Drafts for iPhone is a quick, useful notepad

A couple of weeks ago I got a copy of Drafts for iPhone ($0.99) to play with from Agile Tortoise. Today it has earned a spot on my iPhone’s home screen and replaced once-favorite Birdhouse, which has been flaky lately. Drafts lets you quickly record text and then share it in several useful ways. Here’s why I’m loving Drafts.

I’ll preface this post by saying I don’t like typing lots of text on my iPhone. It’s time consuming and I make typing errors. When I first saw Drafts I thought, “Nice, but it’s a note-taking app. I don’t really use those.” However, when I realized it could replace Birdhouse, I became intrigued.

I like storing potential tweets as drafts. Yes, several Twitter apps offer drafts as a feature, but it’s often buried. Drafts lets me launch the app, type and close it again. The next time I open the app, I’m presented with a new note. The older one has been moved to the queue.

Of course, Drafts does more than store tweets. For one, it supports Markdown and converts Markdown notes to HTML, so good news if that’s your thing (plain text is supported too, of course). Notes can be as lengthy as you want, so type away.

To active a note in the queue, simply tap it. To create a note, hit the “+” button. The action button on the right offers several sharing options (above):

  • Tweet (using iOS 5’s built-in tweet function)
  • Send to Tweetbot (I have several Twitter apps installed, but Tweetbot is the only option that shows up here. I don’t know why.)
  • Email as text
  • Email as HTML (converted from Markdown)
  • Copy to clipboard as HTML (converted from Markdown)

That’s a darn useful list. Drafts also displays each note’s word count and character count, has a search function and several UI settings, including four themes and three font sizes (small, medium and large) across 13 fonts. Finally, any note can be edited, even after it’s been shared.

It won’t convert me into an iPhone typist (dictating notes to Siri is still quicker), but the fact that I can get notes out as easily as I put them in is huge. There’s no sync support, so abandon your Dropbox and iCloud dreams. But I don’t really care about that. Drafts is a win.

You’ll find more screenshots and a demo video after the break.