of all, Keep It has a longer heritage than people might think. Its features and design are heavily based on an app originally called Keep It Together, which began life in 2004. The app was renamed to Together for version 2 in 2007 (because the frequently-used abbreviation KIT was an impossible search term) and continued under that name until 2017, when Keep It was released as its successor.

There was also an iOS app for Together from 2014 onwards. Working well with iCloud and app extensions, and achieving feature parity across Mac and iOS meant taming some of the Mac app’s decade-long legacy and a substantial rewrite of its underpinnings. Giving the app a new name and resetting the version number to 1.0 was the best way to indicate this was a fresh start.

Throughout the last 15 years, there has always been an upgrade path and discounts for loyal customers.

Secondly, no app is guaranteed a future, no matter how big or established the company behind them, and digital formats cannot compete with the durability of the annotations in Josh’s physical copy of the Bible (not to mention how much BETTER you appear if your Bible has almost as many annotations as verses), but there are things apps can do to help ensure you’re not left in the lurch.

Like its predecessor, Keep It is designed to avoid lock-in. Everything you put in Keep It is stored in files and folders that you can access in the Finder on Mac, and the Files app on iOS. You can add files to these folders and they’ll automatically be added to the app, and open those files in other applications to edit them.

Keep It uses standard file formats for everything except its own notes, because those offer features that go beyond what RTF allows. Whenever those notes are exported, they will be converted to RTFD files, with incompatible things such as interactive checklists replaced with the equivalent static checkmarks and boxes, dividers with asterisks, etc. Alternatively, you can make the default format Markdown, rich text or plain text. Even Keep It’s password-protected files are actually ZIP files encrypted with AES-256 that can be decrypted by apps such as The Unarchiver.

Keep It allows you to export everything, including metadata, in a single operation, converting notes to RTFD files, decrypting the encrypted files, and preserving the folder hierarchy (and on Mac, the tags too). 

In the digital world, using standard formats is the closest you can get to the durability of physical media. When Keep It Together was originally released back in 2004, it was expected that apps either work directly with standard formats or export them. iOS’s siloed approach may have made the idea seem less relevant for a while, but apps have been able to access each other’s files since iOS 8, and should provide ways to get data out of them in the most useful formats possible.

Keep It 1.6

February 25th, 2019 by Steve Harris

Keep It 1.6 is now available for Mac, iPad and iPhone. This version introduces text recognition for images and scanned PDFs, the ability to create web archives on iOS, new Siri Shortcuts that work with the clipboard on iOS, plus other improvements to PDF editing, search, the Share extension, notes, text editing and more.

Keep It 1.6 for Mac

Text Recognition

Keep It can now recognize printed text in images and scanned PDFs. Keep It does this on the device using the latest machine learning, computer vision and image processing technologies for the most efficient and accurate results.

Keep It doesn’t modify PDFs or convert images to make them searchable, but rather indexes the text so that it can be found again, and stores that text in iCloud to save repeating the work on other devices.

Keep It has always been able to index the text in PDFs that have selectable text or had OCR performed on them already, and does not perform unnecessary text recognition on those, or on images that do not appear to contain any text.

Import Scans and Continuity Camera on Mac

Import PDFs or images from a scanner on Mac, and import standalone photos directly from your iPad or iPhone using Continuity Camera in macOS Mojave.


To complement the above, it’s now possible to rotate and remove pages in PDFs on both Mac and iOS. Keep It can now also strikethrough and underline text in PDFs too.

Save Web Archives on iOS

Keep It for iPad and iPhone can now save web archives. Choose your preferred format (web archives or PDFs) in Keep It’s Settings, or change the default when saving individual links.

Keep It 1.6 for iPad, showing how to save a web link as a web archive in Safari


Notes can now contain dividers, and it’s also possible to show attached images at a smaller size. Keep It will also preserve dividers when importing from Evernote.

Text Editing

Insert the date and time in notes, rich text files, plain text files and Markdown documents. Customize the font for Markdown and plain text documents on iOS.

Share Extension

The Share extension can now create items in formats other than notes, based on the format of the default stationery. For example, if your default stationery is Markdown, the Share extension will create Markdown documents instead of Keep It notes when adding text. 

The Share extension can now append links and files as attachments to Keep It notes or suitable editable text files, will show up to five recent items and lists in the Share extension, and shows favorites above all the other items or lists.

It’s now also possible to show the comments field in the Share extension for links and files.

Siri Shortcuts on iOS

Keep It adds new shortcuts for adding a note or web link from the clipboard, and for appending the contents of the clipboard to notes and other editable text files (after you’ve pasted something).

And More…

Names in the item list or thumbnails now wrap for up to two lines. It’s now possible to search for items by generic types of media such as images, audio and movies rather than a specific file type.  View rich text files in Dark Mode on macOS Mojave.

For a full list of changes, see the Release Notes for Mac, and for iPad and iPhone.

Pricing & Availability

Keep It 1.6 is a free update for all existing customers. 

Keep It for Mac is available for $49.99 directly from Reinvented Software, and Together 3 users can upgrade for $24.99, unless they purchased Together 3 in its final 6 months on sale, in which case the upgrade is free. A 15-day free trial can be downloaded from this site.

