All iPads How do you choose between notes apps?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Ghost31, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. Ghost31 macrumors 68000


    Jun 9, 2015
    This is a real first world problem to get frustrated about, but I can never decide which notes app I wanna use between Apple's and notability. I like writing in apple's a lot more when I'm jotting down notes as it looks like a real pencil, but there are very limited options and I can't write on top of pictures of pdf's, or use different color/lined paper, or do any kind of audio recording within the app. That's when I would have to switch to notability.

    So I'll go do my thing in notability for awhile but then I feel like my I handwriting looks worse and I like the way things look in more, so I'll switch back to Apple notes for handwritten notes and I keep going back and forth for that. And it's a funny complaint to have and I know I'm just being weird about it, but I like having my ONE app I go to for things ya know? So I can have all my crap in one place and it's all just...right there. But to have some notes in one app and some in another is a bit annoying sometimes.

    In ending my pointless freaking post, anybody else feel like this? Having difficulty choosing between apps and experiencing frustration trying to manage your stuff in both, but never being able to just use 1 fully?
  2. Ledgem macrumors 65816


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    If I can read it, then I don't care how nice my handwriting looks. I use these notes applications to get work done. Notability has greater utility to me at this point, so I go with that. I foresee scenarios where I'll have both Notes and Notability open at the same time using Split View (scenarios where I need to reference one set of notes while writing another), but if Notability introduces a method to have two documents or pages displayed at once then there'd be no need to use another application.
  3. maxsix Suspended


    Jun 28, 2015
    Western Hemisphere
    I have just five note taking apps short of a zillion :D

    Experience still suggests you use what YOU Like.
  4. yillbs macrumors 6502


    Oct 2, 2015
    With notes getting password and finger print locking, it's a no brainier
  5. Skylitfly macrumors 6502a

    May 3, 2014
    I just use the Notes app. It's simple and does what I expect. Especially now in iOS 9.
  6. malandra macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2003
    FWIW, I really like goodnotes after trying 5-6 different apps. Now, if Notes gets handwriting rec, all bets are off...
  7. ZombiePete macrumors 68020


    Aug 6, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    I actually prefer OneNote; I would probably be more inclined to use Notes if you could have lined paper, but a blank page for writing notes doesn't work for me.

    I have switched back and forth between OneNote and Notability; the latter is far better for annotating other documents and what-not, but I feel like my handwriting looks better in OneNote.
  8. fluff, Jan 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016

    fluff macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2008
    very happy with goodnotes. can take notes as well as mark up pdf's and images, does everything i need. also, being left handed and being able to move the menu bar to the bottom has been awesome.
  9. kupkakez macrumors 68000


    Apr 4, 2011
    I used to be 100% Evernote. I wasn't a huuuge fan of them because a good majority of the time my notes would end up way longer than usual because of "saving conflicts" between my iPad and iPhone.

    When Apple updated the Notes app I gave that a try and have been on that 100% and ditched Evernote. Have not had any "saving conflict" issues with Notes.
  10. cerberusss macrumors 6502a


    Aug 25, 2013
    The Netherlands
    I use SimpleNote which is owned by Wordpress nowadays. It's text-only, which I actually like. And there's a client for iOS and Mac. The great thing is that if you're on another PC, you can fall back to the web client which is also quite decent.

    Notes, I don't know... First time I seriously tried it, I got duplicates. This is two years ago, so perhaps they've improved it.
  11. username: macrumors 6502a

    Dec 16, 2013
    Give up handwritten notes. Handwriting is over. Typing is the future.
  12. rwp macrumors member

    Oct 13, 2015
    LA, CA, US
    I use GoodNotes for all hand-written notes (personal or work); it is responsive and has the ability to search handwritten text. I use Apple's Notes app for quick sketches and personal 'unimportant' notes (lists of things, etc...). I use 1password for secure personal notes -- which I will probably switch to Notes when 9.3 comes out supporting secure Notes. I use Evernote for typed work notes, as they can be kept separate from my personal stuff and automatically sync to my desktop work Mac. And finally, I use Notability for storing/reading/marking up PDFs (mostly as reference shelf).

    Different tools for different purposes.
  13. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    in exile
    Yeah, I can understand. My situation is a bit different as I use a variety of devices and so for stuff that I want universally accessible, I have to consider cross-platform solutions.

    Basically for markdown/text-only (dropbox centric): nvALT (OSX) + ResophNotes (Windows) + Notesy (iOS) + Drafts (Android)
    For rich-text/handwriting: OneNote (all platforms)

    But as I rely more on my iPad Air 2 as my mobile platform, I'm looking at more Apple/iOS -centric solutions.

    Cross-platform :
    iOS centric: Notability
  14. Mac2me macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2015
    I've used Notes on my iPhone over the years but have not upgraded to the newer version yet. My husband says he likes the new Notes a lot though.

    When I got my Pencil I went looking for a note-type app that I could use for handwritten layouts or storyboarding, do simple drawings, import photos, write on photos, etc. I've been trying out Penultimate this past week and like it for the most part for what I need to do. It works with the Pencil's pressure sensitivity. It was designed as an Apple iPad app and a few years ago purchased by Evernote, but you can just download it as a separate app from the App Store for free.

