Essential College Note Taking Apps for iPad

The iPad is a great college companion, and with the right note taking apps it can make taking notes easier during the semester and cramming for exams less frustrating during midterms.

After trying to take notes on paper and on a laptop, I tried taking notes on the iPad. The iPad is the best way for me to take notes in college classes.

The iPad is the best note taking tool for my college experience because it is lightweight, fits on tiny college “desks” and allows me to draw formulas and symbols on the touchscreen. It also allows me to take photos of whiteboards for easy archiving.

iA Writer and Notability are the iPad note taking apps I rely on to get the most out of class, and keep track of all the notes.

iA Writer


Extra keyboard symbols.

iA Writer is a great application for taking simple text notes. The interface of the app is very clean easy to use. The app also features Dropbox synchronization which makes it easy to acces notes all of the time.

One thing that makes iA Writer even better than the simple Notes app is the amount of keyboard modifications that the app implements. Many commonly used symbols, and navigational keys are stored in the top bar of the keyboard.

iA Writer for iPad is an essential part of taking notes on the iPad and well worth the $0.99 price. There’s also an iPhone and a Mac version so users can access notes on other devices automatically.


Notability is another great note taking app offers more features than iA Writer. While iA Writer is great for plain text notes it is not optimized for equations or special diagrams. This is where Notability steps in.

Notability is great at taking notes from hand drawings, to typed text, and even audio all on the same page. Notes can be searched for key terms, which helps when it comes time to study. Users can choose paper color options and lined or graph paper.


One other area where Notability excels is that all notes can be exported and also imported into the app via Dropbox, Box, iDisk, or WebDAV.

Notability for iPad is a steal at $0.99.