Keep It for Mac is also available from the Mac App Store, offers a free trial and a choice of one-time purchase for all Keep It 1.x releases for $49.99, or an upgrade from Together 3 for $24.99 (or free if Together 3 was purchased in its final 6 months on sale). Alternatively, choose from yearly or monthly subscriptions at $19.99/year or $2.49/month.

Keep It for iPad and iPhone is available separately from the App Store with a choice of yearly or monthly subscriptions at $9.99/year or $1.49/month.

Keep It 1.5

September 17th, 2018 by Steve Harris

Keep It 1.5 is now available. This version adds support for Dark Mode on macOS Mojave, Siri support, highlighted search results, the ability to see unfiled items, and the Mac app is now scriptable. Searching on iPad and iPhone has been improved with suggestions, the ability to combine terms, save the current search, and to find text and step through each occurrence in a variety of file types. Both Mac and iOS apps also benefit from improvements to the item list, Markdown editing and previews, PDFs, and plenty more besides.

Keep It in Dark Mode

macOS Mojave

Keep It for Mac will support Dark Mode and accent colors on macOS Mojave, which is due out next Monday. For Dark Mode, the content of notes, plain text files, and Markdown files using built-in preview and editor styles will automatically switch to a dark appearance, and there are options to override that, and always use a light appearance for notes and Markdown files.

Siri Shortcuts

On iPad and iPhone, Siri can now create notes in Keep It, append text to notes, and search for items. Keep It makes viewed items available for shortcut predictions in iOS 12.

Search Suggestions on iOS

When searching on iPad and iPhone, Keep It will now show suggestions above the keyboard, and can tokenize terms in the search field, allowing complex searches to be created. Tapping a suggestion will add it to the search field, tapping and holding on a suggestion will show alternative ways to match results. It’s now possible to save the current search on iOS.

Keep It 1.5 search suggestions on iPad

Highlight Search Result

When searching, Keep It can now highlight the found text in the content of notes, rich and plain text files, Markdown files, PDFs and web pages on both Mac and iOS.

Find Text

On iOS it’s now possible to find and step through each occurrence of a particular word or phrase in notes, Markdown files, rich and plain text documents, PDFs and web pages. On Mac, which could already do that for most file types, it’s now possible to step through occurrences of text in web pages, and finding text in PDFs has been improved to highlight all occurrences at once, and show the number of results.


There is now an optional “Unfiled” list that shows items which haven’t been filed into a folder or bundle, along with a “No Label” list to show unlabelled items.

It’s now possible to see and work with favorite lists on iOS by tapping the icon above the Lists view. Tapping a favorite list will show that list, and favorite lists can be rearranged and removed here too.

Item List

The item list has been redesigned to provide greater flexibility and make better use of space. It’s now possible to show no preview lines in the item list; the date is now on the same line as the summary, and can be hidden if not required. It’s now also possible to always show the item’s Kind at the start of the summary, and on Mac tooltips will be shown when hovering the mouse over a name that is too long to be shown in its entirety. On macOS Mojave, the date will be shown in the system accent color.


You can now paste and drag (on Mac and iPad) links into Markdown files, and drag Keep It items to create links to those items. Markdown previews will now include syntax coloring for fenced code blocks where the language is indicated.


Keep It for Mac is now scriptable, so it’s possible to manipulate pretty much everything in the library, add files and web links, create notes from text, attach files, get highlighted sections, and export.

Other Changes

You can now see when a PDF highlight has an associated note. On Mac, it’s now possible to use bookmarklets that override the defaults to save links in specified formats, and there are new keyboard shortcuts and improvements for organizing items on iOS. See the release notes for Mac and for iOS for a full list of changes.

Pricing & Availability

Keep It 1.5 is a free update for all existing customers.

Keep It for Mac is available for $49.99 directly from Reinvented Software, and Together 3 users can upgrade for $24.99, unless they purchased Together 3 in its final 6 months on sale, in which case the upgrade is free. A 15-day free trial can be downloaded from this site.

Keep It for Mac is also available from the Mac App Store, offers a free trial and a choice of one-time purchase for all Keep It 1.x releases for $49.99, or an upgrade from Together 3 for $24.99 (or free if Together 3 was purchased in its final 6 months on sale). Alternatively, choose from yearly or monthly subscriptions at $19.99/year or $2.49/month.

Keep It for iPad and iPhone is available separately from the App Store with a choice of yearly or monthly subscriptions at $9.99/year or $1.49/month.

Introductory Pricing to End for Original Keep It Subscribers

September 15th, 2018 by Steve Harris

When Keep It was originally released on the App Store and Mac App Store last year, there was a discount for anyone who subscribed within the first 12 weeks, as well as a month-long trial. 

That introductory pricing is now set to end, and over the next few months those who have remained subscribed since then will be offered to renew at the current prices, which have been in effect for everyone else since December 2017. In USD that’s $9.99/year or $1.49/month for iOS and $19.99/year or $2.49/month for the Mac.

If you choose not to renew your subscription, the app will stop working once your current subscription expires. You will be able export all your data using the relevant buttons on the subscription sheet, or can follow the instructions on the apps’ support pages: