TL;DR: you have to make multiple in-app purchases after app purchase to make it useful/competitive.
It’s a great note taking app for students, maybe even a decent doodle thing (but you could get better doodle apps for the money, like Procreate or Concepts). The PDF functionality is....limited. My favorite feature is the audio recorder, which is clutch for lectures and the like. However, after almost a year, I am ready to jump ship to a different app; the audio is the only thing holding me back, and apps like CollaNote (WHICH IS FREE) now have that feature. Here’s why.
1. The developers very rarely add features to notability. There is actually a website you can request features at, and it is full of many decent ideas - and yet somehow very, very few of them seem to make the cut. They keep a track record of what they implement, and it’s really not much. They also spend time on other projects these days. The app is becoming dated.
2. Some months ago, they introduced the “Notability Store.” Since then, almost every update introduces a new micro transaction. Features are itemized now, too. I bought the app at full price and then had to additionally pay for handwriting recognition - a included BASIC feature of nearly every paid note taking app. People complained there weren’t enough templates - so they introduced $20 planners for sale in app. We wanted themes - so now you can buy them at $1 each. We asked for stickers - well you can have them, at $2 for a pack. Want a feature that actually makes this app competitive, like Math Converter? That costs another $3.
In short, you have to further buy your way to usefulness after buying the app.
Here are better/cheaper alternatives for specific features:
PDF ability: GoodNotes.
Back up ability: GoodNotes.
Audio recording during note taking: CollaNote.
Note sharing and collaboration: CollaNote.
Stickers: Concepts, you can MAKE YOUR OWN. Also CollaNote.
Drawing: Concepts, ArtDesk, Procreate...
Templates: GoodNotes (by a mile too, for shame Notability).
Handwriting: GoodNotes, without extra $$ too ♂️
Multiple screen: GoodNotes (also by a TEXAS mile, infinite windows)
Organization: CollaNote (Files integration), GoodNotes
Mac app: GoodNotes iOS/iPadOS purchase includes the Mac app. Yeah. Notability even itemized the Mac companion app.
♂️notability is just out there for your money, apparently
I never wanted to write this review, but the developers left me no choice. I have used this app for 6 years now and have even suggested to my colleagues to use this app. I am an attorney and I use this app to keep my documents and notes for court. If I am in a hearing, I need to be able to pull up the document that I have saved in the file for reference during the hearing. However, since before all of the holidays, the app has done the following: I am not able to successfully import documents to the folders I have created, and now the documents that are imported, when you open them up to view them, the page is blank. You can see the document in the thumbnail, but it opens to a blank page. Not a good move in court to open to blank documents. To add injury to insult, I reached out to the developer and did not receive a response until all most 2 weeks later. When I did get a response, it was only to tell me that they would respond when they had the chance to. This problem has been going on since November, and it’s now January and I have not heard anymore from them. So this is how you get treated after 6 years. Broken product, and ignored by the people who have a duty to make sure what you paid for works. Now I am struggling to find a replacement because this app is useless. I’ve tried uninstalling and installing it again, and nothing. Since the developer feels its best to ignore their customers, I felt I had an duty to put them on blast because this is not how you treat customers who have been loyal to you and really want to use your products. As I mentioned, I have other attorneys using this app, so it upsets me that I am having this problem. I am looking for an alternative now, and I hope someone else get treated better than I was if they have a problem with this app.
I have been using Notability for over 5 or 6 years now. It’s one of the best note taking apps out there for ipad. This has gone through pharmacy school and I still use it to meal prep and whenever I need to take notes. I’ve downloaded and bought a handful of other apps but I love this UI the most. And what’s amazing is they are so easy to contact when you have any issues (I’ve had to contact them a few times due to small bugs which eventually got fixed) and they are constantly updating to add new functions. I love the idea of having the math conversions and how boxes are now perfectly shaped. My absolute favorite function is the voice recording playback option. This note taking app actually grays out your notes slightly until the EXACT time you started typing or writing while recording a lecture, so you can follow along if you decide to go back. I like to add some flowers, stars, or bubbles in areas where my professor may have spoken too fast or was hard to understand, and will go back later, click on that bubble, star, or flower and the recording will move to that EXACT time where the professor started talking so I don’t have to guess or waste time trying to find that spot. This is truly a wonderful app, probably the only app I use on my ipad nowadays (aside from games). Buy it, you won’t regret it! They are constantly updating to add new functions so you may get overwhelmed at first, but once you get the hang of it you’ll love it as much as I do.
