The 12 Best Note-Taking Apps for iPad and iPad Pro (2018)

Scribes, you have options. Capture your ideas with these iPad note-taking apps

Are you using the iPad's full creative potential? With its sleek design and smooth touchscreen you can use the Apple Pencil Stylus, or even your finger, to quickly make a to-do list, capture your thoughts, doodle, or sign a PDF. 

The iPad's built-in Apple Notes app has some new features, including, scanning, attachments, and photos. But if you're curious about what else is out there, here's a look at some of the best iPad note-taking apps of 2018. Some can even turn your handwritten notes, no matter how sloppy, into text that others can read.

This list covers both iPad and iPad Pro apps that can help you convert your stray bits of paper into a digital folder to help you stay focused and organized, and never lose an important idea again.

Screen Shot of Ipad Note Taking App, Notebook by Zoho Corporation

If you're looking for a way to organize your memories, ideas and important information on your iPad with beautiful individual notebooks, look no further than Notebook, by Zoho. Fill your notebook with sketches, audio, files and notes and then organize them with Notebook's built-in Smart, Recipe, Video or Link Cards. Add PDFs, word documents, and spreadsheets, and check stuff off your checklist as you work through tasks. Take handwritten notes with​ your finger or Apple Pencil. 

What We Like

  • This free app is ad-free

What We Don't Like

  • No way to customize the interface or background colors. 

Price: Free

Screen Shot of iPad Note-Taking App, by MyScript Nebo Note Taking for Apple Pencil MyScript

With its highly responsive handwriting recognition, MyScript Nebo, by MyScript, lets you take electronic notes as quickly as you can write. Move lines of text to create space for insertions, and the app converts your handwritten words into ​titles, paragraphs, and bullet points alongside your own diagrams and doodles. Export as text, PDF, HTML or Word (.docx). 

What We Like

  • Ability to convert notes into digital documents. Copy and paste fully editable diagrams to PowerPoint.

What We Don't Like

  • Is only compatible with the Apple Pencil. 
  • If you want to use it with other devices, each device needs a separate license.

Price: $7.99

Screen Shot of iPad Note Taking App, MetaMoJi Note, by MetaMoJi Corporation

MetaMoJi Note by MetaMoJi Note Corp, allows you to customize your iPad notes, pages and backgrounds, with the ability to quickly add your own sketches and notes. Your own handwritten notes can be cut and pasted on the note background. With superior palm-resistance when using the stylus, you can mark-up PDF files, and then re-save as a PDF to share. The efficient tagging system allows the same note to be stored in several folders at once. Create anywhere with finger or stylus. 

What We Like

  • Easy to type notes and quickly switch to a stylus, along with the ability to cut and paste between documents. 

What We Don't Like

  • Handwriting recognition module is an in-app purchase. Can be difficult to take notes quickly, with a lag in loading new pages. 

Price: Lite version is free. Premium is $7.99 per month, $29.99 per year

Screen Shot of iPad Note-Taking App, Agenda – A new take on notes 9+ Momenta B.V.

Instead of compiling a static collection of notes, Agenda by Momenta B.V., lets you stamp a date on each note to create an interactive timeline. Agenda also provides the ability to tag, create lists and put notes directly on your calendar. Notes can be shared as PDFs and other formats. Not compatible with Apple Pencil. 

What We Like

  • Provides a complete timeline of past, present and future notes to track progress against deadlines. 

What We Don't Like

  • Agenda has no handwriting support. Image insertion and attaching files is also not available.

Price: Free, Premium is $9.99

Screen Shot of iPad Note Taking App, Transom, Note-taking for Writers by VoidMedia

Capture your thoughts when inspiration strikes with Transom, by VoidMedia. Specifically created for novelists and writers, Transom has the ability to let you tag your iPad notes by character or setting, and the name of the piece. You can export all of your notes as a PDF and provides iCloud back-up. Not compatible with Apple Pencil. 

What We Like

  • Fluid, no-frills app that makes it easy to quickly capture thoughts as inspiration strikes. 

What We Don't Like

  • Currently, there is no way to add categories of notes, making it difficult to tag and sort notes, by character and by chapter. 

Price: Free

Screen Shot of iPad App, Notepad+ Pro Notebook for Taking Notes by Apalon Apps

With template selections from eight galleries, and its ability to move images from other apps, Notepad+ Pro, by Apalon Apps, lets you customize the look of your iPad notes. Use your finger, stylus or keyboard to type your notes, or mark-up images, you can choose from pens and highlighters in an array of colors. Аnnotate and edit files wither they are in PDF, Excel, Keynote or Numbers. Compatiable with Apple Pencil. 

