Evernote’s controversial free plan limits have users looking for alternatives

Evernote app icon
(Image credit: Alexander Supertramp/Shutterstock)

The once-dominant note-taking app Evernote has made a major change to its free plan, potentially angering users and prompting at least some of them to consider an alternative.

Evernote’s free users will be limited to a maximum of 50 notes and a single notebook starting on December 4, the company announced in a controversial blog post on Wednesday (Nov. 29). That’s a far cry from the existing free plan, which allows for 100,000 notes and 250 notebooks. Evernote tried to soften the blow in its announcement, saying that users will have the ability to delete old notes to make room for new notes. But if they have 50 notes they want to keep, they’ll either need to upgrade to a paid plan or find another way to keep notes.

Evernote has long been considered the top note-taking app for users around the globe. But as competitors continued to enter the market, Evernote lost ground. Last year, developer Blending Spoons acquired Evernote and said that it didn’t plan to make any changes to the platform. But with this move, that promise hardly lasted a year.

Of course, when such changes are announced, existing users have plenty of questions. Evernote tried to allay at least some of their fears by announcing that existing users with more than 50 notes and one notebook will still be able to view, edit, export, share and delete all their notes and notebooks, regardless of the limit. Those users won’t, however, be able to create more notes or notebooks unless they upgrade to a paid plan.

Evernote added that it chose the limits carefully and said that “most” of its free users won’t be affected by the change. 

“For Free users who have or who want more than fifty notes and one notebook, we recognize that these changes may lead you to reconsider your relationship with Evernote,” the company added. “We hope the Free experience will continue to meet your needs, and that you’ll consider a paid subscription if you’re interested in exploring Evernote’s full potential and supporting its future development.”

But for affected users, supporting Evernote’s future may be a hard pill to swallow. And after paying nothing for so long, opting for the $15-a-month Personal plan or the $18-a-month Professional plan may not be so easy.

Luckily for those users (and anyone else who may not like Evernote’s decision), there are plenty of Evernote alternatives to consider. Notion and Joplin are among the most popular options, along with Microsoft OneNote and Zoho Notebook. Google Keep and Otter are also fine choices if you’re looking for an Evernote alternative.

Needless to say, there are plenty of solid Evernote alternatives. And Evernote may quickly find that its shakeup could cost it far more than it anticipates.

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Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.