Best note-taking app
For Apple devotees, the iPad Pro is a mobile platform offering an impressive amount of computing power in a tidy compact package with all-day battery life, all adding up to a more portable, but not quite as powerful version of a MacBook.
The ‘killer app’ of the iPad Pro is its honed ability to function as a note-taking device, making it popular with college students and business professionals alike. Like everything else in iOS, this functionality is based around having the best app to do the job, and we have picked out some great choices when it comes to note-taking.
- Also take a look at the best free iPad apps
The Swiss army knife of note-taking apps
Notability, from Ginger Labs, is an excellent, general purpose note-taking app for the iOS platform. It has won multiple awards over the last several years.
This app allows the user to combine multiple inputs, including typing, sketching, handwriting and photos, in a single place. It also supports annotating PDFs. Notes can be shared via email, and cloud-based services including AirDrop, Google Drive and Dropbox.
Notability is available on the App Store for $9.99 (£7, AU$13).
Note-taking app with cross-platform support
For those looking for a note-taking platform that works with their iPad Pro, but also Android devices, Evernote straddles the two mobile platforms with ease.
Evernote is a great app to collect multiple inputs, including images, text notes, recorded messages, and clippings of web pages - all in one file for storage and collaboration. They can then be accessed via the iPad Pro, Android, or a PC though the web browser interface for ease of workflow. Also, a further boon is that the notes are searchable.
The iOS app is free, and offers in-app purchases. However, the free product is restricted to syncing only two devices, and uploads are limited to just 60MB per month. Step up to the Premium tier to sync all your devices, gain a more generous 10GB of uploads in a month, as well as the additional features of live chat support, and offline access to your notes, for a subscription of $69.99 (£50, AU$92) annually.
The note app that focuses on handwriting
Those who want to use their iPad Pro to easily take handwritten notes should check out GoodNotes 4. With the focus on handwriting, this app makes it easy to enter complex mathematics and chemical formulas that can border on the impossible via a traditional keyboard.
The GoodNotes approach can also be used to annotate PDFs, plus you can search handwritten notes and convert handwriting into text. The notes are also synced via iCloud, and can be backed up to your choice of cloud providers, including Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box.
The GoodNotes 4 app is available in the iOS store for $7.99 (£6, AU$11).
The advanced note-taking app
For note-takers with needs that go beyond the basic, MyScript Nebo can handle the challenge. While plenty of note-taking apps allow text to be entered, Nebo can also easily structure notes, allowing you to add paragraphs, titles and bullet lists for organization.
It also handles ‘rich content,’ such as diagrams, sketches (with different colors and pen widths), flow charts, and formulas, letting you integrate them into the document. Once completed, documents can be exported in a variety of formats, including Word, PDF, and even HTML.
Nebo is available for multiple platforms, including Windows 10, Android, and of course iOS, for $5.99 (£4, AU$8).
The gel ink pen approach to notes
Whink is an iOS app that is equally at home taking notes via handwriting, as it is with text. Whink uses a gel ink pen and a smart eraser to make the handwriting process as smooth as on real paper.
Other media can be added and incorporated including photos, diagrams with colors and “perfect geometric shapes”. Documents can also be marked up, and it supports multi-tasking so notes can be taken while reading another document (we have witnessed folks walking around with two tablets to accomplish this feat when it is not supported).
Whink can be added to your iPad Pro for $4.99 (£4, AU$7).
The default note-taking app may be all you need
The Notes app comes with all iOS devices. While some default apps just beg to be replaced by a third-party solution (Windows Paint, we’re looking at you), Notes is actually quite useful, and even dubbed an Evernote replacement, so be sure to check out all it has to offer before bypassing it.
Of course, the title of the app tells you that Notes can create and edit notes. However, there are plenty of advanced features, such as adding a table, scanning a document with the device’s camera, and incorporating photos and video content as well.
Additional features include Quick Draw to make it easy to add a sketch via a pencil in a blank area of the screen without having to enable draw mode. There’s also an integrated checklist creator, and shortcuts to allow including a map in a note. Notes can also be organized into folders, and even password protected.
Notes can be synced via iCloud, although there are reported difficulties in using other providers, such as Google Drive.