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

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

The best general purpose note taking apps for iPhone and iPad that let you take notes quicker, organize them better, and share them with the people and services you need to.

When it comes to taking and keeping track of 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? There are lots of options to choose from in the App Store, but here are our favorites.


Evernote has native apps for most mobile and desktop platforms, so it can follow you pretty much wherever you go. Evernote not only supports standard, typed notes but checklists, audio, and picture notes. Evernote also lets you organize your notes into notebooks and provides tagging support. You can upload up to 60MB worth of notes a month for free, and that can include plain text, check lists, media attachments, and more. Premium accounts are $5 a month or $45 a year and remove the monthly limit. Both account types have a limit of 250 notebooks and 100,000 notes.

If you need the ability to save audio and media attachments, and want wide-ranging cross-platform support, get Evernote.


Vesper is one of the best looking and most intuitive to use note-taking apps. It supports text, images, and tags, and any new tag becomes a new menu item in the sidebar so you can easily find your notes later. It's iPhone only, and while there are no export or sync options, you can share notes via messages, email, and other standard options.

If you only need to take notes on your iPhone, and tagging is your preferred method of organization, get Vesper.


Simplenote, as the name implies, is a simple way to take and keep notes on iPhone or iPad. It supports tags, including the ability to tag people (contacts) for easy sharing. Simplenote also excels at syncing, and includes options to publish notes to the web, and roll back to previous versions of a note. Simplenote is free to use but is ad supported. Upgrading to premium gives you more syncing options and removes ads, but will cost you $19 a year.

if syncing and versioning is important to you, check out Simplenote.


Drafts offers iCloud sync between both the iPhone and iPad versions. As far as typing notes, Drafts only supports plain text notes but can convert Markdown as well as detect links. The killer feature for Drafts, however, is its sharing options. Drafts can export and share notes to pretty much any third party service you could imagine from Facebook to Twitter to clients to Dropbox. That makes it almost like time shift for text. When you have an idea, drop it in Drafts, then figure out what to do with it later.

If you need to jot down ideas quickly, but want a ton of options to do with them later, get Drafts.

Your picks for best note taking apps for iPhone and iPad?

These are the note taking apps we think are the best when it comes to general purpose notes most of us need to take on an everyday basis. Do you use any of the above? Let us know how they've worked out for you in the comments. If you use something else, make sure to let us know that too and why you chose it!

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 23 comments. Add yours.

MsLoveTech says:

Thanks iMore just downloaded the Evernote app

Sent from the iMore App

lungho says:

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.

Marc Baier says:

Check out the app "Notebooks" for iPad

Sent from the iMore App

JustMe'D says:

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.

Sent from the iMore App

linsiris says:

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.

Sent from the iMore App

Felix_9300 says:

I wish Google had Keep for iOS. Until then, I'll still use Evernote.

Feck says:

Notesy. Rock-solid, syncs with Dropbox, powerful multi-note search.

Trappiste says:

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.

Samluyet says:

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

GeniusUnleashed says:

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.)

doublebullout says:

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.

GeniusUnleashed says:

One Note looks interesting, but I don't want to download a 500mb note taking app on my phone, that's a major resource hog.

mclarensr says:

OneNote for work and Evernote for personal stuff.

The combination works well for me.

rdubmu says:

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.

Jeffrey Weimer says:

Curio -> One Note for the Mac (only better)

TyCoop says:

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.

Ninotschka says:

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.

Alexa S says:

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:

Antonio Carvalho says:

I would like to add the App I created, Mindown, to the list:

It features notes inside notes, undelete, synchronization between iOS devices and much more!

Stephen Minton says:

looks interesting.....can you insert images into notes?

Antonio Carvalho says:

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!

Brandon Johnson11 says:

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.

johnnymac says:

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.