iOS 17 adds a great time-saving feature to Notes — here's how it works

iOS 17 running on iPhone
(Image credit: Future)

Linking notes in the Notes app on your iPhone is one of those features you'd never realize that you truly needed until the first time you give it a try. Then you'll wonder how you ever lived without this capability.

The feature makes sense, though, given the way a lot of us have come to us Notes on the iPhone. The app is a place to jot down thoughts, make lists and assemble ideas, but it's also a great research tool. And sometimes that research is interconnected, so it's helpful to link related notes, letting you jump back and forth between related ideas.

That's precisely what the new iOS 17 update allows you to do. A new feature in the Notes app makes it simple to add links between different notes that lets you move from one note to the other with just a tap. iOS 17 doesn't arrive until the fall, but if you install the iOS 17 public beta, you can try out the feature now.

It's pretty simple to link notes in the iOS 17 Notes app once you know the proper method. And that's what we're here to show you what to do, since the command for doing so isn't immediately visible in the Notes app.

In this example, we're going to link notes related to a trip to Europe — one note that lists potential river cruises and another that lists activities in a given city. To link notes, you'll need at least two existing notes, as you can't create a link for a note thats not already created.

Here's how the process works.

1. Find the note where you want to place a link

(Image: © Future)

In the Notes app, open the note where you want a link and find the place in your note to add that link.

Here, we'll open the list of river cruises and add a link to the Norway to Barcelona section.

2. Add your linked note

(Image: © Future)

In the note itself, tap the right arrow key (>) twice. From the pop-up menu that appears, select the note you're linking to. The title of that note will appear as linked hypertext, with a Note icon next to it.

In this example, we've picked the Barcelona Sights note, which is now linked to our river cruise research.

3. Add a link back from the other note

(Image: © Future)

If you want cross links between your notes, simply tap on the link you've just created. That will take you automatically to the other note. Repeat step 2 above to add a cross link back to the other note.

And that's all there is to it. Linking notes is one of my favorite time-saving new features in iOS 17, and I bet it will be one of yours, too.

Looking for more iOS 17 how-to tips? We can show you how to use the Check In feature that's now part of Messages, as well as how to Quick Reply in Messages and how to share your location with others in the built-in messaging app. Be sure to read our iOS 17 beta hands-on preview so that you know what to expect when the full release arrives later this year.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.

  • nevillef
    It's good to see cross note links coming to Apple Notes, however the implementation described sounds quite cumbersome. That is the need to add two separate links, one in each note. Also only being able to select from a list of notes vs. search + autosuggest, would quickly get tiresome as the number of notes grows.

    Many Note taking and Personal Knowledge Management applications have a backlink capability whereby both links are added at once. They also typically enable you to enter part of the name of the target note and then popup a list of matches for you to chose from. For example our cross platform PKM app Clibu Notes offers this functionality and much more.