GoodNotes Review 2024: App Features, Pricing Pros & Cons

Last Updated:Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Do you want to finally start taking good notes and wonder if GoodNotes lives up to its name? (Yes, we tried to make a pun there…) Welcome to our GoodNotes review! 

We'll dive deep into its features and see if it truly stands out. With GoodNotes, handwritten notes get a digital makeover. Whether you're a student, professional, or just someone who loves jotting down thoughts, let's find out if GoodNotes is the tool for you. Join us as we break it down.


GoodNotes review 2024: Is GoodNotes any good?

Welcome to our GoodNotes 5 review for 2024! GoodNotes might have crossed your radar when searching for note-taking tools for work, school, or in general. But, is GoodNotes any good? The short answer is yes, it's more than good – it's fantastic. Let’s dig into the details!

With its intuitive user interface, diverse stylus support, and a vast array of customization options, GoodNotes offers a seamless note-taking experience for both beginners and seasoned note-takers. If you've been on the hunt for the best note taking software, GoodNotes should definitely be on the top of your list.

Its ability to convert handwriting to text is uncannily accurate, making it a top choice for those who prefer jotting down notes by hand. Moreover, its cloud synchronization ensures that your notes are accessible and up-to-date across all your Apple devices. 

When you dive into the world of digital note-taking, the GoodNotes iPad version stands out as a prime choice for many users. With the fluidity of the Apple Pencil, jotting down notes on GoodNotes feels natural and intuitive. But the experience doesn't stop there. 

For those who transition between devices, the GoodNotes 5 MacBook application is a game-changer, allowing seamless continuation of work or study on a larger screen. Moreover, GoodNotes on iPhone ensures you have quick access to your essential notes if you're on the go. 

Regardless of the device, the consistency and usability of notes on GoodNotes across all platforms make it an indispensable tool for students, professionals, and anyone in between. 

The app has recently launched GoodNotes for Android and Windows devices. 


GoodNotes pricing plans

First of all, how much is GoodNotes on iPad, iPhone, and Mac? Let’s first review GoodNotes prices:

GoodNotes plans


Check current GoodNotes price




Yearly plan for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS



One-time plan for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS

$29.99 one-time purchase


Yearly plan for Android



Yearly plan for Windows




How much does GoodNotes cost for nonprofits?

Unfortunately, GoodNotes doesn’t offer any discounts for non-profits. However, if you’re an educational institution (K-12 or higher education) that manages its devices via Apple School Manager, you’re eligible for the full version of GoodNotes for free. 

If your institution isn't yet using Apple School Manager, you must get enrolled first, then contact GoodNotes to activate the discount.

Are there any GoodNotes coupon codes or promo discount vouchers?

We did the research, and it seems there are no GoodNotes coupon codes or discount vouchers at this time. Always check GoodNotes’ official website or trusted sources for any updates on promotions on the GoodNotes 5 price.


GoodNotes free vs paid: what’s the difference?

The Free Plan of GoodNotes offers a basic experience with three free notebooks, enhanced handwritten AI notes, and a 20-minute audio limit per notebook. However, access to exam prep is restricted. 

In contrast, the Paid Plan provides limitless opportunities: unlimited notebooks, comprehensive note-taking with handwriting and AI typing, unrestricted audio recordings, and complete access to exam materials. Users also receive exclusive bonuses like stickers and templates, export notes without GoodNotes branding, and enjoy the app across multiple platforms. 

In terms of pricing, you can get GoodNotes for $9.99 per year or a $29.99 one-time purchase from the App Store for the full version. For Windows and Android devices, the price is $6.99 per year.

For those looking into the GoodNotes trial, the app currently offers all of its users a free 7-day trial of the GoodNotes 6 version. Both users of the free version and paid users of version 5 are eligible for the free trial. 


GoodNotes app overview: what is GoodNotes & what is GoodNotes used for?

GoodNotes is a digital note-taking app built for iPadOS, iOS, macOS, Android, and Windows devices. At its core, it's a powerful app that transforms your device into a virtual notebook, but it does much more than that. Built to simulate the feeling of writing on paper, GoodNotes provides a natural writing experience, making it a favorite among students, professionals, and anyone in between.