    It has a decent amount of different "papers" (like graph paper, to do lists, calendar styles, music sheets, photo pages). You can create a "custom" paper that will allow you to bring in a photo/camera image on a "bottom" layer, which layer you can then eliminate when you are done with it (great for tracing). All done by simply switching the custom page to a new plain paper. It has a color palette of 10 ink colors, 5 pencil thicknesses, 3 marker thicknesses, lasso/cut tool. There's help and info screens under the Settings wheel. The free version offers quite a bit and is limited to one notebook but with numerous multi-page sections. If you want to set up more notebooks and the ability to search, etc. then you would need to add the Evernote app. For my personal use however I'm finding Penultimate for the iPad worth using as is.
  15. lexvo macrumors 65816

    Nov 11, 2009
    The Netherlands
    I found out that a note app is a personal thing. After trying and using several apps, these are my favorites:

    Noteshelf for handwriting. It is the most fluid of all apps I tried and the handwriting looks very natural. It has a lot of options for paper, pens and colors.
    Goodnotes is my second choice for handwriting.

    Notability for typed notes. I like that you can touch anywhere on the screen and start typing. It also has great formatting options (most other notes apps don't) and can access a lot of cloud/file services.
    Daily Notes is my second choice for typed notes. I like its easy straightforward interface.

    The Apple Notes app is nice and easy, a strong feature is that it syncs between iOS and OS-X devices.

    Currently, I am using Noteshelf for all my note taking and I occasionally use Apple Notes.
  16. AlliFlowers Contributor


    Jan 1, 2011
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    If I'm in a meeting and want to write, I use ZoomNotes 100% of the time. I've been using it for several years now, and can't praise it enough.
  17. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    Noteshelf used to be good but it feels like abandonware lately - updates are very few and far between, and it's still not been updated for the iPad Pro's native resolution or iOS 9 multitasking.

    GoodNotes is what I use presently for handwritten notes. Agreed it's not quite as nice as Noteshelf used to be, but is no longer. And I can write on top of PDFs and images, too.

    I had been using OneNote, too, and while it has lots of features, it's ink is not quite as smooth and it's been getting kind of slow with my large multi-notebook database.

    Apple's notes has the most fun graphite pencil emulation, but since it doesn't offer different paper types (lined, grid, etc.), I tend to use it for small text notes.
  18. Tom G. macrumors 68000

    Tom G.

    Jun 16, 2009
    Champaign/Urbana Illinois
    I have Evernote and the :apple: Notes, and used to switch back and forth between them. But with the new :apple: Notes it is a no brainer. Apple has blown them away.

    Have you played with he ruler in :apple: Notes? It is awesome.
  19. lexvo, Jan 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016

    lexvo macrumors 65816

    Nov 11, 2009
    The Netherlands
    I agree that Noteshelf should be updated for multitasking. I still find Noteshelf more fluid than GoodNotes, Noteshelf even improved this in the last version.

    Noteshelf can also write on top of PDFs and images.

    I like GoodNotes but I find it a bit too minimalistic, but like I said, a note app is a very personal thing :)
  20. chfilm macrumors 68000


    Nov 15, 2012

    I used to rely completely on Evernote, but since I got the iPad pro and the pencil, I'm so frustrated with the situation!
    I'd like to only use apples notes app, but it's lacking some elementary features.
    Especially drawing on pdfs or images!

    Then again, I've yet to find the app that does actually what I truly want, being able to cut out parts of an image or pdf and inserting this into a note. What use is it to paste an entire pdf or even an entire page of a pdf? Why can not a single app do this? I wanna cut out parts of an image, and then move it around and draw next or on top of it.
    I also hate how all apps force you to manually switch somehow between handwriting and typing. If I have. Pencil in my hand, I wanna be able to just draw with it, however! I guess this is one of the reasons why Steve jobs opposed a stylus. Because he knew how hard it would be to implement it properly..

    I LOVE the pencil, but it's Implemented so poorly software wise. Imagine how AWESOME it would be if apple would allow for the pencil to be used as a cutout tool in whatever app, automatically copy the marked content to the clipboard, allowing you to paste it into a side by side opened notes app!!
  21. double329 macrumors 6502

    Sep 10, 2008
    I don't know about everyone else, I have multiple mobile devices, tablet and laptop. They are amount personal and work devices. With that said, I personally use Microsoft OneNote. Just because, OneNote is available pretty much on all platforms. I am able to sync/update my notes while I am at work, at home, or while on the move while able to see the exact same notes via OneNote. OneNote is feature rich, it supports drawing on Samsung Note 5, iPad Pro, my widows laptop, my Mac... Etc.. I do like Apple Notes app as well but it is only sync and available on Apple Eco system. So, OneNote works best in my case. I just like the ability to see my notes regardless of platform or devices I am using.
  22. sracer macrumors 604


    Apr 9, 2010
    in exile
    If you read the replies in this thread you WOULD know. :p
  23. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    I understand how the OP feels. Each notes app has a cool feature, but there is no one perfect app which had all the features you want.

    I never saw Notability as a note taking app. It's more for annotating on pdf documents for me. Less fully-featured than PDF expert, and just the way I like it because fewer features also means a less cumbersome interface.

    Tried drafts but it always felt too overdesigned for my needs. Evernote felt too slow and bloated and once iOS 9 updated notes and improved its syncing, I went back to it and have not looked back ever since.
  24. chfilm macrumors 68000


    Nov 15, 2012
    it's so bad, the minute you start using more than one app to collect all your thoughts, the whole system breaks down and you cant find sh*t anymore! :(
  25. Cnasty macrumors 68030


    Jul 2, 2008
    What app does everyone recommend for uploading agendas and having the ability to mark them up for meetings?

    Example: I attend a lot of meetings for my job and they always supply paper agendas. Do you just take a pic of the agenda and upload it so you can mark that up with notes on the actual agenda and save for later retrieval?

    Looking for ways I would really use the iPP in my daily workflow versus the notebook I carry around with scribble on paper

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