11 Best Notetaking Apps for iPad [2022]

If you’re a serious notetaker, you know that just having an iPad and an Apple Pencil isn’t enough.

The app you use for notetaking can have a huge impact on the quality of your notes.

But there are hundreds of apps to choose from, and not all apps are created equal.

Today, we’re going to take a closer look at 11 of the best notetaking apps in the App Store.

Let’s dive in.

#toc#

Notetaking: Handwritten or Typed?

While there’s no “correct” way to write your notes, one of the things you’ll have to decide early on is whether you want to handwrite or type your notes.

From what we’ve seen and the research we’ve done, data suggest that taking notes by hand is better than using a laptop. As with pen and paper, handwriting is slower, but it gives your mind more time to absorb what you’re writing. While keyboarding is more efficient, for many notetakers, notes created in this way simply lack the sticking power that comes with using traditional methods.

With that in mind, most of the apps below are designed for handwriting your digital notes using your iPad and your Apple Pencil.

While some apps on our list have some keyboard-based functionality, like Nebo and Apple Notes, we’re looking at these apps through the lens of notetakers planning to handwrite their notes.

But, however you choose to do it, keep in mind that notetaking is essential when you’re trying to learn something. Creating effective notes has been proven to enhance recall and improve study sessions, resulting in greater academic success.

Find the best app and notetaking system that works for you and stick to it!

#alt#A title card for the Notability app.

Notability

With thousands of positive reviews, Notability has certainly proven its worth to notetakers over the years.

This app is most well-known for its unique audio syncing features, which allow you to record audio and sync it with handwritten notes while you write. During playback, the audio syncs with notes, so you can hear what you were listening to at the time you took a note.

#caption#The Notability interface makes navigation simple and easy. Switch between folders/sections using the left sidebar. Select a note by tapping on it. Create a new note by tapping on the button in the bottom right.

 

#alt#A screenshot picturing the Notability user interface featuring a selection of folders on the left sidebar and a collection of notes on the right selection interface.

While it might seem trivial at first, the ability to connect the word or phrase that prompted you to write something down is a powerful refresher when studying for a test or an exam.

By combining multitasking tools and technologies like handwriting recognition and math conversion, Notability makes it easier than ever to take notes during classes, meetings, conferences, and everything in between.

In late 2021, Notability switched from a one-time purchase app to a free plan with a premium subscription option, so if you’re looking for an awesome app that doesn’t require a cash investment, Notability is a great option to consider.

Coolest features

  • Audio recording syncs with notes as you write them so that you can see what you were writing during playback.
  • Favorites toolbar makes it simple to create and save your favorite tools for fast and easy reuse.
  • Math conversion (premium only) allows you to convert handwritten calculations into common mathematical expressions.

Main limitations

  • No iCloud syncing or backups on the free plan creates some risk for notetakers who don’t upgrade.
  • Limited note edits on the free plan (resets monthly) means that hardcore notetakers could find themselves unable to continue taking notes without an upgrade.
  • Limited organizational tools force users into a style of note-keeping that may feel restricted or insufficient.
  • Lack of a favorites toolbar can make valuable notes difficult to find, even when bookmarked as favorites.

Important details

  • Pricing: Free plan available; $11.99 per year for the premium plan.
  • Reviews: Notability is currently rated 4.6 out of 5 stars on the App Store with 13,000+ reviews.
  • Platform: Available for iPad, iPhone & Mac.

#alt#A title card for the GoodNotes 5 app.

GoodNotes 5

GoodNotes is a powerhouse for notetakers everywhere. The app comes with everything you need to take notes, write music, or mark up PDFs.

One of the biggest differentiators between GoodNotes and other competitors is its abundance of organizational tools. By default, GoodNotes allows you to create Notebooks and store everything within them. This is a fundamental difference from a tool like Notability or Apple Notes, where your ability to organize is somewhat constrained by the software.

#caption#GoodNotes notebooks are highly customizable. You can also import calendars, create folders for additional storage, and navigate to favorites using the tab on the bottom right.

#alt#A screenshot picturing the GoodNotes interface, featuring four separate notebooks, a folder for books, and the Paperlike Planner 2022.

