Best note-taking apps for iPhone and iPad: Evernote, Drafts, Vesper, and more!

Best note-taking apps for iPhone and iPad

Looking for the best iPhone apps to quickly, easily, and powerfully take all of your notes? iPhones and iPads are are far better than leaving stickies all over the screen, fridge, door... you get the idea. Not only are note-taking apps nowhere near as messy, they're much easier to sort and organize thanks to folders and tags. We've already taken a look at the best text editing apps as well as the best handwriting apps but what about times when you want to jot down notes quickly and keep them easily available for later reference? Which note taking apps are the best and deserve your time and attention?

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Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

Best note-taking apps for iPhone and iPad


Springpad has been my longtime go-to app. I would be curious to see a comparison of Springpad and Evernote and what your thoughts are.

I use both Draft and Evernote, and on many occasions, in conjunction with each other. Both are worth the money and the time to use, in my opinion, and I'm glad to have them on my devices.

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I also use these two and work like a charm. I've also tried "Write 2 HD" for iPhone/iPad is simple and good too, but drafts is a winner.

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Second that.

I almost got Vesper, but the author never answered my question on a particular feature. Asked a colleague and was recommended Notesy instead. Got that. Splendid Dropbox integration and a beautiful app. Makes Apple's own iOS apps look silly.

I have been using notability for iPad to take notes for college and I think that it is the best tool out there. It is simple to use and there are so many great features for students like handwriting and editing tools
I would recommend this app to anyone who wants to take notes simply and quickly

I'd love a comparison if you have one in the works like you all did with Markdown Apps.

Evernote in conjunction with Drafts is amazing, but if you're somewhere with no reception and need a note, you're screwed unless you pay the monthly fee. I'd love to find something similar to Evernote that I can buy outright, instead of paying a huge fee after a couple years of use. (I work in a lot of basements, so the "no reception" thing comes up a lot for me and I can't get to my notes with Evernote.)

This is why I don't use Evernote as much anymore. If you always have a stable internet connection, nothing beats it. But you're stuck when you don't, and I've found that I'm just not comfortable relying on Evernote. The recent upgrade of One Note for iOS finally made One Note a reasonable note taking alternative. Combined with Sharepoint access to my notebooks on my desktop at the office, it's proving to be a better option for my notes.

I agree with Asaf. One Note IS Buggy (iPhone version, iPad seems more efficient and 'solid'). Even with the '365' subscription. Though the MS Mobile Office I think it's called? ...anyway, I've been using that and Evernote on my iPhone for syncing my docs to Office. iCloud for iWork. Box is an excellent repository...not sure if they're still offering it, but I ended up with 50GB 'free' storage. Love Dropbox but there again, you're dependent on connection. I'm in agreement with the Evernote comment. One price, hell...I wouldn't mind $50 for Evernote 'offline' access. Google destroyed 'GDrive' separating the editing tools from the drive as it was the only Drive in the cloud/repository/editing suite for notes, spread sheets, music...actually any media and well executed on all platforms. I've also enjoyed Notability, Notes+, Penultimate, Note taker HD, Paper 53, Simplenote, Note Shelf, iAwriter, Clear, Easy Writer, Note Suite and ToDo6 are all excellent too. Thanks for the reviews. I'm very Fond of Evernote as well as Microsoft's new iOS suite. Five computers. Five tabs. Cross platform at a buck a month each is invaluable for our business!

I find that One Note is the best note taking app, better than evernote, and it works great on my ipad, Lumia 920, Surface Pro... The only downside is that they haven't released One Note for the MAC.

I've used NotesTab for a long time on my Mac and then got it when I got my iPhone, and I love it! It is super simple and straight forward to use.

I used to use Evernote for everything - note taking, long writing, web clipping, storing PDFs - but at one point it became so buggy, especially text formatting and sync, that I switched to Notebooks as 90%+ of my notes are text. I can only recommend it, never had a problem. Still use EN for web clippings and PDFs. Drafts is another favourite. Not for note taking as I found the sync via Simperium to be abysmal - at least 30% of my notes got deleted before my eyes (for this reason I won't touch Simplenote - it uses the same sync service) - but it's great for composing text and sending it to email, Twitter and/or FB. It also integrates with Pocket, so you can convert an article into plain text and then send it to EN or Notebooks. For longer writing I'm currently between Notebooks and Nebulous Notes (only because I prefer to keep my notes separate from my writing). I don't see the appeal of Vesper at all as I need my notes to sync between my iPhone, Mac and iPad.

If you are looking for a note-taking, organizational tool that lets you capture your ideas anywhere and anytime, I highly recommend Intellinote. This app places more emphasis on collaboration among team members, which is something other apps lack. You can access all your notes and tasks from your mobile devices as well as from a desktop -and your information automatically gets synced. You can download it from the App Store for your iPhone/iPad or you can check out the Web Application here:

Hi Stephen, at this moment the notes are pure-text, but if the there's demand for more I will sure consider adding the capabilities. Try the iOS version, it's free, and see what you think. There is also a paid version for the Mac. Thanks!

I've been looking at Vesper now for about 2 months seeing if they'll ever add cloud integration or make the app universal. As it stands I find Day One to be a better app, since it has both of those features for the exact same price (although I got it when it was only 2 dollars). Vesper looks slightly better, but the feature set isn't worth the price.

Man o man Evernote runs my life and my work. Cannot survive without it - yes I've tried many others over time, but EN just does it for me. iPad, iPhone, web access - just love it.

Interesting article for nice apps! I’ve been using evernote for a year and I’m good with it for personal notes. However, I tried using it for business, like for taking notes at meetings, but I found it inappropriate. Fortunately I found the perfect app for this on the Evernote Trunk! It’s called Beesy (for ipad) and it is an all-in-one business app with a dynamic note taking feature. I use it everyday especially for meetings: I take notes at meeting with it and, thanks to a system of items you add and assign while taking notes, all my other business tools (calendar, to-dos, projects, contacts, deadlines, etc.) which are included in the app, are automatically updated. Then I can retrieve all my notes or attachments from the desktop app. It’s a good app to have if you’re into business with lots of metings! (there is more specific info in their website: )

I'd like to add Write for iPhone, iPad and Mac by Tanmway Sonawane. I love it and used them to write a 20 term paper.

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I use notablity. I love the app because I can take notes, whether they are hand written or typed in. Plus with high light features and the ability to be store and backed up on my dropbox makes my life simple. :)

Another +1 for Notability

That app was phenomenal at launch, and - unlike some other apps for whatever reason - has done nothing but improve and add features since.

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Vesper for sure. It only needs an universal version because I want to use it on my iPad.

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Vesper for sure. It only needs an universal version because I want to use it on my iPad.

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OneNote is great. And I like how it never gets mentioned as being cross-platform and yet it's supported on Windows, Windows Phone 7.x/8.x, OS X, iOS (iPhone and iPad), Android, and every browser known to mankind.

I have been using Evernote for several months along with the Moleskine notebooks. This combo for me has worked beautifully. I love having notes available electronically, but like the process of handwriting notes/sketches in meetings. The Evernote premium service has been fantastic and the app works very well. You have to understand what it does (and its limitations), but if you can do that, it may work really well if you're a big notetaker.

For Voice memos - We've just release a new free App called: FusionVOX. Its the only App thats able to drag to a timeline and play around with your memos (put them in order you want), plus categorise, colour, sort, search. Quite easy to use and intuitive.

I tried Evernote and for some reason I didn't get on with it, I have all the Office apps on my iPad / iPhone and after reading the comments re OneNote think I will give that a try - haven't really utilised it before!