Are you struggling to decide which note-taking app is the best whether it is Goodnotes or Notability? Then don’t worry because in this article we are going to give you a complete comparison between Goodnotes vs Notability. So make sure to read our full comparison article to find the best Note-taking app for yourself.
My name is Shahid and I have been a blogger for sense 4 years. Also, I’ve been an Android user for the past 10 years, and in these 10 years, I have tried both of them. That is why today I am comparing both Goodnotes vs Notability side by side and giving you a complete review of Goodnotes vs Notability. So without wasting any more time let’s start today’s comparison article
A Complete Comparison Of Goodnotes vs Notability To Find Out Which Is The Best Note-Taking App You Need to Install
if you have been using good notes and Notability for quite some time; this is where you’ll notice the first big differences when compared to previous versions. Both UIs have been redesigned so it’s even easier to find and navigate through your notes, but some things actually stay the same. GoodNotes 6 has a user interface displayed as a list or a grid that’s pretty much unchanged, but the sidebar on the other hand, that’s new.
If you can open it by clicking on the icon at the top left, it includes a Search tool, a place for your shared documents, quick access to your bookmark note Pages (which are basically your favorites), and the enable marketplace where you can purchase new templates, covers, stickers, and so much more. There are also icons at the top right for more tools like settings, book editing, or notifications.
Notability, on the other hand, has stayed pretty true to itself. The app has your folders on the left sidebar, and your notes within those folders are displayed on the right. You can display your notes as a list or a grid, and you can find headers that work as collapsible toggles to keep your workspace more organized.
It’s a practical and efficient approach that stayed pretty much unchanged and rightly so. As for navigation, well, it’s pretty simple in both apps. With GoodNotes 6, it’s pretty straightforward; you’ll have to open a folder to get to the specific notes you’re looking for. Some might say it’s a bit limiting, but fortunately, there are some ways around that using the sidebar.
You can quickly access any of your shared or bookmark documents, so those are actually always very easy to find. Unlike GoodNotes 6, Notability’s sidebar offers better access to every divider, folder, or document.
And if you’ve got Notability Plus, shared, recent, favorite, and unfiled notes sections are on the same sidebar as well. Lastly, while GoodNotes 6 offers a very powerful Search tool both on the free and on the paid versions, Notability’s Search tool is only available if you have a subscription. Okay, all that being said, I still have to give it to Notability, especially if you have Notability Plus.
If you don’t have a subscription, the lack of a Search tool and the lack of visibility for bookmark notes, for example, is kinda limiting. So, it would pretty much even it out. However, Notability’s sidebar offers much easier and direct access to all your dividers, folders, and notes, and that’s a huge plus in my opinion.
If you’re looking for an easy way to manage your notes notability is a great option for you from the main screen. You will create a folder on the left sidebar and house all your notes within that subject you can easily drag and drop notes between folders so relocating misplaced notes is actually super easy folders go in dividers.
And you can Nest dividers up to five layers deep which is pretty neat on the other hand good notes offer a few more options to help you stay organized you can ask folders within folders within folders which is pretty cool. I tested it up to 10 layers of depth which is pretty much more than anyone would need and good note 6 would still allow me to create more.
Good Note 6 also has a very powerful Search tool that can read type notes texts and also your handwritten notes notability can basically do the same thing but it’s behind the paid subscription as for note creation with notability it’s really easy all you need to do is hit the button in the app and the app will instantly create a new note within the subject effect you’ve selected in the sidebar.
And that’s it it’s fast and simple any new note is generated with a default template but you’ll find other options at the bottom of the screen when you open a new note these new templates have been added with recent new updates. But if you feel this is still not enough you can also tap on the more button and template settings to go to the full template Gallery.
It’s safe to say that noteability offers more inbuilt templates than good notes does you’ll find digital planners, worksheets, and much more. With good note 6 document management and creation remain completely unchanged. When you create a new document the app will ask you what kind of document you’d like to create and then guide you through the appropriate workflow.
What you choose in the beginning will actually Define what options you have in notebooks and quick notes will hold your notebooks and images. scan documents while folders will hold pretty much anything this isn’t actually a huge issue by the way.
Because goodnotes allows you to move things around pretty quickly and easily you can drag and drop to rearrange your pages and add a certain page to a certain notebook all of that is really easy to do. With the launch of Good Note 6 you can even create custom themes meaning that you can create custom page sizes adjusting the height and the width to whatever you desire you can also change both the background and foreground colors to create something really unique.
