The Cult of Mac continues to grow.
Apple, the Cupertino-based company synonymous with elegant design thinking and easy-to-use products, grew 8 percent year over year this past quarter. And according to CEO Tim Cook, it’s heading into the holiday season with its “most powerful lineup ever.”
That’s a lot of new MacBooks, iMacs, iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches (and users to use them).
If you’re reading this, chances are you probably already have an Apple device or intend to own one soon, too.
With countless apps in the App Store vying for your attention, choosing the right ones for your workflow and everyday needs can be exhausting.
But, whether at work or on the go, having a good note-taking app for Mac and iOS is essential to being more productive.
Why use a note-taking app?
The best Mac and iOS note-taking apps allow you to quickly jot down information—like sudden thoughts, noteworthy business insights, or things you want to remember. And, unlike a paper notebook, notes can be synced across devices, allowing you to easily capture, access, or expand upon information from anywhere.
As makers of a next-generation notes app and longtime macOS and iOS users, we’re a pretty opinionated bunch.
We’ve tested the best Mac notes apps and scoured reviews to understand what users like and dislike about what’s available.
So, we compiled a list of the best note-taking apps for Mac and iOS users in 2023.
No single note-taking app will fit every Apple user’s needs, which is why we segmented our list and selected apps based on popular use cases and note-taking styles. (For more help choosing a note-taking app for Mac or iOS, scroll down to the bottom of the page.)
The Best Note-Taking Apps for Mac and iOS Users
Best note-taking app for professionals – Bloks
Meet the new kid on the block.
On the surface, Bloks looks like a straightforward note-taking app. But appearances can be deceiving.
In reality, Bloks is more than a note-taking app. It’s a personal knowledge base that syncs with Gmail, Google Calendar, and Slack, letting you easily capture notes during Zoom calls and Google Meets, quickly jot down information, and gain insights from previous correspondences, all in one place.
Unlike other Mac and iOS notes apps, it uses a unique tagging system—powered by AI—that suggests hashtags based on the content you capture, so it’s easy to form associations and keep everything—from evergreen to personal notes—organized.
The home screen shows users a timeline, making it easy to reference past events and recent notes with a quick scroll. You can join meetings directly from the top of the carousel (or the menu bar on desktop). And the app sends push notifications as a reminder ahead of time, so you don’t need to open your calendar to join a meeting.
In addition to a Slack integration that allows users to push any messages they want to reference later on directly into their notes, Bloks' Chrome extension lets users save anything they find noteworthy on the web and add them directly to their notes.
We’re biased, but users tell us it’s one of the best ways to take notes on Mac and iOS.
Price: Free until we create an app that’s worth paying for
Best note-taking app for digital minimalists – Apple Notes
For many, Apple’s no-frills note-taking app is all they need.
All the basic formatting options—like bold, italics, underline, strikethrough, and standard heading font sizes—are there. And Apple Notes lets you drag and drop images, audio files, and documents straight into your notes.
Organization-wise, users can create notes and store them within specific subfolders. Apple Notes users can also create hashtags to categorize their notes further.
Apple Notes comes pre-installed on your Apple device, making it one of the best free note-taking apps for Mac users and a simple solution for anyone who wants to take a note quickly without downloading another app.
Price: Free with 5GB of iCloud storage. Paid plans start at $0.99 per month for 50GB of iCloud storage.
Apple Notes is available on macOS, iOS, and Web via iCloud
Best note-taking app for college students – OneNote
Buried in the Microsoft 365 suite, this note-taking alternative operates much like a traditional notebook, making it handy for university and college kids, who probably have access to the app through their educational institution (or can purchase it at a steep discount).
With OneNote, users can type anywhere on a page, clip articles from the web, and draw freehand using their cursor, finger, or stylus. You can add notes to digital notebooks (and further organize them by section). The app also provides tagging and sorting options, but some users say it can be hard to find things, especially if you're not being intentional with how you organize your notes.
Like Apple Notes, OneNote provides users with 5GB of free storage. And, unlike other Evernote alternatives on this list, many features aren’t hidden behind a premium tier—a bonus if you’re trying to save money.