Of course, GoodNotes doesn’t stop there. The app offers a powerful search function, onboard handwriting recognition, and much more. You can use these features to annotate and mark up your imported documents. The app also syncs with iCloud and third-party storage so that you can keep your notes with you at all times.

So, what’s the downside?

When it comes right down to it, there aren’t a ton of cons to GoodNotes, but the ability to record audio is a pretty significant feature that this app is missing compared to Notability and others.

Coolest features

  • Notebook creation tools provide an unparalleled level of customization for notebooks and notes.
  • Infinite, nested storage enables users to store folders within folders and create an organizational structure that suits their needs.
  • Favorites tab allows you to locate any note, document, or page in seconds from a single location.

Main limitations

  • Lack of audio recording means that you’ll only have your notes to rely on when studying for your tests unless you use other tools to record.
  • Text conversion is clunky and difficult to deal with. It works well, but converting handwritten text to typed text is a tedious process.
  • Lack of a favorites toolbar means that you’ll need to reformat your tools each time you select or change them. While the app saves some settings, like pen width and color, resetting your tools still feels more involved than it should be.

Important details

  • Pricing: Limited free plan available; $7.99, one-time purchase from the App Store for the full version.
  • Reviews: GoodNotes 5 app currently has 4.8 stars derived from a total of 45,000+ reviews.
  • Platform: Available for iPad, iPhone & Mac.

GoodNotes is most often compared against Notability, and the two apps have had a friendly rivalry for years. Read our in-depth comparison of both apps.

#alt#A title card for the Apple Notes app.

Apple Notes

Believe it or not, Apple Notes has been around since the early days. The app first launched with the first version of iOS, way back in 2007. Originally, it was a mobile version of the Notes app that has been (and continues to be) a staple on the Mac operating system.

Why does all that matter? Because the Notes app is older than any other app on our list, and its longevity makes it clear that it isn’t going anywhere.

As a notetaking app, Apple Notes has come a long way. Like most of the other notetaking apps, it comes with a writing implement (pencil), a highlighter, an eraser, a lasso selector, and a ruler. It’s all arranged on a toolbar that can be moved to suit your needs.

#caption#While text and handwriting can coexist in Apple Notes, they’re given distinct sections on the note. Notice how the lines separating the handwriting from the text runs the entire length of the note.

 

#alt#A screenshot picturing a note created in Apple Notes. The top and bottom parts of the typed text are separated by a handwritten sentence.

But even though this app has a lot of things going for it, Apple Notes also lacks some features that other apps include by default. You won’t see any onboard audio recording features or page templates here. You also can’t import any PDFs, JPG, or PNG files to the app (but you can attach them to notes).

On the other hand, as part of the Apple ecosystem, you can trust that Apple Notes works on any version of iOS, and on any iOS device, whether you have the iPad Pro or iPad mini. You’ll also find native software for Apple Notes on macOS and watchOS, so you can get notes on your Mac and Apple Watch.

Overall, Apple Notes lacks the flexibility that you’ll see with most of the other notetaking apps listed here, but it’s still a formidable tool, especially for occasional notetakers. Check out our deep dive into this app for a full review.

Coolest features

  • Natively supports handwriting and typing on the same page using various inputs, including fingers, on-screen keyboard, Apple Pencil, and Apple Keyboard.
  • Allows shading when drawing with the Apple Pencil. Tilt your Apple Pencil to enable shading. You can also press more firmly to create a more intense shading effect.
  • Recognizes handwritten phone numbers, dates, addresses, and other data. Will enable other options for recognized text, like scheduling events or calling phone numbers directly from the Notes app.
  • Native iCloud syncing across all Apple devices.

Main limitations

  • Lacks many customization features including the ability to customize note backgrounds, create templates, or create deeply nested organizational structures.
  • No onboard syncing for non-iCloud storage. While it’s possible to do this with a little work if you want to back up your notes to Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box, it’s not as simple as flipping a switch.
  • Limited PDF annotation and markup capabilities force you to conduct these tasks elsewhere — typically using the Markup tool inside the file or image itself.

