by Jim Lynch

Apple Pencil: 9 great note-taking apps

Jun 03, 2016
Consumer ElectronicsiOSiPad

The Apple Pencil is an amazing tool for taking notes, and in this roundup you'll find nine of the best iOS note taking apps. Each of these apps has been enhanced to take full advantage of what the Apple Pencil has to offer.

The Apple Pencil has already proven to be one of Apple’s most popular new products, and it works incredibly well for taking notes. After the release of the Apple Pencil, many developers updated their note-taking apps to work with it.

In this roundup, I’ve gathered nine of the best note-taking apps for the iPad Pro. Each of these apps has been enhanced to take full advantage of what the Apple Pencil has to offer.

I’ve included the official description of each app from the iOS App Store, along with a screenshot of the app, and a link to the app in the App Store. In the App Store you can see star ratings and user reviews for each app in this roundup.

I’ve also included the price of each app. Please note that while some apps are listed as free, they may require in-app purchases. Other apps require an up-front purchase price, and may also offer in-app purchases.

Let’s begin with our first app Notability, then just click Next to see each of the other apps.


Apple Editors’ Choice on iPad, iPhone, and Mac! Apple’s Mac App of The Year! Recognized by Apple as the Best Selling Paid Productivity app in 2015, 2014, and 2013! Welcome to Notability: powerful, yet wonderfully simple note-taking and PDF annotation. Students, teachers, and business professionals use Notability daily to take notes, sketch ideas, annotate PDFs, mark-up photos, record lectures, provide audio feedback and more. It is uniquely designed for each device to provide the best note-taking experience at school, at home, and at work. And with iCloud, your notes are always up to date. SAVE TIME WITH iOS 9 FEATURES – Multitasking with Notability enables you to take notes while you research, read a text book, or watch a lecture, on select iPads. – 3D Touch on iPhone 6s makes it faster than ever to create, preview, and open notes. – Spotlight Search helps you find and open recent notes. WRITE NATURALLY  – Handwrite and sketch with beautiful ink. – Write smoothly and quickly with zoom-writing. – Automatic Palm Detection on iPad allows you to write naturally with your hand on the screen. – Notability has been fine-tuned for Apple Pencil and iPad Pro giving you the most responsive, precise writing experience yet. TYPE ANYWHERE – Notability includes full-featured typing with a wide range of fonts, sizes, and colors.  – Outlines and text boxes help you quickly capture and organize ideas. – Highlight typed text. – The typing UI is uniquely designed on iPhone, iPad, and Mac for the best typing experience possible. IMPORT AND ANNOTATE PDFs – Highlight, Copy & Paste, Speak, Define and Search PDF text. – Mark up lecture slides and meeting agendas or complete class assignments. – Fill-out, sign, and send PDF forms. – Import doc and ppt files with the help of Google Drive. – Import webpages from the browser with the Share Extension. AUDIO RECORDINGS: REVIEW AND GIVE FEEDBACK – Get more out of your lectures and meetings when you record them. – Notes automatically link to recordings, so during playback, you can watch your notes animate along with the recording, or tap them to get to the spot that needs clarifying. – Teachers can also use these features to provide audio and handwritten feedback to students. ALL ELECTRONIC WORKFLOW – Create a paperless classroom — handout and collect assignments via the cloud. – Speed-up feedback to students and colleagues using Notability. – Complete, sign, and share documents in Notability. ORGANIZE AND SHARE NOTES – Create subjects and simply drag notes into them. – Share your notes via email, AirDrop, printer, Twitter, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box and more. – Retrieve recently deleted notes from the trash. ICLOUD SYNC – iCloud automatically syncs all of your notes to iPad, iPhone, and Mac. AUTO-BACKUP – Dropbox, Google Drive, or Box, can be used to backup your notes in PDF format and are great for archiving or recovery. We hope you enjoy using Notability, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Get Notability for $7.99 in the iOS App Store


