How to collaborate with others in the Notes app on iPhone and iPad

Ipad Pro Shared Notes Hero
Ipad Pro Shared Notes Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

For most people, the Notes app is quite nifty. With Notes, you can store your thoughts, ideas, create checklists and even sketches, all without having extra set up involved. But it's also great for sharing and collaborating with others too! For example, you can create shared checklists for groceries or gift ideas, or perhaps bounce ideas off with another colleague of yours for the next big project. And all of this is built-in on your favorite iPhone or iPad.

Here's everything you need to know about how to share and collaborate with others in the Notes app on iPhone.

How to invite people to make changes to notes on iPhone and iPad

Once you've started a note, you can invite others to view and collaborate on it with you.

  1. Open the Notes app.
  2. Select a note to share and edit with others.
  3. Tap the more button (...) in the upper right corner.

How to invite people to make changes to notes on iPhone by showing: Launch Notes, select a note to share, tap the ... button in the upper right corner (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Share Note.
  2. Choose how you would like to send the invitation: You can use Message, Mail, social media, or productivity apps.
  3. Enter the recipients' names. You can send invites individually or as a group.
  4. Tap the arrow in the text field to send.

How to invite people to make changes to notes on iPhone by showing: Tap Share Note, tap the method you want, enter the recipients, tap Send (Image credit: iMore)

The recipients will receive a link to the note in iCloud, which they can then use to collaborate on iPhone and iPad running iOS 10 or later, or on iCloud with a Mac or PC.

How to work on a note on iPhone or iPad in real-time with others

Once invited, others can begin editing and adding content to your note. Whether it's a checklist, photo, or sketch, everyone can collaborate.

You can see, in real-time, the phrases being edited. When another person is editing a note, you'll see their words highlighted on the screen. If you come across such activity, try to hold off adding your own information until the other person is finished. This, unfortunately, can cause some complications when multiple people are trying to edit the same thing. Since updates are synced via iCloud, you might start typing something, only to see it disappear a few seconds later.

Work on a note in real-time with others by showing: Changes made by others are highlighted to make it easy (Image credit: iMore)

How to see what has changed in a note, even when not in real-time

You can see changes others have made with the Highlight Changes feature. This makes it easier to see what's been added without having to watch it change in real-time.

  1. Open the Notes app.
  2. Navigate to the Note that is being shared.

See what changed in a note even when not in real-time in Notes on iPhone by showing: Launch Notes, tap a shared note (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap the Collaborate icon. It looks like a silhouette of a head with a checkmark icon next to it.
  2. Tap the Highlight All Changes switch to turn it on.

See what changed in a note even when not in real-time in Notes on iPhone by showing: Tap the Collaborate icon, tap the toggle for Highlight All Changes to ON (Image credit: iMore)

The color of the highlight will be based on the person that made the changes. Unfortunately, the colors picked are not customizable.

How to change permissions on a shared note on iPhone or iPad

  1. Launch the Notes app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on the collaborative note that you want to edit permissions on.
  3. Tap the Collaborate button. It looks like a silhouette of a head with a checkmark next to it.

How to change permissions on a shared note on iPhone by showing: Launch Notes, tap Shared Note, tap Collaboration button (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Share Options.
  2. Select whether you want to let people Make Changes or View Only.

How to change permissions on a shared note on iPhone by showing: Tap Share Options, select whether you want the person to be able to make changes or view only (Image credit: iMore)

How to stop receiving notifications about changes to a note on iPhone or iPad

If you don't want to hear a distracting "ding" every time someone makes even a minor change to a note you're collaborating on, you can quiet your note and your nerves.

  1. Open the Notes app.
  2. Navigate to the Note you are sharing.

See what changed in a note even when not in real-time in Notes on iPhone by showing: Launch Notes, tap a shared note (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap the Collaborate icon. It looks like a silhouette of a head with a checkmark icon next to it.
  2. Tap the Hide Alerts switch to turn it on.

