How to lock notes in Bear

Guide to How to Encrypt Notes in Bear Notes

I have been using Bear for quite a while now and one of the biggest gaps in the service had been the lack of note encryption. Note encryption allows you to encrypt the note such that it cannot be read without entering a password. This is invaluable for using Bear to store notes that contain sensitive information. With release 1.7 of Bear, you can now lock and encrypt your notes (requires Bear Pro subscription).

The blog post will teach you how to encrypt your notes in Bear. While the next section of this blog post will provide the step-by-step detail, enclosed below is the steps you need to take to encrypt a note in Bear:

  • Open Your Note in Bear
  • Click on the Vertical Ellipsis to bring up the menu
  • In the menu, go to Privacy -> Add Password
  • Read the warning about ensuring all the devices you use Bear on are running version 1.7 or better of Bear. Click Ok when you have confirmed you are running 1.7.
  • Type in your password, re-type it and provide a password hint. Press Set Password when done.

The rest of the blog post is all about taking you step-by-step through the note-locking process. Each step has a screenshot of the step to ensure that it is crystal-clear what you need to do to lock your note successfully.

How to Encrypt a Note in Bear for Mac

Locking a note in Bear is pretty straight-forward. To encrypt a note in Bear, do the following:

Open the Note in Bear and click on the vertical ellipsis button to the right of the note to bring up the menu options

In the menu options, go to Privacy -> Add Password

If this is your first time encrypting a note, a warning pop-up will appear to let you know that you need to ensure you are running Bear 1.7 or greater on all your devices BEFORE you lock your note. Check to make sure you are indeed running 1.7. Once you have confirmed you are running 1.7, click OK.

The Create a Password dialog will appear. Type in your password and then re-type it. It is a good idea to add a password hint that can prompt you to remember your password in case you forget. Make sure you remember your password. Once you note is locked, it can’t be accessed without your password. Bear does not store your notes and does not have the ability to access your locked note. If you forget your password, you will never be able to access it so make sure you make your password memorable. Press Set Password to lock your note.

As you can see from the image above, once you have encrypted your note, the preview for the note will be obfuscated. The note itself will still be readable while the Bear app is open. However, if you quit Bear and re-open it, the note will be locked. If you click on the note you will be presented with an Unlock Note dialog as seen in the image below:

Type in your password and press Enter. Your note will open up as shown in the image below:

How to Encrypt a Note in Bear for iOS

The process of encrypting notes in Bear of the iOS client is very similar to how you do it on the Mac. To encrypt notes in Bear for iOS, do the following:

Open the note and press the vertical ellipsis to bring up the menu.

Once the menu appears, press the Add Password button.

Type in the password you want to assign to the note and press Enter.

Your note is now a password-protected note. The preview should now be obfuscated as it is in the above example.

If you open the Bear app later, you should notice that the note is locked (as shown in the image above). Simply enter your password to open the note. Notice the FaceID icon on the screen. Bear supports the ability to unlock your notes via FaceID (or TouchID if your phone has it).

Typing in the password or using FaceID/TouchID will unlock your note.

Caveats to Encrypting Notes in Bear

There are a couple of limitations for encrypted notes in Bear:

LimitationDetailed Description
Notes containing attachments
cannot be encrypted
Bear supports the ability to
attach files to a note. However,
This functionality is not supported
for notes that are encrypted.
Can’t sync encrypted notes
to Apple Watch
Bear has an Apple Watch app
that allows you to record notes
with your voice, append to
existing notes and check off tasks
in existing notes. However, any note
that is encrypted cannot be
synced to the Apple Watch Bear
Cannot append to encrypted
notes via Bear browser
Bear has browser extensions for
Safari, Chrome, Firefox and
Opera that allow you to clip whole
or parts of a webpage into either
a new or existing note in Bear. This
functionality is not supported for
encrypted notes
Certain functions of
x-callback-URL automation
do not work with encrypted
x-callback-URL protocol support
in Bear exposes API function calls
to Bear. This allows developers and
users of Bear to automate things such
as note creation and appending,
tagging, and search. The following
actions are not supported for
encrypted notes: /add-text, /add-file,
/trash, and /archive.

Bear Notes partnered with Cossack Labs for the encryption technology used in Bear. There is a great write-up on the methodology of how the technology was designed and implemented. Not many companies would go to these lengths to show users how they approach security. I love when companies do this and it only re-affirms my love for Bear and its app.

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