One of the coolest features of the Samsung Galaxy Note series is how you can take out the S Pen stylus and just scribble on the lock screen of the phone, even without unlocking it. Well, you can do the same on the iPad and the iPhone as well. And it is really cool on the iPad if you have an Apple Pencil handy.


In a world full of big and bigger displays, only two styluses have managed to make space for themselves, the Samsung S Pen which comes with the Samsung Galaxy Note series and the Apple Pencil, which accompanies the iPad and the iPad Pro. And these two styluses could not be more different; one pretty much has a brain of its own, while the other is as humble as the pencil in its name (though extremely powerful when combined with the right apps). But for all its humility, the Apple Pencil can help you make notes on the lock screen of the iPad, a bit like the S Pen can on the Galaxy Note series.

You can also do this on the iPhone without an Apple Pencil and actually even on the iPad without an Apple Pencil, but it is a whole lot cooler with an Apple Pencil. And it is very useful for the times when you want to quickly start making a note without going through the whole process of unlocking the device, opening the app, and so on. Or of course, when you want to lend your device to someone to make a quick note or write something without giving them access to content on it!

Here’s how you go about it:

Make that Lock Screen Note-able

Before we start telling you how you can access Notes from a locked screen, you first need to enable the feature. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Go to Settings and find Notes: On your iPad or iPhone, go to the Settings app, scroll down, find the Notes option, and tap it open.
  • how to write notes on the lock screen of iphone or ipad - settings notes

  • Allow Notes access from lock screen: Selecting the Notes option will open a screen with different Notes settings. Here you need to find the “ Access Notes from Lock Screen” option. It is generally turned off. Switch it on by tapping it.
  • how to write notes on the lock screen of iphone or ipad - notes createnewnote

  • Choose to resume or create new: Tapping on the option will present you with three new choices:
    1. Off
    2. Always create new Note
    3. Resume last Note

You can either choose to create only a new Note when accessing from a locked screen, or you can resume creating the last Note that you were working on. Now, which option you choose depends on your sense of privacy. As the note can be accessed from the lock screen, anyone could access a previously written note as well. So unless you are absolutely dead sure that no one but you will be using the device, we would recommend going with it. The “Always create a new Note” option.

resume note

Even if you opt for the “Resume last Note” choice, there are plenty of options. You can opt to resume the last note you started on the lock screen or the last one viewed in the Notes app. You can also specify when a new note should be created to ensure that the old one does not remain accessible for too long from the lock screen – you can choose between five minutes, 15 minutes, an hour, a day, or even never (if you feel comfortable enough with the old note appearing again and again).

Select the option that suits you best, and you are ready to go!

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And now…make Notes without unlocking the display!

Using the feature is even more simple than the process of enabling it. You just need to do the following:

Wake up your sleeping iPhone or iPad

Unlike on the Galaxy Note, where you just have to take the S Pen out in order to get the noting going. Here you have to do a little bit of extra work. You have to first press the power/lock button or the home button and wake up your iPhone or iPad.

Double-tap with and create away (if you have an Apple Pencil)

Now that your iPad has woken up take your charged and connected Apple Pencil and tap anywhere on the screen. This will open a new Note (or let your work on your last Note as per your settings) and allow you to scribble or sketch as you, please.

Or swipe down from Control Centre

how to write notes on the lock screen of iphone or ipad - controlcentre
Yes, the feature is way cooler with an Apple Pencil, but it works just fine without it too. You will need to add Notes to your Control Centre (go to Settings, choose Control Centre, choose Customise Controls, and add Notes). All you have to do is swipe down from the top of your iPhone or iPad to access the Control Centre and choose the Notes icon and then type away or sketch away as you wish. (Note: much cooler with the Apple Pencil, right?)

Incidentally, the notes you create on the lock screen will end up in the Notes app, but you cannot access the complete Notes app from your lock screen!

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