Important details

  • Pricing: Free
  • Reviews: Apple Notes is currently rated at 3.6 stars with just 1,100+ reviews.
  • Platform: Available for iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, and Mac.

#alt#A title card for the LiquidText app.

LiquidText

Unlike traditional notetaking apps, which offer a blank page for you to jot notes, LiquidText is more of a study and research tool designed to help you parse PDFs and other documents.

It works like this: When you open a file in LiquidText, the document is imported into a digital workspace. In the workspace, your document takes half of the screen and the workspace takes the other half.

#caption#With LiquidText, you’ll be able to draw connections between nodes on your mindmap, access multiple documents simultaneously, and compile research in a free-form workspace.

 

#alt#A screenshot picturing the LiquidText interface, including a written article on the left, along with a window allowing for the selection of multiple documents. A mind map of notes and excerpts is located on the right side of the screen.

As you read your document, you can highlight and mark up your text as you would in any other notetaking app.

You can also grab snippets of text and pull them to the opposite side of the screen. As you do this, LiquidText will transform these excerpts into small cards that you can move around the workspace.

As you gather data from your document, you can consolidate it into groups, draw lines and make connections between those details, and much more.

While this approach to notetaking is more researched-based, it’s definitely a gamechanger for anyone looking to parse documents for key details and insights, as LiquidText offers a battery of tools that you won’t find in most other apps.

Coolest features

  • Infinite workspace allows for a tidy collection of excerpts, comments, and handwritten notes.
  • Adding multiple documents to a single workspace allows users to create projects centered around a theme or idea and assists in consolidating associated research.
  • Importing web pages as a PDF is quick and easy thanks to the built-in web browser.
  • Ability to squeeze and expand documents during research makes critical details much easier to parse and compare.

Main limitations

  • Snippets and text can easily be lost inside the workspace. Because the workspace is infinite, it’s possible to misplace or forget your snippets if you don’t stay organized.
  • Workspace often feels cramped no matter how you choose to set it up.
  • Not a great fit for everyone. If you aren’t doing major research projects, this app probably isn’t for you.

Important details

  • Pricing: Free plan available; $29.99 for Pro (one-time purchase per platform); $7.99/month for LIVE; $9.99/month for LIVE Enhanced
    • Student Pricing: $19.99 for Pro; $4.99/month for LIVE; $7.99/month for LIVE Enhanced
    • Note: LIVE & LIVE Enhanced are both cloud-based subscriptions, and the subscription covers LiquidText on all devices
  • Reviews: LiquidText is currently rated at 4.6 out of 5 stars based on 4,100 reviews.
  • Platform: Available for iPad, Mac, and Windows 10.

#alt#A title card for the MarginNote 3 app.

MarginNote 3

The second of the two research tools on our list, MarginNote is similar to LiquidText (featured above) in how it functions and operates.

As a research tool, MarginNote opens your document into a digital workspace where you can highlight and annotate PDFs or select excerpts from the text.

However, where LiquidText focuses on taking handwritten notes and marking up the document (all of which is possible in MarginNote), this software also allows for clipping notes, creating flashcards, or mindmaps, and building study outlines.

#caption#MarginNote provides clean, clear connection lines for your mind map, allows for handwritten notes, and much more.

 

#alt#A screenshot picturing the MarginNote 3 interface, including a written article on the right and a mind map of notes and excerpts on the left.

One of the key differentiators in MarginNotes is that much of the mind-mapping generation can be done in a way that looks clean and crisp, with straight lines and blocks that feel sharp and organized.

MarginNote also allows you to compile a single set of notes from multiple sources or files, so if you have several books in a series or several documents where you should combine notes, MarginNote makes it easy to simplify that process.

While this app probably isn’t a replacement for an outright notetaking app like Notability or GoodNotes, it’s a great study tool for students who need to comb through a large number of documents and keep everything organized at the same time.

Coolest features

  • All notes can be edited and annotated, so you can add context to excerpts as you set them aside.
  • Flashcard review helps you quickly review notes and study for exams.
  • Autocreate mind map tool allows you to organize excerpts without a ton of dragging and dropping.

