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How To Create Smart Folders and Tags in the Notes app

Maybe you’ve seen the Smart Folders option in the Notes on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac but have no idea what it does or how to use them. 

Smart Folders is relatively new as of iOS 15. This feature allows Note users to quickly put notes in Smart Folders by adding tags inside their notes. Tags can make your life easier by rapidly putting your desired notes in a particular folder for easy access. All of the notes that contain a specific tag appears in one place in a Smart Folder.

With iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, you can use tags to quickly categorize your notes so you can easily find them later. 

Create Smart Folders

Folders are a great way to organize your notes into work or personal project categories. When using Smart Folders, your notes remain in the folder you created them in. You can use Smart Folders to filter and frequently find the notes you want to reference, such as journal entries, recipes, or vacation documents.

To Create Smart Folders:

  • Open the Notes app
  • Choose an account, either iCloud, On My iPhone, or  On My iPad
  • Tap the New Folder button
  • Tap New Smart Folder, enter a name and select or create some new tags.
  • When finished tap Done

You can also create a Smart Folder inside the tags browser. Just tap on the tag, then select the more button, tap to create Smart Folder, add a name, and tap Save.

Add as many tags as you like to define the criteria for your folder. Your Smart Folder will reside alongside your other folders but will have a different icon. It looks like a cog wheel.

Convert Any Folder to a Smart Folder

To convert an existing folder to a Smart Folder:

  • When viewing the folder, you want to convert, tap on the more button.
  • Scroll and tap Convert to Smart Folder

When you convert a folder, its notes are tagged with the name of the Smart Folder. Remember that you can’t convert Shared folders, a folder containing sub folders, or a folder containing locked notes.

Once you convert a folder, this action can’t be undone. So if you no longer want that smart folder, you need to delete it.

Edit Smart Folders 

To edit a Smart Folder:

  • Tap and hold on the Smart Folder you want to edit
  • Select Edit Smart Folder, then change the name or tags shown.
  • Tap on Done

Deleting Smart Folders

You can delete a Smart Folder by Swiping to the left on the folder’s name and tapping on the trash icon. Be aware that the notes that were in that folder will return as single notes inside either iCloud, On My iPhone or On My iPad. The original folder will be deleted.


Tag support was a much-requested feature from Apple Notes users and those who wanted to switch from platforms like Evernote. Now that the feature resides inside the operating system, Apple Notes is one of the most adept free note-taking apps available.

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