Whether you’re in a meeting or brainstorming alone, taking notes has always been a crucial part of capturing important information. But let’s be real—how often do you end up forgetting about those notes? Fear not, my friend! There’s a better way to keep track of your thoughts and ideas: taking notes on your iPad. With the abundance of note-taking apps available, you can access your notes anytime and anywhere, making your life a whole lot easier.
The 7 Best Note-Taking Apps for iPad
Apple’s iconic duo of paper and pen are no match for the capabilities of these incredible iPad note-taking apps. Not only do these apps store and organize your notes, but they also provide features such as importing links and media files, recording meetings, marking up PDFs, fostering team collaboration, and so much more. Say goodbye to cluttered notebooks and hello to the convenience of a single, magical notebook on your iPad. Curious to find out which apps made the cut? Well, I’ve done all the hard work for you and tested the top iPad note-taking apps available. Let’s dive in!
What Makes the Best Note-Taking App for iPad?
As a seasoned note-taker myself, I understand the importance of having the right features to make your note-taking experience enjoyable and efficient. In my opinion, the best iPad note-taking app needs to have the following five features:
1. Apple Pencil Support
A good note-taking app should fully utilize the power of the Apple Pencil, offering features such as pressure sensitivity and tilt support to make writing on the screen feel like writing on paper. Of course, for those who prefer typing, the app should also offer comprehensive keyboard support.
2. Organization Tools
With the unlimited storage capacity of digital devices, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the sheer amount of notes we accumulate. That’s where organization tools come in. A great note-taking app provides easy ways to find and categorize your notes, such as folders (or “notebooks”), tags, categories, and more.
3. Multi-Device Syncing
Let’s face it—the iPad isn’t always our primary work device. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose an app that allows seamless syncing between your iPad and other devices. This way, you can easily access, edit, and create notes from any of your devices.
4. Exporting and Sharing Options
The ability to export and share your notes is essential for archiving, printing, and sharing with others. A top-notch app should enable you to save your notes in various formats, with the option to collaborate with others and use additional collaboration tools.
5. Productivity Boosters
Today’s leading note-taking apps go above and beyond basic features. They offer productivity boosters such as audio recordings, link and media imports, handwriting recognition, and more. These features enhance your note-taking experience and make you more efficient.
Now that you know what to look for in a note-taking app, let me introduce you to the seven best iPad note-taking apps that meet these criteria and more.
The Best iPad Note-Taking Apps: At a Glance
Best iPad Note-Taking App for Text Notes
Apple Notes (macOS, iPadOS, iOS)
Made by Apple, Notes comes pre-installed on your iPad, offering an intuitive user experience and seamless syncing over iCloud—all for free. Notes supports both handwritten and typed text, links, photos, videos, and basic text formatting options. While it may have a few limitations, such as the combination of typed text and handwriting within the same note, Apple Notes is perfect for those who prefer typing notes and need effortless syncing across their Apple devices.
Apple Notes pricing: Free
Best iPad Note-Taking App for Variety of Formats
Zoho Notebook (macOS, iPadOS, iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, Web Browser)
Zoho Notebook impresses with its extensive range of note formats and exceptional organization features. You can store various note types, including text notes, to-do lists, checklists, and sketches, all within well-designed notebooks. Zoho Notebook supports both handwritten and typed notes, making it a versatile option. Its easy folder-style organization sets it apart, making it a solid choice for users who prioritize organization.
Zoho Notebook pricing: Free; additional features available for $1.99/month.
Best iPad Note-Taking App for the Most Paper-Like Notebook Experience
GoodNotes (macOS, iPadOS, iOS, Windows, Android)
If you’re a fan of the #aesthetic and crave a note-taking app that feels like a real notebook, GoodNotes is the perfect match for you. With the ability to organize notebooks into folders and add key pages to the outline or bookmarks, GoodNotes offers a delightful notebook experience. It also provides features like audio recording, PDF importing, digital stickers, and easy template management. By combining handwriting and text, GoodNotes gives you the freedom to express your ideas effortlessly.
GoodNotes pricing: Free (up to 3 notebooks); full version available for a one-time payment of $8.99.
Best iPad Note-Taking App for Brainstorming and Mind-Mapping
Freeform (macOS, iPadOS, iOS)
As a new player in the note-taking arena, Freeform has quickly become a favorite among creatives and brainstormers. This digital whiteboard app offers the perfect balance between structure and freedom. You can type, handwrite, draw, or insert media anywhere on an infinite canvas, making it excellent for organizing personal projects or collaborating with team members. With auto-snapping arrows that keep ideas linked, real-time collaboration features, and iCloud syncing, Freeform is your go-to app for capturing and organizing your creative thoughts.
Freeform pricing: Free
Best iPad Note-Taking App for Creative Project Planning
Milanote (macOS, iPadOS, iOS, Windows, Android, Web Browser, Chrome extension)
Milanote stands out with its built-in project plan templates, task organization, and collaboration tools. With the ability to mix typed text or handwritten notes and include links, photos, and other media, Milanote is perfect for creative teams. It offers an open yet structured approach, allowing you to start typing, writing, or adding elements anywhere on the canvas. Whether you’re designing, writing, or making marketing campaigns, Milanote has everything you need to turn your ideas into reality.
Milanote pricing: Free for up to 100 notes/10 files; Pro plan available for $12.50/month.
Best iPad Note-Taking App for Handwriting-to-Text
Nebo (macOS [M1 and M2 only], iPadOS, iOS [read only], Windows, Android)
Nebo takes a unique approach to note organization with its “Note” and “Document” formats. You can handwrite or type notes, add doodles, arrows, stickers, and more. Nebo shines when it comes to converting your handwriting into text accurately, making it a valuable tool for transforming work notes into professional-looking summaries or emails. While most features are available for free, multi-device syncing requires an upgrade.
Nebo pricing: Free; one-time payment of $8.99 for syncing and additional features.
Best iPad Note-Taking App for Layered Notes
Noteful (iPadOS, iOS)
Noteful offers a feature that sets it apart from the others—layered notes. This app allows you to create and hide multiple layers of typed or handwritten notes, making it perfect for users who want more organization and flexibility. Whether you’re using it for client meetings or personal projects, Noteful’s layered notes feature can save you time and help you keep your notes neat and professional.
Noteful pricing: Free; Pro plan available for a one-time payment of $4.99.
Explore and Choose What Works for You
While the seven apps mentioned above represent the best choices for most people, the perfect note-taking app for you ultimately depends on your personal preferences and workflow needs. To find your One True App, I encourage you to test them all and see which one best aligns with your note-taking style.
For more information and related articles on note-taking apps, visit Zenith City News, your go-to source for valuable insights and recommendations.
This article was originally published in 2019 by Tim Brookes. The most recent update was in April 2023.