Iphone 13 Pro Instant Notes HeroSource: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

A few years ago, Apple introduced a feature called Instant Notes. This allows you to access the Notes app right through Control Center, making it faster than ever before to jot down notes to refer to later, or even continue where you left off on an existing note. For those fleeting moments, every second counts, and Instant Notes makes sure you get it down as quickly as you can.

Instant Notes launched in iOS 13, so as long as you have the best iPhone or iPad equipped with the latest software, like iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, then you can make use of it. Here's how to get Instant Notes on iPhone and iPad.

How to enable Notes in Control Center

Before you can access Notes from the lock screen, you'll first need to enable Notes in the Control Center.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Control Center.
  3. Tap the green plus button next to Notes. It looks like a text box with a plus on top of it.

    Enable Notes in Control Center on iPhone: Launch Settings, tap Control Center, tap green plus next to Notes iconSource: iMore

Now you'll be able to access Notes from the Control Center.

How to enable Instant Notes from the lock screen

After you've given Control Center access to Notes, you'll have to allow Notes to be used from the Lock Screen. It's easy to do so!

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Notes.

    Enable Instant Notes from Lock Screen on iPhone: Launch Settings, tap NotesSource: iMore

  3. Tap Access Notes from Lock Screen (you need to scroll all the way to the bottom).
  4. Tap the option you want. Your options are as follows:

    • Off: This will disable Notes from being accessed from the lock screen.
    • Always Create New Note: This option will always create a new note when using Instant Notes.
    • Resume Last Note: This will allow you to edit the last note you created.

    Enable Instant Notes from Lock Screen on iPhone: Tap Access Notes from Lock Screen, then select your options for what note to start with on the lock screen, and if resume last note, whether it was created on Lock Screen or Viewed in Notes app, and the time it takes before Instant Notes begins a new noteSource: iMore

How to access Instant Notes on your iPhone or iPad

Once you have it all set up, starting an Instant Note is pretty straightforward.

On an iPhone or iPad with Touch ID:

Swipe up from the bottom of the Lock Screen, then tap the Notes button.

Access Instant Notes on iPhone with Home button: Swipe up from bottom of screen to invoke Control Center, then tap the Notes iconSource: iMore

On an iPhone or iPad with Face ID:

Swipe down from the upper right corner of the Lock Screen, then tap the Notes button.

Access Instant Notes on iPhone with Face ID: Swipe down from upper right corner to invoke Control Center, then tap Notes buttonSource: iMore

Unfortunately, you can't just write a note on the Lock Screen, as you may have thought. Instead, the Instant Notes in Control Center launches the Notes app directly, so you can do anything you normally would in the Notes app.

How to customize how long a recently added note is accessible from the lock screen

If you don't want to create a new note every time you create an Instant Note, you can change the frequency in the settings for Notes.

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap Notes.
  3. Tap Access Notes from Lock Screen.

    Customize how long a recently added note is accessible from the Lock Screen on iPhone and iPad by showing steps: Launch Settings, tap Notes, tap Access Notes from Lock ScreenSource: iMore

  4. Tap Resume Last Note. Make sure you also select whether you want to resume the Last Note created on Lock Screen or Viewed in Notes App.
  5. Tap the amount of time you want. Your options are as follows:

    • After 5 Minutes
    • After 15 Minutes
    • After 1 Hour
    • After Today
    • Never

      Customize how long a recently added note is accessible from the Lock Screen on iPhone and iPad by showing steps: Tap Resume Last Note, tap the amount of time you preferSource: iMore

Jot it down fast with Instant Notes!

As you can see, Instant Notes makes it easier and faster to get to the Notes app than ever before. It's definitely useful when you need to quickly jot down something like an address, phone number, email, or even your brilliant thoughts and ideas that you don't want to forget.

Updated April 2022: Updated for iOS 15.