In conclusion here I think both apps have huge Bros and some cons so it really depends on what you prefer. The question for you is basically how much time are you going to spend on the app. The quick note creation process in notability encourages you to create a lot of notes basically you start the meeting or a class you open a new note you write whatever you need you close it down and the next time you open another one.
Whereas with good notes creating a note feels more like a commitment and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You see the note-creating process is a bit longer but gives you a lot of options and having the possibility to Nest your folders is actually pretty cool.
So if you’re looking for something that is quick to use and simple to open notability might be the best choice for you. If you want something that is a bit more complex but offers you more customization and organizational features good notes are the best bet.
And now to what matters most: get Note 6 and Notability to provide very similar but very robust toolkits for you to take notes. Both include a pen tool, a highlighter, an eraser, a lasso tool, and a text box tool. These present only minor differences from one app to the other. Let’s say that customization options in size, color, and pressure sensitivity can vary, but all in all, it’s all very similar.
There are some unique features to both apps that are really worth mentioning. First, Notability’s pencil tool: it’s pressure-sensitive and has tilt-activated shading. GoodNotes doesn’t provide a pencil tool, and their brush tool really doesn’t compare anything to this pencil tool when it comes to drawing or sketching.
On the other hand, GoodNotes 6 allows you to scribble out some words with your Apple Pencil, and this is just not possible on Notability.
Now to something that I consider pretty sad: Notability used to have a favorite toolbar, which I loved, and sadly, in July 2023, they actually got rid of it. I can’t understand the reasons behind it, but I was such a fan of the favorites toolbar, so I was kind of disappointed when it happened.
So, with this change, you can no longer save your favorite pen type and pen width, but you can still add your favorite colors to the preset options, and you’ll get up to 8 spots for this purpose. On GoodNotes, it’s actually pretty similar; the app gives you seven slots for your colors, but GoodNotes also allows for Unlimited Custom colors. With Notability, custom colors are actually behind the subscription.
Something interesting about GoodNotes 6 is that it comes with a lasso tool, just like Notability, but GoodNotes 6 actually pretty much made the lasso tool obsolete. You can now select anything by just drawing a circle around it and tapping on it; it’s so much quicker and intuitive.
Shape recognition is present on both apps; obviously, Notability offers shape detection, where you draw the desired shape with your Apple Pencil and hold it in place until the app reads it and does everything with the perfect dimensions. GoodNotes offers something very similar and offers a shape tool that you can use to fill shapes with colors and snap shape lines together.
Now, there are two more tools that actually come exclusively on Notability when compared to GoodNotes, and those are the ruler (now available on the paid versions) and the tape tool. This was added back in April, and it allows you to temporarily hide your content by covering it up with just a piece of digital tape.
As for handwriting, both apps support the Apple Pencil as well as third-party styluses. Both apps support handwriting-to-text conversion, and GoodNotes 6 provides AI-powered writing aids. These allow GoodNotes to learn and generate text to your handwriting; right now, it can basically spell-check like a Word document. It’s far from perfect, but it’s actually a pretty cool tool.
Last but not least, Notability also shines when it comes to working on multiple documents simultaneously, while in GoodNotes, you can open multiple tabs like you do on your web browser, for example. Notability allows you to actually open two documents side by side in-app, and this makes comparing notes or just copying something so much easier.
Some might say that you can do exactly the same by opening two instances of GoodNotes side by side, which can be kinda clunky, and come on, Notability has supported this feature for years already.
Okay, this one is actually pretty tough for me because I was such a big fan of Notability’s favorite toolbar, but still, even without it, I have to give it to Notability here.
I just feel that the overall toolkit is a bit more complete; the pencil tool actually might take it away just by itself. Other tools like the ruler or the tape tool are also pretty nice additions. So, that doesn’t really mean that GoodNotes is far behind; it’s not the case.
GoodNotes has been adding a lot of cool stuff to its toolkit in the past years, but it’s still not there yet. We might revisit this in a few months, and my mind might have changed by then.
Writing notes is obviously the main focus of note-taking apps, but there are plenty of other little features that can be really, really helpful. PDF or image annotation is possible in both GoodNotes and Notability.
Notability offers a great audio recording tool for note-takers. When recording, Notability’s audio is synced in real-time with the notes while you take them. During playback, Notability will highlight the text as it was written during the recording, aiding a better understanding of why something was noted down.
