7 Free And Paid Note-Taking Apps For iPad And Tablet

Welcome to my recommendation list for 7 free and paid note-taking apps for iPad and tablet. Perfect for students, working adults or someone who plan to embark on digital note-taking journey. Bon voyage!


7 Free And Paid Note-Taking Apps For iPad And Tablet


Apple Notes/Samsung Notes

Notes interface
Apple Notes interface

You might be surprised but personally for me the native Apple Notes is a handy app to store your notes.

Notes feature
You can lock your notes, print or share it with others!
  • It’s FREE!
  • Sync with iCloud.
    • A huge plus for those who own an iPhone or Macbook. I personally use my Apple Notes to jot down the ideas for blog or Japanese language study and continue editing it on my computer.
  • Secure.
    • Has lock feature to store your important notes or documents. You can unlock it with you Face ID/Touch ID.
  • You can use Apple Pencil with it.
    • Has ruler, highlighter, line and grid template just like the other paid note-taking apps such as GoodNotes. Obviously, the handwriting experience might lack a bit compared to the other paid apps but you don’t need to spend a penny or worried about whether the apps that you paid will go for the subscription route and locking the features that you’ve paid for. I’m looking at you Notability.
Lines feature on Notes
Change the paper blank template to grid or lines

For Samsung Notes, I don’t personally have the experience of using it but my brother uses tablet for his Master study and from what he said the app is pretty similar with Apple Notes.


One of CollaNote free calendar templates
One of the free templates provided

Colla-Note is a new note-taking app that has gained a lot of traction because they have lots of features like Notability’s audio recording feature, cute template and variety paper like GoodNotes but for FREE! It’s insane how the developers do not charge money for the app because look at this.

Multiple paper and templates layout. Of course, for FREE!

CollaNote paper templates

Other features such as shape, laser and even translate tool! Will be extremely useful for language learners or educators.

Some of CollaNotes features

Colla-Note has so many other features worth talking about so I’ll dedicate a walkthrough or review about this app soon. Matte kudasai ne! Please wait 🙂

Microsoft OneNote

Chance is, you already have Microsoft OneNote installed on your tablet. If you use iPad, you can just search for OneNote on the App store and downloaded it. Great news for students or educators, your university or school might has purchased license for their staffs and students to use (if you’re from UiTM, the username is your student ID).

What great about OneNote is the app has this unique ‘unlimited canvas’. Basically, you can continue creating your notes without any pages restriction by either typing or handwriting it with your pencil.


Unlike the other paid apps that I’ve mentioned above, Notion for now doesn’t support handwriting feature. BUT, the app or website is one of the most valuable app to write down your notes, study planner and more! I know that some companies use Notion as their database.

Tips! You can get cute or productive workspace simply by searching ‘Notion’ on Twitter or Pinterest. I joined a Notion community on Twitter and is quickly overwhelmed (in a good way) with lots of users sharing their workspace for free.



Okay, so Noteshelf for now available on both App Store and Android. I personally use this app for teaching because I like how the pen they offered makes my Japanese writing looks prettier.

How I Use Noteshelf

Teaching Kanji is easier because I can simply annotate the Kanji material and showed it to my students. The app also has laser tool, audio recording and the number 1 favourite tool of mine in any note-taking app – various paper and notebook templates! For free! I mean the app is not free but the templates offered are free.

Related: How To Learn Kanji Effectively Plus Free Kanji Practice Sheets

Noteshelf Templates Gallery

Unlike the other apps, Noteshelf has this template gallery which means you can choose whether to install it or simply ignore it.

Noteshelf Paper Templates


Okay, I love GoodNotes! You can read more about the app here but here are some of the features I like from GoodNotes.

GoodNotes 5 Features
GoodNotes 5 Features
  • Laser tool
  • Various paper and notebook templates
  • Folder organization style
  • Supports Apple inbuilt dictionary feature

The only cons of GoodNotes is they still don’t offer support for audio but hopefully the new feature will be released soon!


Unlike the other apps mentioned here, Procreate technically is not a traditional note-taking app. The app is more known as the go to app for digital artists or creators and I have used this to create some free notebook and paper templates to be used for everyone’s note-taking journey that you can download here.

person holding white and black happy birthday card
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

But I’ve seen several digital note-takers on Instagram using Procreate to create their notes mainly because the app has a HUGE brushes library.


If Notability didn’t drop the b0mb that they’re going subscription route then Notability will be on the top of the list for this post. But they did! And they didn’t handled the announcement properly and has lost a large users’ trust judging by how severe the backlash this news is received on Reddit and Twitter.

Notability Features
Notability Features

I don’t mind an app going subscription but why should I pay AGAIN if I’ve already bought the app with the promise that the app is mine. I’m not an app developer but if Notability created a new app and brand it Notability 2 or 3 or whatever and simply leave the current app as it is without an update, I bet the reception will be heaps better.

Anyway, here is my 7 free and paid note-taking apps for iPad and tablet recommendation. If you’ve any new apps to suggest, please share it with me because I love trying new app!

  1. I really like notion, well so far, i just started it today!
    thats awful what happened with notably… i wish you could fight for your money back! that’s just not cool at all

    1. Thankfully notability changed their mind lol (after a lot of backlash)
      Glad that you’re enjoying Notion.

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