Best Note-Taking Apps For iPad

If you want to take notes, having an iPad and an Apple Pencil isn’t just enough. Picking the right note-taking app is just as important.

With so many apps to choose from, you can’t rely on all of them because they’re not all the same.

So, I’m here to show you some of the best note-taking apps you can find in the App Store. Let’s discover them together!

1. Notability

Image Credits: Apple

Notability is a versatile note-taking and productivity app that features incredible tools (multi-note support, pencil tools, math conversion, and much more) to improve your work efficiently and creatively.

It offers unique audio syncing capabilities, like effortlessly recording audio and syncing it with your handwritten notes. 

Along with that, Notability is renowned for its multi-note support. It seamlessly manages multiple documents for effortless comparisons and multitasking. And yes, of course! The Pencil Tool is also there, which has pressure sensitivity and tilt-activated shading for drawing and sketching.

This app is generally rated 4.7 out of 5 on the Apple Store and is free to download. 

What I liked

  • I really liked how easy it was to get the hang of this app. 
  • The app’s neat and organized layout was really something that I appreciated. 
  • The simplicity is to import images into a Notability document.
  • While taking notes, it provides a variety of multimedia tools, like a pencil, highlighter, text, and audio options.
  • Notability helps me sync voice recordings with my notes. It ensures that my notes and audio align perfectly, making it easy to revisit and understand the content later.
  • The diverse range of paper templates available in the app is a nice touch.

What I didn’t like

  • The feature for converting handwritten text to copyable text could be more robust.
  • I think it would be great if there was a way to archive notebooks for better organization.
  • I wish there were more sticker options to personalize notes even further.
  • The new toolbar.

Key Details

Can you take handwritten notes? Yes
Can you type notes on keyboards? Yes
Can you turn handwritten notes into text? Yes
Can you collaborate with others? Yes

Other Details

  • Cross Platform: iPhone, iPad and Mac
  • Rating: 4.7 Out of 5
  • Compatibility:  iPhone (iOS 15.0 or later), iPad (iPadOS 15.0 or later), Mac (macOS 12.0 or later)
  • Pricing:  $14.99 per year for the premium plan
  • Download Notability

2. GoodNotes 6

goodnotes 6
Image Credits: Apple

GoodNotes is a multi-purpose digital notepad app that covers all your note-taking needs.

This app is known to maintain a consistent and user-friendly note-taking experience, making it a valuable tool for students, professionals, and everyone in between.

Its intuitive user interface, stylus and keyboard support, and extensive customization options have garnered praise from both beginners and experienced note-takers. 

On GoodNotes, you’ll get highly accurate handwriting-to-text conversion and seamless cloud synchronization across all your Apple devices. Additionally, it provides all the necessary tools for organizing your thoughts and ideas, including features like page customization, collaborative capabilities, and nested folders.

Goodnotes also included audio recordings in their app. Which makes it convenient to record lectured are re-listen to them later.

This app is generally rated 4.8 out of 5 and is available for free on the Apple Store. 

What I liked

  1. The interface is fantastic, offering excellent personalization options for notes. The pricing is reasonable, and the handwriting experience is exquisite.
  1. Its collaborative features turn it into a shared board, and you can even record your screen while explaining your notes—a truly comprehensive tool for productivity.
  1. Some standout features include circle to lasso, scribble to delete, the capability to resize specific sections, spell check of your handwriting and the ability to capture parts of your textbook as screenshots to add to your notebook. 
  1. I don’t know about others, but I feel it’s a great app for signing documents.

What I didn’t like

  1. The new AI tools are nice but not very reliable; they can be clunky and intrusive.
  1. GoodNotes 5 and GoodNotes 6 are essentially the same; I didn’t notice significant changes in GoodNotes 6, except that it’s essentially a rebranding of GoodNotes 5.

Key Details

Can you take handwritten notes? Yes
Can you type notes on keyboards? Yes
Can you turn handwritten notes into text? Yes
Can you collaborate with others? Yes

Other Details

  • Price: A free version is available with limited tools. Get the full version through a $9.99/year subscription or a $29.99 one-time purchase from the App Store. For Windows and Android, it’s available for $6.99.
  • Platform: iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android and Windows 
  • Compatibility: iPhone (iOS 15.4 or later), iPad (iPadOS 15.4 or later), Mac (macOS 12.3 or later)
  • Ratings: 4.8 Out of 5 
  • Download GoodNotes
byu/leonEmanu from discussion

3. Nebo

Image Credits: Apple

Nebo is a handy digital notepad that works on all your devices. It lets you combine handwritten notes and typed text effortlessly on its special document pages.