Main limitations

  • Different viewing modes and setups can get confusing. Though useful, it’s easy to get lost during navigation and find yourself struggling to pick up where you left off.
  • Overabundance of features makes for a steep learning curve.
  • Auto mind mapping tool can be difficult to set up. The mind map is based on the table of contents, so some forethought is required in how you structure your notes.

Important details

  • Pricing: Free (reader-only) version available; $12.99 for full version
  • Upgrades: OCR Pro for $1/month or $9.50/year.
  • Reviews: MarginNote 3 is currently rated at 4.7 of 5 stars with 3,700 reviews.
  • Platform: Available for iPad, iPhone, and Mac.

#alt#A title card for the Nebo app.

Nebo

Where apps like GoodNotes and Notability emphasize (and mostly stick to) the idea of handwritten notes, Nebo tries to marry the concept of handwriting and text together within its notebooks.

As with other apps on the market, you can draw freely using freeform pages, but the app’s standard pages are where it really begins to shine.

All standard pages are lined sheets, and users have the option to write using an Apple Pencil or a keyboard. If you choose to handwrite your content, Nebo shows how it’s interpreting your handwriting to text in real time.

#caption#Note how the handwritten text has already been pre-converted in the upper left corner of the text box. While you can keep the text in a handwritten format, Nebo gives you a clear indication that it understood what you wrote.

 

#alt#A screenshot of the Nebo interface featured handwritten and typed text.

You can also mix and match your handwriting and typed text or convert your handwriting to text. This adds an extra layer of flexibility to Nebo that you won’t really see in other apps.

With the free version, you’ll just have access to the basics, including a limited number of notebooks that you can create. However, you can get a dictionary, convert PDFs, and share your content out in various formats by purchasing the appropriate upgrade pack for a relatively low cost.

It’s also worth pointing out that Nebo is also cross-platform compatible, which makes it unique for users who are looking for one of the best iPad apps for notetaking that can exist outside of the Apple ecosystem.

Coolest features

  • Combining handwriting and type text is an interesting concept that is hinted at in other apps, but Nebo really takes ownership of this feature.
  • Handwriting and math conversions are second to none, and both features are included at no additional charge.
  • Having both freeform and lined pages allow you to work in a way that suits you best.
  • The ability to edit typed text using a stylus adds extra flexibility when editing, revising, or reformatting your text.

Main limitations

  • Lack of templates, layouts, and other custom formats that you see in apps like GoodNotes, Notability, or Noteshelf.
  • Formatting can be a pain. While you can adjust text placement by dragging boxes around, fiddling with the indent tools to position text correctly inside the box (or on the page) can be tedious.
  • Freeform pages feel subpar compared to competitors. If you’re focused purely on handwriting, this app falls a little short in its feature set.

Important details

  • Pricing: Free version available; $2 for Essentials Pack; $5 for Connect Pack; $4 for PDF Pack.
  • Note: Packs are sold individually or can be purchased as a bundle for $8.00.
  • Reviews: Nebo is currently rated at 4.6 of 5 stars with 12,000+ reviews.
  • Platform: Available on iPad, Mac, Windows, and Chrome OS.

#alt#A title card for the CollaNote app.

CollaNote

In many respects, CollaNote is still a work in progress that has gained a massive following in recent years. The app provides a rock-solid notetaking experience with simple and intuitive tools that look good and feel great to use.

Inside the notetaking interface, you’ll find all the standard tools, as well as a few extra goodies.

#caption#In CollaNote, pressure sensitivity is enabled by default, so your text will shrink and grow as you write based on how hard you press your Apple Pencil against the screen. Converted text is framed within a text box and can be adjusted to fit.

 

#alt#A screenshot of the CollaNote interface featured a combination of handwritten and typed text.

CollaNote is the only app we saw (other than Apple Notes) that actively distinguishes between a pen and a pencil, both of which provide a completely different writing experience.

This app also offers tools like the color fill tool to add color quickly and the curve tool to help when creating curved lines (great for charts and graphs).

For text boxes, the app makes it easy to add text and provides layering options that allow you to place your text over other objects.

And did we mention that you can collaborate with other CollaNote users by creating an account? It’s that simple.

