Just a few months ago, Apple introduced its latest renditions of the iPad Pro with a complete overhauled design for both the iPad and Apple Pencil. These were likely big-ticket items for the 2018 holiday season, although we will need to wait before finding out just how popular they were.
Nonetheless, one of the biggest benefits of toting around an iPad Pro with you throughout your daily travels is the ability to do just about anything you need on the go. The inclusion of the Apple Pencil is practically essential, even if it may not be something you think you really need.
- Hands-on Review of the 2018 iPad Pro
- The New Apple Pencil 2, here’s what you should know
- iPad Troubleshooting & Help
Other than the obvious use-case for the Pencil (drawing), the next most obvious use-case for the Pencil is to take notes. However, this can only be done provided that the software is available to take advantage of the possibilities.
Today, we have rounded up a few of our favorite note-taking apps which recognize your handwriting with ease.
This is really a no-brainer. If you are looking for a basic note-taking app that will also sync with your iOS and Mac devices, then Apple Note is the way to go. You can sketch and doodle and write to your heart’s content from within the app, although there are some limitations.
One example of the limitation is that this doesn’t actually convert your handwriting into text. Instead, you’ll have to hope that your handwriting is not absolutely terrible in order to refer back to it at a later date.
When writing, you have the option for a pen, pencil, or marker and the writing will appear differently for each option. You can also change the colors making it easy to highlight text or try and make something stand out from the rest.
Finally, the best part about Apple Notes is that it is 100% free and is already available on your iPad Pro after you turn it on for the first time.
Next up in our list is another freebie from the folks in Redmond, Washington with Microsoft OneNote. This app includes many of the same features offered by Apple’s Notes app, but there are a few extras.
Those who are entrenched in Microsoft’s ecosystem will likely want to take a look at OneNote as it will sync across all of your devices. Additionally, you don’t _need_ an Office 365 subscription to create, edit, and view documents, but there are some added benefits.
As for the app itself, you are presented with the ability to create multiple notebooks, and then multiple “pages” within those notebooks. At the top, you have a variety of pens, highlighters, and markers, that can be chosen. These can all be customized and there are definitely some funky choices for ink color choices.
If you are someone who takes and/or annotates notes/documents you will likely enjoy the “Ink to Shape” feature. You can draw just about any shape and OneNote will clean it up for you so that your notes look a bit more professional and clean.
We would be remiss if we bypassed Evernote on this list, but to be frank, it almost happened. That is because ever since switching to a subscription model, many key features have been “trapped” behind a paywall.
These features include PDF annotation, along with sync functionality across more than 2 devices. If you’re looking for just basic note-taking with Evernote, then you will still be able to do that if need be. However, instead of being presented with a blank sheet of paper, you’ll need to activate note-taking mode by tapping the stylus icon on the bottom.
After you have taken your notes, then you will hit “Done” and it will appear in your notebook. You can add portions of “typed” notes in the same document if you choose to do so. There are also some options to change the color of your pen, along with some wonky highlighting features.
It’s apparent that Evernote REALLY wants users to opt for the $7.99 subscription so that you can take full advantage. But it can still get the job done if you love Evernote.
Now that the free versions are out of the way, let’s get to my favorite note-taking app for my iPad Pro, Notability. This app is absolutely phenomenal despite its seemingly steep price-point ($9.99).
Notability provides the ability to annotate, doodle, draw, write, or do just about anything else you would want to with your Apple Pencil and iPad Pro. Although it’s not quite as robust as some other options on the Play Store, there are some features that can be found by either snooping around or diving into the included tutorial.
All the usual suspects are available including annotating PDF’s and changing the color and size of your writing tips. However, you can also add audio, web clips, import/export, and even choose the color of paper and style you want.
Finally, and perhaps the biggest benefit is that there is an accompanying Mac app. This gives you access to everything whether you’re on the go, in the office, or at home. The price tag is well worth the investment.
If not for a recent update, Nebo would probably have been left off the list. However, it’s here due to the update to Nebo 2.0, which includes an “improved neural network, global search across library” and more.
Nebo not only allows you to take notes, create sketches and diagrams, but also allows you to solve calculations and convert your documents to whatever you need. Naturally, you can adjust the size and color of your pen, as well as creating more than a few notebooks for organization.
Keeping with the aforementioned update for a moment, MyScript has vastly improved the sharing features of Nebo. You can now jot a note, convert the text, and have it sent through Messages, Mail, or even Twitter. Pretty nifty.
As is the case with Notability, the $7.99 price tag is well worth the investment.
There will never be a shortage of note-taking apps that arrive on the App Store. That means that there is a lot of variety to choose from, which is good and bad for some. However, we aim to make life a bit easier and hope you have finally found the best note-taking app for you.
If there’s an app that wasn’t mentioned, feel free to give us a shout and we’ll be sure to check it out. Additionally, if you have any questions, just let us know and we’ll be more than happy to help.
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.