Moleskine Journal

Your best ideas everywhere – Moleskine journals, re-imagined for limitless creativity, productivity and passion. The look and feel are classic Moleskine; the digital capabilities are inspiring. Enjoy all the things you usually do with your Moleskine journals, and send your creations out into the world, page after page. Created with input by a team of artists, designers and other Moleskine enthusiasts like you, the all-new digital Moleskine Journal features the attributes you cherish most in Moleskine tools: simplicity and elegance. NEW: Traveller’s and Recipe Passion Journals now join the previously available Wine Journal, creating a more complete series of your favorite Passion Journals, faithfully reproduced in digital format (in-app purchase, iPad version only). Passion Journals appear in your Moleskine Journal library alongside your other journals. Once you purchase a Passion Journal directly off the shelf it becomes part of your library collection, letting you create unlimited editions of your favorite passions! If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please feel free to contact us at: All inquiries will be read and replied to. Thank you and we hope you enjoy this latest edition. Moleskine Journal Features: • Classic Moleskine style • Signature Inner Pocket to store favorite images and text. Includes image import and access to the built-in camera • Portrait and landscape modes, with double-spread view unique to Moleskine Journal • Classic Moleskine paper selection—plain, ruled, squared—plus templates from the popular Weekly Planner, Storyboard Notebook • Artist toolset (paintbrush, Moleskine pencil, Moleskine pen, highlighter), all with size control and full-spectrum color picker available on-the-fly • Fully-featured color picker gives full artistic control, with value slide, opacity slide, custom swatch library and Moleskine’s ivory-color paper background for easier color selection • Text tools for productivity and creativity with all iOS-available fonts, color picker, opacity and size control on-the-fly • Classic Moleskine ribbon bookmark • Multiple undo and redo • Easy image import from your photo library or take new photos with the built-in camera • Easy project sharing via email, Facebook and Twitter • Easy sync to Evernote and backup to Dropbox • Unlimited page-adding capability—never run out of room. • View entire journal at once in an editable page thumbnails view • Fully editable library in thumbnail and list mode • Unlimited journal creation capability—make as many journals as you like! • Intuitive Apple iOS gestures such as pinch and spread, 2-finger scroll and page flip Enjoy your Moleskine Journal.

Get Moleskine Journal for free in the iOS App Store

moleskine journal

CaptureAudio & Notes

* “Incredibly intuitive recording interface” – Leanna Lofte, * “CaptureAudio is a fantastic and powerful app for recording voice memos and other audio” – Christine Chan, * “CaptureAudio Will Make You Shout Its Praises” – Chris Maxcer, CaptureAudio was the ultimate upgrade to your voice memos and recordings… We now introduce CaptureAudio & Notes! Universal support for Audio Recordings with precise time marking using our heralded Flags system, and you are now able to enter typed text notes independent of audio recording. Delivering much greater levels of efficiency and productivity when you record important lectures, meetings and other events, CaptureAudio & Notes incorporates the sophisticated marking system and text notes to audio recordings. Simple to use, yet very powerful. If you use your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch for recording, you need CaptureAudio & Notes! While recording, a simple tap allows you to quickly and easily mark significant points with audio markers called “Flags”. There are two standard flag sets for business and education users, with Flags such as “Urgent”, “Listen”, “Research”, and “Test Item”. If the standard Flags don’t suit your needs, you can create your own custom flag sets with names and icons that make sense to you. During playback, you’ll see the Flag markers and can immediately start playing from those moments of the recording. Jump to the most important information quickly and easily! CaptureAudio users can now sync across multiple devices using Dropbox Sync. Once the Dropbox Sync has been established, CaptureAudio keeps track of the changes, and updates the devices both ways to keep everything up to date; Audio Recordings, Text Notes, Recording Tags, Custom Flags Sets… all aspects of the sessions are synced between devices. Gone are the days of disorganized recordings and voice memos with your key points buried in the mix. With CaptureAudio, you can Tag your recordings with keywords. Tag with a client name, particular class or activity… CaptureAudio keeps your recordings organized the way you think. Students, Journalists, Project Managers, Home Owners, Physicians, Recruiters…the list goes on! Thousands of users have successfully added CaptureAudio to their productivity suite. With CaptureAudio & Notes, you can stop forgetting and start capturing. It’s the voice memo app in a way you’ve never experienced it before. ========FEATURES========= + Incredibly intuitive recording interface + Use “Flags” to quickly mark important moments during Recording, and Playback! + Add Typed Notes during Recording & Playback + Sync between multiple devices with Dropbox Sync + Easily Share Notes using Dropbox + Independent Text Notes are now supported + Add Tags to completed Recordings, based on your keywords + View your Recording list, filtered by Tags + Amazing Playback screen shows all Flags and time they were placed + Quickly begin Playback from the Flag points of your Recordings + Backup all your data to Dropbox or iTunes + Rename Flags on the fly + Create Custom Flags Sets (settings) + Share Recordings with CaptureNotes for iPad, includes Flags & Notes