GoodNotes offers a high level of versatility and is used for various purposes:

  • Digital note-taking: Users can use the app to create handwritten or typed notes, draw diagrams, and more.

  • Document annotation: Import and mark up PDFs, presentations, and images.

  • Sketching and drawing: With a range of tools, it's easy to sketch or draw right within the app.

  • Organization: GoodNotes allows you to create digital notebooks and categorize them for easy access.

  • Interactive study: GoodNotes offers features like interactive exam materials and AI-enhanced note-taking, aiding in study and revision.

  • Daily planning: With customizable templates, many use it as a planner or journal.

  • Cross-platform access: Sync notes across devices for convenient access anywhere. 

GoodNotes offers a dynamic platform to capture, organize, and review information seamlessly, whether for academic, professional, or personal use.


GoodNotes features list

The main GoodNotes 5 features are:

  • GoodNotes comments

  • Handwriting to text conversion

  • Audio recording

  • PDF annotations

  • Collaborative features and sharing

  • Presentation mode

  • Search tool

  • Lasso tool

  • Shape tool

  • Digital stickers  

  • Study sets

  • Pen/pencil 

  • Eraser/highlighter

  • Favorites and bookmarks

1. GoodNotes comments

GoodNotes 5 has a cool "Comments" feature. By pressing long on a note, you can chat with friends or write extra notes to yourself. It helps teachers talk about tricky math, students add more notes without making things messy, and even professionals like designers share ideas. It's great for working together or adding more to your notes!

2. Handwriting to text conversion

GoodNotes can convert your written notes into typed words easily. Just pick the part you want with the Lasso Tool and click 'Convert' to get the converted text. Done! You can even move these notes to other apps, like a task-list app. Cool, right? 

What’s more, GoodNotes is compatible with both Apple Pencil 1st and 2nd generation and other third-party styluses for iPad. This lets you easily jot down notes or sketch with your preferred tools. Thanks to features like palm rejection and support for left-handers, using a stylus feels smooth and simple.

3. Audio recording

GoodNotes also lets you record audio in your notebooks. Just tap the mic button, and your notes will match up with the sound. It's great for remembering important things in classes or meetings. You won't miss out on details, can listen again to understand your notes better, and even add your own thoughts.

4. PDF annotations

In GoodNotes 5, you can highlight, draw, and write on PDFs with the PDF annotations feature. Zoom in to make notes right where you want, even between lines. Draw arrows and shapes easily. Adjust and move your marks just right. Write anywhere and share your thoughts with others. 

Plus, sending out your edited PDFs is easy; you can email them, save them, or share them with other apps. 

5. Collaborative features and sharing

GoodNotes 5 makes working together easy with its sharing feature. You can make a link for others to see and change documents with you. Instead of sending big files, just share the link. Everyone can see changes as they happen. 

These shared notes are open to view, but you can turn off the link when you want. You'll find all shared notes in the "Shared" tab. It's a cool way to team up and share notes quickly.

6. Presentation mode

GoodNotes 5 has a "Presentation Mode" that makes your device like a digital board for showing things clearly. Connect it to a bigger screen with AirPlay to keep viewers focused. 

You have three choices: "Mirror Entire Screen" to show everything, "Mirror Presenter Page" for zooms and moves, and "Mirror Full Page" to display wide content. Use the Laser Pointer in Dot or Trail to point things out. It's super useful for teachers and anyone making online classes.

7. Search tool

GoodNotes comes with a search tool that helps you find stuff in your notes quickly. It looks through things like your written and typed notes, PDFs, and scanned papers. It even checks note titles and folder names. You are able to search in all your notes or just one specific note. 

8. Lasso tool

The Lasso Tool feature is an impressively versatile and effective tool. It lets you select and manage content generated within the app. Simply draw a loop around the target content. Once selected, you can perform all kinds of actions, including:

  • Move the selection

  • Cut / Copy the selection

  • Delete the selection

  • Resize / Rotate the selection

9. Shape tool 

The Shape tool lets you draw all kinds of shapes, including lines, ovals, circles, rectangles, squares, triangles, polygons, and curves. You can easily draw these shapes with the Pen/Highlighter or the dedicated Shape tool.

