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Evernote goes back on controversial privacy changes, but you should still move to OneNote

Evernote recently unveiled planned changes to its privacy policy that would let a "small number" of its employees look at your notes. This was, it said, to help improve its machine learning technology, but it's still an invasion of your personal information.

Thankfully, Evernote realised this is a particularly stupid change to make and has announced it will no longer go through with the plans. Nevertheless, there are other options out there now, like OneNote.

Moving to OneNote from Evernote couldn't be easier. Microsoft has a simple tool you can download to your PC that will do all the legwork for you. You just need to be running Windows 7 and above and preferably have the Evernote desktop app installed. The video above walks you through it, but there's really not a lot for you to do besides download it and log in.

OneNote is a pretty stellar application, in particular, if you're interested in taking handwritten notes on something like a Surface Pro 4. It's available everywhere you could need it, including Windows 10 Mobile, iOS and Android, the web, PCs, tablets, you name it. OneNote is also available on more devices for free than Evernote, gives you free offline access to your stuff, unlimited monthly uploads and much more besides.

The smart thing is to switch. Download the tool below and start a life with the best note taking tool around.

Download OneNote Importer for Evernote

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

43 Comments
  • Not fussed if they can read my notes, probs only an issue for businesses with confidential info, but OneNote is better anyway.
  • Probably because you don't have any info you wouldn't like to share or be known. I use Onenote as a diary and would be ticked off is MS decided to do the same as Evernote did.
  • What is an Evernote? /s
  • Google's grandchild.
  • I switched when that migration tool first came out and never looked back. I used to be a paying Evernote premium subscriber, but they kept introducing features and excluding Windows, so I canceled my subscription and bailed on Evernote when it was clickin easy to do.
  • I used to use Evernote, but once you are in the MS ecosystem then OneNote makes more sense. Even with my iphone ( I know, I know but it had to be done after too many issues with Windows Phone) I still use OneNote. Iliek teh layout better and MS seems to be focused in making it better all the time. 
  • I use it on my note 5 and it takes handwritten notes like a champ.
  • Never used it. OneNote works good enough for my needs.
  • Same here, I always thought of it as an iOS thing...
  • That's whom their clientele appears to be. I had a coworker who was so anti MS he would use Evernote and struggle to do some things that OneNote could do easily and for FREE. It was funny to watch.
  • No doubt there are things that OneNote can do that Evernote cannot. And there are things that they both do but OneNote does better, such as text formatting and integration with other Office products. But OneNote lacks many useful Evernote features, such as tagging. Also, the sharing in OneNote is poorly designed, as you can only share at the notebook level, rather than sections or individual pages/notes. Worse, the search functionality in OneNote is simply pathetic, as the only thing you can do with search results is to read individual notes/pages, one by one. With Evernote, you can individually or selectively copy and move items found in a search in order to conduct further analysis. OneNote fails spectacularly as a research tool for this simple reason, and its repeated failure to address these shortcomings after more 10 years of development, does not give me much hope for fixes.
  • By shearing you mean working on the same page simultaneously, right? If not, nothing stops you from shearing individual sections/pages as PDFs. As for the research part, sounds like a much better way of searching and reorganizing your notebook. Curious to see it in action.
  • On sharing, for example, I would like to be able to save at the note level by sending a link. At that point, any time I update the note, everyone will see the revised version by refreshing the page (I'd send them a note to let them know there is a new version). Maybe the way I've worked around this could be improved, but my fix is copying the note I want to share to a one note-specific notebook and then distributing a share link from that notebook. The main problem with this is that the note is uprooted from its home notebook (and its surrounding context). If I need to keep it in both the home notebook and the shared notebook, then I have I have to remember to update the shared notebook for changes I make in the home notebook. Bleaaaah!!! Ideally, OneNote would allow sharing at the notebook, section and note/page level. On the Evernote search action options, here's a OneDrive link to a screenshot showing an Evernote search and the offered options. https://1drv.ms/i/s!AvU31gvgIUBrhLcYr5tNiBWlSDjbDw
