TextEdit is a useful app on the Apple Mac and it can be used to create simple text text files to complex word processor documents. But where is TextEdit for iOS? Use TextEdit+ instead.
Do you use TextEdit on your Mac to create documents and text files? Pages is the obvious choice for creating documents, but you can’t beat TextEdit for creating simple documents because it is lightweight and fast. You can be writing in TextEdit while Pages is still loading. Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it is quick to start.
Sometimes a lightweight app with just the basic features you need is preferable to a big feature-packed application. When you want to write or copy and paste short passages of text, a lightweight app is quicker and easier to use than a full word processor. The Notes app can be used to save bits of text and this is useful, but it cannot load and save files. A text editor can.
View text files on the iPhone
On the iPhone for example, open the Files app and navigate to the TextEdit folder. Tap a TextEdit document and it opens. However, it is displayed on the iPhone in read-only mode and the document cannot be edited. This means that you cannot work on TextEdit documents away from your Apple Mac.
One option available is to import it into the Notes app as a note, which is far from ideal. Notes are synced to the Mac, but then you would have to open Notes on the Mac, find the note, copy it, open TextEdit, open the document, then paste in the Note. That is so awkward you won’t want to do it.
Edit documents on iPhone with TextEdit+
TextEdit+ is an alternative to the missing TextEdit word processor for iPhone and iPad and it is available in the app store for $5.99. I got it years ago when it is was free, but these days it must be purchased. However, Notes Writer – Take Good Notes! is from the same developer and appears to be a free, ad-supported version of TextEdit+. There are a few minor differences, but if anything, the free ad-supported app seems to have more features. Take your pick.
The app was a simple text editor when I first got it and it had with some useful features. However, after many updates, these days it is powerful enough to be called a word processor. It is not in the same league as Pages, but it is adequate for basic text editing and word processing tasks. It supports the usual formatting features like bold, italic, underline, super and subscript, strike-through and a lot more.
Tap the gear icon and there are some useful formatting and font selection functions. The text can be aligned left, right or centered. The font and size can be set, and you can also create your own user styles and apply them to selected text with the tap of a button. There is a collection of predefined styles such as highlights, title, subtitle, body text and so on.
TextEdit’s editing screen has a mini toolbar just above the keyboard and the default is for navigating the text. You can point and tap with a finger to move the cursor, but it is not always easy to precisely position it with a big fat finger, so the navigation buttons help.
There are two more toolbars and the next one shows the formatting commands, bold, italic and so on. The third one shows punctuation marks, which helps with the typing by saving you having to switch keyboards.
Documents can be created in a variety of formats and it is possible to create documents containing images. Just copy them from the web or from the Photos app and paste them in the usual way – long press for the standard iOS editing toolbar.
File handling in TextEdit+
Files can be opened from the iPhone, on iCloud or in the Files app. The ability to browse files on iCloud is a bit limited, but that may partly be to strict rules imposed by Apple. However, you can view most files that the app can load and edit. New files can be created and you can start with a blank page easily enough.
TextEdit on the Apple Mac can create plain text files, simple .rtf word processor documents and complex .rtfd documents with images and tables and so on. TexEdit+ will load simple TextEdit documents for editing, but it cannot edit all types of document. It cannot edit those with tables for example.
It can create documents containing images, but it cannot edit those created by TextEdit on the Mac. Despite this limitation, it is still a very useful editor for .txt and .rtf documents.
The app can be used for LaTeX and Markdown documents, HTML and other coding files, which are plain text after all.
Tap the wrench icon at the top and a collection of tools is available. Show Statistics shows the number of lines, words, characters, reading time, average words per sentence, readability index and reading ease, and more.
There is a Find & Replace function, the text can be read aloud, plain text can be copied, there are sepia and night modes, word counter and spelling.
An actions button at the top of the editing screen enables the document to be exported. There are options to send the document using email, send it to an app, save it to Photos, or send it to Files/iCloud drive. This last option enables the document to be saved as RTF, PDF, EPUB, TXT, RTFD, PNG, and HTML. That is a good selection of file types.
TextEdit+, and the free Notes Writer, aer useful apps for editing a range of document and text files that are stored in iCloud or on the iPhone or iPad, including TextEdit files created on from the Mac. It is not perfect and it does not edit all types of documents, but it is otherwise pretty good.
You can easily write on the iPhone and capture your thoughts, work on documents started on the Mac and more.