7 Awesome (and Free) Note-Taking Apps For the iPad

While the iOS itself provides a note-taking app for the iPad, it can be rather limiting. It only includes the most basic of functions. For those who are looking for more functionality, the good news is that there are over 700 note-taking apps available at the App Store, and even better, 141 of them are free. The following is a look at seven of the best apps that provide additional functionality to make your note-taking even more productive.

1. Evernote

Evernote is definitely one of the best note-taking apps out there, so much so that it’s hard to even consider it just a note-taking app. For anyone who bounces back and forth between an iPad and a computer, and possibly even other mobile devices, it’s a wise choice. It syncs up on its own between all devices with a monthly paid subscription. It allows for separate notebooks, and also includes tagging and searching between notes. Along with typed notes, it can also add audio and photos through the app, or separate photos from stored photos on your device. Another great aspect of Evernote is they are constantly changing and updating it.


2. Awesome Note

This note-taking app can organize your whole life. It organizes your notes in different folders, and comes pre-loaded with folders for “Work,” “Shopping,” “To-Do,” etc. It has four different note-taking templates, including “Normal” for standard straight text, “To-Do” for jotting down things as you remember them,”Anniversary” for jotting down dates to remember, and “Diary” for remembering what happened on those special days. Notes can also be accessed through the calendar. Along with the option to email notes is the ability to sync them with both Evernote and Google Docs. It really is “awesome.”


3. abcNote

In this app, you can create virtual sticky notes. There are different colors and badges to make each different sticky note a little different. A paid version allows different desktops enabling you to save different notes to different desktops. Both the notes and desktops can be synced between iOS devices and can be emailed as well.


4. DocAS Lite

DocAS Lite does a little bit of everything, from note-taking to file manager to PDF annotation. PDFs can be imported in from various sources, such as iTunes, FTP, DropBox, Google Docs, etc. They can also be sent directly to DocAS Lite from email as well. Once within the app, it can be marked up and annotated with handwritten notes, typed notes, post-it like notes, etc. Aside from the PDFs, this app can also organize notes, to-dos, emails, pictures, etc. into Notebooks. More features are available in the paid version.


5. Noterize

Noterize also allows the markup and annotation of PDF documents. Where it is different from DocAS is that it allows more editing of the PDF file. You can add blank pages or lined or graph pages throughout the PDF, as well as a file from the clipboard contents, DropBox, etc. You can then share the output via Facebook, Twitter, DropBox, email, etc.


6. UPad Lite

This app also works with your handwritten markup, but instead of just annotating PDFs, it allows you to do your entire note that way, or mix both handwritten and typewritten notes. While that makes it a little different over the previous two apps, what really differentiates it is that the handwriting is much closer to your own handwriting. I wrote this just with my finger on the iPad screen as I did the others, but you can see that the writing is slimmer and easier to read, less clunky. It can also be used to mark up photos.


7. SpringPad

This is one of those apps that gets so involved into what you are doing it’s impossible to even realize how much it could do for you. It allows you to create notes, and also categorize them as a task, business, product, TV show, contact, album, etc. It can also be used on your Mac or PC to save webpages that automatically sync into your account, allowing you to call it up on your iPad, or even your iPhone. Your research can be added to your notes. Suppose you’re at a movie and see a preview for another move that sounds interesting, you can jot it down in “Look It Up,” and SpringPad will give you several links to get more information. You can then choose to save it, reminding you that you want to see the movie when it is released. Again, it does so much, it’s hard to even conceptualize everything it’s capable of.


When taking notes on the iPad, you don’t have to be confined to just straight type. No matter what type of notes you would lke to jot down or capture on your iPad, all of these apps provide much more function that the standard note-taking app that is included in iOS 4. With all of them being free, or having free versions, it allows you to try a few, or all of them, until you find the one that will work the best for you.

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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