GoodNotes works better with printed handwriting while Notability is better for cursive. GoodNotes has improved it’s handwriting algorithm. It is starting to resemble the one in Notability. But it’s not quite the same. The writing experiences in different note-taking apps don’t always work for everyone.
If you have a lot of shapes in your notes you’re better off with GoodNotes. GoodNotes has a better shapes tool compared to Notability.
Update: Notability now has a better shapes tool.
Audio recording tool
This is Notability’s greatest weapon! We recommend Notability for people that attend a lot of meetings and lectures. This is the single feature that sets Notability apart. It is very helpful for anyone that can’t keep up with taking notes.
GoodNotes supports OCR for different languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese (not sure which one though Mandarin or Cantonese) and Dutch. So that is a lot of languages that are supported. Let’s hope they’ll keep adding more.
Update: Notability also added handwriting recognition.
In GoodNotes you can use custom paper templates and the app supports different paper sizes. GoodNotes has a wider variety of paper templates. Adding custom paper templates is much easier too. Notability has fewer page templates and adding custom ones is a massive pain. GoodNotes also supports landscape paper templates, which Notability doesn’t.
In Notability you scroll vertically, in GoodNotes has horizontally.
Update: both apps now support both horizontal and vertical scrolling
Notability can lock your folders. If you have sensitive documents on your iPad, then consider getting Notability to password protect information that matters to you. GoodNotes doesn’t have this function.