The future addition of label support to Notes and Reminders on iPhone, iPad, and Mac suggests that Apple really wants you to tag it today.
Although Apple hasn’t really said it, labeling seems to be becoming more and more important on their platforms and will probably help you get things done.
Apple is expanding label support
Apple will soon extend label support to Notes and Reminders on iPhone, Mac and iPad. They work in the same way as tags when you tag documents, images, and other materials on your computer, making it much easier to find relevant collections of such content and allow powerful smart folder searches on the go.
If you are used to using them, the labels offer:
- A structured way to share content in different folders;
- Ability to create smart folders for tagged content, making it easy to track even complex projects, albeit only on a Mac.
- ICloud Drive sync, which extends the tagging of all connected devices with the same Apple ID.
- However, there are some limitations, such as the inability to create a smart folder on iOS.
How labels work
Labels are color-coded and can be named to help you track a project. If you sync items with your Apple ID and iCloud, you’ll find that the same tags proliferate across all of your platforms, making it easy to keep track of ongoing projects.
You’ll find a list of all your current tags available in the Files app on all your Apple devices and in the Finder on your Mac. Touch any of them to find all the items that have that label.
What makes tags more useful is that you can assign multiple tags to an article. This is an advantage over conventional hierarchical file structures, as you can have a file shared across multiple projects – an architectural plan can be seen using, for example, client, contractor, and billing tags.
Labeling is not as unified across all Apple platforms as I would like:
- On a Mac, you can assign a tag as you save an item using the bar just below the Save As field.
- On a Mac, you can assign a label by selecting an item in the Finder and pressing Control and clicking a label in the context menu.
- On iPad and iPhone, you need to open the Files app, locate an item that you’ve already saved, tap and hold that item until a menu appears, and then assign tags using the Tags item in that menu.
- On iPad and iPhone, you can also assign tags to a document when it’s open; just tap the Share icon and scroll down to find Add Tags.
Although there are additional ways to set labels, these are the simplest approaches.
Although you can create smart folders that look for certain tags or sets of tags on your Mac, you can’t do this on iOS devices. Of course, you can find tagged items using the tag cloud in Finder or iCloud Drive.
Here’s more information on how to set up and use labels.
Coming soon in notes and reminders
What’s new for Notes and Reminders this fall will be the introduction of label support in those apps. Apple has simplified assigning a tag to them, just type #NameOfTag and they will appear.
The limitation is that these tags only appear in those apps, so a note won’t be able to be discovered in a smart folder on your Mac, for example. Regardless, I think labeled notes will become especially popular.
The problem with labels is discipline.
When you are in a hurry, it is always tempting to omit the assignment of a label to a document or other item that you save, and yet the benefits of this can be immense. You’ll find files faster, reduce the number of duplicate items you’ll get on your system (s), and make it easier to track work on your devices.
Of course, to take advantage of these benefits, you need to maintain label discipline:
- Keep the names of the labels short.
- Use them constantly.
- Use label colors: red for project files and green for staff, for example.
- Take time to think about how to create a labeling system – you may have labels for different projects, along with labels for different uses, such as ‘Billing’, ‘For Review’, or a customer or service number. job.
- Assign more tags for best results.
- Periodically review the labels you use and remove or combine the labels you no longer use.
- Most importantly, never forget to tag an item.
Apple’s introduction of labels in reminders and notes seems to be a symbol of a greater commitment to labeling, which makes me imagine that the efficient use of labels will become more important as it iterates over its existing platforms.