What We Like

  • The ability to hide sensitive information in documents with the blur tool. 

What We Don't Like

  • Unable to categorize notes into folders. 

Price: $19.99

Screen Shot of iPad app, Notes Plus by Viet Tran

With the ability to support 52 languages, Notes Plus can convert your handwriting, no matter how sloppy, to text. With no lag in writing, Notes Plus recognizes when your palm is resting on the iPad, and also includes left-handed support. You can also import PDF, DOC files, and images, and then export your notes as PDF or images to Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, and email. Supports Wacom, Adonit, and Apple Pencil.

What We Like

  • Background audio recording.

What We Don't Like

  • Saves each page in the document as a separate document. Has trouble with larger documents. 

Price: $9.99

Screen Shot of iPad Note-taking app, Simple Notes - Notetaking, by elias sleiman

Simple Notes, by ​elias sleiman, will collect your iPad notes whether you type them, or speak them. Your voice recording is saved so that you can retrieve and listen later. Other features include the ability to change the color, font, and size of your notes, and supports enhanced categorization features. No stylus support.

What We Like

  • Syncs easily and quickly between the iPhone and iPad, making Simple Notes a great collaboration tool. 

What We Don't Like

  • Not compatible with Bluetooth keyboard, and no copy and paste. 

Price: Free, in-app purchase $.99

Screen Shot of iPad Note Taking App, Note Taker HD by Software Garden

With its ability to zoom in and out on a page by pinching, Note Taker HD, by Software Garden, allows you to type or handwrite notes, and annotate PDF pages right on your iPad. The app also comes with more than 60 customizable shapes and lets you insert images, and crop them within your notes. Allows you to write in large letters, and automatically inserts and resizes text to fit on the screen. Just keep writing, and Note Taker HD keeps adding your new text. Compatible with finger and stylus. 

What We Like

  • An eraser and multi-level undo and re-do buttons let you correct mistakes. The eraser works by dragging your finger over the ink to "erase." 

What We Don't Like

  • Layering several layers of text and diagrams makes it hard to select a buried image. No way to underline, bold or italic text. 

Price: $4.99

Screen Shot of iPad Note-Taking App, Note Taking: Notes & NotebookNotepad plus Markdown Writer React Apps Pty Ltd
iPad Note-Taking Apps

Drafts 5: Capture ‣‣ Act, by Agile Tortise, offers a fast way to take notes and lets you turn them into text messages, emails or post to social media. Think first create your "draft" edit and send to another app. Integrates with iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch so that you can type on-the-go. Does not support stylus. 

What We Like

  • Customizable extended row above the keyboard to quickly convert, manipulate, and transform you to-do lists, notes, messages, and emails. 

    Process your drafts quickly using unique features like Link Mode, Arrange Mode, and Focus Mode.

What We Don't Like

  • Pro version is a monthly subscription, and not a one-time fee. 

Price: Free, with in-app purchase $1.99 per month, or $19.99 per year

Screen Shot of iPad Note-Taking App, GoodNotes 4 Handwritten Notes & PDF Markup Time Base Technology Limited

With its searchable handwriting recognition feature, Goodnotes 4, by Time Based Technology Limited, ensures your iPad notes are preserved, and retrievable. Privacy and password protected, this note-taking app includes back-up and syncs between iCloud for iPhone and iPad. Import images and PDFs, and annotate PDFs to sign forms. Works with finger or Stylus. 

What We Like

  • Ability to use Goodnotes as a digital whiteboard, just choose which part of the page to display. 

What We Don't Like

  • No ability to create subfolders, and no option to continue to scroll or swipe to create a new page. 

Price: $7.99

Screen Shot of Simple Notes for iPad by Ultimate by Sadah Software Solutions, LLC

With its ability to sync between iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch, Simple Notes by Sadah Software Solutions, LLC, presents a simple, efficient way to take and sort your notes chronologically or alphabetically. Taking full advantage of iOS features, shake your iPad to undo, redo, delete and restore. Also has the ability to copy and paste text from other apps. Does not support stylus. 

What We Like 

  • Ability to highlight words and search terms inside of notes. 

What We Don't Like

  • Customizing the font in one note changes all notes. Sometimes it is difficult to edit a large text file. 

Price: Free, in-app purchase, $2.99