Get CaptureAudio & Notes for $2.99 in the iOS App Store

caputureaudio and notes

Microsoft OneNote

Capture your thoughts, discoveries, and ideas with OneNote, your very own digital notebook. With OneNote you can seize that moment of inspiration, take your class notes, or track that list of errands that are too important to forget. Whether you’re at home, in the office, or on the go, your notes are available to you on all your devices. — Capture anything — Take a picture of the whiteboard in a meeting with auto-cropping and photo enhancements. Add your PowerPoint presentation or PDF for school. Clip website articles using iOS share extension. Leave your tape recorder at home and record audio notes on-the-go. Capture it all in OneNote and add your annotations. — Powerful organization — Organize your notes in a way that works best for you. Create, rename, search, sort, and copy pages, sections, and notebooks. Find your most recent notes quickly and pin the pages you use most. Secure your notes with a password and use touch ID to quickly access them. — Think together — Share your notes with your friends and colleagues. Whether it’s a party your planning with others, or a school project you’re working on with your group. Work together in a shared notebook at the same time. — Always with you — Access your notes on your Mac, iPhone, iPad and other devices. Your notes are synced to the cloud (OneDrive, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint) making it easy to access your recipe notes on your iPhone at the store, your homework on your Mac in class, or your itinerary on your iPad during your trip. — Check these lists — Create to-dos to keep track of your daily errands, groceries shopping, or travel planning. –Write & Draw on iPad — Scribble your notes at a conference, write math equations in class or sketch your ideas. With a variety of pen colors and settings, you can create beautiful handwritten notes and drawings. Draw with confidence with “Convert to Shapes” mode: we’ll automatically convert hand drawn shapes into crisp, perfectly regular polygons and circles. OneNote is free on iPhone and many other devices. Get started today! Download OneNote and sign in with your Microsoft Account or the account assigned to you by your work or school. Need help with OneNote: Add to our feature suggestion box:

Get Microsoft OneNote for free in the iOS App Store

microsoft one note

GoodNotes 4

GoodNotes lets you take beautiful handwritten notes and annotate PDF documents. The handwritten notes are searchable and are created using a pioneering vector ink engine. Thanks to iCloud sync, your documents in GoodNotes will synchronize between your iPad and iPhone automatically. ## Make Your Handwritten Notes Last Forever ## GoodNotes features a state-of-the-art digital ink technology that will look great even with future super-high resolution displays. ## OCR: Search Handwritten Notes ## Just type in the search box what you’re looking for and then tap Search. ## Better Than Paper Notebooks ## Type with the keyboard, insert images, or draw perfect shapes easily; mix between any kind of papers or even insert PDF docs inside a notebook; rearrange or delete pages as you like. It is very flexible. ## Annotate PDF Documents; Fill and Sign Forms ## Great for saving time, paper, and the environment. Microsoft Word and PowerPoint files are supported too. ## Large Collection of Beautiful Covers and Papers ## Each template is carefully designed in vector format. There are lined papers, graph papers, music papers, and lots of notebook covers to choose from. Add your own template with an image or a PDF file. ## GoodNotes Does Not Slow You Down ## Thanks to the powerful zoom window feature, you can write quickly with your fingers or with a stylus in a large area, and your handwriting will be shrunk automatically. ## Just Write Them Down and Don’t Worry ## You can correct any mistake any time and it won’t become messy. The lasso tool will let you move things around or even resize them. ## Protect Your Valuable Data ## GoodNotes features a trash function to protect from accidental deletion. It can also backup your data to Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, or SkyDrive automatically. ## GoodNotes is Also a Digital Whiteboard ## Your audience will not see the user interface — just the content — and you can choose which part of the page to show them. Many teachers and lecturers are already using GoodNotes to teach.

