5 Best Free Note-Taking Apps for iPad [2024]

April 12, 2024 436 views

There's no other digital tool that offers such amazing portability as an iPad. Its perfect size facilitates writing, reading, and drawing, while also serving as a hub for task management and completion. With its plenty of features, many deem it their all-in-one device, housing everything they need. And adding a reliable note-taking app to the mix elevates its utility tenfold. In this article, we explore the top free note taking apps for iPad of 2024 tailored for your iPad.

5 Best Free Note-Taking Apps for iPad [2024]

The Best Free 5 Note-Taking Apps for iPad in 2024

1. Notability

You can belong to any field and find Notability to be a versatile and efficient note-taking solution. It is one of the best free note taking apps for iPad for students, with its array of features, including handwriting, organization, and collaboration tools, Notability offers a great experience for professionals, students, and creatives alike. You could be jotting down ideas, annotating documents, or sketching diagrams, Notability provides a comprehensive platform for all your note-taking needs.

Notability interface


  • Versatile note-taking with writing, annotating, and audio syncing capabilities.

  • Customizable templates for varied paper styles and backgrounds.

  • Multimedia tools like pencil, highlighter, and audio for interactive notes.

  • Advanced math conversion technology for clean calculations.

  • Lifelike digital pencil input for natural handwriting and sketching.

  • Customizable subjects and dividers for efficient note organization.

  • Synced audio recording for easy reference during playback.

  • Full-screen presentations with a Laser Pointer tool for engaging audiences.


4.7 out of 5 (43.4K Ratings)


The app is free to download, but offers subscription plan for users to proceed with using the app as such:

  • Annual Subscription: $14.99

  • Annual Subscription: $14.99

  • Monthly Subscription: $4.99

  • Annual Subscription: $19.99

  • 3 Months Subscription: $9.99

  • Family Subscription: $49.99

2. GoodNotes

iPad users can utilize GoodNotes as a digital note-taking solution where it serves as one of the best free note taking apps for iPad with Apple pencil, offering dedicated features for students and professionals alike. With its intuitive interface and robust tools, GoodNotes facilitates efficient organization and seamless integration across devices, enhancing productivity and creativity.

GoodNotes interface


  • Unlimited digital notebooks for the price of one physical one.

  • Combine handwriting, typed text, images, stickers, and diagrams on a single page.

  • Customizable paper templates, including Blank Paper, Ruled Paper, Checklists, and more.

  • Seamless navigation through long documents with auto-imported PDF tables of contents.

  • Backup and sync notes across devices via Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and iCloud.

  • Audio recording synced with written notes for effective lecture or presentation notes.

  • AI-driven text summarization, search, and study aids for efficient studying and review.

  • Presentation capabilities directly from the app via AirPlay or HDMI connection.

  • Export notes to email, print, or share as PDFs, with collaborative sharing options available.

  • Integration with popular cloud storage services for easy document management.


  • 4.8 out of 5 (90.5K Ratings)


The app is free to download, but offers these in-app purchases:

  • Goodnotes 6 (1 year): $9.99

  • GoodNotes 5 Unlock: $9.99

  • Goodnotes 6 Free Trial: $0.00

  • Goodnotes 6 One-Time Payment: $29.99

  • Goodnotes 6 One-Time Payment: $23.99

  • Bunny Oasis Stickers: $0.00

  • Goodnotes 6 (1 Year): $9.99

  • Marketplace Content: $9.99

  • Dotted Squares: Draft Papers: $0.99

  • Marketplace Content: $1.99

3. Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft Office OneNote is primarily structured for professionals across various industries, providing a comprehensive platform for note-taking and collaboration. With its emphasis on structured organization and integration with the Microsoft ecosystem, OneNote offers a versatile solution for professionals to streamline their workflow and enhance productivity.

Microsoft OneNote interface


  • Capture and organize thoughts, ideas, and to-do lists with ease.

  • Seamlessly sync notes across devices via OneDrive, ensuring accessibility anytime, anywhere.

  • Create digital sketchbooks and save memos directly on your phone.

  • Organize notes with powerful organizational tools and quickly find recent or frequently used pages.

  • Secure your notes with a password and use Touch ID for quick access.

  • Utilize colorful sticky notes for quick thoughts and ideas, synced across devices.

  • Collaborate with others in shared notepads and save notes to cloud storage for easy access and sharing.

  • Write and draw with a variety of pen colors and settings, including "Convert to Shapes" mode for precise drawings.

  • Enjoy a free experience on iPhone and other devices, with the option to upgrade to Microsoft 365 for additional features.


4.7 out of 5 (865.2K Rating)


The app is free to download, but offers these in-app purchases:

  • Microsoft 365 Personal: $6.99

  • Microsoft 365 Family: $9.99

  • Microsoft 365 Personal: $11.99

4. Apple Notes

To have an original iPad user experience, you'll find that Apple Notes offers basic functionality for note-taking.It also entails diverse tools, seamless iPad integration, and advanced capabilities tailored to both students and professionals alike.

Apple Notes interface


  • Create folders, tags, and utilize the search function. Sort notes by date, title, or oldest first.

  • Access a toolbar with a pen, pencil, marker, eraser, highlighter, lasso tool, ruler, and color palette.

  • The Handwriting Tools button allows drawing or writing with your finger.

  • Share notes and folders, control permissions for viewing and editing.

  • Jot down information from any app or screen instantly, including images, handwriting, and links.

  • Add photos, videos, sketches, and more to your notes.

  • Keep notes synced across all devices using iCloud.

  • Secure all notes and attachments with encryption for enhanced privacy.