For a very long time, this was unique to Notability until GoodNotes actually added something very similar in January 2023. The same goes for Notability’s math conversion tool. The app can recognize math expression symbols, elements, and rules, which GoodNotes had no comparable counterpart until the release of GoodNotes 6.
Now, if we’re talking about unique features, GoodNotes already offers the flashcards maker. It used to be pretty clunky, but it was there and nice to use. GoodNotes added study sets earlier this year, which makes it much easier to use.
Lastly, GoodNotes 6 introduced two new learning features. The first is interactive exam practice. These are basically prep courses to help students prepare for very important exams. The other tool you can check out is the AI math assistant.
When you’re working through a math problem, GoodNotes 6 can actually spot mistakes that you’re making. Although it only works in one of the prep courses for now, GoodNotes has plans to turn it into a full-fledged AI tutor. For me, this is actually the first very clear win, and we have to give it to GoodNotes.
Where Notability had two very cool unique features in their math conversion tool and audio recording tool, GoodNotes has them as well and has added some pretty interesting AI tools that really elevate the app.
Backup & Sharing
You can’t beat the convenience of digital note-taking when it comes to sharing your notes and having your notes accessible pretty much anywhere if you have your digital devices with you. Good notes and notability handle these areas pretty much the same way except that.
Notability requires you to have a subscription to have access to most of its features. Yep, you heard it for notability users iCloud sync or any kind of backup is behind the paid subscription. Now both apps allow you to backup your data on third-party storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive for example and the backup process is very similar from good notes to noteability.
The only big difference is well again for noticeability users you need to have a paid subscription to back up your data which is really terrifying. Now when it comes to sharing both apps allow you to share and Export your content.
But they go about it in pretty different ways with notability you can use the link-sharing feature to share it with pretty much anyone so anyone who has that link has access to your notes. However collaborative editing is not possible on notesability good notes on the other hand don’t allow non-users to open or view any notes to open the shared link you need to have an updated version of the app.
But it allows for collaborative editing even in real time which is something that is just not possible on notability and that’s part of the reason why I have to give it to good notes Here. Notability’s link-sharing feature is great if you need someone to just read over your notes. But the collaborative aspect of goodnotes just takes it away from me and on the other hand not being able to back up my data if I don’t pay for the subscription just terrifies the hell out of me.
Pricing & Updates
And now to the last and decisive section pricing and updates and this is where the apps mostly diverge from one another. Good Notes 6 offers a free trial for as long as you want to take full advantage of the app you can buy it with a one-time purchase of 29.99 or with a subscription model of 9.99.
The subscription model is new to goodnotes as before Good Note 6 it was only possible to upgrade via a one-time purchase and there a subtle limitations with the number of notebooks you can create pretty much all the features are unlocked on the free version anyway.
It’s also important to know that if you were a Good Note 5 user but wanted to upgrade to Good Note 6 you needed either to repurchase the app or subscribe to the latest version. Notability on the other hand has a free plan and a subscription plan it is 14.99 a year but there is no option for you to buy it as a one-time purchase like you have on goodnotes.
Although the notabilities free plan is very usable for casual note takers it comes with very big limitations in regards to storage and syncing. Also, keep in mind that the free version of notability limits the number of edits you can do per month on your notes and weirdly enough the app is pretty vague about how many edits you can actually do.
As far as updates are concerned Good Notes appears to still update all its content for a Good Notes 6 and Notability has mentioned that some new features might only be available with a subscription but it’s pretty unclear how the company will actually choose which features will be put behind the subscription wall.
So if you’re looking strictly at costs Good Notes 6 is the best bet I mean even with the new subscription plan it’s still more affordable than notabilities and you still have the possibility to just pay upfront and buy it all at once. Another thing is that you won’t probably have to worry about key features being put behind the subscription wall.
Based on how I use these apps feel most of you are going to be using these apps as well I do believe that Good Note 6 is a better and more complete app for most users. That being said I also believe that notability is a more practical note-taking experience it’s just a great tool for anyone who just wants a place to quickly take notes and not think about it anymore.
So if you’re looking for something really simple notability is the best choice for you. But all in all good note 6 feels nicer to use especially over the long term. The app has some incredible features it actually caught up to some of the unique features that Notability had and it’s just more complete in terms of how you can organize your workflow and this concludes our article. I really hope this was helpful but what do you think like what’s your favorite app hop in the comments and let me know.