Even though CollaNote currently lacks some of the features you’d see in more mature apps, it’s well on its way to becoming a major player in the notetaking space.

Coolest features

  • Robust notetaking toolkit gives you everything you’ll need to take great notes, including a pen and a pencil, a color fill tool, a curved line tool, and more.
  • Collaboration features make it easy to work with other notetakers to generate a group or shared note. An account is required, and notes are stored in your account, not with CollaNote’s servers.
  • Importing PDFs, images, and other multimedia is fast and easy. With the exception of PDFs, media files reside within a note and are not imported as standalone objects.

Main limitations

  • Limited to iPadOS only. While this app does back up to iCloud, it currently offers no platform compatibility with Mac, Windows, or Android.
  • User interface is an acquired taste. The blocky windows and multiple toggles give the app a unique feel, but it may not be for everyone.
  • Folders and notes lack customization features and fine-tuning that you see in apps like GoodNotes.
  • Rigid organizational structure limits how you can format and organize your content.

Important details

  • Pricing: Free!
  • Reviews: CollaNote is currently rated at 4.9 stars with 5,700+ reviews.
  • Platform: Available for iPad only.

#alt#A title card for the Noteshelf app.

Noteshelf

Noteshelf is a great compromise between GoodNotes and Notability. You’ll find all the tools you need to take great notes on your iPad or Android devices.

The interface provides a streamlined experience that’s easy to navigate, with plenty of customization features — from page templates and notebook covers to different pen types and the colors and sizing of your tools.

It even has a favorites toolbar to save all your new creations.

Noteshelf also offers one of the best interfaces when it comes to magnification. When you need to write smaller text or you want a closeup of your existing notes, the Zoom Box makes it easy to do. It’s highly customizable, and it loads the tool interface on the magnification bar, so you can quickly switch to what you need.

#caption#Noteshelf offers a variety of pen types so you can stylize and customize your notes in your own way.

#alt#A screenshot picturing the pen interface and three example lines at varying thicknesses of the ballpoint, calligraphy, fine-tip, and pencil styles.

Like Notability, Noteshelf features audio recording that you can attach to your notes. While it doesn’t sync with your text, being able to listen to a playback of a lecture or presentation can be extremely helpful.

The biggest advantage this app has over the other popular notetaking apps is that it can be used on Android devices, so you can use the same interface across multiple devices in a way that you won’t see with most other apps.

Coolest features

  • Advanced customization options, such as a variety of page templates, notebook covers, and tools, allow you to get creative with your notes.
  • Zoom Box has the tool interface in the magnification bar so that switching between tools is quick and easy while working in this mode.
  • Favorites Toolbar allows you to save different pen types or sizing combinations for future use.
  • Multi-device compatibility allows you to use this app on all Mac devices (including Apple Watch) and Android devices.

Main limitations

  • Resizing issues results in blurred lines, which isn’t a problem in the other major notetaking apps.
  • Lack of a free version. Noteshelf doesn’t offer any free trial, so you can’t try it before buying it.
  • Moving notes isn’t a simple process, making reorganizing your notes a bit of a pain.
  • Not cross-platform compatible. While there are Android and iOS versions of this app, the two don’t talk to one another. While you can hand off your notes between various Apple products (iPad, iPhone, Watch), you won’t be able to send your notes from your iPad over to your Android tablet.

Important details

  • Pricing: $9.99 on the App Store; $4.99 on the Google Play Store.
  • Reviews: Noteshelf currently has 4.5 out of 5 stars on the App Store with 525 reviews and 3.3 out of 5 stars on the Google Play Store with 10,500+ reviews.
  • Platform: Available for iPad, iPhone, Mac, & Android.

#alt#A title card for the Notepad+ app.

Notepad+ 

Another great choice for visual learners, Notepad+ is ideal for sketching, drawing, or handwriting your notes.

This app is geared towards creating fun and unique notes, with the ability to drag and drop images of any file format into your notes, use different fonts and colors for typed text, and add icons and emojis.

#caption#Notepad+ lets you add emojis, icons, and shapes to your notes.

#alt#A screenshot of the available emojis in the Notepad+ app.