  • Wow, do you have a feedback link demanding these functions? If not, I suggest shearing your constructive feedback on the feedback hub and posting the link here.
  • I'm not familiar with the feedback hub, but if you post a link I will post some suggestions there. I actually feel kind of dumb doing that, since these seem like obvious missing features and Microsoft has had ages to address these shortcomings. And, of course, Evernote is the greatest rival to OneNote and surely product management staff know what Evernote can do that OneNote cannot. It seems to me the problem is one of indifference (or maybe more charitably, other competing development demands). Or maybe it's just stubbornness. But if you send me a link, I'll take the time to write something up. Maybe I'll be surprised and end up with nothing more to complain about... :)
  • The feedback hub is a Microsoft app in the windows store. Just download it, navigate to the feedback section, post this your detailed feedback to the OneNote app's subsection and share it here.
  • https://aka.ms/Mbzb97
  • Another show-stopper for me is that OneNote has no "undo" capability, which completely boggles my mind. That alone keeps me from using it seriously - the only thing I use OneNote for is simple to-do/shopping lists.
  • OneNote has version history and accepts the Control-Z/undo feature. I use both on a daily basis.
  • You're referring to the bastardized, privacy-invading UWP app, right? 'Cause I use undo/redo in the full Desktop app very often on my Surface Pro 2.
  • Ever who? OneNote works like a charm and has a tool or feature just when you need it.
  • Do you guys mind doing a How to on encrypting OneNote? I know it's easy on desktop, but I think a guide could still be useful, especially tying in how to view it on mobile devices and the web once it's encrypted. 
  • Never liked their app on my Surface Pro. The full OneNote 2016 is miles ahead.
  • I never liked Evernote, and now that it stores their user's data in Google's datacenters I cancelled my Evernote account.
  • MS stores stuff from OneNote on our OneDrive which is on their servers. Diference is MS doesn't read every word of it to provide targeted ads towards us. But you are deluding yourself if you think MS doesn't have access to it somehow unless you are using encrypted files.   Just saying, most everything is in a datacenter somewhere with our metadata tagged to it lol.
  • That's only if you use the bastardized and privacy-invading UWP app. I keep my 12GB+ collection of notes local with the full OneNote 2016.
  • For those who are looking for an application to download music, SD and HD videos recommend take a look at this new application, as well as download it puts cover, album, artist and title of the songs obtained from youtube. Download and check: https://www.windowscentral.com/e?link=https%3A%2F%2Fclick.linksynergy.co...
  • OneNote's privacy statement is not that much different than Evernote's, or any other cloud service that syncs user content. They all must comply with current laws regarding under which conditions personally identifiable data and content will be handed over: OneNote Privacy Statement Excerpts from OneNote Privacy Statement:
    ...Any time OneNote contacts a Microsoft server, information about your computer ("standard computer information") is sent to the websites you visit and online services you use. Microsoft uses standard computer information to provide you Internet-enabled services, to help improve our products and services, and for statistical analysis. Standard computer information typically includes information such as your IP address, operating system version, browser version, and regional and language settings. If a particular feature or service sends information to Microsoft, standard computer information is also sent... ...Microsoft might access or disclose information about you, including the content of your communications, to: (a) comply with the law or respond to lawful requests or legal process; (b) protect the rights or property of Microsoft or our customers, including the enforcement of our agreements or policies governing your use of the services; or (c) act on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public...
  • Not the same at all.... You don't have human intervention in that case....
  • And neither do you with Evernote, unless you opt-in for it. So, it is the same. Thanks though for stopping by.