  • Format text, create checklists, and use tables for organized notes.

  • Edit PDFs directly within the note-taking app and sync changes across devices.


  • 4.7 out of 5 (990 reviews)


Apple Notes is a free note-taking application available to all Apple users.

5. Evernote

If you're a student or even a professional with an iPad, Evernote offers a solid note-taking solution tailored to your needs. With its user-friendly interface, rich features, and seamless integration with iPad devices, Evernote encourages users to capture, organize, and collaborate on notes effortlessly, making it an ideal choice for enhancing productivity and staying organized on the go.

Evernote interface


  • Capture ideas instantly whenever inspiration strikes.

  • Sync notes seamlessly across all your devices, ensuring productivity on the go.

  • Manage tasks efficiently with due dates and reminders to stay organized.

  • Connect Evernote with Google Calendar for unified scheduling and note-taking.

  • Access your most relevant information quickly with a customizable Home dashboard.

  • Organize notes into separate notebooks for better categorization and retrieval.

  • Search and find anything fast with Evernote's powerful search feature, even text within images and handwritten notes.

  • Scan and organize paper documents, business cards, and handwritten notes with your device's camera.

  • Keep a journal and go paperless by scanning receipts and important documents.

  • Share notebooks with teams to keep everyone up to date on meeting notes and projects.

  • Access lecture notes, exams, and assignments easily to stay on top of your education.

  • Sync notes automatically across all your devices and seamlessly switch between them to continue working without interruption.


  • 4.4 out of 5 (55.4K Ratings)


The app is free to download, but offers these in-app purchases:

  • Evernote Personal: $11.99

  • Evernote Premium: $11.95

  • Evernote Personal: $11.99

  • Evernote Plus: $10.00

  • Evernote Premium: $12.00

  • Evernote Premium: $113.99

  • Evernote Plus: $8.95

  • Evernote Personal Monthly: $11.99

  • Evernote Plus: $10.00

  • Monthly Personal Plan: $11.99

Comparison of the 5 Best Free Note-Taking Apps for iPad







Handwriting, typed text, sketching, task management, audio recording

Seamless audio syncing, multimedia support, integration with Google Calendar

Limited availability on non-Apple devices


Free aside from the in app purchases


Advanced handwriting tools, iCloud integration, customizable paper templates

Rich text editing, PDF annotation, collaborative features, extensive import options

Relatively higher price, limited collaboration features


Free aside from the in app purchases

Microsoft OneNote

Formatting options, Outlook integration, collaboration tools, cloud syncing

Cross-platform support, integration with Office tools, rich text editing

Steeper learning curve, limited features in free version


Free aside from the in app purchases

Apple Notes

Text formatting, drawing tools, checklist creation, folder organization

Deep integration with Apple ecosystem, intuitive interface, markup tools

Limited features compared to third-party apps


Free aside from the in app purchases


Multimedia note-taking, web clipping, tagging, task management

Versatile note-capturing capabilities, robust organization tools, web clipping

Free version has limited features, steep pricing for premium plans


Free aside from the in app purchases

  • GoodNotes or Notability: Ideal for iPad Pro users seeking advanced handwriting and sketching features.

  • Apple Notes: Suitable for users heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, looking for a simple yet effective solution.

  • Microsoft OneNote: Recommended for users deeply integrated into the Microsoft ecosystem, offering extensive integration with Office tools.

  • Evernote: Suitable for users requiring extensive organization and collaboration features across multiple devices and platforms, albeit at a higher cost.

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WPS Office Note taking app for your iPad

One of its standout features lies in its Writer and PDF tools, which offer unparalleled convenience for note-taking, document creation, and editing. From jotting down lecture notes, drafting reports, to collaborating on projects, WPS Office provides a seamless experience that enhances productivity and efficiency. Furthermore, WPS Office offers a range of other functionalities, including robust spreadsheet capabilities, dynamic presentation tools, and extensive document formatting options, ensuring that users have everything they need to excel in their academic and professional endeavors.

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Algirdas Jasaitis


1. What are the best notes-taking apps for iPads for students?

For students seeking the perfect note-taking app on iPad:

GoodNotes 6: Best all-around choice with powerful handwriting and AI-driven features.

Notability: Ideal for visual note-taking and versatile enough for various academic needs.

Nebo: Popular for sketching and brainstorming, offering an expansive canvas.

Obsidian: Great for personal knowledge management with robust organization features.

Bear Notes: Lightweight and minimalist, perfect for distraction-free note-taking.

2. Is Notability fully free?

Notability is a premium note-taking application, meaning it comes with a cost. To unlock its full range of functionalities, users typically need to make either a one-time purchase or opt for a subscription plan. The pricing options include:

  • Annual Subscription: $14.99

  • Annual Subscription: $14.99

  • Monthly Subscription: $4.99

  • Annual Subscription: $19.99

  • 3 Months Subscription: $9.99

  • Family Subscription: $49.99

3. Are there any no-cost note-taking applications available for iPad?

Yes, Notes offers fundamental note-taking features and is entirely complimentary. However, it's relatively basic compared to GoodNotes or Notability. Nonetheless, more enthusiastic note-takers might find some limitations off-putting.

Take Efficient Notes On Your iPad With WPS Office

Owning an iPad is a true blessing, and if you haven't experienced it yet, you're missing out on a versatile tool for note-taking. You could be a student or a professional, jotting down notes and journaling can greatly enhance your productivity and organization. With WPS Office, you have access to comprehensive documenting features for free, making it an invaluable tool for note-taking. Download WPS Office today to discover the full potential of note-taking on your iPad.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.