Use Notes on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch — Apple Support

Notability

Taking notes with Notability

If we had to recommend just one iPad note-taking app, it would be Notability. The app offers a delightful writing experience, yet it also makes it easy to embed images, annotate PDFs, and even record voice memos.

Sketching and drawing in Notability is easy and downright delightful. Being able to doodle and quickly sketch out illustrations is one of our favorite things about taking notes on paper. Notability does an excellent job of emulating this experience, while also allowing you to do things you can’t do on paper such as resizing and moving your drawings.

In addition, Notability includes a variety of flexible layout options. This allows you to, for instance, have a slide or reference material open on one side of the page while you take notes on the other.

And beyond the layout of individual pages, you can also organize your notes using digital “Dividers” (which is perfect if you’re used to taking notes in a physical binder).

Finally, Notability gives you plenty of options for exporting and sharing your notes, including Google Drive, Dropbox, and AirDrop.

Price: $8.99

Check out the video below to see Notability in action:

Noteshelf

Taking notes with Noteshelf

Noteshelf was our favorite note-taking app for the iPad before we discovered Notability, and it’s still a superb option.

It has many of the features we love in Notability, including the option to annotate PDFs and multitask with the iPad’s split screen. You can also record voice notes to go along with your handwritten notes, which is perfect for recapping a lecture or meeting at a later date.

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If you speak/write multiple languages, you’ll also be pleased to know that Noteshelf can recognize handwriting in 65 different languages. This makes it a powerful tool whether you’re taking a language class or learning a language on your own.

GoodNotes 5

Taking notes with GoodNotes 5

Up next, we have GoodNotes 5. This app has everything you want for taking notes, including the ability to switch between typing and writing. Plus, you can choose from several built-in note layouts and templates, as well as import your own.

Notably, GoodNotes 5 lets you adjust the sensitivity and palm recognition of the pen to match your writing style. This is perfect if you’re like me and tend to press very hard when writing.

Finally, GoodNotes 5 includes a “Presentation Mode” that lets you turn your iPad into a digital whiteboard. Using either AirPlay or an HDMI cable, you can project what you’re writing onto a larger screen while still being able to see the GoodNotes interface on your iPad. This is handy whether you’re giving a class presentation or pitching a business idea.

Price: $7.99

Want to learn how to take better notes? Check out our guide to the best note-taking systems.

Apple Notes

Taking notes with Apple Notes

We couldn’t discuss iPad note-taking apps without mentioning Apple Notes. The app comes free with macOS/iOS devices, and it does a great job of letting you type or take notes by hand. The app’s drawing features are also solid, making it easy to add sketches and illustrations to your notes.

Aside from being free, the biggest advantage of Apple Notes is its deep integration with iOS. If you use iCloud and other Apple devices, you can effortlessly switch between taking notes on your iPad, iPhone, and Mac.

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Plus, everything you create is automatically backed up to iCloud, and you can even create voice notes using Siri while you’re on the go.

Price: Free

Penultimate

Taking notes with Penultimate

Microsoft OneNote

Taking notes with Microsoft OneNote

Odds are, you’ve used (or at least have access to) Microsoft OneNote at work or school. But did you know that the OneNote iPad app allows you to take handwritten notes?

OneNote lets you write notes either on a blank page or a layout that emulates a sheet of lined paper. The general setup of the app mimics a physical binder, allowing you to organize your notes by topic.

OneNote for iPad also offers a variety of multimedia features. You can type text, insert graphics, and even include voice recordings. You can also search notes for specific words and view your notes across devices. And everything you create in OneNote is automatically backed up to OneDrive.

Do more with notes

With Notes, you can draw, create checklists, scan and sign documents, and add attachments — like photos, videos, or web links. 

Start taking notes with your ipad today

I hope this article has shown you the exciting options you have for taking notes with your iPad. It’s now easier than ever to get the benefits of writing on paper without sacrificing the organizational features of digital apps.

Of course, to benefit from taking notes, you need to make it a habit. If you’re looking to build the habit of taking notes (or another productive habit), you’ll love our latest course.

Click the button below to learn how you can take it (and thousands of other classes) for free:

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