There is nothing wrong with the iOS Notes app. I know lots of people that use it, and like it, but it’s a little light on features. There are other apps that do more, a lot more in some cases, and they are all great apps for teachers and students to use in the classroom. So, without further ado, here are some of the best alternatives to the iOS Notes app.
1. Swiftkey Note (Free) – Swiftkey is a relative newcomer to the iOS scene, but it is a name that is well known with Android users for its innovative swipe to type keyboard technologies. There is no keyboard swiping magic in Swiftkey Note, but it still has a great feature for elementary classrooms – word prediction! It will predict the words as you type them, offer you spelling corrections for misspelled words, and learn new words that you add to its dictionary. Better still, it is free, and you can sync all your notes to Evernote.
2. Evernote (Free) – Speaking of Evernote, it would be remiss of me not to mention it in a roundup of the best iOS notetaking apps. Evernote has been around for a while, but it has stood the test of time, and proven itself to be a reliable and feature packed note taking app. For me the key feature is the ability to access my notes on any device at any time, but the ability to add photos, record audio, and search through all my notes quickly is also very handy.
3. Notability ($2.99) – If you have never tried Notability, you should. There are few apps that are more versatile or as effortless to use. However, note taking is just scratching the surface with this app, because you can also annotate over PDFs, record audio that is synced to your typed notes, hand write notes with a stylus, and back everything up to the likes of Box, Dropbox or Google Drive.
4. Pages ($9.99 of Free) – At $10, Pages could be considered overkill as an alternative to the iOS Notes app, but if you have a newer iOS device that was activated after September 1, 2013, then Pages is free, so why not use it? It is a full featured word processor that will serve all your note taking needs, and them some. You can add images, videos, and share links to your documents via iCloud.
5. OneNote (Free) – Many people have been waiting for Microsoft to release a mobile version of Office for the iPad so that they can use Word, PowerPoint and Excel on the go. It’s not here yet, but OneNote is here, and is a great indication of what one day might be the future for Office on the iPad. It is a very decent note taking app and worth trying if you have never used it before. Like Evernote, all your notes are synced to the cloud and available anywhere you go.
6. WorkFlowy (Free) – I only found out about this app recently, but I am glad I did. It is simple, yet elegant and powerful to boot! It is a great note taking app, but is also a great way for students to plan out projects or essays because of the infinitely nested lists option. It is searchable, works offline, and allows you to collaborate on notes with others. It will also sync with a cloud account so you can access your notes online later, and you get all this for the princely price of…FREE! The interface takes a little getting used to because you don’t get separate notes, per se, you zoom in on sections of the one page, but if you can live with that, you will quickly learn to like Workflowy.
Are there other great note taking apps out there? Indeed there are. Should I have mentioned MyScript Memo, Note Taker HD, Bamboo Paper, TopNotes, Super Note or NoteSuite? Yes, I absolutely could have, but I will probably just save those for my next BIG list post.
Feel free to share your favorite alternatives to the iOS Notes app in the comments below.