The Google Keep app is a fine tool for storing notes and it has a feature you might not be aware of. You can add it to the iPhone’s Today screen and record voice notes with a swipe and a tap.

Of course, there is a perfectly good Notes app on the iPhone and it comes bundled with iOS. It is the obvious app to choose for taking notes if you buy into the whole Apple universe.

If everything you own is Apple, such as a MacBook, iMac, iPhone, iPad and so on, it makes sense to use the iOS Notes app and it will sync your notes across all of your devices. It is a good tool.

However, for anyone that uses a mix of computers, operating systems, phones and tablets, Google Keep is a better choice for storing notes and the reason is because it works across all platforms.

Create a note in the Google Keep app on your iPhone and it can be accessed using Google Keep for the PC desktop, an Android tablet, in Linux using a browser and so on. Keep does not tie you to one platform, which is why I prefer it. No, it’s why I need it. Apple Notes isn’t cross-platform.

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The Keep app is available for the iPhone and it works mostly like every other version. However, the iPhone version has a special feature.

Wake up the iPhone or pull down from the top and the Today view is displayed. (Swipe left/right to switch between Today and Notifications.)

Add Keep to the Today screen and it displays a toolbar that enables you to create voice notes. With a couple of simple gestures you can easily create a new note by speaking into your phone. There is no need to open Google Keep by hunting for the icon across several screens.

That’s not all. Your voice is automatically transcribed into text. The result is a note with both text and embedded audio. You can discard the audio if you want and just keep the text or you can keep both. It is a great feature.

1 Edit the Today view

Pull down from the top of the screen on the iPhone (or iPad, it works on that too), and swipe to show the Today view if necessary.

Swipe up to get to the bottom of the Today view and press the Edit button.

Edit the Today view on the iPhone


2 Add Google Keep

A list of Today view widgets is displayed. Swipe through them and find the Google Keep widget.

Press the green plus button.

Add the Google Keep icon to the Today view on the iPhone


3 Use Google Keep

Return to the Today view - pull down from the top of the screen - and swipe up to see Google Keep.

At the top is a toolbar with four buttons. Press Audio.

Google Keep app on the Today View on the iPhone


4 Record your note

Keep opens and automatically starts listening. Just speak into your iPhone to record your voice.

As you speak, Keep converts it into text in real-time and inserts it into the note. When you stop speaking, the audio is inserted too.

Record voice notes by dictating them to your iPhone using the Google Keep app


5 Play or delete the audio

The audio control shows that there is a recording in this note and the play button on the left allows you to listen to it.

Do you need both the text and the audio? If you don’t, press the delete button to remove the audio and just leave the text.

A Google Keep note on the iPhone containing text and an audio recording

Keep or delete the  voice memo, it's up to you

Delete an audio recording from a Google Keep note using the iPhone


6 Customise the note

Press the three dots button in the bottom right corner of the note to access the usual options. You can select a colour for the note, add a label, invite people to share it and so on.

Customise a Google Keep note by setting the colour or adding a label

Do you use Google Keep on your iPhone? Share your thoughts in the comments below.