OneNote also offers a web-based version. But like all Microsoft products, the features are limited.
Price: Free with 5G of OneDrive storage. Microsoft 365 starts at $6.99 per month for personal usage.
OneNote is available on iOS, macOS, Windows, Android, and Web
Best note-taking app for traditionalists – Evernote
Is Evernote still good in 2023? And is it worth paying for Evernote?
It depends on who you ask. Despite its shortcoming, the once-noteworthy note-taking and task-management software was recently bought by another company. And it still has an army of supporters.
A Siri integration allows Apple users to voice dictate notes from their iOS and Mac devices directly into the app. Evernote's web clipper is also more robust than other alternatives on this list.
Integrations with Slack, Outlook, Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, and Salesforce, among other capabilities (like collaborative note-taking, shared notes, and administrative features), are available, but only through Evernote’s Premium and Business plans.
Price: Free for basic functionality and syncing between two devices. $8.99 per month for a personal plan. $10.99 per month for a professional plan.
Evernote is available on iOS, macOS, Windows, and Android
Best note-taking app for quick reminders – Google Keep
Undoubtedly the simplest note-taking app on this list, Google Keep is widely seen as less of a traditional app for taking notes and more of a storage system—almost like a hybrid between Stickies and Apple Notes—for capturing and storing digital post-it notes.
With Google Keep, users can create simple text-based notes, add titles, or create checklists. Note-takers can organize their notes by making labels, changing colors, and even adding backgrounds to their notes. Users can also pin notes or set reminders to remember particular notes.
Google Keep is an aesthetically pleasing notes app and great for creating reminders. But despite working well with the Google ecosystem and providing the ability to add voice memos, images, drawings, and collaborators to notes, it doesn’t provide enough additional features to make it truly stand out.
Price: Free for 15GB of storage across services and apps. Users can purchase an additional 100GB storage at $1.99/month.
Google Keep is available on iOS, Android, and Web
Best note-taking app for hardcore note-takers – Obsidian
Seemingly taking its cues from Evernote’s founders, Obsidian has the audacious goal of becoming a second brain for its users.
The app is more like a personal knowledge base, allowing users to crosslink information and form complex associations between their notes. Similar to next-gen note-taking apps like Roam Research, these connections form a web that helps users visualize how their notes correspond.
Obsidian employs markdown and stores files locally on a user’s device—beneficial if you’re wary of losing access to your notes if the service shuts down (or you want to export notes and any information you capture somewhere else). As long as you back up your Mac or iPhone, your notes will always be accessible. The app also boasts a variety of community plugins that let you add tables, create kanban boards, use a dictionary, and more.
With a cult-like following, Obsidian is adored by note-taking purists. But for people who don't want to feel like they're writing a dissertation, it’s often considered too powerful for everyday use.
Price: Free for personal use. $50 a year for commercial use. Syncing notes across devices costs $8 per month.
Obsidian is available on macOS, iOS, Windows, and Android
What to consider when choosing a notes app for Mac or iOS
Well, first and foremost, it has to work with your Apple devices (duh).
But there are four other things to keep in mind when deciding what the best note-taking app is for your day-to-day usage:
Ease of Use: It goes without saying, but the best note-taking apps make it easy to take notes—plain and simple. If it feels good to type up a note, that’s a good start. Anything else that speeds up the process—like keyboard shortcuts or voice dictation—is a bonus.
Organization: If you can’t organize your notes, it’s easy for information to get lost. Look for Mac and iOS notes apps that provide folders, digital notebooks, or tagging systems for categorizing your notes.
Search: Not everyone wants to organize their notes meticulously. Sometimes they want to find something they’ve written down quickly. That’s where search comes in. Consider choosing an intelligent note-taking app that lets you search for keywords in titles and in the body of your notes as well.
Additional Features: There are tons of note-taking apps on the market, many with similar functionality. What separates them from one another is often their additional features. Check which integrations and special features are available specific to Apple users when choosing a note-taking app.