Review: Allegory – an extremely powerful note-taking app, built on iOS 13

Forget Apple Notes, there’s a new app in town

Over the years, we’ve seen many note-taking apps that claim to offer a specific focus on one or multiple things. They’ve all been quite good, as has the Notes app built into iOS, but none of them make use of every iOS feature available for developers to integrate into their apps.

Meet Allegory – it’s a brand new, fully customizable note-taking app, built around the iOS 13 API and features only available in this new software. The application has been in beta testing for a while, and from today, it’s available in the App Store as a free download.

It has a minimalistic, iOS-friendly looking user interface, that will take you just minutes getting used to, in our experience. You can launch the app to begin creating a note, or continuing on an existing one, and use gestures to move to other notes. Allegory even uses the new context menu designs found across iOS 13’s new user interface.

One thing that frustrates us in the Apple Notes app is the lack of customization. Allegory could be the first app to offer this amount of customization – you can change the accent theme, app icon, haptic feedback, animations, keyboard settings, and set app locks to make it personal to you. Alright, some of this is locked behind an in-app purchase, but fair enough – the prices are good and it supports the future development. Customization has got to be the biggest strength of Allegory – we really dig this.

Did we mention Dark Mode? Because Allegory is built around and only works on iOS 13 and above, it has Dark Mode support from day 1 (literally, all the way back in June). If you’ve got the darker look set as your iOS theme, Allegory will take this and use it. We’d love to see an option to manually change the theme inside the app, like in Twitter and Slack.

Right – on to note-taking. Create a new note and begin typing using the haptic keyboard instantly. Inside your note, in the same workspace, without leaving the screen, you can improve your grammar with ‘Similar Words’, align the text to your liking and even translate what you’ve written to another language. The flexibility of this is amazing!

  • Create basic lists with bullets or numbers
  • Use text styles, such as underline, italics, bold and even highlights, strikethrough and code blocks (that’s expected of desktop-class editors like NotePad++)
  • Draw using the blank canvas, with different color pens, and add that canvas right inside your note!
  • Bookmark specific notes for easier access later on, and…
  • Search: pull down to search for words inside notes, topics and more

When you’ve finished writing, you can preview your note, export it to share with others, and add basic metadata such as date, time and due dates. The app’s home screen, accessible with a simple pinch, gives you some general information about your note’s contents, such as word count, paragraph count and last edit times. Swipe through notes and produce new ones, and remove bookmarked notes here too.

Let’s not stop there. It’s got iMessage Sticker support, Siri Shortcuts and an Apple Watch application. We found the Watch app good for short notes, like lists, but it allows you to delete, view, bookmark and access other stored notes too. If you wanted to sync notes between an iPad Pro and an iPhone Pro, you can do that with iCloud syncing!

iPad application

Although we didn’t manage to thoroughly use the Allegory app on iPad, we love some of its unique features that aren’t (yet) available elsewhere. Allegory works with multiple windows, a feature brand new to iPadOS 13, meaning that it’s just so simple to copy things from note to note, useful if you’re working on a review or article of some sort.

The interface is optimized for iPad just as well as it is for the iPhone, and both function the same way. iCloud syncing, to share notes between devices, is what makes having Allegory on multiple devices worth it. Allegory’s developer knows what Pro means – we’re talking to you, Apple!

The pen and drawing features mean that you can use Apple Pencil for more precise control. Widget support means that you can pin the Allegory widget to your new home screen in iPadOS and access quick notes straight from there (side note: there is the widget for iPhone, too).

Final verdict and improvements

We love the Allegory note-taking app – the amount of customization, integration with new and old iOS features and the advanced note editing makes it one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful application for writing notes, essays and stories on iOS.

  • Design: 8/10
  • Functionality: 10/10
  • Customization: 10/10
  • Integration: 9.5/10
  • Final verdict: 9/10

There’s not a lot to add to Allegory to make it more advanced. However, we’d love to see the ability to customize fonts within notes, as you can do with other note-taking apps (just a few), along with a macOS app, that could be based around the brilliant iPad version.

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Ben Ward

Senior Editor, discussing everything Apple and supporting other writers and members of Apple TLD's team of volunteers.

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