While its toolkit may appear basic at first glance, it proves to be more than sufficient for effective notetaking purposes.

One of Nebo’s standout features is its robust storage, backup, and sharing options, which are accessible through add-on packs. These functionalities enable users to synchronize their notes across multiple devices and ensure secure backups of their valuable content. 

However, it’s worth noting that Nebo does come with certain limitations in terms of organization and customization, which may pose challenges for some users.

With 4.7 out of 5 user ratings, Nebo has an impressive user base. And its basic version is readily available for free on the Apple Store.

What I liked

  • The handwriting recognition is the best out there, even for cursive writing. Nebo lets you freely combine text and handwriting, providing flexibility in your note-taking.
  • Nebo provides various interactions and gestures for formatting text, making it easy to create titles, subtitles, emphasize text, highlight, create lists, and more. 
  • Nebo excels at handling math equations and diagrams. It can transform your handwritten equations into text, perform calculations, and even turn hand-drawn diagrams into editable text or shapes

What I didn’t like

  • Nebo doesn’t offer templates for note-taking, which means you have to create your own structure for different types of notes.
  • While Nebo allows for some customization in terms of line spacing, font size, and pen types, it may not provide the level of customization that some users desire.
  • Nebo lacks the option to input hex codes for precise color selection, which could be limiting for users who have specific color preferences.
  • Managing long or extensive notes in Nebo might become challenging due to its unlimited vertical scrolling, which can make it hard to navigate and review previous content.
  • While Nebo supports hand-drawn diagrams, the export options for diagrams are limited to images or basic shapes. This may not meet the needs of users who require more complex diagram formats.

Key Details

Can you take handwritten notes? Yes
Can you type notes on keyboards? Yes
Can you turn handwritten notes into text? Yes
Can you collaborate with others? Yes

Other Details

  • Price: The app itself is free, but there are in-app purchases available. The complete add-on bundle is $8.99. If you’re using a Windows device, the full app bundle is priced at $9.99, while on Android, it’s slightly higher at $11.99.
  • Platform:  iOS, Android, Windows and even Chrome OS
  • Compatibility: iPad (iPadOS 15.0 or later), Mac (macOS 12.0 or later)
  • Reviews: 4.3 stars out of 5
  • Download Nebo

4. Apple Notes

apple notes
Image Credits: Apple

Apple Notes has come a long way and is now a strong digital note-taking tool. 

This application comes pre-installed on the Apple iPhone and iPad, and I’ve found it to be excellent at keeping your notes organized with both regular and smart folders. Tags are also handy for quick organization, although there’s room for improvement to make them consistent across devices.

The best part is the privacy aspect, with end-to-end encryption for locked notes and the option to set separate passcodes.

However, there are many missing features, like no AI features, text highlighting, and exporting your notes, which may not be the smoothest process. 

Still, for quick note-taking and basic organization, it’s a dependable choice, and it’s free with some storage limitations. You can get more storage with subscriptions starting at $0.99/month for 50GB.

This app is generally rated at 4.8 out of 5 and it’s already built-in your iPad devices.

What I liked

  • Apple Notes organization features are very appealing, including regular folders and smart folders with hashtags for categorization. 
  • Creating notes is easy with the New Note button. You can customize your workspace with different background layouts and rearrange or delete items from the toolbar. 
  • It’s good that it comes with extra features like Lasso tool, Color Palette, collaborative features and more. 
  • You can lock individual notes with passwords, Face ID, or Touch ID, providing security for sensitive information.
  • Apple Notes recognizes phone numbers, addresses, dates, and email addresses, allowing you to interact with them, such as creating events or sending emails.

What I didn’t like

  • Importing content into Apple Notes, especially on non-Apple devices like Windows or Android, can be challenging and may involve workarounds.
  • While the Apple ecosystem offers seamless syncing of notes across devices, it can be limiting for users who prefer cross-platform compatibility with non-Apple devices or services.
  • It’s a straightforward tool, but it doesn’t have all the fancy features of dedicated drawing or sketching apps.
  • Note locking is available only for notes stored in iCloud, which limits this security feature’s usefulness for notes synced with third-party services.
  • Some features, such as data detection, heavily rely on integration with other Apple services, which may not be as beneficial for users who prefer alternative apps or services.

