The 10 Best Stylus Apps For Android Phones

Use a stylus to draw, take notes, and play games on your phone or tablet

View from above female carpenter sketching with digital tablet stylus at workbench in workshop

Hero Images / Getty

While some apps are optimized for the Samsung S Pen, plenty will work with other styluses and Android phones, including games, drawing and coloring apps, as well as those for note-taking and e-signatures. Here are our ten favorite stylus apps for Android.

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Coloring: Best Coloring Book App

Image on the Coloring app with some areas filled in with different colors, and some colored outside the lines.

Adult coloring books are a popular way to relax and briefly escape the world; Coloring is an app that includes a bunch of free images you can color on the go. It conveniently has a left-handed mode and a huge palette of colors. You can use the bucket tool to color the image section by section, or color with a crayon using the pencil.

The app has a library of premium images you can unlock using coins (usually 10) or access everything by subscribing; $2.99 for one month or $4.99 for three months. Both subscription options have a three-day trial. Coloring gives you 50 coins to start, and you can buy more in blocks of 100 ($0.99), 250 ($1.99), and 600 ($3.99). You can also watch ads to earn coins.

What We Like:

  • Images sorted by type including free and animals.
  • In-app purchases aren't prohibitively expensive.

What We Don't Like:

  • Not enough free images.
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Google Handwriting Input: Best Input App for Styluses

Google Handwriting Input module inside of the Google Docs app with

Google Handwriting Input is a keyboard option that can transform your handwriting to text in just about any Android app that supports typing. You can test the functionality in the app, but you'll get a better idea of what it can do when texting, emailing, taking notes, or posting to social media. It even supports emojis, in addition to printed and cursive writing using a stylus or your finger.

What We Like:

  • Consistent handwriting recognition, even for the messiest scrawls.
  • Supports a ton of languages.

 What We Don't Like:

  • Can't switch between languages while in use.


of 10

Adobe Photoshop Sketch: Best Advanced Drawing App

Photoshop Sketch screen with pen color options on the left, and a list of image layers on the right.

The Adobe Photoshop Sketch app can be used on its own, with Adobe Photoshop CC, or Illustrator CC. The Sketch app works in layers, and you can incorporate any you've created in the app into a project on either of the desktop tools. The Android app has five pen and brush options, and each has a color picker tool and size options. You can also add an array of lines and shapes, as well as images from other apps.

You'll need an Adobe account to access the app, but a free version is available, which includes access to Adobe's collection of stock photos, cloud storage, and the ability to send a file to Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC with the layers intact.

What We Like:

  • Lots of drawing tools.
  • Easy export to desktop.
  • Free access to many Adobe features.

What We Don't Like:

  • Has a bit of a learning curve.
of 10

Evernote: Best Multi-Platform Note-taking App

Notebook page in Evernote with handwriting on it that says

Evernote is a stylus-compatible note-taking app. It syncs across all of your devices, and in addition to text and handwriting notes, can also capture audio and images from your device's camera. You can create handwritten notes from scratch using a stylus or your finger, or add images and handwriting to existing text notes.

The app also has a few Android widgets, including a pen input shortcut so you can capture your thoughts almost immediately.

What We Like:

  • Convenient home screen shortcut.
  • Automatically syncs between devices that have the app.

What We Don't Like:

  • Frequent prompts to upgrade to premium account.
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Autodesk Sketchbook: Best Sketching App

Color picker tool overlaying a blue background in the Autodesk Sketchbook app.

Autodesk's Sketchbook is a free drawing tool, with a large library of pens and paintbrushes, as well as splatter, smudge, and other effects. You can also create multiple layers, just as you would in Photoshop. The app requires an account for long-term use, but you can try it out for seven days without one.

What We Like:

  • Generous pen, painting, and texture options.
  • Can draw from a blank canvas or import a photo.

What We Don't Like:

  • It might take a while to figure out.
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Write (by Stylus Labs): Best Handwriting App

Notebook page in Write app with the handwriting

The Write app by Stylus Labs is for just that: writing; more specifically, handwriting. The app doesn’t turn your scrawls into typed text; it leaves it be. The app includes a handful of pen options, and you can create a custom one, choosing the color, stroke width, and pressure sensitivity. Write includes some tools you'd find in a word processor, so you can insert, delete, and move text blocks, and create folders.

If you make a mistake, Write has an undo/redo dial you can slide back and forth to make adjustments rather than tapping buttons. Finally, you can also add bookmarks to your text so you can easily find important passages and add handwritten links for navigation, such as return to the top, or go to the features section.

What We Like:

  • Can edit your handwriting like written text.
  • Excellent undo/redo tool.

What We Don't Like:

  • Can't add typed text.
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Google Keep: Best For Notes and Reminders

Note in Google Keep with handwriting module at the bottom and text above.

Google Keep, Google's notetaking and task management app, is perfect for stylus users. It lets you quickly jot down notes or set up a reminder with a few taps; the app quickly and accurately translates your handwriting to text. You can also set default times for morning, afternoon, and evening for faster scheduling, and add a place to a reminder, if applicable.

Google Keep can also transcribe your oral notes, and you can add images and drawings too. It also responds to "OK Google" voice commands and notes will sync across all of your devices, including smartwatches.

What We Like:

  • One-stop shop for notes and reminders.
  • Accurate handwriting to text translation.

What We Don't Like:

  • Doesn't have text formatting features, such as bold or italics.
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Bamboo Paper: Best "Paper" Notebook App

Cover and Paper Type options in Bamboo Paper app.

The Bamboo Paper app mimics a paper notebook that you can customize by changing the cover color and the paper (blank, lined, dotted, etc.) It comes with two pen options: ball pen and felt pen, and one notebook, the Thinker. You can purchase additional pens for $0.99 or get the Pro Pack for $5.65, which includes the crayon, watercolor brush, brush pen, pencil, and three additional notebooks; sold separately, they're $0.99 each.

You can also insert photos from your camera or other apps and share your sketches and notes to cloud storage services, other drawing apps, and via email.

What We Like:

  • Can get all premium features for less than $6
  • Lots of notebook customization options.

What We Don't Like:

  • Limited pen colors.
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DocuSign: Best App for E-Signatures

DocuSign screen with import options, above which it says: upload from email or apps like Google Drive or Dropbox.

DocuSign is one of a slew of apps that let you e-sign documents on the go. It's always free to sign documents through the app, but you'll have to pay at least $10 per month to send documents to others. You can add fields to documents you upload, including signature, initial, date, checkbox, and text.

If those fields already exist, DocuSign will detect them so you can easily see what needs filling out. DocuSign accepts documents from a range of cloud storage services, as well as those scanned with your phone's camera.

What We Like:

  • Makes dealing with paperwork simpler.
  • Can customize documents to fit your needs.

What We Don't Like:

  • Can only save or change signature using the desktop app.
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Fruit Ninja: Best Stylus-Friendly Game

A lone piece of fruit waiting to be sliced in the Fruit Ninja game.

Fruit Ninja is a fun game with the objective of slicing through fruit, making it perfect for a stylus. As the game progresses, more watermelons, bananas, apples, and other sliceable targets are tossed before you at a faster pace, and you can get extra points by slicing through multiple pieces at once.

The game also tosses in bombs that you must avoid too. The game has a few modes: you can play against the clock, against other players, or in endless classic mode. Slicing through fruit it very satisfying, as it turns out.

What We Like:

  • Fast, entertaining gameplay.
  • Seems made for stylus users.

What We Don't Like:

  • You could lose hours to this game.