Best or Most Useful App for Apple Pencil

I just commented on David Sparks Topic of best app ever. As I was commenting I started wondering what is the best app used with the Apple Pencil ?
Notability is my top one. I also find it really easy to use it with PDF Expert. Nebo is also really cool. The way apple added the ability to annotate screenshots has been great. I have not been a big apple notes person yet even before using the pencil was available. I also hear great things about Good Notes. I bought it but have not dived into it yet. Overall I love the pencil. I even use the pencil for navagating even when not writing. Looking forward to hearing what apps or just in general how the Apple Pencil is being used by such great apple users.


GoodNotes works really well with the pencil and has great notetaking features.


+1 for Notability - I was going to write that before reading the OP. But Pages with the new smart annotations is taking over for me.

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The Apple Pencil is great for many apps, but I really like the way it helps me annotate, summarize and mark up a long PDF in Liquid Text.

It also is pretty perfect in the vector editor “Graphic” and drawing app “Procreate”.


I tried to use the Pencil with Keynote and it’s great! it’s easier to add comments on slides and you can also animate your drawings.

For graphics, I highly recommend Procreate, Linea Sketch, and Affinity Photo. I wanted to add Lightroom but if you’re left-handed (like me) using it with the Pencil is practically unusable since there is no way to flip the UI.


For notes, I have reverted to Apple Notes because it’s the only app that can last an entire day at a conference, which is when I need to take notes the most. My script Nebo lasted about three hours and even Goodnotes killed the battery after about 4 hours (a typical academic conference is 10 hours). Apple Notes lasts a day and still has over 40% battery. Also, tapping the home screen with the pencil to start a new note is a great workflow, and the OCR works well for me.

For creativity, Procreate and Affinity photo are amazing with the pencil.


I love Notability, which has replaced all my paper based notes, scratchings and doodles. PDF Expert for annotating PDFs.

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+1 for GoodNotes, it’s amazing!


Notability is my favorite. They also recently added text recognition to make it even better! For quick notes, I still use Apple Notes since it’s only a tap away :smile:

I love a lot of the apps being mentioned here

  • Apple notes, is great when you use the actual pencil mode. The real life look of the pencil handwriting is great and I have not found another app able to replicate this

  • Nebo

  • Goodnotes,

  • Notability, for the recording capability

  • paper 53’s Paper, I dip in and out of this one. The new templates are great; however development is slow.

  • Thoughts app, is great for mind mapping and so simple. A continuous canvas

iMessages, using the inking facility on the iPad to respond to a message is brill

  • Penultimate / Notability, used to be really good. However, I prefer Notability over these. If you use Evernote, these work well with the Evernote system
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Favorite: Sketches Pro. Close runners up: Procreate, Linea Sketch, Paper, Penultimate, Adobe Sketch and Adobe Draw, GoodNotes, and Notability


Nebo is doing something wonky with iOS 12, but it is outstanding when it works. Conversion to text is amazing.

Regarding Lightroom, a recent update for the iPad version added a setting for ‘Left Handed Editing’ that you may find useful.

I mostly use the pencil with Procreate, Adobe Sketch and Lightroom.

I attend a lot of professional conferences and meetings and I have always taken a lot of notes. Partly because I can’t seem to remember what was said and partly just to keep me awake (these are probably related). I’d come home and scan the pages into Evernote.

The iPad Pro and Apple Pencil have saved me a bunch of time using Penultimate. That sends my notes right in to my Evernote box. I usually don’t need the info in the notes but if I do I’m confident I can find them in my Evernote box somewhere.

It’s made a difference for me…and having an iPad in meetings lets me sneak a peak at my email once in a while whilst pretending to take notes.

OK and Slither works very well with the pencil too :slight_smile:

GoodNotes + Scanner Pro + Apple Pencil make a great trio! Especially as I sit here at the airport waiting on a delayed flight. :persevere:



+1 for Noteability as well… but love sketching in Linea IMHO it is the best balance of ease of use and functionality whether “work” or just doodling :wink:image


+1 Notability for sure

Runner up is Noteshelf 2 which has had regular updates including the recent voice note app for the Apple Watch which is good for capturing snippets to add to Noteshelf notebooks.

I haven’t done crossword puzzles in GoodNotes (yet), but what your pic demonstrates is one of the tings I love most about this app. Plenty of PDFs apps work great to allow annotating a PDF, but you can create entire notebooks that include outside (pdf and image) resources that you can markup along with your note papers. I have used it as an attorney notes file, like I used to have in the days I carried paper; I use it to pull in powerpoint decks before a presentation that I can annotate with my notes, I have even created coloring books for my kids. I love this.