Handwriting recognition is also impressive in Notepad+, and you can quickly switch back and forth between text and handwriting in your notes. You’ll also have the ability to customize the size and color of your pen and highlighter tools. The highlighter can even double as a marker to color your designs.

The layout is simple and easy to navigate, similar to Apple’s Pages, so it won’t take long to learn. It comes with different templates, with options for professional use, school, and personal notetaking, accommodating most notetaking styles.

Notepad+ also excels when it comes to annotating other documents. You can import and markup PDFs and photos like most other notetaking apps, but it also supports Excel, Keynote, and Numbers files.

When you’re done with your notes, you can back up your work to Dropbox, iTunes File Sharing, and Evernote. You can also share your notes via email. Need to share your document with someone, but don’t want them to see something specific? The blur tool allows you to hide sensitive data before sending it out.

Overall, Notepad+ is a powerful notetaking tool for those who love adding some flair to their notes.

Coolest features

  • Fun icons, shapes, and emojis can liven up your notes.
  • Customizable text options, like different fonts and colors, allow you to get creative with your typed text.
  • Ability to import multiple file types allows you to annotate photos, PDFs, and Excel, Keynote, and Numbers files.
  • Blur tool is a unique feature that allows you to hide sensitive data.

Main limitations

  • The cost is higher than most of the other apps, which may not be worth it if you don’t need all the extra features.
  • Limited to iPadOS only. You won’t be able to use this app on any other device.
  • Limited tool options. While you can change the size and color of the pen tool, there’s only one pen type available.

Important details

  • Pricing: Free version available; $19.99 for the Pro version.
  • Reviews: Notepad+ is currently rated 4.6 out of 5 stars with 6,200+ reviews on the App Store.
  • Platform: Available for iPad only.

#alt#A title card for the Whink app.

Whink 

Whink is a minimalistic notetaking app that’s easy for anyone to use, including those who struggle with technology. It features a sleek interface with basic tools to help you take great notes.

Unlike most of the other notetaking apps, Whink’s pen tool mimics a gel pen with traditional ink colors, making it feel just like writing with a pen on paper. You can also choose from a variety of color palettes and change the thickness of your lines.

One of the great things about this app is that it’s easy to multitask. Whink has split-screen capabilities, so you can take notes while watching a video or reading another document. While you can do this through your iPad settings, it’s much more convenient to do it through the app.

#caption#Whink’s audio recording syncs to your notes, making it easy to follow along on playback.

#alt#A screenshot from the Whink app depicting notes on carbohydrates with an audio recording bar at the top and an icon for the recording on the right side of the notes.

Surprisingly, this little app also sports an audio recording feature similar to Notability. It perfectly syncs with your notes, showing you what you were writing during playback.

Whink is more affordable than apps like GoodNotes and Notability, and it doesn’t skimp on the features. You’ll find a shape tool, PDF and photo annotation features, the ability to share notes, and syncing to iCloud, Dropbox, and other services.

 

Coolest features

  • Audio recording syncs to your notes, allowing you to easily follow along.
  • Minimalistic and simple interface makes it easy to use for those that don’t need all the bells and whistles.
  • Importing PDFs and images is easy, and you have access to all your tools for annotations.
  • Multitasking is effortless with the ability to use a second app alongside Whink.

Main limitations

  • Lack of a free version. You can’t test out the app to see if you like it first.
  • A gel pen is the only option for writing, which may not be as neat and precise as the ballpoint pen you’ll find in most other apps.
  • Limited search functions don’t allow you to search in your images or PDFs.

Important details

  • Pricing: $4.99 one-time purchase from the App Store.
  • Reviews: Whink’s current rating on the App Store is 4.2 out of 5 stars.
  • Platform: Available for iPad & iPhone.

#alt#A title card for the ZoomNotes app.

ZoomNotes

ZoomNotes provides an infinite whiteboard, making it a great choice for visual notetakers.

As you might expect from the name, ZoomNotes offers the most impressive zoom range. It’s practically endless, making it easy to sketch out your thoughts and ideas without worrying about running out of room.

When you zoom in to get a better look or make adjustments or additions to your notes, the full view stays on your screen off to the right, allowing you to see the bigger picture while you work.

