libraries.

GoodNotes vs Notability vs Apple Notes

These three apps are worth comparing for several reasons. GoodNotes is the best selling note-taking app in the App Store. Notability is now the second, after years of dominating the market. Apple Notes in iPadOS 14 has improved dramatically. It is shaking the note-taking app market. It has become almost usable.

It’s difficult to know which app will work best for you unless you know what each app offers or lacks. That is why we have listed all the 150 features in the three apps.

GoodNotes has the most features of the three apps. That doesn’t necessarily make it is the best one for you. Each note-taking app has categories of features to compare. To pick the right app for yourself, you need to decide the features that matter to you the most. Is it page customisation? PDF-reading capabilities? Multi-tasking? Once you’ve answered those questions, you can better choose the app offering what you care about the most.

FeaturesGoodNotesNotabilityApple Notes
Notability by Gingerlabs
Price$7.99 for iPadOS, iOS
and macOS
$8.99 for the iPadOS & iOS
$4.99 for macOS
In-app purchases in their
Notability shop (optional)
Free
Size299MB272.5 MB21.8 MB
No. of notebooks2238879
Documents & data
(Excluding app size)
540 MB228.9 MB299.9 MB
DeveloperTime Base Technology LimitedGinger LabsApple
Type of app Handwriting note-taking
PDF reader
Handwriting note-takingHandwriting note-taking
Supported OSiPadOS, iOS, macOSiPadOS, iOS, macOSiPadOS, iOS, macOS, web app
Page sizes supportedA7-A3, GoodNotes Standard,
Letter and Tabloid
A4 onlyVertically infinite
Different page
orientations

Number of page
templates
2243
Number of page
colours
3151
Add custom paper
to app's library
Multiple page
selection
Different page
templates in one
notebook
Page rotation
Automatic creation
of notebook titles
Pen toolsBallpoint, fountain,
Brush
Ballpoint, fountain,
dashed & dotted
Ballpoint
Pencil tool
Pen tool sizesVariable
0.1-2.0mm
12 fixed5 fixed
Ink typeVectorVectorRaster
Adjust pen tool
opacity
Zoom windows
has pen tools
on its toolbar
Zoom tool
Auto-advance

Zoom window
has margin tool
Zoom window has
navigation tools
Zoom in & out of
pages
Text inputKeyboard, ScribbleKeyboard, Scribble
just got added
Keyboard, Scribble
Text formatResize, recolour,
bold, italic, underline,
strikeout
Resize, recolour, bold,
italic, underline
Bold, italic, underline,
strikeout
Text box
customisation
★★★★★★★★
Text box rotation
Support for custom
fonts
Favourite text formatsYou can save threePreset for title, heading,
subheading, body,
monospace
Interactive checklists
Numbered lists
Unnumbered lists
Indentation tool
Text alignment
Adjust line spacing for
your text
Highlighter goes behind
ink
Highlighter goes in
front of ink
Highlighter visibly
overlaps
Erase per pixel
Erase per stroke
Eraser sizes3 fixed12 fixedVariable
Erase highlighter only
Auto deselect eraser
Resize, cut, copy,
delete, change colour, rotate
selected handwriting
Does not resize or
rotate selected notes
Change thickness
Selectively pick
handwriting only
Selectively pick text
only
Tap on text
Selectively pick image
only
Tap on image
Selectively pick
everything with lasso tool
Insert space between
notes
Drag & drop
Move selection between pages of the same
notebook
Duplicate selection
Smart Selection in
iPadOS 14
Add photos
Add web links
Audio recording
Add GIFs✔/−
Add sticky notes
Add stickers
Add web clips
Import documents
Add videos
Add tables
Attach PDFs
Add scans
Save scans as
PDF
Save scans as
image
Rotate scan
Crop scanBefore adding to notesBefore adding to notesBefore and after adding
to notes
Export scan only★★★★★★★★★★★
Draw regular shapesSome
Draw irregular shapes
Draw arrows
Draw curved lines
Autofill has same colour
as shapes border
no autofill for shapes
Autofill has different colour as shapes
border
Adjust autofill opacity
Adjust shape after
drawing
Now you can
Duplicate shapes
Snap to other strokes
Snap to page lines &
grids
Adjust border thickness
Horizontal scrolling
Vertical scrolling
Seamless vertical
scrolling
Handwriting overlaps
across pages
Automatically add new
pages
Infinite canvas
MultitaskingMultiple instances,
Slide over,
Multiple tabs
Note SwitcherMultiple instances,
Slide over
Max. number of notes
open at a time
More than 22More than 2
No. of active windows
per session
Both instances1Both instances
Access to other notebooksAll notebooks in the
app from either
instance
10 most recently
opened
All notebooks in the
app from one instance
Recognise hyperlinks
Deactivate hyperlinks
when using the Apple Pencil
Create hyperlinks
Export hyperlinks
Recognise outlines
Export outlines
Bookmark pages
Tag pages
View annotated pages
only in your PDFs
Password-protect
PDFs when exporting
Convert handwriting
to text
★★★★★★★★
Supported languages1723System language
Data detection
Search through
handwriting
Search through scansOnly titles
Search through
imported scans
Search text on images
Organise search resultsNotes, outline
Change user interface
in dark mode
Automatically switch
switch paper & ink
colours
Presentation mode
Create FlashcardsExperimental
feature
Add tables
Folder widgets
Create new notebooks
from locked iPad
screen
Lock folders
In-app store
Exporting formatsPDF, Image, GoodNotesPDF, Image (Jpeg/PNG)
Note, RTF
PDF, PNG
Export specific pages
Attach audio recordings
Add margin around PDF
when exporting
Exclude annotations
when exporting
Export zipped images
Export single images
Collaborate on notes
Collaborate by sending
email invitation
Collaborate by sharing
link to notebook
Highlight changes
made to document
Receive notifications
when someone
changes document
Collaborate on folders
Auto backup to
Dropbox
Auto backup to
Google Drive
Auto backup to
OneDrive
Auto backup to
Box
Auto backup to
WebDAV
Auto backup in Native format
Auto backup in PDF
format

Auto backup in RTF
format

Auto backup in PDF
& Native format

Auto backup specific
folders

Auto backup specific
files

View backup queue/line
Pause/cancel backup
Settings for user
interface
★★★★★★★★★★★★

2 Comments
  1. Wow. This is awesome. Thanks. I have a question. The data size in Goodnotes is an issue in all devices? Can you check? Can it be solved?

    • Yes, GoodNotes generally makes big files. There is not much users can do to change it though. It’s something to do with the coding of the app. The developers are working to try improve that, let’s hope they will figure it out soon.

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