Stop receiving notifications about changes to a note on iPhone by showing: Tap the Collaborate button, tap toggle for Hide Alerts to ON (Image credit: iMore)

How to stop sharing a note on iPhone or iPad

Once you've finished working on a note with your group and don't need any more editing help, you can stop sharing it with the group. Here's how.

  1. Open the Notes app.
  2. Navigate to the Note you are sharing.
  3. Tap the Collaborate icon. It looks like a silhouette of a head with a checkmark icon next to it.

How to change permissions on a shared note on iPhone by showing: Launch Notes, tap Shared Note, tap Collaboration button (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap Stop Sharing to remove all people from having access to the note.
  2. Confirm that you want to stop sharing the note by tapping Stop Sharing.

Stop sharing a note on iPhone by showing: Tap Stop Sharing, then tap Stop Sharing again to confirm (Image credit: iMore)

How to remove individual access to a note on iPhone or iPad

If someone has left your project team, or you accidentally shared a note with someone who isn't on your team, you can also remove individual collaborators from the group.

  1. Open the Notes app.
  2. Navigate to the Note you are sharing.
  3. Tap the Collaborate icon. It looks like a silhouette of a head with a checkmark icon next to it.

How to change permissions on a shared note on iPhone by showing: Launch Notes, tap Shared Note, tap Collaboration button (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Swipe to the left on a name and tap Remove
  2. You can also tap a person's name and then tap Remove Access.

Remove individual access to a note on iPhone by showing: Swipe to the left on a name and then tap Remove, or tap the name and then select Remove Access (Image credit: iMore)

How to mention someone in a shared note on iPhone and iPad

With iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, a new feature for shared note collaboration are Mentions. If you want to get the attention of someone in a shared note, just mention them so they get a notification. This is especially good if there has been an important update, and the mentioned user can go directly to the note from the notification with just a tap.

  1. Open the Notes app.
  2. Navigate to the Note you are sharing.

See what changed in a note even when not in real-time in Notes on iPhone by showing: Launch Notes, tap a shared note (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap anywhere to edit the note.
  2. To mention someone, just type "@Name."
  3. Tap the contact that pops up above the keyboard to select someone to mention.
  4. Tap Done

Mention someone in a shared note in Notes on iPhone by showing: Tap anywhere to edit, type in @, then select the contact you want to mention, then tap Done (Image credit: iMore)

How to view highlights by each user in a shared note on iPhone and iPad

With iOS 15, it's possible to see a highlight of all changes by collaborators, including what, where, and what time it was changed. Text is also highlighted to be color-coded, which matches with each collaborator.

  1. Open the Notes app.
  2. Navigate to the Note you are sharing.

See what changed in a note even when not in real-time in Notes on iPhone by showing: Launch Notes, tap a shared note (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Swipe to the right to display the highlights.
    • Optionally, you can tap the Collaborate button at the top.
    • Then tap Show Highlights.

View highlights by each user in Notes on iPhone by showing: Swipe right to reveal highlights, or tap Collaborate, then tap Show Highlights (Image credit: iMore)

How to access Activity View in a shared note on iPhone and iPad

A new Activity View was introduced in iOS 15. This provides an overview of what each collaborator has contributed.

  1. Open the Notes app.
  2. Navigate to the Note you are sharing.

See what changed in a note even when not in real-time in Notes on iPhone by showing: Launch Notes, tap a shared note (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap the "…" button (it looks like three dots) in the upper right.
  2. Select Show Note Activity.

Access Activity View in a shared note in Notes on iPhone by showing: Tap the ... button, tap Show Note Activity (Image credit: iMore)

Collaborating in Notes has never been easier

As you can see, the new collaboration features for Notes in iOS 15 make it better than ever. With mentions, you can ping others when there is an important update, and it's easy to check on who made what change when and where.

Lory Gil contributed to an earlier version of this guide.

Updated January 2022: Updated for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.