Key Details

Can you take handwritten notes? Yes
Can you type notes on keyboards? Yes
Can you turn handwritten notes into text? Yes
Can you collaborate with others? Yes

Other Details

  • Price: The app is free without in-app purchases
  • Platform: Available for iPad, iPhone, iPad, and Mac
  • Compatibility: iPhone (iOS 10 or later), iPad (iPadOS 10 or later), iPod touch (iOS 10.0 or later)
  • Reviews: 4.8 stars Out of 5
  • Download Apple Notes

5. Freeform

freeform ipad app
Image Credits: Freeform

Apple Freeform is a free digital whiteboard with a straightforward and intuitive interface for brainstorming and visualizing ideas. 

This app makes board creation fun, free, and user-friendly. Additionally, adding photos, using sticky notes, and altering brush strokes and colors in Freeform are straightforward and enjoyable.

Not just that, Freeform also includes sticker and shape features that enhance visual appeal. Some tools, like the fill option, need improvement, but photo and video integration is seamless.

The Apple Freeform is a decent digital whiteboard app but it doesn’t perform perfectly well as a note-taking app, and it needs improvement in collaborative features and organization options. 

Overall, this app is generally rated at 4.6 out of 5 and is completely free to use. 

What I liked

  • The search tool is good. The search tool effectively locates content but lacks a true dark mode for board content on the iPad.
  • On this app, creating boards is easy, fun and totally free. The writing tools, while functional, could use more variety and customization options.
  • Freeform offers realistic stickers that are easy to customize in terms of color.
  • The app supports the addition of photos and videos, with the ability to resize and replace images easily. It also allows users to add links that display as thumbnails.

What I didn’t like

  • One major flaw is the absence of handwriting text recognition
  • The app’s weak point is organizing boards, as it offers limited folder options that could affect overall usability.
  • The lasso tool in Freeform selects individual handwritten or drawn items but lacks effective item grouping capabilities. It needs improvement for better usability.
  • Freeform performs poorly in collaboration due to bugs and missing features like change tracking and comments.

Key Details

Can you take handwritten notes? Yes
Can you type notes on keyboards? Yes
Can you turn handwritten notes into text? No
Can you collaborate with others? Yes

Other Details

  • Price: There is no charge for this app
  • Platform: Available for iPad, iPhone, and Mac
  • Compatibility: iPhone (Requires iOS 16.2 or later) iPad (Requires iPadOS 16.2 or later)
  • Reviews: 4.6 out of 5
  • Download Freeform

6. Evernote

evernote note taking app
Image Credits: Apple

Evernote is a popular note-taking app loved by many. It’s great because of its ability to sync seamlessly across all devices, like Mac, Windows, Android, iPad, iPhone and even a web client.

This app is more about organizing; I can easily jot down notes, add photos, or record audio, and then use tags to keep everything well prepared and make my work flow smoothly. Being able to search through my archive of materials is incredibly useful too.

And for those who need advanced features like work chat, it’s far superior to simple apps like Google Keep or Apple Notes.

Evernote keeps getting better, especially if you want a premium note-taking app. If you’re willing to pay, you should definitely try it. But if you want something free, OneNote is a good option.

When it comes to the free version, it’s pretty rough, to be honest. It could have been better if they would have given us a little more features, like exporting notebooks as PDF files, integration with Slack and some more. 

This app is generally rated 4.4 out of 5 and is available for free download from the Apple Store.

What I liked

  • Evernote is fantastic for teamwork. I can easily share my notes and work together with my colleagues.
  • The web clipper is a handy feature for saving web content as notes.
  • Advanced Search in Evernote lets you find notes by title, keywords, dates, or content type (audio, images, etc.). Use quotation marks for precise phrase searches.
  • It connects with other apps and services like Google Drive and Slack, which is quite handy.
  • Users can customize their Evernote dashboard, adding the tools and features they use the most for enhanced productivity and ensuring easy access to essential functions.
  • Evernote syncs notes across devices for real-time access. Organize notes with notebooks, tags, and powerful search, making retrieval effortless.

