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Best note-taking apps for iPad and Apple Pencil


In a recent video by the Paperless Movement®, Tom Solid provides an in-depth comparison of the best note-taking apps available for iPad users in 2022. Whether you’re using an iPad Mini, iPad Air, normal iPad, or iPad Pro, this guide covers the unique features of six different apps, helping you make the right decision for your handwriting note-taking needs.

Handwriting Feel and Stylus Types

Tom Solid explores the handwriting feel and different stylus types across various apps. He emphasizes the importance of handwriting-to-text conversion, drawing capabilities, and the use of digital journals. The apps under review include Apple Notes, Notability, GoodNotes 5, OneNote, NoteShelf, and Nebo.

Apple Notes

Apple Notes stands out for its accessibility within the Apple ecosystem. It offers quick notes access and unique features like shading with a pencil. However, it lacks optimal zooming and has limitations in text conversion and drawing shapes.


Notability offers more options in pen sizes and styles, including fountain and ball pens. It provides excellent text conversion, including math conversion, and offers the best drawing capabilities. Notability also brings audio recording to another level, allowing users to re-listen to lectures or presentations while viewing their notes.

GoodNotes 5

GoodNotes 5 offers customization in pen styles, tip sharpness, and pressure sensitivity. It provides text conversion and unique drag-and-drop functionality for tasks. However, it lacks audio recording and has limited drawing capabilities compared to Notability.


OneNote’s main disadvantage is the lack of handwriting-to-text conversion in the iPad app. It may work better on a Windows machine, but it’s not recommended for Apple ecosystem users.


NoteShelf offers responsive handwriting and text conversion. It also supports audio recording but lacks math conversion. It’s similar to GoodNotes in drawing shapes but doesn’t offer the same level of customization.


Nebo stands out for its live handwriting-to-text conversion and intuitive use of the Apple Pencil. It offers math conversions, diagrams, and exports to Word documents. However, it has downsides compared to other note-taking apps, especially in drawing.

Digital Journals

Digital journals are essential for many users, and the best apps for this purpose are Notability, GoodNotes, and NoteShelf. They offer easy navigation and writing capabilities, while other apps like Apple Notes and OneNote have limitations in this area.


The video provides a comprehensive overview of the best note-taking apps, focusing on unique features, handwriting feel, text conversion, drawing, audio recording, and digital journals. Depending on your specific needs, preferences, and the devices you use, one app may be more suitable for you than others.
If you’re a Busy Professional looking to enhance your Personal Knowledge Management or Task Management, consider joining the Paperless Movement® Membership to access comprehensive courses on Note-Taking, PKM, Task Management, and Project Management. Whether you’re interested in an Email Management Course or other productivity tools, the Paperless Movement® has something to offer you.

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