Get GoodNotes 4 for $7.99 in the iOS App Store

goodnotes 4

Notes Plus

Notes Plus is a powerful note-taking tool that has enabled many people to go completely paperless. Be one of them! Notes Plus stands apart from other apps in this crowded note-taking space because: – It was one of the few feature-rich iPad apps released right after the first iPad’s debut. – Since 2010, it has gone through 30 version upgrades and 3 complete overhauls, resulting in 8 million update downloads by almost one million users. Get Notes Plus to benefit from: • Outstanding handwriting experience with razor-sharp ink effects, palm rejection, and close-up writing mode for fine writing. Experience all this for yourself: get our other app for FREE at • Converting handwriting to text. 52 languages are supported. • Typed text. • Background audio recording. • Automatic shape detection. • Inserting images from Photos or directly from the camera. • Importing PDF and DOC files to annotate. • Exporting notes as PDF or images to Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, email, and other apps. • A built-in browser for quick reference. • Automatic backup to Dropbox. • Multi-level folder management. • Support for left-handed users. • Support for Wacom, Adonit, and Pencil styli. • Support for VGA-out presentation. And above all, you’ll get personal replies from our responsive support team within 24 hours (usually within 4 hours). Please email us at or visit our support site:

Get Notes Plus for $6.99 in the iOS App Store

notes plus


Noteshelf lets you take beautiful handwritten notes and annotate PDFs. You can also type your notes, record audio, draw shapes, sketch ideas, sign contracts, fill forms, print documents, and more right on your iPad. Syncs with Evernote and works with all popular cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Box. Noteshelf offers the most beautiful handwriting on the app store – this is one of the key reasons why our users fall in love with Noteshelf. GORGEOUS HANDWRITING • Feel the fluidity and smoothness of our pens, pencils and highlighters that rival the real ones. • Our unique ink pens produce a beautiful calligraphic effect that makes your handwriting look great. MANY OPTIONS TO CHOOSE FROM • Choose from a selection of 70 tastefully designed notebook covers, ranging from classic leathers to fun stripes and florals. • Our extensive paper template library offers papers for all your needs from simple ruled papers to special day planners and workout logs. • Turn the personalization a notch by changing your shelf themes to suite your choice of notebook covers. KEEP IT ORGANIZED • Create as many notebooks as you wish for various purposes like meeting notes, journals, sketches, project work, class notes. • Neatly group related notebooks by just dragging and dropping them on one another. • Organize pages inside and across notebooks with ease. SECURE YOUR NOTES • Add a passcode to protect important and sensitive notes. • Automatically backup your notes to Dropbox • Use our proprietary AirTransfer to archive and share your notes EASY SHAPES • Tap on the “shapes tool” on the pen rack and see your pen strokes magically transform into shapes. • Draw perfectly geometrical shapes such as circles, triangles, squares, etc. to your notes. AUDIO RECORDING • Record lectures, meetings and discussions while taking notes. • Playback recordings anytime you want. • Add multiple recordings and keep them safe right next to your notes. WRITE WITH EASE • Zoom in to your notes for a more close-up and detailed writing. • Add photos to your notes, artworks, recipes, diaries & more. • Offers left-handed and other 5 more writing modes to meet everyones writing style. MARK UP & PRINT DOCUMENTS • Open-in and import PDF and Microsoft Office documents as notebooks in Noteshelf. • Highlight and underline key information in your documents. • Sign and print contracts straight from your iPad. SYNC & SHARE • Automatically sync and access all your notebooks via your Evernote account from any device. • Quickly share pages via Email, Twitter or Facebook. • Send your notes to Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive for archival or sharing with classmates, colleagues or clients. • Showcase your lecture notes, diagrams, ideas & more using a projector. Noteshelf offers a special whiteboard mode for this purpose. STYLUS SUPPORT • Any iPad stylus will work great with Noteshelf.
 • For more advanced features such as pressure sensitivity and palm rejection, use stylus from one of our partners: Pencil by FiftyThree, POGO Connect, Hex Jaja, Adonit Script, Adonit JOT Touch, Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus & Bamboo Stylus Fineline
 Let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you! video demo: twitter: @noteshelf

