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Best Notepad App for iPad (2020)

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Brandon Eldred

May 4, 2018 (Updated: July 30, 2020)• Filed to: iPhone Tips

4 min read

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I want to turn my iPad into a notepad so that I can take notes instead of writing them down. What is the best notepad app for iPad? --from user Ella.

The default notes application on iOS devices is easy to use and has a sleek design. Recent iOS updates have included changes to the Notes app including the ability to add photos to your notes, sketch drawings, and even digitize documents. But if you start frequently using this app then some of its limitations will be clear to you. For example, the notepad is a single sheet, there is no option to make it graph paper, and you can only use one pen type. Thus, we’ll show you the best notepad apps for iPad which will take things to the next level.

Part 1: 4 Best Free Notepad Apps for iPad

If you don’t want to spend money on a notepad app for your iPad, then choose one from the following list which are all free.

1. Evernote

Evernote is a very well-known notetaking app for Android and iOS devices. It offers full flexibility over your notetaking capabilities and includes many useful features.



  • Sync notes between device.
  • Password protect notes.
  • Download notes for offline use.
  • Notes are stored on Evernote servers.


  • To get full access, you must pay.
  • Limited uploads.

2. Paper

Another free notetaking app is Paper. It is developed with artistic notetaking in mind such as sketching diagrams or creating charts.



  • Perfect for creating diagrams.
  • Different types of pens and brushes are available.
  • Simplistic interface.
  • Easy to navigate throughout the features.


  • Lack of basic notetaking features.

3. Penultimate

One advantage to Penultimate which makes it one of the best notepad apps for iPad Pro is that it can be connected to your Evernote account. This means that you can use both platforms for different things while having your notes in one place.



  • Cross-platform compatibility with Evernote.
  • Several colours and pens available.
  • Choose between plain, lined, or graph paper.
  • Highlight the important parts of your notes.


  • Premium subscription required for full access.

4. SimpleNote

As its name implies, SimpleNote has a user-friendly interface while at the same time having a lot of amazing features. Just like if you have written them down, you can reorganize your notes as needed so that they are in order.



  • Very simple, ideal for basic notetaking.
  • Completely free, no premium options.
  • Access your notes anywhere and on any device.
  • Search feature making it easy to find specific notes.


  • A basic notetaking app, lacks advanced features.

Part 2: 4 Best Paid Notepad Apps for iPad

On the other hand, if you’re willing to pay for the best notepad app for iPad/iPad 2/iPad 3/iPad mini/iPad Air/iPad Pro, here are the ones that we recommend choosing from.

1. Notability

  • Price: $9.99

Notability is an all-in-one notetaking app. It comes with audio recording, sketching features, and includes drawing features.



  • Audio recording can be added to notes.
  • Convert notes to PDF.
  • Sync notes with iCloud.


  • Expensive for notetaking.

2. Noteshelf

  • Price: $9.99

Noteshelf is another fantastic app for taking notes. Aside from writing notes, you can sketch graphs and charts, sync the app with popular cloud services, and print notes directly from your iPad.



  • Create multiple notebooks.
  • Password protect specific notes.
  • Easily add shapes.


  • Another expensive app.

3. Pages

  • Price: $9.99

Pages is preinstalled on most new Apple devices. While it is not strictly for taking notes and more so for writing documents and creating pages, it’s still worth a look.



  • Free app available to try before buying.
  • Automatically linked to your iCloud account.
  • Add comments to your notes.


  • Over-complicated as it isn’t meant for notetaking.

4. GoodNotes

  • Price: $7.99

Our final paid app is GoodNotes. There are constant updates for this iOS app and it can’t be any better. It is useful for taking notes, editing PDF files, and adding comments to those files.



  • Cheaper than other premium notes apps.
  • Edit and add notes to PDF files.
  • Organize all of your notes from one place.
  • Find a specific handwritten note with the search feature.


  • Unappealing user interface.

Tip 1: Recommended Stylus for iPad, iPad Pro, or iPad Mini

After you’ve started using your iPad for taking notes you’ll quickly realize the difficulties of using your finger. Therefore, we recommend getting a stylus.

1. Apple Pencil

  • Price: $89

Unlike other styluses, there isn’t an easily damaged rubber end with Apple Pencil. The solid plastic design is perfect for any iOS device, especially iPads.



  • Perfect for drawing on iPads.
  • Thin tip, making it easy to see what you’re doing.
  • When drawing, you can shade.


  • Very expensive in comparison to other styluses.
  • Only compatible with newer iOS devices.

2. HAHAKEE iPad Stylus

  • Price: $34.99

Taking a measly 4 hours to charge, the HAHAKEE iPad stylus has a battery life of 40 hours. Aside from the sleek design, it has a real pen feel to it and has replaceable tips to ensure accuracy.



  • Not as expensive as others.
  • Long battery life.
  • Automatically turns off if unused.


  • Must be charged regularly.

3. CADA Drawing Stylus for iPad

  • Price: $11.99

Lightweight, reasonably priced, and as straight-forward as it gets - each of these things describes the CADA drawing stylus. It can be used on any touchscreen device, has a very fine tip, and is compatible with all drawing and notetaking apps.



  • Doesn’t need to be charged.
  • Can be used on any touchscreen device.
  • Very fine tip for precision.


  • A basic stylus, not specifically for iPads.

Tip 2: How to Prevent Data Loss from Your iPad Note App

The last thing you want is to lose the notes that you’ve taken (especially if they’re important). Unfortunately, electronics are unpredictable and data loss could occur without any warning. For this reason, we recommend using iMyFone D-Port to take backups of your notes.

  • Export notes from iTunes or iCloud backups.
  • Backup only important data (e.g. SMS texts, WeChat or WhatsApp data).
  • Different versions available for Windows and Mac.
  • Extract data directly from your iOS device.

Given that iTunes doesn’t allow you to selectively back up your iOS notes, we believe that this is the best thing you can do.

Use iMyFone D-Port to Extract Notes from iPad

With the steps that we have detailed below, you can extract your iPad notes easily.

    1. Connect your iPad using a USB cable. Then click “Back Up & Export from Device” and tap “Export Data”.

export data from iOS device

    1. Under “Memo & Others”, select “Notes” and click “Next” to proceed with the scan.

Choose the data type(s)

    1. Preview and select the notes that you need. Then click “Export” and choose a folder to save them to.

preview and export iphone notes

Windows version Mac version

To Conclude

We are confident that these apps are the best out there. Notetaking can be a tedious activity but if you have the right app and the best stylus, you can get through it without any stress bringing you down. Let us know in the comments below what you think of these apps and if you have any other suggestions.

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