I’ve used notability for years throughout undergrad and now in veterinary medical school and I have always loved it very much. However, since upgrading my MacBook to the new M1 MacBook Air I’ve noticed that my notes are not syncing from my laptop to my iPad or iPhone (but will sync from the iPad to the Mac). Airdropping documents has been working, but for some reason they then create duplicates on my Mac. I have tried turning the iCloud sync feature on/off, but that has actually caused a lot more issues by creating massive amounts of duplicate notes across my hundreds and hundreds of notes. I have literally spent hours and hours trying to fix the issue and when I finally delete everything and try to open the application on another device the iCloud sync will kick in and redownload hundreds of duplicates for no reason. This is literally a living nightmare and I don’t exactly need this extra stress in the middle of trying to make it through medical school. PLEASE fix the syncing issues ASAP!!! Studying 24/7 is literally my entire life right now for the next few years and I depend on this app for EVERYTHING I do ALL day long. I love notability so much, but this issue is literally ruining my entire life right now.
I have been using this app for a little over a year. For 9 dollars (plus the writing to text add on) I would say I got my moneys worth. I love the straight line feature, and many customization options, including the favorites bar, stickies, and (previously) the color wheel. ((Seriously why did you remove that?))
However, I feel like the development of this app is... lackluster. Instead of putting the tab and icon features behind a $20 paywall, locked into a single use planner, why not create a template bundle for a more reasonable price? Instead of small bland backgrounds and sticker packs why not collaborate with artists and roll out themed pieces. I wouldn’t even mind paying for them!!
I truly enjoy this app. And when I looked up the website and saw the suggestion page I thought this was a labor of love that was going to consistently receive updates and roadmaps for improvement. Unfortunately, there doesn’t really seem to be any passion behind this.
But. It does take beautiful notes, so, if that is what you are looking for then I recommend it.
I love this app, but there seems to be introductions of new features without addressing some of the preexisting issues. Until I turned some features off, the iCloud syncing was extremely annoying. Every time you open the app, you would need to wait for your notes to download. If you were attempting to look for a specific note a day later, be prepared to wait for it to download. This is especially problematic if you’ve been using the app for a long time and thus have a lot of notes. Also, recently my dividers have been deleted upon opening the app. This is better than having my notes vanish and needing to troubleshoot to get them back, but as I stated previously I’ve been using this app for several years and have organized my notes by years. I had to create new dividers and then sort each subject into these new dividers because I should not have to search through all the subjects when I have taken the measures to not have to do so.
I have been using Notability since my Junior year of high school, so I have seen a lot of changes and updates that have been gratifying! From adjusting its highlight feature to go under the text and to the favorites bar, this app is perfect for students (especially with its renown recording ability). But as a university student, I have found this app to be lacking in organization. I am studying biological engineering, and while this app is perfect for STEM students, the lack of organization is horrific. I love how I can make folders and subjects, but I would love to see more organization within these subjects. It should be noted that the syncing is nit the best, but I don’t take written notes as often as I used to so it’s mot a big deal for me. But for research & revision purposes, I’d enjoy the app more if organization was not so limited.
Hi, I might not be 100% correct when I say this as I am still investigating my issue. But, as of now I only have 1GB of data on my cellular plan. I used it all in 3 days! Which is a bummer. I would always be able stretch my 1 GB for a month no problem. So my issue is that when I launch notability on my cell phone when I’m not on WiFi, I feel like it syncs all my notes, which is a lot. Some notes contain pictures, audio recordings, and PDF’s that I markup.
This is my question: Does notability sync all of your notes when you launch the app? If so, this app is useless to me. The whole point of getting this app for me was to be able to access all of my files on my iPhone when I’m not at home on my Mac. Or is there a setting where it can only sync recent notes. Thanks
Needs: moving the page selector, cant say i go a day without accidentally hitting it. Top right would work better, or at least let me put it wherever i want it.
Zoom: I often times wish I could have lock so I do not inadvertently zoom into something as I glide my hand over the screen.
Organization: Very simple, mostly sufficient, though not great like similar note taking applications. I would prefer more control.
I despise the fact these are proprietary files. Cannot be viewed outside if iOS unless converted first. So i can cloud save it, but can’t view it on another device.
Great search features, great recording features, good pencil/marker customization.
The extra page at the end DOES get exported, always. you have to unselect it every time. so.
I love Notability and I’ll continue to use it for my assignments, book notes, and PDF annotation, but I can’t really use it to take lectures notes. I don’t write fast enough with my Apple Pencil. The typing in Notability is okay, but you lack good keyboard shortcuts for note (ex: commend shift 9 = numbered list, or Option 8 = bullet point). For this reason I’m having to switch to OneNote for my lecture note. OneNote has more keyboard shortcuts for typers making it faster for typers. Not only that but it’s more integrated with all platforms and free. I also think that you all should allow cloud storage syncing with more then just ICloud. This is not a hate comment, I love Notability, but there could be some improvements.