Get Noteshelf for $8.99 in the iOS App Store



Let Evernote change the way you organize your personal and professional projects. Dive in: take notes, create to-do lists, and save things you find online into Evernote. We’ll sync everything between your phone, tablet, and computer automatically. — “Use Evernote as the place you put everything … Don’t ask yourself which device it’s on—it’s in Evernote” – The New York Times “When it comes to taking all manner of notes and getting work done, Evernote is an indispensable tool.” – PC Mag — Over 150 million people use Evernote to move their projects forward. GET ORGANIZED Evernote gives you the tools you need to keep your work effortlessly organized: • Write and collect ideas in notes, group notes into notebooks, and find everything easily • Take notes in a variety of formats, including: text, sketches, photos, audio, video, PDFs, web clippings and more • Use the camera to effortlessly scan, digitize, and organize your paper documents, business cards, handwritten notes and drawings SYNC ANYWHERE Evernote gives you the ability to sync all content across all devices: • Everything in Evernote can sync across any computer or phone you use • Start working on one device and continue on another without missing a beat • Let Evernote organize everything for you, from personal day to day checklists to bigger, collaborative projects SHARE YOUR IDEAS Evernote allows you to effortlessly share and collaborate with others: • Share and discuss with the people who help you get your work done, all within the same app • Search within pictures and annotate images to give quick feedback • Develop your projects faster and let multiple participants work on different aspects BETTER NOTE INTERACTION WITH 3D TOUCH • Quick Actions for faster note creation and search • Peek and Pop into notes for easy previews • Sketch in notes with pressure sensitive ink EVERNOTE FOR APPLE WATCH • Dictate notes and they will be transcribed in Evernote • Dictate searches and get results on your Apple Watch • View newly created & updated notes • Set reminders, get notifications, and never forget anything Also available from Evernote: EVERNOTE PLUS – More space. More freedom. • 1 GB of new uploads each month • Access your notes and notebooks offline • Save emails to Evernote • Add a passcode lock to your mobile app $2.99 monthly, $24.99 annually EVERNOTE PREMIUM – The ultimate workspace. • 10 GB of new uploads each month • Access your notes and notebooks offline • Save emails to Evernote • Add a passcode lock to your mobile app • Turn notes into presentations with Presentation Mode • Search inside Office docs and attachments • Annotate PDFs $5.99 monthly, $49.99 annually — Price may vary by location. Subscriptions will be charged to your credit card through your iTunes account. Your subscription will automatically renew unless canceled at least 24 hours before the end of the current period. You will not be able to cancel the subscription once activated. Manage your subscriptions in Account Settings after purchase.

Get Evernote for free in the iOS App Store



The best digital handwriting on iPad. Penultimate combines distraction-free, natural handwriting and sketching with the power of Evernote’s sync and search. Take class or meeting notes, journal your thoughts, or outline your next big idea—in the office or on the go. From the first stroke, Penultimate makes the experience of pen and paper more productive. INK AND PAPER, MADE BETTER Notes and drawings look spectacular in black or colored ink. Our inking technology produces pen strokes that look natural, and Wrist Protection prevents stray marks for writers of all grips. Choose from a number of paper styles, or import an image to create personalized paper. STYLUS AND SOFTWARE BUILT TOGETHER We worked closely with Adonit to create the stylus we’ve always wanted: the Jot Script Evernote Edition, the first true precision-point stylus. Penultimate integrates tightly with the stylus and together they make digital handwriting the experience it should be. It’s like writing with your favorite pen. Available now in the Evernote Market. YOUR WRITING KEEPS PACE WITH YOU Penultimate lets you work on any part of the page effortlessly. To zoom in on a location on the page, simply pinch in and start writing. With Penultimate’s Drift feature enabled, the page will move along with you, automatically adjusting to the pace you are working at. CONNECT AND SYNC WITH EVERNOTE Sign in to your Evernote account in the Penultimate app to organize your Penultimate notes in notebooks, separated by topic, project, or category. Your Penultimate notes are synced to Evernote automatically, so you can find and share them across all of your devices. FIND WHAT YOU NEED QUICKLY No matter how you prefer to organize your work, Penultimate makes it easy to find the notes you need. Penultimate processes your notes so you can search for handwritten text in the app. Save and browse your work in notebooks and insert, delete, duplicate, and reorganize pages any way you like within them. MAKE PENULTIMATE MORE POWERFUL Penultimate is free to download and use. Pair it with Evernote Premium or Evernote Plus for bigger uploads and many other great features. Two subscription options: Evernote Premium monthly for $5.99 per month | $49.99 annually Evernote Plus monthly for $2.99 per month | $24.99 annually

Get Penultimate for free in the iOS App Store


That’s it for this roundup of iOS note-taking apps for the Apple Pencil. I hope you found the app(s) you were looking for, happy note-taking!

Additional reading: More Apple Pencil apps and great games for your iPad Pro

For more apps for the Apple Pencil, check out 14 apps enhanced for the Apple Pencil. And if you play games on your iPad Pro, be sure to check out 16 gorgeous games for the iPad Pro, and also 16 games with spectacular sound.

Did you miss a post? Check the Eye On Apple home page to get caught up with the latest news, discussions and rumors about Apple.