  • Quote : "When asked about how OneNote handles user privacy for machine learning, a Microsoft spokesperson refused to provide explicit details. The company’s privacy policy says that Microsoft collects data about users’ usage of OneDrive, which is used for cloud syncing of OneNote files, as well as the content they store inside of it." See the rest of the article here: http://www.pcworld.com/article/3151390/privacy/evernote-ceo-we-let-our-u... At least, the Evernote people communicate with their users. I am a user of OneNote, Evernote, and Google Keep. I use them all simultaneously for different purposes. If Microsoft can provide a better privacy assurance than Evernote, will convert fully to OneNote.
  • I love OneNote. Being able to add notes on desktop or laptop, then access and use on Windows Phone or vice-versa is fantastic.
  • Curiously, still can't sort.
  • I am back using one note over evernote. EN is way to restrictive.
  • Too late, I deleted my Evernote account yesterday. On to OneNote!
  • OneNote's mobile apps are comparatively poor, and Evernote is getting more focus from its developers, since it's their primary product.  OneNote has comparatively weak tagging, and a Microsoft account comes with too much service bloat to bother. 
  • I agree that the mobile app on my android phone is very poor. Tried to open my files today outside wireless access and got nothing. But go to evernote and everything there. Also the simple code privacy is a unique feature of evernote. I do have fingerprint access on my Samsung note 4 as primary security but this is useless if fingers wet or sweaty so continually having to type in password. I also dislike the tortuous way that you have to get into outline etc. Whereas evernote all are quite simple on the ribbon. I probably need to implement offline access but how? So for the present an continuing to pay for evernote.
  • So how is OneNote any better in terms of privacy? The most private place in the computing world is my hard drive. Every other place is equally unsafe.
  • Not true either...you have more or less safe cloud solution.... And in your case local might be the safest place but for the common non tech savvy guy that's totally false.... There is nothing easier to hack and steal than a privately own PC poorly protected if protected at all... So for the common man cloud solution are way safer than their local storage for almost every situation you can imagine... Data corruption or hardware failure being the dominant one but privacy and protection from hacks also in many cases....
  • I really like the print to OneNote feature as it helps me take minutes etc, to meetings (on my phone) rather than chopping down trees or lugging my laptop around. Obviously if the person calling the meeting simply attached the minutes to the calendar entry that would help too!
  • What Evernote planned on doing is pretty minor compared to what Windows 10 is doing by default. People getting worked up over EN need to do a little reading about Windows 10 telemetry and how everything you type or do on your computer is uploaded to Microsoft, and can be reviewed by engineers. But hey, let's forget about that and try to push OneDrive engagement, and gloss over the fact that you're damning them for something MS has down to an OS-wide science.
  • I have just sold my last Windows computer. Windows 10 was the last straw, so OneNote is not a choice for me. I use Evernote because I can use it EVERYWHERE, even on a Chromebook, and have been a Pro user for some time. I understand the need to make a profit, and have been happy to pay for a pro account more than five years, but the recent price hikes (coupled with the bad exchange rate here in Australia) are making it expensive. I suspect I will be cautious about backing up data, just in case, but Evernote is still the superior product. The many ways to import data, from a custom email address, browser plugins, the import folder (drop a file, document, PDF or image in the folder, and it is instantly imported to Evernote and synced everywhere) and more. They made a mis-step, like Microsoft with Windows 10 privacy issues, but they have backtracked.
  •   Onenote and Evernote are different products, even if they have some features in common. I use both for different things, and I don't imagine using just one of them. I use Evernote for more text oriented context, for instance, long notes, and Onenote for more dynamic content, and things I want to use more on the phone. I prefer the sync of Evernote, i feel is more smooth. I like the way it is possible to use Onenote as a canvas. Evernote is more "rigid" and that is why I use it for for text content. I find much faster to navigate the directory of notes in Evernote (the tree), the shorcuts, etc, it is much faster, and I have a lot of content. I don't have concerns on privacy. Evernote is completely free. In my laptop I use only the Onenote app. since I don't use office anymore. I really love the real program. Evernote has some bugs in copy-paste, it mixes formats.