In the post-paper world, digital note-taking happens on your mobile devices. However, taking digital notes isn’t only about saving the environment. Thanks to today’s ultra-powerful mobile apps, there are many more things you can do on a note-taking app than on paper. Here are some of the best note-taking apps for iOS you should check out.
1. Apple’s Notes
Apple’s Notes has improved dramatically in iOS 14. This is especially true if you have an iPad Pro and already use an Apple Pencil. The range of drawing input is extraordinary. Even without the drawing-focused features, Notes is a capable note-taking application.
The app is incredibly responsive and includes a sufficient number of styling options. You can build lists, create checkable to-do lists and share notes with other contacts. The Notes app also acts as a document scanner, and you can now also collaborate with others.
Apple’s Notes also syncs seamlessly over iCloud with other Apple devices, though it’s not always instantaneous.
Bear has been our favorite note-taking app for a long time. The interface is simply stunning, note creation is swift, and filing by hashtags is intuitive and convenient.
Content-sensitive styling makes Bear’s notes attractive and improves their functionality, and you can even use the app as a writing environment. You can export notes (or even copy and paste text) into a wide variety of formats. Web-friendly formatting means blog posts you start in Bear transfer quickly to your CMS, which is a handy benefit.
The major downside is that syncing between devices is a subscription-only feature. With that said, if you’re not willing to pay $1.49 per month, the app can be used on a single device only.
Just like it says on the tin, Simplenote is all about creating basic notes. The app is built for speed and efficiency. However, this note-taking app’s big draw is universal sync. Simplenote is available on a vast range of devices and operating systems, so you can easily access your notes from anywhere.
If you can’t get the app for some reason, Simplenote’s Web app is just as useful and robust as the native version. Search is also extraordinary, and note sharing and publication is possible.
A lack of multimedia support speeds up the app dramatically, with virtually zero time between opening the app and jotting a note. The simple note structure can also be easily transported to a new environment, either when leaving the app or archiving your notes.
4. Google Keep
Google Keep is a powerful note-taking and media-collection platform for the scrapbook-maker in your heart. Collect images, videos, files, notes, and anything else from around the Web and save them in Google Keep.
The card-based interface is easy to navigate and intuitive and feeds into Google’s other services. However, organizational options beyond labels and smart organization would be useful, and a recent loss of some features is disappointing. More importantly, the app hasn’t seen a significant mention from Google recently.
Considering how fond the tech giant is of killing off older applications, who knows when Google will suddenly pull the plug on Keep.
5. Zoho Notebook
The iOS app is robust, with a well-thought-out interface and gesture-based workflow. In addition to text and checklists, you can capture audio, photos, drawings, and files to your notebook. Furthermore, the first minute of every audio note is transcribed using Apple’s text-recognition algorithm, which is a really handy feature.
Zoho Notebook comes free-of-charge, where the only limit is the maximum upload size (of 50MB). That’s not a major limitation, which is why we strongly recommend at least trying out the notebook app.
We can’t talk about the best note-taking apps without mentioning Evernote. This app has been the granddaddy of digital note-taking apps for years, with support for different types of organization and a broad range of multimedia content.
Evernote is like your attic, where all the things you might need one day live. This app is mighty as a desktop app, with a great Web clipper that can ingest content from anywhere on the Web. The app includes killer productivity features, like a built-in document scanner with optical character recognition to search your scans.
You can start using Evernote for free, with the ability to sync between two devices. To unlock the app, you can pick from a variety of subscriptions, starting at $2.99 per month.
7. Paper by Dropbox
While Dropbox is a cloud storage provider, it also has a co-editing tool named “Paper.”
Dropbox’s Paper is more than just a note-taking app. You get to use task-management tools (create to-dos, add due dates, set-up milestones, and similar), annotate documents, work with any media, and plenty more.
Paper comes free of charge. However, more advanced users will want to pair it with a premium Dropbox subscription, starting at $9.99 (for 2 TB of cloud storage).
Microsoft’s OneNote is probably the best for Windows users, and you can use it on your iOS devices, too.
OneNote is powerful on its own, and one of its most significant benefits is its integration with Microsoft Office apps. You get to organize your notes in many different ways, attach different kinds of media, and even use the app’s well-known freeform pen tool, letting you draw and sketch.
OneNote comes free of charge, and you get 5GB of cloud storage with your Microsoft account. If you want all of Microsoft’s Office apps (as well as 1TB of cloud storage), you’ll need to go for a Microsoft 365 subscription, priced at $69.99/year.
Penultimate is now owned by Evernote but still acts as a standalone note-taking app. We should also mention that Penultimate is available on Apple tablets (iPadOS) only.
The primary goal of this app is to replace your notebook. That means that you can draw and sketch just about anything, as well as use any stylus. Penultimate comes with its inking technology that translates your handwritten text and drawings into stylized digital creations. You can also organize your notes into topics, projects, and categories.
Penultimate is free to download and use. However, it comes with both in-app purchases and subscriptions (starting at $3.99/month).
Being an avid user of Notability, this list of the best note-taking apps for iOS wouldn’t be complete without this excellent tool.
You can use Notability with Apple’s stylus to create nicely written notes. The app also works great with the standard text input. You also get to create different types of notes, including a rich set of formatting options. Notability also works smoothly with cloud storage providers and lets you record and store audio notes.
Notability is priced at $9.99. However, if you’re serious about note-talking, you’ll find that Notability is well-worth the money. For a complete package, you can also buy its macOS app, sold separately.
You are definitely spoilt for choices when it comes to the best note-taking apps for iOS. With that said, don’t forget to check the best cross-platform note-taking apps. And then, here’s are the best plain-text note-taking apps (if you’re after something straightforward).