#caption#ZoomNotes allows you to create a page within a page as a sticky note, PDF document, and more.

#alt#A screenshot from ZoomNotes showing the different types of sub-documents available, such as a sticky note.

Another feature that sets this app apart is the ability to create a page within a page. These sub-pages can be separate notes, like a mind map of your full notes, a sticky note with key concepts or reminders, or even a full PDF document that relates to your notes.

ZoomNotes goes the extra mile with all of its features, including audio recording, unlimited paper sizes/styles, bookmarks, digital planners, and more. It’s easy to completely customize your notes, especially with eight different pen types and unlimited color options.

It syncs to iCloud and even integrates with your Apple Calendar and Apple Reminders, so you can easily manage your task lists and schedule. Importing, exporting, and sharing features round out this app, making it competitive with apps like Notability and GoodNotes.

Coolest features

  • Infinite canvas provides endless room to write, draw, or sketch your notes and ideas.
  • Incredible zoom range makes taking visual notes like mind mapping or sketchnoting super easy.
  • Sub-pages allow you to create a page within a page. You can add PDFs, sticky notes, and more.
  • Integrates with other apps like Apple Reminders & Apple Calendar.

Main limitations

  • UI is a bit clunky and not as user-friendly as most of the other apps.
  • Limited tools on the free version make it hard to customize your notes the way you’d like.
  • Too many features make it overwhelming and difficult to learn.

Important details

  • Pricing: ZoomNotes Lite is free; $10.99 one-time purchase for the full version on the App Store.
  • Reviews: ZoomNotes is currently rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on the App Store.
  • Platform: Available for iPad, iPhone & Mac.

Other Cool Apps

Even though we’ve mostly covered handwriting applications for notetakers, there are some other cool apps out there that you might want to consider.

Many of these apps incorporate handwriting in some way, even if it's not their primary function.

  • Agenda. This is a notetaking tool that uses your calendar as a way to tie your note to a fixed point in time. Notes are attached to projects and can be assigned to a specific date so that you regularly refer back to them. As you use the app and tag notes with data, those notes become recurring tasks on your agenda until you mark them as complete. It’s an innovative way to combine notetaking and task management.
  • Microsoft OneNote. Wildly popular and completely free, OneNote is the go-to app for tens of thousands of users interested in taking effective notes. Although this app is geared more toward keyboard-based notetaking, its handwriting component works beautifully. Its onboard organization tools also make it a great option for storage, especially for users already integrated with other Microsoft products like OneDrive, Word, Excel, etc.
  • Penultimate. If you’re an Evernote user, you might already know about this app. Penultimate is Evernote’s writing application. Notes you create here can be moved directly into Evernote and stored with other notes that you take inside the app. Compared to other apps on our list, Penultimate lacks several major features, but its connection to Evernote makes it worth a mention.
  • PDF Expert. Need to annotate or edit a PDF? As a PDF editor, PDF Expert gives you total control over your PDF documents. You can mark them up, edit them, convert files, take notes, and much more. The app requires a subscription and can be a bit pricy, but it’s one of the most capable PDF tools out there.
  • ThinkSpace.: While you can use other notetaking apps to create mind maps, ThinkSpace is specifically designed to help you manage this task. Create quick notes, organize them in a spatial way, add visuals, and more. If you’re more of a visual notetaker, ThinkSpace is a great addition to your toolkit.

#alt#An iPad featuring a digital planner sits beside Paperlike-branded product packaging. A Paperlike iPad screen protector covers the display.

Use Paperlike to Make the Best Notetaking Apps for iPad Even Better

Without a doubt, having the right app can make the difference between success and failure when studying for the next exam or jotting down quick notes in a meeting.

Most of the apps on our list are free apps, so you can try them out and create notes and docs (handwritten or otherwise) with absolutely no risk.

If you’re planning to use the Apple Pencil or a similar stylus to take notes on your iPad, don’t forget to pick up a Paperlike so that you can improve your notetaking experience.

Paperlike transforms your screen from slippery glass into something that feels just like a real notepad or notebook so that you can scribble and jot notes with ease.

Download an awesome app, pick up a Paperlike, and set yourself up for note-taking success.