Quoting Rands In Repose: Bear just gets me

Bear 2 app review

Ever since Bear 2 was released, it has become my go-to writing tool. I initially planned to write about my initial thoughts, but Rands In Repose has already done an excellent job of capturing those impressions.

300 Times a Day

When your favorite software tool receives a major update, it’s all dread. It’s not you expect them to ruin the application (although possible); it is because it’s your favorite tool, you know all the intricacies of how it works, and you know exactly how you need it to work.

This is not a casual tool. This is crucial. This is a piece of software you use 300 times a day, which means one subtle, seemingly meaningless change could ruin your workflow forever.

I use Bear 300 times a day. Probably more. I could sketch their five preference screens from memory. I’ve written and edited two books in Bear. I’ve spent hours understanding how tags propagate through the system. Ask me about their sync system. Quiz me on their keyboard shortcuts.


My first reaction was the best because Bear is my home. It’s not a place I occasionally frequent; it’s always open. It’s where articles begin and finish. It’s where I capture random bad ideas. It’s where the first drafts of complex emails are created. I’m a word guy, and this is my word place, so a “nothing’s changed” first impression on a “rewrite from the ground up” narrative is a comfortable starting point.

At the core of my love of the Bear is a line from an article on How to Write a Book: “Features create choice and choice is a dangerous distraction, and the last place you want to find distraction is in the tool you use to write.”


What you are reading is my first significant piece of writing completed in Bear. The next step will be passing it through Grammarly to tidy up grammar and spelling. I will then post to WordPress. These final production steps might teach me more about Bear 2, but I doubt my opinion will change significantly:

Solid update. Didn’t adversely affect any of my writing workflows.

Intense attention to detail. They took a significant risk introducing a new text and headline typeface, but it’s instantly appealing and gives a subtle application more personality.

My bar for paying a monthly fee for an application is high. Bear 2 greatly exceeds that bar.

This update has been all upside. Every part of the app is better.

That said, I have noticed some issues on the iPad with the Magic Keyboard:

  1. Right-clicking selected text with the trackpad doesn’t bring up the right-click menu. I submitted a bug report.
  2. When selecting text to create a link the Done button doesn’t recognize the input from the Magic Keyboard.

I hope that the issues with the iPad Magic Keyboard will be resolved in an upcoming update.

First Published to Medium – July 18, 2023

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