What I didn’t like

  • Evernote Basic Free has many limitations, which sometimes become terrible.
  • Evernote can sometimes be slow and unresponsive, which can lead to issues like data loss or documents not saving correctly.
  • The offline feature is not as seamless as using Evernote online.
  • Evernote can be customized for basic project management but lacks the comprehensive features of dedicated tools like Basecamp, Asana, or
  • Evernote lacks the option to password-protect individual notes, potentially concerning users who need added security for sensitive data.

Key Details

Can you take handwritten notes? Yes
Can you type notes on keyboards? Yes
Can you turn handwritten notes into text? Yes
Can you collaborate with others? Yes

Other Details

  • Price: The free version is available on the Apple Store; however, the premium version costs $10.83 per month (the personal plan) or $14.17 per month (the professional plan).
  • Platform: Available for Android, iOS, macOS and Microsoft Windows. Web client
  • Compatibility: iPhone (Requires iOS 13.2 or later), iPad (Requires iOS 13.2 or later) iPod touch (Requires iOS 13.2 or later)
  • Reviews: 4.6 Out of 5
  • Download Evernote

Does The Note-Taking App Really Matter?

Yes, absolutely. This is quite important! iPad note-taking apps go beyond just replacing the classic pen-and-paper combo. They also provide help with other useful tasks such as marking up PDFs, importing links and media files, recording meetings, and much more.

People prefer note-taking apps, and here are just some reasons that I’ve heard from folks around me:

  1. Organization: Note-taking apps offer various methods for organizing your notes, such as folders, tags, and search features. With these, you can keep your notes well-structured and easily accessible.
  1. Features: Features like text formatting, drawing tools, cloud sync, and more tend to help and attract users towards itself.
  1. Cross-Platform Compatibility: Cross-platform compatibility in note-taking apps ensures easy access, synchronization, collaboration, and data backup across diverse devices and operating systems, simplifying note management.
  1. Syncing and Backup: A good note-taking app will automatically sync your data to the cloud and allow you to recover it if your device is lost or damaged.
  1. Security: For sensitive information, they provide encryption or password protection to keep your notes secure. There main purpose is to prevent unauthorized access and ensure data integrity and confidentiality.
  1. Customization: Many users love to add stickers and colors to their notes; that’s why note-taking apps offer extensive customization options.

Final Verdict

It seems that after investing a lot of time testing note-taking apps, Ernests and I have reached a conclusion. 

If you want to take notes on your tablet these six note-taking apps stand out from the rest because of their user-friendliness and the extra features that caught our attention. 

Here’s a quick look at every note-taking app on iPad we’ve mentioned till now: 

Note-taking AppsCross PlatformFree or PaidSecurity FeaturesRatings
NotabiltyiOS, iPadOS, and MacOSBothYes4.7 Out of 5
GoodNotesiOS, iPadOS, MacOS, Windows, and AndroidBothYes4.7 Out of 5
NeboiOS, iPadOS,  Android, Windows and even Chrome OSBoth No4.3 Out of 5
Apple NotesiOS, iPadOS, and MacOSFreeYes4.2 Out of 5
EvernoteAndroid, iOS, iPadOS, MacOS, Microsoft Windows, and Web clientBothYes4.1 Out of 5
FreeformiOS, iPadOS, and MacOSFreeYes4 Out of 5


Which iPad Size Is Best for Note-Taking?

Bigger screens make note-taking easier, so the 12.9-inch iPad is definitely a great choice. But I’ve also tried the 10.9-inch iPad, and it feels perfectly balanced for note-taking as well.

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ernests embutnieks wolfoftablet
Founder & Chief Editor |

I'm a writer and editor in iPads & Android Tablets, Windows Tablet section. I'm passionate about technology, especially about tablets. I'm on a mission to assist people in discovering their ideal tablets. In addition, I'm dedicated to producing helpful how-to guides and sharing top-notch tips and tricks. In my early carrier I founded and became and editor at worldoftablet and have been a guest author at many other tech blogs. In wolfoftablet I'm focusing on iPads, Tablets, Apple Pencil, Apps, Reviews, Buyers Guides and Tablet Accessories. In free time I like to play games on my PS5 or iOS.

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