10. Digital stickers

The digital stickers in GoodNotes are a great way to add a bit of fun and character to your digital planner or lecture notes. You can buy digital stickers from the GoodNotes’ in-app shop. The shop includes a range of both functional and decorative stickers for you to choose from to achieve your studying or journaling goals best.

11. Study sets

Study Sets are like flashcards. You see a question on one side and an answer on the other. This helps you study better by showing cards at the right times and focusing on what you need to learn more. It's like having a smart study buddy! 

The app has two study modes for your Study Sets: "Smart Learn" and "Practice Mode." Practice Mode lets you go through your entire set, while Smart Learn guides you on what and when to study, tailored to your past learning. Using a special algorithm and proven techniques like "Active Recall" and "Spaced Repetition," Smart Learn ensures you learn in the most efficient way.

12. Pen/pencil 

In Goodnotes, you get three types of pens: a ballpoint, a fountain pen, and a brush pen for artsy sketches or fancy writing. For each pen, you can tweak the stroke width and pressure sensitivity to get it just right.

13. Eraser and highlighter

In GoodNotes, you can easily erase things or highlight them. Want to get rid of some ink or a highlight? Just swipe over it with the Eraser tool. If you tap the Eraser twice, you'll see choices like Precision and Stroke. 

Want to highlight something? Pick the Highlighter tool. It comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large. Simply drag it over words to make them stand out.

14. Favorites and bookmarks

GoodNotes makes it easy to create shortcuts to frequently opened items for quick retrieval. If you want to add a library item to Favorites, just find the document or folder you like in your library. 

Tap the Star icon at its top-right. It'll now show in the Favorites tab. Similarly, if you want to bookmark or un-bookmark a page, simply tap on the Bookmark icon to add or remove the page from Favorites.


GoodNotes 5 pros and cons

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of GoodNotes:

GoodNotes advantages

Perfect for learning and teaching:

If you're a student, teacher, or just someone who loves to learn, GoodNotes makes the process of creating notes easy and hassle-free. It's designed with features that help in studying, teaching, and making notes super easy.

You can start with the free plan:

You can start with GoodNotes' free plan. It lets you make three whole notebooks, take your notes with cool tools, and even lets you record some stuff—all for free.

Team up:

You can share your notes on GoodNotes with friends and work on them together. It's great for group projects or just getting feedback.

Syncs across all Apple devices:

If you use Apple products like the iPhone or MacBook, GoodNotes makes sure your notes match on every device. Start on one and finish on another, easy-peasy.

Great for newbies:

If you're new to digital notes, GoodNotes has your back. It feels just like writing on paper but with lots of extra tools.

Intuitive and fun:

Even with all its cool features, GoodNotes is easy to use. Jump in and start noting without any fuss.

One price, all features (for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS):

The best part? There’s the option to buy GoodNotes once, and it'll be yours forever. No monthly bills or yearly costs. It's all yours for one price.

GoodNotes disadvantages

You'll need an iPad and Apple Pencil for the best experience.

To get the most out of GoodNotes, it works best with an iPad and an Apple Pencil. But buying both can be tough on your wallet!

It can't sync across different device types yet.

Want to use GoodNotes on both your Apple and Windows or Android devices? Sorry, but you can't sync your notes between them right now. So, if you use multiple types of devices, this might be a letdown.

You can only pre-save three favorite colors.

Even though GoodNotes has lots of colors, you can only pre-save three as your top picks. Other apps, like Notability, don't limit you this way, letting you save as many favorite colors as you want in the toolbar. The good news is you can create custom colors, as many as you want.

No dashed/dotted lines.

If you like using dashed or dotted lines in your notes, GoodNotes might be tricky. They don't have these line styles, so you'll need to draw them by hand. And that's not always easy with a digital pencil.

PowerPoint files don't always look right.

Although you have the ability to import a PowerPoint file into GoodNotes, be careful! Some things in your presentation might not show up right. If you work with PowerPoint a lot, this could be a problem for you.


GoodNotes complaints & praise (GoodNotes 5 reviews from real customers)

According to positive GoodNotes app reviews from real customers, they love the app’s intuitive interface and unmatched note-taking capabilities. GoodNotes users can't get enough of how it seamlessly blends daily planning with creative jotting. 

