GoodNotes for iOS Review

One of the main reasons I decided to use an iPad again was for note-taking. As of recently, I had fallen out of love with paper notebooks and my inability to keep track of them and sort through my notes.

Naturally when I picked up the new 9.7 inch iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, I knew there would be a plethora of note-taking apps available, so I downloaded a good portion of them to find my favourite.

My favourite is GoodNotes.

A Flexible Notebook

When you first open GoodNotes, you’re given the opportunity to create your first notebook. You can give it a name, choose the design of the cover and select from a bevy of different paper styles. The process is fun and effective as you can make a different looking notebook for work, home and other areas of your life.

Once a notebook is created, you can fill limitless pages with written text, typed text, images, and much more. While my focus is more on the handwriting portion of GoodNotes, many other options are available.

Handwriting On A Touchscreen

If I’m being honest, I have terribly messy handwriting. It’s so unreadable sometimes I can’t even tell you what I wrote. Writing in GoodNotes with the Apple Pencil doesn’t make my writing any clearer, but it doesn’t make it messier either (which is a good thing).


Using the Apple Pencil with GoodNotes is the closest thing to writing on a digital notepad. Those who write messy like me, there’s a handy focus feature that allows you to write in a zoomed-in portion of the screen which is transposed to a line in the notebook. At first it seems clunky, but in practice it’s the best way to handwrite in GoodNotes.


After writing in GoodNotes, there are many different things you can do with your notes, but by far my favorite two features are text conversion and search.

First, text conversion allows you to circle a block of handwriting and convert it to text. To be blunt, it’s incredible. In my testing, GoodNotes was able to effectively translate 98% of my handwriting into text. Keep in mind what I said before about my insanely messy writing. Paired with the iOS Share Sheet, you can send your notes to virtually any other app.


My second favourite feature is search. Search takes the power of text conversion and performs it on the fly. You can search for any written word or phrase and GoodNotes will parse through your handwriting to find what you’re looking for. Just like with text conversion, my testing produced a near 100% success rate.

The Closest Thing To A Virtual Notebook

There’s a lot more to cover that GoodNotes is capable of, but I feel confident in saying it’s the best handwriting app to pair with the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. Unlike carrying a physical notebook around, walking into a meeting with an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and GoodNotes truly feels like the future of note-taking.

You can download GoodNotes for iPad and iPhone on the iOS App Store for $10.99 and I highly recommend you do.

As a gift to my readers, I have a promo code for a free copy of GoodNotes which I’m going to give away to a random person who subscribes to The H&F Weekly here. Anyone who signs up in the next 48 hours is eligible.