iPadOS 16: Apple Notes wish list

Find out what we actually got when Apple Finally released the iPadOS 16 update.

Use vector ink

It goes without saying, vector ink is much better than raster ink for digital note-taking. We would love to see ink that does not pixelate in Apple Notes, like the one we have in Noteful. Noteful is one note-taking app with some impressive zooming capabilities. We would love to see something like that with our ink in Apple Notes. You can purchase Noteful here.

Change default colours

The only default colours Apple Notes got right are black and red, the other three are just the wrong shades. If you’re going to limit the number of colours on the toolbar, the least you can do is let us decide what those colours are. We hope that, in iPadOS 16, we’ll be able to customise these colours.

For example, in Noteful, we can customise and change any colour on the toolbar. The app even lets us add more colours if we want. It makes sense to have our favourite colours easily accessible on the toolbar. It would also make us happier to add more colours to Apple Notes’ toolbar. You could either add more space (by making the toolbar longer) or shrink the colour circles to create more space for more colours.

Better support for PNG images ✅

iPadOS 15 finally gave us the ability to mix our handwriting with images, and we love it. We hope, however, to get better support for PNG images. Please remove the grey background that Apple Notes is adding to them. The whole idea of using a PNG image is so that it blends with its surroundings (to make it look like it was drawn directly on the page). Adding a background to it defeats the purpose.

If removing the background is difficult, perhaps you could add a colour that looks like the pages in Apple Notes. That shouldn’t be hard; the app only had one colour for its pages. We also hope that mixing our images will become easier than it currently is.

Mix handwriting and text ✅

We also hope to be able to mix our handwriting with text in iPadOS 16. Digital note-taking shouldn’t have such limitations. We would love to finally create the notes we want without these stone-age restrictions. Instead of blocking the text, Apple Notes could implement text boxes instead. Those work great in most note-taking apps, giving us the ability to mix handwriting with text.

Better text formatting options ✅

We don’t understand why different fonts, colours, and sizes should be limited to the Mac and Markup in Apple Notes. We would love to see the Markup text formatting options in Apple Notes’ main window. The formatting options on the iPad version of Apple Notes are limited and annoying. Some people with iPads don’t have Macs to format their text for syncing with the iPad version. Apple Notes’ web version is not usable either, which leaves us with one solution: iPadOS 16 must update the text formatting options on the iPad to match the Mac version’s capabilities. We would love to:

  • add Superscripts and Subscripts
  • use different font
  • change font colour and size
  • change text alignment (this is also missing on the Mac)
  • change the default settings for our Titles, headings, etc

NB: These are limited to text boxes, though. We still don’t have superscripts and subscripts

Adjustable tables

Not many note-taking apps support tables, so we don’t want to sound ungrateful. But, we do need more features for our tables to:

  • adjust the width and height of rows & columns
  • easily add rows and columns in a single tap.

Fixed page sizes

The continuous canvas in Apple Notes makes exporting out of the app a massive pain. We would like a way to know when a page is ending and a new one is beginning. It could be with a small, tiny gap between pages as we have in Noteful. Or a simple line, as is the case with LiquidText.

Distinct pages would mean fixed page sizes. We would understand starting with a single page size (A4). That way, when we create our notes for exporting, our diagrams and handwriting don’t get cut off in inconvenient places.

Zooming & resizing

We’d also love the ability to zoom in and out of our pages, especially for our Quick Notes. At the moment, every Quick Note we handwrite in Apple Notes looks too big to be useful. We would love to use this feature for something more important than rough notes and quick scribblings. Zooming capabilities can allow us to do that.

Another way to go about it would be to let us resize sections of our notes with the lasso tool. It’s great that we can create space to add more notes whenever we need to. However, at other times, resizing a section does a better job. Please add some rotation capabilities while you’re at it.

Proper attachment embedding

Is anyone else tired of PDF attachments that open in a different window? PDFs should open as notebooks (not attachments). Perhaps that way we could add photos, videos, and audio files to our PDFs. Opening PDFs within the app’s workspace would make it easier to import custom templates, the way we use our digital notebooks in Noteful. Users could also do their journaling and digital planning in the app. That would just be a better user experience.

Apple Notes also needs to properly embed photos and audio files so they don’t open in a separate window as well. Videos, in the app, are the only attachments that embed into your notes so you can fully interact with them on the page. We would love to see that with all the attachments in the app.


Apple Notes syncs across your devices, which is awesome. However, we believe auto backup is as important as syncing. That is why we would love to have the option to back up to cloud services that are not iCloud. On those rare occasions when you need notes that you’ve already permanently deleted from the app, auto backup comes in handy. For example, Noteful currently backs up to Google Drive. We look forward to having more options in the app.

Audio recording

Audio recording is always an added advantage to have in a note-taking app, especially when it can sync with your notes. When your job involves taking in a lot of information, recording some of it is a tremendous help.

Better export options

We should be able to share the kinds of notes we want. Text notes shouldn’t be limited to just .txt exports only, we should be able to export them as PDFs as well. Let’s hope iPadOS 16 can bring us more export options so we can decide exactly what we are sharing.

Sharing a notebook out of Noteful gives you the option to choose the format: PDF/Native. Every note-taking app must export notes as PDF because they are a universal format that opens on any device in almost any app. You can then choose to:

  • Include Background/Annotation
  • Create Zip Archive

Actual smart folders ✅

There is nothing smart about Apple Notes’ current smart folders. If anything, they are just an extra step to complicate your organisation. Tags are a smart way of creating folders, especially if you want a notebook to simultaneously belong to different folders. Noteful has successfully implemented that system, and we love it. That doesn’t mean the app has smart folders.

There are two basic features that folders need to be considered smart, and Apple Notes doesn’t have either of them for its ‘smart folders’. They should be automatic and determined by several parameters, such as:

  • Location
  • Date
  • Specific characteristics: text, attachments (videos, audio), shared. Apple Notes would then automatically create these smart folders with any combination of those parameters.

An excellent example of a smart folder is the Shared folder in Pages and Keynote that you access through Files. The folder automatically collects all the documents you’re collaborating on. It even organises your files according to the person who shared them with you. All this happens without your active participation.

Different users need different smart folders. Because of that, Apple Notes should let users turn off smart folders they don’t need. Users can also create custom smart folders by setting rules for the different parameters. Tags are a good place to start, but alone they are not enough.

Update through App Store

Some of us are unhappy that we have to wait for iPadOS 16 to get an Apple Notes update. So, they suggested you give us updates through App Store as you do with Pages.

Access notes in Files

We would love to access our notes from Files, as we do with Pages and Keynote. It’s weird that our notes from Apple Notes don’t appear there.

What would you like to see in Apple Notes?

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