For many, the app has become an indispensable tool for keeping records, from recipes to important notes. The customization options, like choosing writing styles or adding images, make every note a personal experience. 

The app's syncing across Apple devices ensures users always have their notes at their fingertips, be it on a computer, phone, or iPad. For those new to digital note-taking, the user-friendly design is a major perk. One GoodNotes app review praises the continuous updates from the developers that make the app even better.

While many people enjoy using GoodNotes, some negative GoodNotes reviews mention there are some things that could be better. Users mention that drawing straight lines is easy, but knowing the angle isn't, which can be tricky when making graphs. 

Some feel a little disappointed that to access all the cool features, you have to buy the paid version. A few have pointed out that while there’s a GoodNotes app for Windows, the app doesn’t sync with the iPad version, so it feels a bit isolated. 

Some users hope for a tool to spot their PDF or book notes quickly. Occasionally, sharing links can be a bit slow, with a few moments of waiting before things move. Lastly, editing big PDFs can be time-consuming because you have to delete pages one by one. It's clear users want a quicker way to manage that.

Review of GoodNotes support

When it comes to support, GoodNotes stands out. They offer a comprehensive help center packed with more than 100 detailed articles, guiding users through the app's features. If you have questions, there's a smart chatbot ready to assist. It'll recommend articles to solve your issue. 

But if you need more personalized help, you can send a request. Their customer support team is prompt, responding via email. Beyond this, the GoodNotes blog is a goldmine. It covers updates, note-taking methods, study tips, and even gives a peek into life at GoodNotes. All in all, GoodNotes ensures users have the resources they need to excel.


Is GoodNotes worth it? Our conclusion

Our conclusion brings us to an all-important question: is GoodNotes 5 worth it? After writing this extensive review, the answer is a resounding yes! Especially if you're venturing into digital note-taking or if you're an avid Apple device user. 

The app GoodNotes has done a commendable job of providing a versatile platform for both casual and serious note-takers. Yet, every individual's needs differ, so while the app shines in several departments, it might not tick all boxes for everyone.

Let’s simplify it for you!

Go with GoodNotes if:

  • You’re transitioning to digital note-taking and want an intuitive experience.

  • You wish to harness the power of syncing across all your Apple gadgets.

  • Your focus is on collaboration, and you're in need of shared boards.

  • You’re a student or a teacher. 

  • Your note-taking involves diverse subjects, and you prioritize organization.

You may reconsider if:

  • You’re using a Windows or Android device. 

  • Cross-platform syncing is a must-have for you.

  • You're on a strict budget and are exploring cheaper or free alternatives.

Weigh your needs, what you value in a note-taking app, and your budget. If the app GoodNotes doesn’t resonate with your requirements, fret not! There are some amazing GoodNotes alternatives you can opt for that might align perfectly with your needs and preferences, like Apple Notes and Evernote. Here's to efficient note-taking!

Our final GoodNotes rating



GoodNotes FAQs

When will GoodNotes 6 be released?

The GoodNotes 6 release date was August 9, 2023. This update brought a fresh design, added features, and a new pricing system. If you're curious, there's a 7-day free trial to test it out. And if you prefer the old style, switching back to GoodNotes 5 is always an option.

GoodNotes 4 vs 5: is the upgrade worth it?

GoodNotes 5 offers a sleeker design, improved organizational features, and enhanced performance over GoodNotes 4. If you value these improvements and frequent note-taking, the upgrade might be worth it. However, for casual users, GoodNotes 4 may still suffice. Keep in mind that GoodNotes 6 was also launched recently. 

How do I upgrade GoodNotes 4 to 5?

Upgrading from GoodNotes 4 to 5 isn't available anymore. With the recent launch of GoodNotes 6, you can now only transition from GoodNotes 5 to 6. Consider updating to the latest version for new features. Also, don’t forget to try the free versions so you can choose the best one for you.

Is GoodNotes available for Windows?

GoodNotes has a separate app for Windows for $6.99/year. Your notes sync between the Windows and Android apps. Simply use the same GoodNotes account. However, do keep in mind that syncing between iPad and Windows is not currently possible, but this feature should be added soon.